Competitions

NPL Women’s NNSW Round 14 Preview: Hot Olympic eye top two spot ahead of Magic clash

June 30th, 2022

Grace Clegg

JAE Media


MATCH OF THE ROUND
NEWCASTLE OLYMPIC FC V BROADMEADOW MAGIC FC
DARLING STREET OVAL, SATURDAY 3.40PM

Two competition heavyweights will come face to face as the highlight of Indigenous Round when Newcastle Olympic host Broadmeadow Magic at Darling Street Oval on Saturday night.

Olympic are on a six-game winning streak and will be looking to continue their attacking tirade and take down second-placed Magic to bring themselves within one point of Broadmeadow as they chase a top-two place.

Broadmeadow are still chasing top of the table Warners Bay with the Panthers three points clear of Magic.

Olympic coach Paul Devitis is preparing his girls for one of their toughest battles so far this season, with the added excitement of the traditional derby between the two clubs.

“It’s a very exciting week,” Devitis said.

“I really enjoy the derby week. I’ve been around Olympic most of my life, so it’s always been a big occasion for me. I think even though both clubs are relatively new to the women’s game both clubs have done a good job at instilling how important this game is.

“My girls are really looking forward to it, we’ve been talking about it all week so I’m really intrigued to see how it plays out.”

With it looking like Olympic, Azzurri and Maitland will be battling it out for third and fourth place for the rest of the season, Devitis is committed to not dropping his side’s place on the table.

“The table is obviously important for both teams at the moment,” Devitis said.

“[Broadmeadow] are battling with Warners Bay for the top spot and we’re battling for that third and fourth spot. Although the gap between the two of us isn’t that big so it’s an important game regarding the table.”

Devitis was sure it would be a hard but exciting game of football.

“We’re both in good form, we’ve obviously won six in a row and they’ve barely dropped any points all year so it’s a great opportunity for both teams to put on a really great game,” Devitis said.

Although Olympic are in top form it has not been without injury to several players. Devitis will be going into this weekend with a depleted squad full of injuries, illness and unavailability.

Despite this, he is confident in the talent of Olympic’s youth.

“This year we’ve had a lot of girls out injured and it’s been a great opportunity for some girls from reserve grade and from under-17s to stake their claim and they’ve all done a fantastic job and I’ve got a lot of faith in anyone that I bring up from either grade,” Devitis said.

“Everyone’s on the same page now with the football that we’re playing and everyone knows each other. I know that whoever I put out there can do the job.”

With plenty on the line both sides will be desperate to take the three points. The last time these teams met, Broadmeadow took the win 3-1 score but given Olympic’s winning streak  it could be anyone’s game.


MID COAST FC V CHARLESTOWN AZZURRI FC
TAREE ZONE FIELD, SATURDAY 6PM

Mid Coast will be looking for just their third win of the season when they host Charlestown Azzurri in Taree on Saturday.

Mid Coast are in desperate need of three points to stay within reach of sixth-placed Adamstown who are on eleven points with Middies four points back with two wins.

Azzurri are fourth place on 23 points, one point behind Newcastle Olympic. But any slip Azzurri slip up against Middies could give Maitland the chance to close the gap to as little as one point.

With a weekend of wet weather on the cards, Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos hoped the game would go ahead.

“Obviously we’re expecting a fair bit of wet weather so hopefully the game goes ahead although it’s looking unlikely but we’re preparing as we would be,” Papaspiropoulos said.

Travelling to Taree to face Mid Coast is always a difficult assignment and Papaspiropoulos said his side was under no illusion as to how tough it would be.

“Travelling to Taree isn’t always an easy game for any team, it can be a bit of a tricky one and we’re aware of that,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“Mid Coast have made life difficult in a couple of games recently so we’ve got to be mindful of the threat they pose to any team.”

As Azzurri battle to keep their place in the top four a win against Mid Coast is crucial.

“We need to be focused on what we need to do to be winning games week in, week out, because at the end of the day that will get us into position for the end of the [season],” Papaspiropoulos said.

The last time these two sides met Azzurri took the three points after a tight 2-0 win over Mid Coast.


NEW LAMBTON FC V MAITLAND FC
ALDER PARK, SUNDAY 3.40PM

New Lambton will be looking to get their first points of the season when they host Maitland at Alder Park on Sunday.

The Eagles are last on zero points and have struggled to get their season started with several large defeats resulting in no wins from 11 games.

The fifth-placed Magpies are battling to remain in finals contention on 19 points, four behind Charlestown.

A win to Maitland could see them move within one point of fourth-placed Azzurri should Charlestown lose to Mid Coast in Taree. Though the Magpies also have a game in hand.

After a tough 6-1 loss to competition leaders Warners Bay in round 13, Maitland coach David Walker said his side was ready for another win and continue to fight for a top four place.

“We’re looking forward to the match,” Walker said.

“We’re still taking it week by week but we definitely consider ourselves still part of that top four by the end of the season, so we’ve just got to make sure we continue to get results from every game.”

Maitland have been plagued by injuries and trying to pull together a complete squad week in, week out has been a challenge for Walker.

“For us, trying to consolidate our numbers and availabilities is still our biggest challenge,” Walker said.

“Last weekend we had a total of 11 players either injured, ill or unavailable so it’s been less than ideal and I think at least five of those are long term injuries so it’s not something that’s going to be fixed tomorrow.”

Despite an injury plagued squad, Walker said a bright side was giving Maitland’s youth players a chance to get experience in first grade.

“[Our youth players] are thriving on the opportunity they’ve been getting,” Walker said.

“They’re getting these opportunities more frequently and for a longer duration. We try and expose those talented youth players as much as we can and when you’ve got a full playing roster it makes that a little bit harder.”

Maitland thrashed New Lambton 11-0 when they met in round seven.


WARNERS BAY FC V ADAMSTOWN ROSEBUD JFC
JOHN STREET OVAL, SUNDAY 3.40PM

Competition leaders Warners Bay will be looking for another three points to add to their total when they host Adamstown Rosebud at John Street Oval on Sunday.

The Panthers are on 31 points with 10 wins from 13 games, three points clear of Broadmeadow Magic.

Despite being top of the table Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins said he knew how tough going up against Adamstown could be.

“We know what Adamstown will being,” Atkins said.

“It was a very tough game against them last time and it was highly intense for the full 90 minutes, so we’ve got to make sure we turn up and be prepared for that.

“We’re in a decent bit of form at the moment so hopefully we can continue that momentum and put in another good performance against Adamstown.”

With the competition well and truly into its second half Atkins wants to remain on top of the table. But he was under no illusion as to how tough the competition can be.

“Obviously we want to be on top of the table at the season’s end but given how this competition is you’ve got to focus and take it week by week and that’s what we do,” Atkins said.

“We look at ourselves and analyse our performances pretty thoroughly and then work on any areas we need to work on and improve on each week and plan accordingly for our opposition.”

Sixth-placed Adamstown are chasing Maitland with Rosebud eight points behind the Magpies.

A win to Rosebud on the weekend will be crucial to keep them in the finals race.

Warners Bay and Adamstown played out a thrilling 4-4 draw when they met in round seven.

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