NPL Women’s NNSW Round 18 Preview: Warners Bay, Magic to meet in potential premiership decider

August 4th, 2022

Grace Clegg

Sproule Sports Focus


Warners Bay or Broadmeadow Magic will take a giant stride towards the premiership when the competition heavyweights meet on Sunday.

The Panthers and Magic are level on 43 points, with Warners Bay’s vastly superior goal difference keeping them in top spot.

Warners Bay are on a six-game winning streak, with their last defeat a 4-2 loss to Newcastle Olympic in round 10.

Broadmeadow arrive at John Street Oval on a five-game winning run of their own. Magic have bounced back strongly since their 1-0 defeat to Warners Bay in round 11 when Adriana Konjarski’s 79th minute winner separated the teams.

Magic though will be buoyed by their 3-2 victory over Warners Bay in round four when a first half blitz had Broadmeadow 3-0 up before the Panthers fought back late on.

Both sides will also be backing up after playing rescheduled matches on Wednesday night. Broadmeadow eventually downed rivals Newcastle Olympic 4-2, while Warners Bay defeated Adamstown 5-0.

Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins said his team would be up to the challenge but knows Magic will throw everything they have at his side.

“We’re coming off a tough game on the weekend against Olympic and we’re backing up for a top of the table clash against Magic, so it’ll be quite an exciting weekend and these are the games you want to be playing,” Atkins said.

“Looking at the last two games we’ve had against Magic, both were quite tight affairs. Both teams are very well organised and well-structured so I’m sure the football on Sunday afternoon will be of a very high intensity.

“We’re both tied at the top of the table at the moment so both teams will be trying to get one over the other heading into finals, so we won’t be holding back that’s for sure,” Atkins said.


Maitland will look to regain touch with the top four when they host Charlestown Azzurri at Cooks Square Park on Saturday.

It is a must-win game for the Magpies who are in fifth place on 22 points, five points behind fourth-placed Newcastle Olympic.

While Maitland have a game in hand on Olympic and Azzurri, the Magpies are in a much tougher position than they could have been if results had gone their way over the last fortnight.

Maitland led Olympic and Broadmeadow in the 74th and 71st minutes respectively, only to lose both games by a goal after conceding late winners.

Third-placed Charlestown though have the chance to kill off Maitland’s finals hopes and secure their own destiny in the process.

Azzurri are on 29 points, two clear of Olympic and seven ahead of Maitland having played a game more than the Magpies.

Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos knows how crucial every game at this point of the season is and was under no illusion as to how tough Maitland could be.

“It seems like we’re saying the same thing every week but it’s obviously another big game and a crucial game for the season,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“It’s very tight on the table and [Maitland] are a team that we will potentially come across in the finals. I’m sure they’ll be well up for it and very hungry for it as we are so it should make for a good game.”

Maitland won the round four clash between the sides 3-2, before the Magpies and Azzurri played out a 1-1 draw in round 11.

“Having played [Maitland] a few times we know they have plenty of quality on the park and we are aware of that,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“They’ve got some quality players in the midfield and the front side that make a difference for them so a lot of the game will be played in the middle of the park and that’s probably what will be key in how the game goes.”


Adamstown Rosebud will be looking to get their fifth win of the season when they host Mid Coast at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Saturday night.

Rosebud have won four games from 15 played and are sixth on the table on 14 points.

Adamstown’s last win came in round 16 when they defeated New Lambton in an 11-0 thrashing.

Despite their place towards the bottom of the table, Adamstown have scored an impressive 49 goals.

Ryan Campbell’s side will be looking to add another win to their tally this weekend though will have to bounce back from their 5-0 defeat to leaders Warners Bay in their rescheduled round 14 clash on Wednesday night.

Mid Coast have just three wins under their belt this season, all coming against struggling New Lambton, and will be looking to add a fourth this weekend.

Middies downed New Lambton 3-1 when they hosted the Eagles in Taree last weekend and will look to make it two wins in a row against Rosebud.

Mid Coast copped a 9-0 thrashing at the hands of Adamstown in round four before securing a goalless draw in round 11.


Newcastle Olympic could almost secure their place in the top four when they take on New Lambton at Arthur Eden Oval on Sunday afternoon.

Olympic are fourth on the table on 27 points, two points behind third-placed Azzurri and five points clear of fifth-placed Maitland.

Olympic are well and truly on the right track to playing finals football at the end of this season despite going down 4-2 to rivals Broadmeadow in their rescheduled round 14 match on Wednesday night.

After a tight 3-2 defeat to Warners Bay last weekend, Olympic coach Paul Devitis will look to use the game against New Lambton as an opportunity to rotate and rest some of his players.

“It will be an opportunity for us to sort of rotate some players following the clash with Magic and make sure we’re getting as many people fit as possible,” Devitis said.

“I don’t think there’s been a lot of variation from teams this year so I think this could be an opportunity for us to try a different formation or different personnel in different positions so that if we have a couple of players out towards the end of the year, we’ll have players who can fill in.”

Playing at Arthur Eden Oval will also give Olympic the chance to play their style of football without restriction, with extra space to utilise.

“We’re playing at Arthur Eden Oval which is a pretty big ground which is good for us and how we play so we’re looking forward to having a bit more space to utilise some of our skills out wide and work on combination plays in the top third,” Devitis said.

It is a different story for New Lambton who are still searching for their first win of the season. The Eagles are sitting in last place on the competition table on zero points, having scored just five goals in 15 games.

New Lambton coach Mackenzie Davis knows how difficult this weekend’s match against Olympic will be but has a plan in place for her team to get the most out of it.

“This weekend will be a game of mental toughness for our squad,” Davis said.

“Olympic are a very well drilled side so playing until the final whistle and keeping a tight defensive block are our goals. It’s important that we keep working towards these things despite a large challenge ahead.”

Olympic thrashed New Lambton 17-0 when they met in round 11.

Related Topics:
NPL Women's NNSW Round 18 preview

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