Match of the Round
Weston Workers v Broadmeadow Magic
Rockwell Automation Park, Sunday 2.30pm
Weston will take on Broadmeadow in the Match of the Round which will bring together two exciting sides that sit within the coveted top five.
The Bears are fifth after their seven games and snapped a two-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over Lake Macquarie last start.
Connor Heydon scored twice in that game and defender Marcus Duncan earned a spot in the NPL NNSW Team of the Week.
Weston have also welcomed back Kew Jaliens to the coaching staff in a major boost for the Bears heading into the pointy end of season with a semi-final spot on the line.
Broadmeadow ground out a 0-0 draw against Maitland in their round seven encounter but remain comfortable in second place.
A victory would see Magic climb to nine points above the Bears with five games to go.
Magic have won four of the last six encounters against Weston but have not won in their last two visits to Rockwell Automation Park.
Weston coach Leo Bertos knows his side will have to be on their game but said he looked forward to another big fixture.
“it will be a big challenge for us. [Magic have] started the season really well and been very consistent and have many key attacking players who can turn a game,“ Bertos said.
“They have flown under the radar a bit prior to the season starting but they’re a very good team and we’ll have to improve from the Lakes game.
“Let’s hope it’s an entertaining game as both teams will look to move the ball quickly and score lots of goals but it will be a good test for us.”
Magic took a point away from Maitland last week and coach Anthony Richards said he was looking for another similar performance from his side against Weston.
“It was probably one of the better games in terms of keeping the ball [against Maitland] and [we were a] little bit disappointed we didn’t get the result but [it’s] a difficult place to do it,” Richards said.
“Any side with Nathan Morris and Robbie Turnbull in it you know you’re in for a game. They understand what it means to wear the Weston shirt and it will be a tough game.
“We’re 100 per cent and looking forward to a good game.”
Lake Macquarie City v Valentine Phoenix
Macquarie Field, Sunday 1.45pm
The latest instalment of the Lake Macquarie derby will kick-off round eight with rivals Lake Macquarie and Valentine to meet at Macquarie Field on Sunday.
The two clubs are also rooted to the bottom of the table to set up a battle of the cellar dwellers, sitting on four points each.
With an important three points on the line and an opportunity to remain in the hunt for semi-final football, the two teams will be leaving it all on the park to defeat their close rival.
Lakes went down 3-1 away to Weston last weekend while Valentine fought hard but were eventually beaten 2-0 by first-placed Edgeworth.
The two sides have conceded the most amount of goals, 15 and 18 respectively, so far this season which is a statistic they would ideally look to improve on over the next run of games.
Both outfits will know the significance of a victory and Lake Macquarie coach Josh Rufo said he expected a tight affair.
“It will be a battle of two teams [who are] desperate to get the win so I expect a really tight game,” Rufo said.
“Losing is always disappointing. We have been creating lots of goal scoring chances each week but with no end product so we need to be more clinical.
“The focus each week is always about winning and having more points come the end of the round.”
Edgeworth Eagles v Newcastle Olympic
Jack McLaughlan Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Edgeworth will look to make it eight wins from eight to start the campaign when they take on Newcastle Olympic at Jack McLaughlin Oval this Sunday.
The Eagles are flying out in front of the competition and have kept five straight clean sheets to have only conceded two goals in seven games.
Edgeworth beat Valentine last start scoring two second half goals to down the Phoenix 2-0 and continue their perfect run.
Newcastle Olympic will come into this game off the back of a monumental 4-0 drubbing of defending premiers Maitland on Wednesday night.
The result is Olympic’s biggest win of the season and moves the side into third spot while boosting their confidence heading into their clash with the table toppers.
Edgeworth are playing a tremendous brand of football and player-coach Josh Rose said he was simply looking for more of the same this weekend.
“The main message each week is to keep building on the defensive structure that we’ve got at the moment and also maintain that winning mentality and the boys have been fantastic,” Rose said.
“Clean sheets are a massive part of the game. Having [Ayden] Bricey and Josh Evans as centre backs definitely helps. We have worked a lot on our transition moments as we keep a lot of possession but it’s our first reaction when we lose a ball, that’s the moment we’ve been quite good.
“[Newcastle Olympic] are another team who is hungry for points and definitely going to be a hard game and we will have to be on our game again.”
Adamstown Rosebud v Maitland FC
Adamstown Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Adamstown will host Maitland with the two sides looking to pick up a significant three points for their respective seasons.
The Rosebuds are eighth on the table with only one win to their name and went down 6-3 to Lambton last round in an entertaining game.
Coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff has announced 2020 will be his last season with the Rosebuds and the former English Football League player will want to end his tenure at Adamstown Oval on a high.
The Magpies have been ultra-impressive at times but have faltered on occasion, which sees them sitting in fourth.
Maitland endured an emphatic 4-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle Olympic on Wednesday night to leave them without an away victory so far this season.
The defending premiers will look to end their poor run away from home as they sit 11 points off first place in the run to the finals.
Charlestown Azzurri v Lambton Jaffas
Lisle Carr Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Lambton Jaffas will face an in-form Charlestown Azzurri side with the two outfits coming off tremendous wins last round.
Charlestown were clinical in a 3-1 win over Newcastle Olympic last start with Rene Ferguson and Jackson Frendo instrumental in the triumph to earn a spot in the Team of the Week.
After a tough opening to the campaign, the youthful Azzurri have the top five in their sights and are only three points behind Lambton.
The Jaffas secured a valuable three points against Adamstown last round with a big 6-3 victory over the Rosebuds.
The big score took Lambton’s goal tally to 17 goals which now leads the competition.
The two teams will be eyeing off another victory to put back-to-back wins together for the first time this season.