Match of the Round
Newcastle Olympic v Edgeworth Eagles
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
It will be a heavyweight battle between first and third on Sunday as the National Premier Leagues NNSW competition starts to heat up heading into the make or break part of the season.
Darling Street Oval will host Newcastle Olympic’s clash with Edgeworth with four intense rounds left to play.
Olympic have found scintillating form of late winning three of their last four games including a gutsy 1-0 victory over Maitland away from home last start to sit in third.
Teenage attacker Jared Muller scored the crucial goal and now has six for the campaign to be in the hunt for the coveted golden boot. Muller was accompanied in the NPL NNSW Team of the Week by teammates Nate Cavaliere, Kyle Hodges and Blake Green thnaks to the impressive performance against the Magpies.
Edgeworth have been rock solid this campaign and continued their charge towards a fifth premiership in six seasons and a record 13th title for the club.
Two late goals in the second half saw the Eagles defeat Valentine last start, their ninth win of the season.
Edgeworth have won the previous five games against Olympic with Newcastle’s last victory over the Eagles coming in 2017.
Edgeworth player-coach Josh Rose said his side were excited to face another potential finals rival.
“[Olympic] have got a lot of young boys who bring a lot of energy so that is something we will have to be careful of but overall our game plan won’t change too much and hopefully we get the job done again,” Rose said.
“Looking at a lot of our games, we haven’t really scored early and it’s more trying to break teams down as a lot of teams set up deep against us and with fitness and good possession, we eventually get the result.
“Week to week we approach every game differently but this is another three points and looking down the track, they’re in third place so there is a good chance we can meet them in the finals.”
Newcastle Olympic have found a winning formula of late and interim coach Alex Tagaroulias said he looked forward to testing his side against the competition leaders.
“I think the players keep turning up. They’ve all embraced how we want to play and it seems whoever we put onto the park they seem to come up with the goods,” Tagaroulias said.
“[Edgeworth] dominated large parts of the game [in the last fixture] but I do recall we were 0-0 at half-time. A couple of individual errors cost us, so I thought there was something there to work on and I feel good going into this game.
“It will be nice to benchmark ourselves against the top club in the competition and see more of the improvements. I don’t want us to be complacent and if we perform in the right way, at least I’ll know what where capable of.”
Lake Macquarie City v Broadmeadow Magic
Macquarie Field, Saturday 1.45pm
Lake Macquarie will look to keep their season alive when they take on in-form Broadmeadow Magic at Macquarie Field on Sunday.
The Roosters remain mathematically in the equation to finish in the finals places but will have to beat the second-placed team and hope teams above them slip up.
Lakes had the bye last round and remain last, although level with Adamstown Rosebud on four points. Their latest result was a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Newcastle Olympic and they will be looking to snap a run of five losses in a row.
Broadmeadow put in a clinical first half performance to down Weston 4-2 last start to maintain their strong hold on second place.
James Virgili and Sam Walker are both in the hunt for the golden boot with seven and six goals respectively having formed a dynamic partnership in the league’s best attacking side.
It was two young gun Magicians who impressed last start with Jacob Dowse and Jarred Baker earning a spot in the NPL NNSW Team of the Week after the side’s impressive outing against the Bears.
Magic defeated Lake Macquarie in the previous encounter between the two sides in round six and will be eyeing a third win on the trot to keep the pressure on Edgeworth in the fight for the premiership.
Weston Workers v Lambton Jaffas
Rockwell Automation Park, Saturday 5.30pm
A match that will have huge bearings on the top five will light up Rockwell Automation when Weston host Lambton on Saturday night.
The two sides sit equal on 14 points after 10 games and are only split by goal difference to set up a massive game with a vital three points at stake.
Weston slipped to sixth with a draw and a loss in their last two games, including a 4-2 loss to Magic away from home. Two late goals could not get them over the line but they return home where they have won their last two fixtures.
Aaron Niyonkuru has been in fine form with six goals so far this season and again will be a danger for Lambton while Chris Hurley featured in the NPL NNSW Team of the Week after a stellar goal against Magic.
The Jaffas moved back into the top four with a win and a draw in their last two games and could not be split against Charlestown Azzurri last start finishing 0-0.
The side boasts a superior goal difference to the teams around them while a win would go a long way for the Jaffas in featuring in the finals series.
Kale Bradbery will look to be the key player in unlocking the Weston defence and already has seven goals to his name this season to put himself in the frame for the golden boot.
The Bears defeated the Jaffas in the previous fixture this season with a late 3-2 comeback in round two.
Adamstown Rosebud v Maitland FC
Adamstown Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Adamstown Rosebud will host Maitland at Adamstown Oval on Sunday with both teams eyeing a hugely valuable three points in the grand scheme of the season.
Similar to Lake Macquarie, Adamstown is still in the hunt mathematically to qualify for the finals but will need to win all their games starting with the defending premiers on Sunday.
The Rosebuds’ only victory so far came in round one and they will be looking to send departing coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff out on a high with a strong end to the season.
Maitland have lost its past two games to slide to seventh and the pressure is mounting on the team to get back to their previous, title-winning form.
Two losses on their home ground have also been a tough pill to swallow for the Magpies but the squad will view this game as an ideal chance to get back into the winners’ circle and climb the table.
Sitting on 13 points, Maitland are one point outside the top five and can climb as high as fourth with a victory.
The Magpies will take confidence out of their last encounter with Adamstown, defeating the Rosebuds 2-1 at Adamstown Oval in round eight.
Valentine FC and Charlestown Azzurri have the bye