Match of the Round
Newcastle Olympic v Charlestown Azzurri
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Two clubs looking to build into a strong back end of the year will meet on Sunday when Newcastle Olympic host Charlestown Azzurri at Darling Street Oval in the match of the round.
Olympic and Azzurri will be determined to secure an important three points and bolster their chances of finishing in one of the top five places with seven rounds to go.
Olympic are fresh off a gutsy 1-0 victory over local rivals Adamstown Rosebud on Tuesday but suffered a number of injuries in their round six fixture.
Newcastle’s second win of the year put them in the top four with Dino Fajkovic’s dynamic strike in the second half the difference between the two sides.
The Azzurri suffered a devastating 1-0 loss to Valentine last week having created a number of chances but came away with nothing to show for it.
Graham Law’s side are eighth on the table after the loss but remain one win outside the top five while a couple of wins on the trot could change Azzurri’s fortunes.
In the last 10 matches between the two sides, Olympic have won six of those encounters although Charlestown has dominated recent fixtures winning three out of the last four including a double over Olympic last season.
Charlestown will be without captain Matt Tull for the game due to suspension but welcome back Jackson Frendo and Regan Lundy. Olympic skipper Kyle Hodges will be available to line-up on Sunday but the home side will be without promising youngster Tim Stewart.
Coming off their fantastic result on Tuesday night, Olympic will look to make it two wins on the trot for the first time this season. Coach Alex Tagaroulias said they will have another fight on their hands to get the three points.
“There’s nothing easy in this competition and every game is tough while the Adamstown game was a real arm wrestle the other night,” Tagaroulias said.
“[Azzurri] have some decent young players. They’re tidy up the spine and Riley Smith is dangerous also but we’ll focus on what we can do.
“There is log jam after the top two teams and we like to see ourselves as contenders and these are the games that we need to prove that we are.”
Charlestown will see this game as a vital chance to rise up the standings. Coach Graham Law said he has still been impressed with his side and believes a run of winning form is around the corner for Azzurri.
“The way we are playing, we are dominating games but we just need to take our chances and I’m really pleased with how we’re playing as we are a young team so we have to be patient,” Law said.
“It’s a matter of time before we turn performances into points and I said to them keep doing what you’re doing because the league is so tight and we haven’t given up on semi-final football.
“We unfortunately lose our captain but the young boys will step up and we’ll prepare for a very tough game against Olympic.”
Maitland Magpies v Broadmeadow Magic
Cooks Square Park, Saturday 2.30pm
Another hugely significant fixture will light up round seven with Maitland and Broadmeadow to do battle in a must-watch game at Cooks Square Park on Saturday.
It will be second plays third with the two sides showing impressive form as of late while few can forget the recent history between the two clubs.
Maitland advanced to last year’s grand final beating Magic in an incredible semi-final series, with the Magpies going through due to late goal in the second leg.
Broadmeadow have only been defeated once this season, going down to Edgeworth in round three but have won their last three games and boast the best attacking record in the competition with 16 goals.
The red and yellow beat Lake Macquarie at home last start and will be eager to maintain their great form and keep pace with Edgeworth at the top of the table.
The Magpies are coming off a massive result against Lambton, beating the Jaffas at home to continue their astonishing home record.
Maitland has a 14-game unbeaten run at their Cooks Square Park fortress and will look to add Broadmeadow to their list of scalps.
Broadmeadow Magic coach Anthony Richards said he looked forward to another exciting match-up.
“Everyone is really happy and looking forward to the game as it will be a good contest for us as the young boys will get to trial themselves against the champions,” Richards said.
“We don’t really look at the ladder. If we have enough points to play semi-finals then great but we’re just looking forward to playing a really good side.
“The attack has been great and you have a guy like John Majurovski who has won the golden boot four times and giving his knowledge to the young boys. It’s invaluable to the guys coming through and that is where they are learning their craft.”
Lambton Jaffas v Adamstown Rosebud
Arthur Edden Oval, Saturday 2.30pm
Lambton will host local rivals Adamstown with the two sides looking to bounce back with a victory at Arthur Edden Oval on Saturday.
The Jaffas have had a mixed first six games to sit in fifth having lost their third game of the season against Maitland last start.
Coming off back-to-back losses, the match looms as a must-win for Lambton who will be looking to keep pace with the teams at the top.
Adamstown have also endured two straight losses including a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle Olympic on Tuesday night and have yet to produce another win since their opening day victory over Charlestown.
The Rosebuds sit only a win behind Lambton, who beat Adamstown twice last season and will look to earn another victory to start to build some consistency.
Valentine Phoenix v Edgeworth Eagles
CB Complex, Sunday 2.30pm
Top of the table Edgeworth will travel to play a buoyant Valentine side at CB Complex on Sunday.
The two sides sit at the opposite ends of the table although Valentine are hot off their first win of the campaign after defeating Charlestown 1-0 last start.
The Phoenix managed to hold on to a clean sheet after facing waves of Azzurri attack, with captain-coach Adam Hughes and Dain Greentree earning entries into the team of the week.
Edgeworth have been flawless so far this season and will look to make it seven from seven when they travel to the home of the Phoenix.
Eagles striker Kristian Brymora will look to continue his goal-scoring form to consolidate his lead at the top of the goal scoring charts with six strikes.
Edgeworth will be favourites but will not take Valentine lightly having been beaten by the Phoenix 3-1 at CB Complex late last year.
Weston Workers v Lake Macquarie City
Rockwell Automation Park, Sunday 2.30pm
Weston will return to Rockwell Automation Park to face Lake Macquarie on Sunday with only three points splitting the teams on the table.
Weston are sixth while a victory could reinstate them in the top-five after narrowly going down to Edgeworth away from home last round.
Scott Carter was instrumental in goal for the black and white and is racing to be fit while the Bears will look to earn their first victory at home this season against the Roosters.
Lake Macquarie fought hard against Broadmeadow last start to nearly overturn a two-goal deficit before eventually going down 2-1 at Magic Park.
With only one win to their name so far, Lake Macquarie will be optimistic about adding another win to the list and start to climb the table.
Weston have been ruthless against Lake Macquarie in previous fixtures, scoring a whopping nine goals in the two games against the yellow and blue last year, although expect the two sides to be fired up to produce a closer game.