Competitions

NPL Women’s NNSW Round 13 Preview: Azzurri look to bounce back and consolidate top four against Eagles

June 23rd, 2022

Grace Clegg

Sproule Sports Focus


MATCH OF THE ROUND
CHARLESTOWN AZZURRI FC V NEW LAMBTON FC
LISLE CARR OVAL, SUNDAY 3.40PM

Charlestown Azzurri will be looking to bounce back from their surprise thrashing at the hands of Warners Bay last weekend when they host struggling New Lambton on Sunday.

Azzurri are fourth on the table after Newcastle Olympic overtook them following five consecutive wins. An additional three points could put Charlestown back in the top three if Olympic lose to Adamstown and Maitland remain fifth.

The 10-1 loss to the Panthers was Azzurri’s biggest defeat to date and was a shock to Charlestown coach Niko Papaspiropoulos.

“Obviously we want to have a better performance than we did last week, that goes without saying,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“No one wants to have a performance like that so myself and the girls are very determined to put on a better showing and get a good result.

“We want to have a good show of attitude and mentality especially coming into this game to make sure we get the three points.”

Despite New Lambton sitting on zero points and at the bottom of the table, Papaspiropoulos was under no illusion as to how determined the Eagles will be coming into Sunday’s match.

“Last time we played [New Lambton] they made it difficult for us at times so I don’t think you should underestimate them or any team regardless of their position,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“It’s football and anything can happen. We’ve got to make sure we approach [the game] correctly and prepare as seriously as we would for any other team.”

With zero wins under their belt from 10 games, New Lambton are the cellar dwellers of the competition. The next closest team Mid Coast are on seven points with two wins from 11 games.

With the Eagles still searching for their first win of the season, Mackenzie Davis’ side will be throwing everything they have at Azzurri when they meet again at Lisle Carr Oval.

“I think our form was the strongest it’s been the last time we played [Azzurri] so that’s really promising,” Davis said.

Despite Azzurri’s crushing defeat last weekend Davis was determined not to focus on other teams’ results and put her energy into getting her side ready for the match.

“I think if we spent all season looking at how the other team has performed the week prior we might underestimate the challenge we face so I think the girls are just keeping their heads down and working on what they can control,” Davis said.

Despite their less than ideal first half of the season the Eagles are concentrating on building strong relationships within their squad and improving from week to week.

“With such a young squad it’s been a real pleasure to watch the girls come together and get to know each other,” Davis said.

“We’ve had so many young girls step up into first grade so while the results haven’t been what we would like I think there’s a lot of individual success which has been really rewarding for them.”

The last time these two sides met Azzurri took the three points after a dominating 8-0 win over New Lambton.


BROADMEADOW MAGIC FC V MID COAST FC
MAGIC PARK, SATURDAY 3.40PM

Mid Coast FC coach Mick Grass is keen for his side to improve its consistency as they travel to Magic Park to face Broadmeadow on Saturday.

Broadmeadow Magic and Mid Coast will be searching for their first wins since round 10, with Magic coming into round 13 fresh after their round 12 match against New Lambton was postponed due to wet weather.

Magic are second on the table with eight wins from 11 games. With their second-placed position guaranteed after round 13 regardless of their result, a win could see Magic inch closer to competition leaders Warners Bay.

If Broadmeadow lose and Olympic win their game against Adamstown, Magic will have Newcastle Olympic hot on their heels and Jake Curley’s side will be in danger of dropping out of the top two.

Mid Coast will be looking to return to their winning ways following a 4-0 loss to Olympic last weekend. Seventh-placed Middies are sitting on seven points and looking to close the gap on struggling Adamstown Rosebud.

Mid Coast coach Mick Grass knows how tough his side’s upcoming match against Magic will be and said it was important to address their inconsistency.

“Right now we’ve got to address our consistent mentality and make sure that we’re turning up each game to put the same effort performance on the park,” Grass said.

“If we can do that then we start to get closer to teams but the job doesn’t get any easier.

“[Broadmeadow] are a high-quality team and they’ve picked up some signings mid-season as well so I’m not under any illusion as to how hard the task is going to be.”

While Middies’ form has not been excellent this season, Grass insisted his side has shown glimpses of how good they can be.

“I think we’ve proven at times this season that when we put our best performance on the park we’re competitive and we’ve just got to make sure that’s way more consistent,” Grass said.

