NPL Women’s NNSW Round Five Preview: High-flying Magpies keen to maintain momentum

April 21st, 2022

 Jack Antcliff

 Sproule Sports Focus

Match of the Round
Maitland FC v Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Cooks Square Park, Sunday 3.40pm

Maitland head into Sunday’s round five match of the round against Adamstown as one of the teams to beat in 2022 following a string of dominant performances.

The Magpies sit at the top of the NPL Women’s NNSW table ahead of second-placed Broadmeadow Magic on goal difference. The goal for coach Dave Walker is to stay there.

“A good performance [against Adamstown] will represent a continuous improvement on the first three games with a focus on match intensity,” Walker said.

Easter festivities came at a good time for the majority of squads with Maitland no exception. According to Walker, the weekend off allowed a number of players the time to find their feet after bouts of COVID-19.

“The week off has been good to catch up on a few extra training sessions. We are looking forward to another strong performance on the pitch,” he said.

Rosebud coach Ryan Campbell is adamant his side can deliver a disciplined performance away from home.

“Our main goal is to ensure we stay disciplined in relation to our style of play,” Campbell said.

“Maitland is a very organised team and do well at taking chances when they are given them so we are aiming to limit the number of times we give away the ball in the middle third.”

Campbell treated his side to an extended eight-day break with the coach hopeful it will deliver a performance that does not hand out opportunities.

“I will be happy if we can do a better job of limiting the opposition chances and not conceding sloppy unnecessary goals,” he said.

Broadmeadow Magic v New Lambton
Magic Park, Friday 8pm

Broadmeadow Magic will be out to return from the Easter break with a dominant performance when they host struggling New Lambton on Friday night.

The women in red will pose a tough task for the Eagles under the lights at Magic, with New Lambton yet to record a win from their opening three matches.

“I think it’s important for us to try and replicate how we played against Warners Bay this weekend,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.

“We just want to be consistent in what we do, create chances and keep our defensive shape.”

Curley used the long weekend to relieve his side of training duties, with the squad starting back fresh.

“The squad is good. The girls had the week off from training to have a refresh,” he said.

Despite the unfavourable position on the table it has not been all bad news for the Eagles with Jess Dominello a standout in the club’s opening outings, including a goal of the week winner against Newcastle Olympic last start.

Eagles coach MacKenzie Davis declared the weekend off an opportunity for reflection ahead of the clash with heavyweights Broadmeadow.

“We played Broadmeadow in pre-season so we are looking to really make our progress on Friday night. We’re looking to improve on previous weaknesses every week,” Davis said.

Composure at the back will be crucial if the Eagles are to score an upset with the side expected to be unchanged.

“This round we are hoping for more composure in defence and to look more positive when going forward,” Davis said.

Charlestown Azzurri v Warners Bay FC
Lisle Carr Oval, Saturday 3.40pm

Charlestown Azzurri will be out to steal points from the big names this weekend when they welcome star-studded Warners Bay to Lisle Carr Oval.

Azzurri are fifth on the table and one of only two teams to have played the full contingent of four games so far. Ahead of them, Warners Bay also have six points though have a game in hand and a superior goal difference.

“We want to fix some basic errors in execution of simple things and decision making. Making sure we are able to control the middle of the pitch and to be able to dictate the play,” Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said.

“We have been a bit off our best and haven’t played the most quality football.”

The Panthers executed a coup for the ages in pre-season with A-League Women’s stars Cass Davis, Tara Andrews and Lauren Allan all confirmed to wear the black and purple in 2022. But according to Papaspiropoulos, the names on the team sheet mean very little.

“We can sometimes focus too much and put fear in our own heads so you should be aware but not afraid,” Papaspiropoulos said.

Charlestown will have to do it the hard way though with Lori Depczynski and Jess Gentle among a raft of players set to miss the match through unavailability.

From an outsider’s perspective, Warners Bay have been yet to find their best form this season with two wins and a loss to their name.

“We need to ensure that we play our style of football for the full 90 minutes and not move away from that,” Panthers coach Craig Atkins said.

“We have focused strongly on this at training and are working closely on those particular areas that we didn’t execute effectively in our previous game.”

Newcastle Olympic v Mid Coast FC
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm

Newcastle Olympic find themselves in uncharted territory five weeks into the inaugural National Premier League Women’s NNSW competition with one of the competition’s most decorated sides in recent years struggling near the foot of the table.

Olympic are sixth with just one win, though it is far from alarm bells at Darling Street.

“The team trained fantastic on Tuesday and we have been working on our attacking combinations to create and finish goal scoring chances,” Olympic coach Paul DeVitis said.

“The emphasis will be on making sure we dominate large periods of the game in possession and utilise our attacking strengths.”

Olympic maintain a game in hand compared to fifth-placed Charlestown and third-placed Adamstown Rosebud.

DeVitis’ side head into the clash with struggling Mid Coast minus Jorjia Hogg, Jemma House and Keely Gawthrop, while Danielle Nicol will be given until kick-off to prove her fitness as she battles with a hamstring injury.

“Middies will be a very good football team who will no doubt play some attractive football and hopefully will be a very enjoyable game of football overall,” DeVitis said.

The impact of weather has had a profound impact on all sides in 2022, though none more than Mid Coast who have spent more time training on tennis and hockey courts then football fields so far.

“We have had a couple of good sessions this week and everyone is keen to get out on the field and improve on our last performance,” Mid Coast coach Mick Grass said.

An injury cloud sits over Emma James heading into the match, while Claire Coelho is still some time away from returning from injury.

“If we can make some better decisions with our pass selection and keep the ball for longer periods in the areas we wish to control then I think we will see an improved performance,” Grass said.

Related Topics:
NPL Women's NNSW Round Five Preview

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