NPL NNSW – Round 12 Preview

September 24th, 2020

 James Ward

Chris Simpson

East Maitland Bowling Club Match of the Round

Maitland FC v Edgeworth Eagles

Cooks Square Park – Saturday 3.30pm

A mouth-watering grand final rematch will potentially decide the 2020 premiership with Edgeworth needing a win to lift the title.

The Eagles have a chance to make history in earning a 13th title for the club which would give them the most premiership wins in the region outright.

Standing in their way is last year’s premiers Maitland, who will be unwilling to handover their trophy on home turf and have plenty still to play for themselves.

The Magpies are locked in a fight for the top five and a win would bolster Maitland’s chances of finishing in another finals position.

The side defeated Adamstown with a brilliant attacking display to sit fourth, winning 6-0 with Braedyn Crowley scoring a hat-trick to hit good form coming into this weekend.

The Eagles defeated Newcastle Olympic 3-1 away from home last start, coming home strong to score two late goals to put themselves within a game of the premiership with three rounds to play.

Edgeworth beat Maitland in the opening game of the season coming away 4-1 winners but this weekend is expected to be a tighter affair with a finals-like intensity.

With history at the Eagles’ doorstep, player-coach Josh Rose said there was a lot of excitement around the club ahead of Saturday’s game.

“I think it would be massive, with the shortened season. To do it with a few weeks left would be a great achievement and the boys have done really well. We’re definitely looking forward to Saturday,” Rose said.

“It’s a little bit ironic, they stole the premiership off us last year so it would be nice to go there and win it to be honest. They are in that real battle for points, so they’re going to be fighting hard and a game where their season is on the line.

“The message is to do the job we’ve been doing for the past 11, 12 weeks. Keeping a good defensive structure and taking our chances when they come, that will be as simple as it gets.”

Lambton Jaffas v Lake Macquarie City

Arthur Edden Oval, Saturday 2.30pm

Lambton will take on Lake Macquarie at Arthur Edden Oval on Saturday with the home side looking to keep in the fight for the finals.

The Jaffas sit in fifth spot but have Weston, Charlestown Azzurri and Valentine breathing down their neck to make this game a must-win.

Lambton drew with Weston 1-1 last start and will view maximum points from this encounter as the only acceptable result.

Lake Macquarie will be playing for pride and will be desperate to avoid the dreaded last-placed finish as they sit equal with Adamstown Rosebud at the bottom with four points.

The Roosters were left devastated following their 3-2 loss to Broadmeadow after conceding two late goals to come away with nothing against the second-placed team.

The side will be without Chris Berlin and Iman Akram for the clash as both received red cards in the Magic fixture.

The Jaffas will go in as favourites although the previous encounter between the two sides was a close match with Lambton coming away with a late 1-0 win in round one and the valiant Lake Macquarie will look to be hard to beat again.

Adamstown Rosebud v Valentine FC

Adamstown Oval – Saturday 4.30pm

Adamstown will host Valentine on Saturday with the Phoenix still eyeing a finals berth while the Rosebuds will be aiming to avoid the wooden spoon.

Valentine are still in the mix for finals football on 11 points and will need maximum points to remain in the hunt.

The side had the bye last round and will come in fresh looking to take the three points to mount a potential surge towards the top five.

Adamstown were beaten 6-0 by Maitland last start and are yet to win since the opening round while the side is in a dogfight with Lake Macquarie to avoid finishing last.

Valentine won the last encounter between the two sides 3-1 earlier this season and will hope for a similar result on Saturday.

Phoenix coach Sam Griffin said if his side wants to play finals they had to start a winning streak against Adamstown.

“Realistically we’ve got to win three out of three to give ourselves a chance, so at the moment every game is win at all costs,” Griffin said.

“Even though we had the break last week, it couldn’t have come at a better time I think and we’ve had a bit of a freshen up and will now focus on the last three [games].

“They’re a group pf players, combined, should be in the top half of the competition. There’s no reason why we can’t win three games and give ourselves a red-hot chance.”

Charlestown Azzurri v Weston Workers

Lisle Carr Oval, Sunday 2.30pm

A massive clash between Charlestown Azzurri and Weston will take place at Lisle Carr Oval with the two teams vying for a finals appearance.

Both clubs are desperate to return to the finals arena and a win could knock the other out of the running.

Charlestown are fresh off the bye and sit in seventh spot on the table with 14 points while Weston sit one above with 15 points.

Charlestown coach Graham Law said it was a hugely important game for his side.

“It’s almost like a cup final feel amongst the group this time. And we understand how important this game is for us. Not mathematically but we can almost put Weston out if we beat them,” Law said.

“That’s the mentality we’re trying to create in that it is finals football right now and we’ll definitely be up for it.

“We’re getting very well known for being structurally defensive but we want to show how potent we are in attack as well.”

Azzurri’s latest result was a 0-0 draw with Lambton while Weston were also held to a draw against the Jaffas last round.

With so many riveting battles across the park, the match is sure to provide an entertaining affair while Charlestown will take confidence from the previous clash when they downed Weston 2-1.

Broadmeadow Magic and Newcastle Olympic have the bye.

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