2021 Mental Health Round
Round Sponsor: Lifeline Hunter
Match of the Round
Lake Macquarie City v Valentine FC
Macquarie Field, Saturday 2.30pm
Lake Macquarie City will see an opportunity to edge closer to the finals places when they host Valentine in the round eight Match of the Round on Saturday.
Lakes are seventh on seven points, five behind fifth-placed Newcastle Olympic.
But with Olympic hosting sixth-placed Weston on Saturday, a victory for Lakes over struggling Valentine at Macquarie Field would see City either close the gap to fifth or climb to sixth.
Josh Rufo’s side have been better than their results suggest so far this campaign. After finishing last in 2020, Lakes drew with heavyweights Broadmeadow on the opening day of the season and have beaten reigning premiers and champions Edgeworth.
While they have lost four of their seven matches, Lakes have not been beaten by more than a single goal. They are also coming off a confidence-boosting 3-1 victory over Weston last weekend.
Valentine meanwhile will be desperate to secure their first win of a difficult campaign.
Adam Hughes’ side are last with a solitary point. They have lost their last three games 4-0 to Broadmeadow, Maitland and Edgeworth last weekend.
The only match this season Valentine have scored goals came in a 6-3 defeat to fellow strugglers Adamstown Rosebud. Their only point came in a goalless draw with Charlestown Azzurri.
Valentine will not get many better chances to secure their first victory as they take on seventh-placed Lakes who, at home, will be under pressure to win and keep in touch with the finals places.
Maitland FC v Broadmeadow Magic
Cooks Square Park, Friday 8pm
Maitland host Broadmeadow on Friday night in what could be a preview of finals football later this year.
First-placed Maitland welcome second-placed Magic to Cooks Square Park looking to sure up their place at the top of the table heading towards the halfway stage of the season.
The Magpies are flying high at the top of the competition following their 4-0 thrashing of Adamstown Rosebud last weekend as they took advantage of Magic’s slip up against Lambton.
Broadmeadow make the trip north looking to bounce back having fallen from the summit last weekend following their first defeat of the campaign, a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Jaffas.
Damian Zane’s side had been in outstanding form, winning five matches in a row since their opening day draw at Lakes.
Broadmeadow will be keen to get back to winning ways immediately as they look to climb back into the box seat for the premiership at the midway point of the campaign.
If they are to down the Magpies on Friday night they may well need more goals from the competition’s equal leading goal scorer, Sam Walker. Walker has five goals already this season, level with Edgeworth veteran Jeremy Brockie.
Lambton’s Kale Bradbery has four, while a host of players have three goals including Maitland pair James Thompson and Ty Cousins.
Newcastle Olympic v Weston Workers FC
Darling Street Oval, Saturday 2.30pm
Newcastle Olympic have the chance to put some breathing room between them and the chasing pack when they welcome Weston to Darling Street on Saturday.
Fifth-placed Olympic are three points clear of the sixth-placed Bears with a game in hand. Should Olympic win on Saturday, they could open up at least a five-point gap depending on other results.
Olympic will be relatively fresh having had their round seven match against Charlestown Azzurri abandoned last weekend after the lighting at Lisle Carr Oval failed at half-time.
Weston meanwhile will be desperate to bounce back from a deflating 3-1 defeat to Lake Macquarie City last weekend.
The Bears’ performance was littered with individual errors, with Weston looking untidy defensively as they gifted Lakes their goals.
A loss for Weston could be fatal to their finals hopes as the Bears hope to remain within touching distance of the top five.
Edgeworth FC v Adamstown Rosebud
Jack McLaughlan Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Edgeworth will look to keep their impressive run of form going when they host Adamstown Rosebud on Sunday.
The Eagles have won their last three matches in a row without conceding a goal, including a 4-0 thrashing of Valentine last weekend.
Michael Bridges’ side have tightened up defensively, while former A-League veteran Jeremy Brockie has found his scoring touch with five goals to lead the race for the golden boot.
The reigning premiers and champions could climb as high as third with a win, with a victory likely to cement their place in the top five.
Adamstown meanwhile will look to turn their own fortunes around having hit a difficult patch.
Since their 6-3 win over Valentine a month ago, their only points of the campaign, Rosebud have slipped to consecutive defeats to Lambton, Broadmeadow and Maitland by an aggregate score of 10-0.
Adamstown suffered a 4-0 defeat to Maitland last weekend and will be keen to spring an upset on the champions to kick start their own season.
Charlestown Azzurri v Lambton Jaffas
Lisle Carr Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Lambton Jaffas will look to build on their win over Broadmeadow when they take on Charlestown Azzurri on Sunday.
Lambton ended a difficult week off the pitch by ending Magic’s unbeaten start to the campaign on it, with the Jaffas scoring a memorable 2-1 win at Magic Park.
Coach James Pascoe left Lambton last week due to personal reasons, with the grand final-winning coach replaced by Bobby Naumov and Shane Pryce.
Lambton are third on the NPL NNSW table, three points behind leaders Maitland. And, with the Magpies hosting second-placed Broadmeadow on Friday night, the Jaffas will sense an opportunity to put themselves squarely in the premiership race.
Charlestown have endured a mixed campaign so far, sitting eighth on the table with seven points. Azzurri have a match in hand after their round seven clash with Newcastle Olympic was abandoned last weekend due to a lighting failure at Lisle Carr Oval.
A defeat here to Lambton and not making the most of their match in hand against Olympic could have Charlestown staring down the barrel of a long second half of the campaign with finals football potentially out of reach.
This weekend is Northern NSW Football’s second annual Mental Health Round (21 to 23 May).
The purpose is to help raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental health within the football community as well as the greater community.
NNSWF are committed to shining a light on mental health following the success of Mental Health Round last year.
Every Premier Competition club signed the Mental Health Pledge Banner last year, which committed clubs to fostering a culture which is inclusive, supportive and respectful. The banner has been displayed at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility this week.
The pledge reads “Our club is committed to fostering a culture which is inclusive, supportive and respectful. We care deeply about the mental health wellness and overall wellbeing of our players, coaches, volunteers and supporters. We will look out for each other and fall in behind those who need our support. We will consistently address behaviour which contradicts our values and undermines our culture.”
NNSWF hosted activities this week as part of Mental Health Round including presentations from broadcaster and mental health advocate Craig Hamilton and sport psychologist Fiona McCarthy while Luke Conners from #Talk2MeBro will present on Monday next week.
If you would like to talk to someone regarding your mental health, you can contact Lifeline Hunter on 13 11 14. Their Crisis Support Line operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week. You can also speak to your GP.