NPL Women’s NNSW Round 16 Preview: Magpies eye chance to strengthen finals push against Olympic

July 21st, 2022

Grace Clegg

Michael Ying Sing


Maitland will be searching for a crucial three points when they take on Newcastle Olympic at Cooks Square Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Magpies are fifth on 22 points, just two points behind Olympic. A win to David Walker’s side would see them jump into fourth place and climb within one point of Charlestown should Azzurri lose to Broadmeadow on Saturday.

Maitland also still hold a game in hand on Azzurri after their rescheduled round 14 match against New Lambton was again postponed on Wednesday night.

A win against Olympic though is crucial to keep the Magpies in the race for a top four position come season’s end.

Walker is hopeful his side can pull off a win, especially with the possibility of having some key players back in his side.

“It will certainly be a big game,” Walker said.

“It’s obviously an important game for both of us from a table perspective and both sides play good football, so I expect it to be a really good match.

“Hopefully we start to see some squad players back in to help boost our numbers and give us some fresh players off the bench. That’s something we haven’t had in a few months so that should help us.”

After a slight dip in performance mid-season, Walker is concentrating on getting his squad back to their consistent winning ways and charging towards the back end of the season.

“As far as the game plan, we’re just striving to get back to playing our best football and that remains our focus to the end,” Walker said.

“If we’re doing that properly the results will take care of themselves.”

Olympic are also searching for a crucial three points to keep their place within the top four.

Olympic are on 24 points and a win could see them sitting as high as third on the table should Azzurri lose their match to Magic and open up a five-point gap to Maitland.

Olympic coach Paul Devitis echoed Walker’s sentiment that the three points were crucial for both sides.

“It’ll be a vital three points for both teams,” Devitis said.

“A win for either side is going to really set them up for the next couple of rounds. Whoever loses obviously has to play catch up so it’s definitely a vital three points for both of us.”

With both teams playing a similar style of football, Devitis is under no illusion as to how tough the match will be.

“It’s going to be a good match up and I think we’re pretty even teams to be honest,” Devitis said.

“I think we play pretty similar styles of football so I’m looking forward to it.”

As the season begins to wind down any points a team can gain are crucial to cementing their position on the table and this is no different for Devitis and his Olympic squad.

“I think the girls will have a knowledge of how important the game is because obviously the players look at the table,” Devitis said.

“We haven’t really talked about it at training but on game day I’ll definitely be reinforcing how important the game is in relation to the table but I think the girls will already know that.

“Everyone obviously comes into every game with the mindset that they need to win so I don’t think it’s something we need to talk about too much.”

The match is also Maitland’s Brain Cancer Awareness match, with the Magpies to wear special playing shirts.

The two sides have won one game against each other this season. Maitland won the round two game 5-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Magpies captain Sophie Stapleford, while Olympic defeated the Magpies 5-2 in round nine.


Charlestown Azzurri could move within two points of second place with a win over Broadmeadow on Saturday afternoon.

Azzurri are third on the table on 26 points with eight wins from 14 games.

Coming up against second-placed Magic will be no easy feat with Broadmeadow sitting on 31 points and 10 wins under their belt.

Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos knows what his squad are up against having played Broadmeadow twice already this season.

“We’ve played [Magic] a couple of times now so I think by this point everyone’s familiar with each other,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“We’re well aware of the way they play and the quality they have. I’m expecting it to be a tight game and it should be an interesting battle.”

Papaspiropoulos is also aware of how important gaining points is coming into the back end of the season.

“It’ll be another big game and coming into the back end of the season, pretty much every game is important,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“There’s no game that doesn’t have a bearing on what will happen at the end of the season so every game will be crucial for us.

“There’s not as many games left so every point earned or lost is of more importance now.”

Magic have lost just two games all season. In their round eight clash they went down 1-0 to Adamstown and Warners Bay got a tight 1-0 win over Magic in round 11.

The last time these two sides met in round nine, a hard-fought contest saw both sides take one point with a 2-2 draw.


Adamstown will be looking to get just their fourth win of the season when they host New Lambton at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Saturday night.

Rosebud are on 11 points with three wins from 13 games. Their last win came in round eight against second-placed Magic, with a tight 1-0 victory.

New Lambton on the other hand are still searching for their first win of the season.

Sitting on zero points with a goal difference of -119, a win to New Lambton would put a spring in Mackenzie Davis’ side’s step going into the back end of the season.

The two sides have met just once with their scheduled round nine clash postponed due to wet weather.

In their only meeting in round two, Adamstown dominated from start to finish, seeing them thrash New Lambton 8-0.


Mid Coast will be looking to pull off a major upset when they take on Warners Bay at John Street Oval on Sunday afternoon.

Middies have won just two games from 14 played and are in seventh place on seven points.

Despite the odds, coach Mick Grass and his squad are going into the game with the intention to win.

“Warners Bay are always really tough,” Grass said.

“They have a pretty star-studded team, so we understand what the challenge ahead is.

“We’ll definitely make a few changes this week and approach the game a little bit differently than we otherwise may. Understanding how they played against us last time is important and there’s some things that we need to change to be a little bit more competitive against them.”

With their chances of playing finals dwindling, Grass said his focus now is building momentum and improving their performances.

“We’re just trying to maintain some momentum in our improvement and build towards better performances,” Grass said.

“I think overall we’ve improved as the season has gone on but there’s still a lot of inconsistency in how we play and I think the game against Maitland on the weekend was a prime example of that. We’ve got a long way to go to be more consistent because there’s still a fair distance between our best and our worst football.”

For competition leaders Warners Bay a win would see them remain on top of the table, up to six points clear of Magic should they lose their match to Azzurri.

Panthers coach Craig Atkins was not willing to rest on the fact that his side are competition leaders, knowing how tough Mid Coast can be when they bring their best.

“Irrespective of the last couple of games against Mid Coast we always bring everything we’ve got because they’re a very well structured and organised team,” Atkins said.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re focused on what we need to do to be able to break them down.

“It’ll be a very physical and tough game, so we’ve got to make sure our executions are on point.”

Despite sitting in a comfortable position, the end of the season sees a tough draw for Warners Bay meaning every point going forward is crucial.

“We’ve had a look at the draw and from here we’ve got some really tough matches starting this weekend,” Atkins said.

“The three points mean everything now as we’re coming into a very crucial part of the season.”

Another concern coming into the back end of the season and heading towards finals is player management and wellbeing, something Atkins is keeping front of mind.“We have to be mindful and manage our players as we look at what’s ahead of us,” Atkins said.

“We still have a fair few games to go heading towards the semi-finals so we’ll have to be careful with player management as well.”

The last time these two sides met, Warners Bay thrashed Mid Coast 8-0.

Related Topics:
NPL Women's NNSW Round 16 Preview

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