NPL NNSW Round 15 Preview

July 15th, 2021

 Sproule Sports Focus

Match of the Round

Newcastle Olympic v Lambton Jaffas
Darling Street Oval, Saturday 2.30pm

Lambton have been one of the dominant teams in the competition so far in 2021 but the thorn in their side has been Newcastle Olympic.

Jaffas travel to Darling Street on Saturday top of the NPL NNSW table, two points clear of Broadmeadow having played a game more.

Lambton have already played Olympic twice this season but, despite Jaffas’ impressive first half of the campaign, it is Joel Griffiths’ side that have found a way to resist them.

Olympic won the round six clash between the sides at Arthur Edden Oval, with two late second half goals in seven minutes from Jed Hornery and Jared Muller seeing Olympic cancel out Scott Pettit’s opener.

Hornery was again Lambton’s nemesis when the sides met in the FFA Cup sixth preliminary round, scoring the only goal to eliminate Jaffas with Olympic since qualifying for the national round of 32.

Shane Pryce and Bobby Naumov’s side face a tough run home. If Lambton are to win the premiership they will need to overcome the rest of the top five including Olympic, Broadmeadow, Maitland and their rescheduled round 11 match with Edgeworth in their last five games.

Conversely, Lambton are the only top five side remaining for Olympic who also face Weston, Valentine and Charlestown Azzurri twice.

Olympic are four points clear of sixth-placed Weston, having played a game more.

It could also be the first time Lambton fans get to see veteran striker Joel Wood back in Jaffas colours, with Wood now eligible to play following the end of his lengthy suspension from his time at Valentine.

Adamstown Rosebud v Broadmeadow Magic
Adamstown Oval, Saturday 2.30pm

Broadmeadow will see a chance to put the pressure on leaders Lambton when they take on Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday.

Magic travel to Adamstown Oval two points behind Jaffas but with a game in hand. A win could see them return to the summit while maintaining their match in hand, pending Lambton’s result against fifth-placed Newcastle Olympic.

Magic face a busy schedule on their run home with postponed round 13 and round 14 matches against Weston and Valentine to be made up as well as clashes with top five sides Lambton, Maitland and Edgeworth.

By the time Broadmeadow run out against Adamstown it will be almost three weeks since Damian Zane’s side have been in action thanks to their postponed fixtures.

Adamstown meanwhile were comprehensively beaten 5-1 by Lambton last weekend but had been in a decent run of form, having gone unbeaten in their previous three matches.

Broadmeadow won the round six fixture between the sides 3-0 at Magic Park, thanks to second half goals from Jarred Baker, Mitch Rooke and Samuel Haren.

Weston Workers FC v Edgeworth FC
Rockwell Automation Park, Saturday 5pm

Weston’s hunt for a finals place goes on the line when they host Edgeworth on Saturday evening.

The Bears are sixth, four points behind Newcastle Olympic but have a match in hand.

Leo Bertos’ side are the most likely to surge their way into the top five but will still require an almost perfect run home if they are to play finals football for the first time since 2014.

Weston though may be understrength after the end of dispensations allowing cubs to postpone fixtures due to the COVID-19 lockdown, with the Bears’ squad including a number of Central Coast-based players.

Like Broadmeadow, Weston will not have been in action for three weeks by the time they run out on Saturday night.

Edgeworth will also be looking up the table, with the fourth-placed Eagles still eyeing a top three finish given they, like Weston, have two postponed matches to play.

The reigning premiers and champions saw off Charlestown Azzurri on Sunday thanks to Will Bower’s second half screamer.

The Eagles also won the round six clash with Weston 2-0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval thanks to goals from James Scott and Jeremy Brockie.

Valentine FC v Maitland FC
Cahill Oval, Sunday 2.30pm

Maitland will return to action looking to continue their excellent run of form when they take on Valentine on Sunday.

The Magpies have not played since their 4-2 win over Charlestown in round 13, with their derby clash with Weston postponed last weekend.

Prior to their week off Maitland had been in strong form having won their previous three matches in a row to sit third.

Valentine remain last with their match with Broadmeadow also postponed last weekend.

Like Weston, Valentine may be understrength this weekend after the end of dispensations allowing clubs to postpone fixtures due to the COVID-19 lockdown, with Valentine’s squad also including a number of Central Coast-based players.

Valentine have been unable to build on their impressive 1-1 draw with leaders Lambton in round 12. As well as the Magic clash, Valentine also had their round 13 match with Adamstown postponed.

Adam Hughes’ side remain in last place, still in search of their first win of the season.

Maitland won the round six clash between the sides 4-0 at Cooks Square Park with Ty Cousins scoring a double.

Charlestown Azzurri v Lake Macquarie City
Lisle Carr Oval, Sunday 2.30pm

Charlestown Azzurri and Lake Macquarie City have the power to end each other’s seasons when they meet at Lisle Carr Oval on Sunday.

Azzurri and Lakes are unlikely to feature in finals football with the pair seventh and eighth respectively, seven and eight points away from the finals places.

A loss for either side would all but end their campaign, while a win would keep their slim finals hopes alive.

Charlestown won the round six clash between the sides 1-0 at Macquarie Field thanks to Harrison Frendo’s first half strike in what was a fiery clash that saw Nick Cowburn and Zac Lloyd sent off.

Azzurri went down 1-0 to Edgeworth last weekend, while Lakes fell 3-1 to Newcastle Olympic.

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