Magic took the three points after a clinical display in Taree when the sides met in round six.


ADAMSTOWN ROSEBUD JFC V NEWCASTLE OLYMPIC FC
LAKE MACQUARIE REGIONAL FOOTBALL FACILITY, SATURDAY 7PM

Adamstown Rosebud will be looking for their first win since round eight when they host third-placed Newcastle Olympic on Saturday night.

Rosebud have not won since they upset heavyweights Broadmeadow 1-0. Five rounds later Adamstown face in-form Olympic back at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility looking to save their season.

Olympic have won their last five matches in a row but with Charlestown Azzurri and Maitland FC hot on their heels, the visitors need to win against Adamstown to maintain third-place on the table.

Despite their winning streak and table position, Newcastle coach Paul Devitis knows how lethal Adamstown can be on a synthetic surface.

“We’re expecting a tough game because Adamstown are quite good at home on a synthetic pitch,” Devitis said.

“I’ve watched them play a couple of times this year and they move the ball around very nicely there, so we need to be tactically quite disciplined.

“It should be a good entertaining game and very fast paced. It’s any important game for us. We’re on a good streak at the moment, five in a row was a goal of ours, so it was great to reach that.”

Devitis believes his side have an advantage going into Saturday’s night match, having played another young, physical team recently.

“We’ve been working on a little bit of shape work already this week and I think we need to match them physically because they’re quite a physical team,” Devitis said.

“I think we’ve had a good preparation for that because we played Middies two times in a row and they’re also quite young and physical so that sort of worked out well for us.”

Despite their sixth-placed position on the table Adamstown have proved their ability to score goals, something Devitis has made note of.

“For our team’s sake I think we just need to keep working on creating goal scoring opportunities and then obviously converting as many as we can,” Devitis said.

“Adamstown are generally involved in some high scoring games so obviously they know how to score.

“For us it’s about minimising the number of chances they get and maximising the number of opportunities that we can create.”

Although Olympic are third, Devitis believes there will be a shift in table positions over the coming weeks.

“Creeping into that [top four] has been amazing for us but there’s still plenty of games left in the season,” Devitis said.

“It looks like us, Maitland and Charlestown are going to be battling it out for a top four spot, so I think we’ll see some changes on the table week to week.”

Olympic took the three points with a convincing 4-1 win over Rosebud in round six.


MAITLAND FC V WARNERS BAY FC
COOKS SQUARE PARK, SUNDAY 3.40PM

Maitland FC will be looking to make a statement when they host competition leaders Warners Bay on Sunday.

The Panthers travel to Cooks Square Park with a three-point lead at the summit over Broadmeadow.

But the Magpies returned to form with a convincing 6-2 hammering of Adamstown on Saturday night to stay in touch with the top four.

It has been a strange season so far for Maitland who were one of the early pace setters before injuries crippled the Magpies squad, seeing them slip out of the top four.

Key central defender Toria Campbell is already out for the season with a serious knee injury, while Mercedes McNabb became the latest addition to Maitland’s long injury list when she broke her collarbone against Adamstown.

Maitland have since bolstered their squad with a trio of additions from Adamstown with Kiarra Lewis, Jemma Lawson and Madeline Howard joining from Rosebud.

The Magpies also signed defender Hannah Bourke but the former Young Matilda remains unavailable with a knee injury.

Maitland are yet to claim the scalp of either of the two frontrunners so far this season, having lost both their matches to Broadmeadow Magic and going down 3-0 to Warners Bay in their round six meeting on a night where the Magpies failed to take their chances.

Coach David Walker will hope his side can down the league leaders to improve their own finals chances but it will be a difficult task against a Warners Bay side full of confidence following their 10-1 thrashing of third-placed Charlestown.

Panthers coach Craig Atkins was not looking to change their winning formula going into the match against Maitland.

“Obviously barring any injuries or niggles or anything like that hopefully we’ve got all the same players on deck,” Atkins said.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve been building some nice momentum so let’s hope we can pull it all together now.”

Working on faster starts proved a winning move last weekend and is something Atkins said his side would continue to improve on.

“Our starts haven’t been the quickest but that was a real positive for us last weekend and hopefully that gives the girls some confidence,” Atkins said.

“Maitland in Maitland is going to be tough but we’ll welcome the challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”

Related Topics:
NPL Women's NNSW Round 13 Preview

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