Lambton Jaffas (2nd) vs. Edgeworth Eagles (3rd)
Saturday 7 September, 3:00 pm, Arthur Edden Oval
Edgeworth currently lead 4-1 on aggregate
In the third-last game of the NPL NNSW season, Lambton host Edgeworth in a match they must win and by a lot if they are to resurrect themselves from last week’s late collapse that saw the Eagles score three times in the last 20 minutes.
No team has ever come back from a three-goal Semi-Final deficit since the two-legged system was used, but what will give the Jaffas a boost is knowing that at the same ground just two weeks ago, they managed to attain a 3-0 score-line over their rivals – a score-line if achieved again, would send them through to their second Grand Final in three years.
An image that may take a hit to Lambton’s spirits this weekend though is the one of dominant central defender and Eagles’ captain Josh Evans, who makes his return this weekend after a long stint away overseas, while the hosts will also be missing Will McFarlane and Finn Parris to injury, adding to a long list of missing players.
Two men who have caused chaos for Edgeworth previously was Josh Sutton and Braedyn Crowley – the latter scoring the lone goal for the Jaffas last Sunday – and with the side needing so many goals to have any chance of downing their opposition, they’ll be the key men for the hosts.
Just one goal for the Eagles this Sunday would almost rule any chance out any chance for the Jaffas, but considering they’ve managed to score 30 goals from their 11 games at home this season, don’t count them out just yet.
Maitland FC (1st) vs. Broadmeadow Magic (4th)
Sunday 8 September, 3:00 pm, Cooks Square Park
Currently tied 2-2 on aggregate
As Maitland host the defending champions this weekend, a spot in the Grand Final is still completely up-for-grabs following an enthralling 2-2 draw last weekend at Magic Park.
The two sides have faced off three times this year, but neither has been able to topple the other as three draws have ensued. However, Magpies have a slight advantage this game with their two away goals.
Unless the match finishes two-all again, Broadmeadow will need to beat the Premiers if they are to advance to their second straight Grand Final but what will give them confidence is that their visit to Cooks Square Park last year in the finals proved to be the crucial bout as they walked away with a 3-1 win and created a mountain the Magpies couldn’t climb.
In 2019 though, Maitland hasn’t tasted defeat when playing on Windy Hill and will have a raucous, local crowd willing them on home as they attempt to qualify for their first-ever top-tier Grand Final.
As shown last Sunday, both sides are in-form in front of goal. Magic have scored 10 from their past four games, while Maitland has managed 11 with three of those coming from their lethal striker Joel Wood who needs to continue to be of focus for the Broadmeadow defence.
The visitors welcome back their suspended stars Jon Griffiths and Justin Broadley back for this which should help to solidify their defensive structure, while although James Virgili and Kale Bradbery were both kept quiet in the first-leg, the Magpies will be wary of the attacking prowess they can bring.
While the home ground advantage may come into play for Maitland, Broadmeadow has a history of turning up for the big games in a big way – this one could go either way.