Round Sponsor: Red Funnel
Match of the Round
Weston Workers v Adamstown Rosebud
Rockwell Automation Park, Saturday 7pm
Weston Workers will look to build on the momentum of their hard-fought win over Valentine when they host Adamstown Rosebud in the Match of the Round on Saturday night.
The historic clubs face off after the Bears showed great character to bounce back from their opening round thrashing at the hands of Lambton to down Valentine 1-0 last weekend thanks to Jackson Burston’s late strike.
While many would have written off Leo Bertos’ side after their 7-1 opening day defeat to the Jaffas, a victory over Adamstown would give the Bears back-to-back wins and a foothold with which to launch their season.
Meanwhile Adamstown will see the clash as an opportunity to get off the mark in 2021 as they desperately chase their first points of the campaign.
Rosebud were beaten 6-2 by Newcastle Olympic and 2-0 by Charlestown Azzurri in their opening two fixtures, leaving them rooted to the foot of the table.
Charlestown Azzurri v Broadmeadow Magic
Lisle Carr Oval, Saturday 2.30pm
Charlestown Azzurri and Broadmeadow Magic will look to build on confidence-boosting wins when they clash at Lisle Carr Oval on Saturday.
Azzurri downed Adamstown Rosebud in their first match of the season last weekend, while Broadmeadow downed derby rivals Newcastle Olympic 2-1 in the Match of the Round.
New Magic coach Damian Zane believes this season’s competition will be as close as any in recent years.
“I think this year as much as any, I don’t see any teams that are clear of the rest,” Zane said.
“I know Lambton’s [round one] result was a very good one but I expect Weston to bounce back. They looked a bit like us to be honest, a passing team not really clicking in round one.
“Every week this year is going to be tough. I know people think that every year but this year will be really even. Just player wise I don’t think there is a lot of difference in all the teams. There’s not that much difference between players who aren’t full-time, guys who have to work for a living.”
Zane has given a handful of young players a taste of first grade already this season as he looks to continue his brilliant work at Edgeworth, where he turned the Eagles into the dominant force in the competition, with Broadmeadow.
“We’ve brought a few players in but we’ve also got a few young boys starting to come up,” Zane said.
“We probably haven’t gelled yet. We didn’t have a long pre-season and it’s not going to happen overnight.
“I’m pretty happy where we’re at and we’re only going to get better. I think the important thing for us is to get the results early and over time it will snowball. You play better and better and the results will follow.”
Newcastle Olympic v Maitland FC
Darling Street Oval, Saturday 6pm
Newcastle Olympic will look to bounce back from derby defeat to Broadmeadow when they host top of the table Maitland on Saturday.
Olympic welcome the high-flying Magpies to Darling Street with Maitland boasting the only 100 per cent record in the competition after two rounds.
Maitland upset reigning double winners Edgeworth 1-0 in the opening round and backed up their performance with a dogged 3-2 victory over Lake Macquarie City in round two.
Olympic meanwhile fell 2-1 to Magic last Thursday night and will hope the nine-day turnaround will help them overcome a handful of injury problems.
Lambton Jaffas v Valentine FC
Arthur Edden Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Lambton Jaffas and Valentine will look to bounce back from round two defeats when they meet at Arthur Edden Oval on Sunday.
The Jaffas fell 2-0 to a clinical Edgeworth following their 7-1 thrashing of Weston in the opening round.
Valentine meanwhile would have been disappointed to go down 1-0 to the Bears in a hard-fought clash in their first match of the campaign last weekend.
Lambton will view the match as a must-win game given their aspirations at the top of the table and favourable run of fixtures over the next three weeks.
Valentine meanwhile will want to get off the mark as quickly as possible following their round one wash out against Charlestown Azzurri.
Valentine face heavyweights Broadmeadow, Maitland and Edgeworth over the next month.
Lake Macquarie City v Edgeworth FC
Macquarie Field, Sunday 4.30pm
Edgeworth will look to build on their encouraging win over Lambton when they travel to Macquarie Field to take on Lake Macquarie City on Sunday.
The Eagles bounced back from their opening day defeat to Maitland with a clinical 2-0 win over the Jaffas in round two thanks to goals from former A-League players Josh Rose and Jeremy Brockie.
It was a first win as Edgeworth coach for former Premier League and A-League striker Michael Bridges who has settled in well at the club.
“It has been an easy transition to be fair, made a lot easier by the staff that were there already,” Bridges said.
“Warren Mills, Rod Linsley, Gary Wilson, they do a lot of work behind the scenes and made it an easy transition. I wanted to give everyone an opportunity.
“It’s like I said to all the coaches and players at the club, if a kid is good enough then they’re old enough. We want players coming through to play in the higher grades and I’ve enjoyed seeing a few of the boys really showcase themselves.
“That’s the way it should be at a club, a real collective and it’s something I’ve enjoyed so far.”
Lake Macquarie do not have the points to show for their strong start to the season and will provide the reigning premiers and champions a stern test.
Josh Rufo’s side scored an impressive 2-2 draw with heavyweights Broadmeadow Magic in the opening round before falling to a 3-2 defeat to 2020 grand finalists Maitland last weekend.