Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 11 Preview

June 23rd, 2016

Ben Homer

Match of the Round

Lambton Jaffas v Broadmeadow Magic

2.30pm, Saturday 25th June
Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Broadmeadow 2 Lambton 1 at Magic Park, 27th April, 2016

Ladder: Broadmeadow 3rd (19pts) Lambton 7th (8)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Lambton – Lost Eagles 5-0 (a), Drew Jets 1-1 (h), Won Rosebud 5-0 (h)

Broadmeadow – Won Magpies 3-0 (h), Drew Rosebud 3-3 (a), Won Blues 4-2 (a)

Bottom Line

After an upset victory over unbeaten league leaders Hamilton Olympic at the FFA Cup on the weekend, Lambton will have a renewed sense of vigour when Broadmeadow travel to Arthur Edden Oval for the Match of the Round in the PlayStation® 4 National Premier League Northern NSW competition.

The home side shocked many on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over Olympic to book their place in the final 32 of the prestigious Westfield FFA Cup. Especially after their performance just a week earlier, when they fell away badly in the second half to lose 5-0 to Edgeworth.

Lambton may well have rediscovered their mojo and with Rhys Tippett fit and firing the Jaffas could present Broadmeadow with another tough task. The last time they met, back in round 2, in a midweek catch-up match, Broadmeadow got out to an early 2-0 lead. But in the second half the Jaffas fought back and could have easily snatched a late point after Jamie Byrnes got on back for the visitors.

Broadmeadow have been very up and down of late, with dominant performances such as wins against Charlestown and Maitland intertwined with a couple of 3-all draws with Valentine and Adamstown. While they have been impressive in those wins, it has been Magic’s defence which has been their issue.

But, after just their second clean sheet of the year against Maitland last Wednesday, it seems Magic made be turning things around. The return of Matt Hoole from overseas will no doubt be of benefit to the visitors in this clash.

In a crucial match for both sides, a win here for Magic and Lambton’s finals hopes appear remote, while if Lambton can claim the three points, they may be hard to beat for the rest of the year.

Ben Higgins and Scott Pettit will play 22s for Magic in their return from hamstring injuries while Michael Kantarovski could miss the match with a hamstring strain. Matt Hoole will start on the bench with Bobby Naumov saying he is ‘yet to regain full fitness’ after his overseas trip.

For Lambton, Alex Palozzi and Joel Grenell are both overseas and will miss the match. Riley McNaughton will most likely return in the 22s.

What the Coaches Said:

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“I don’t think it will be any different [to out last match against Magic]. They are probably having a little trot like we did at the start of the year in terms of not having their absolute top 11 able to be there due to various reasons with Michael Finlayson’s injury and Dino Fajkovic heading overseas.”

“You have to do a couple of things [when combating their pace]. You have to get pressure on the ball before a pass can be played to them so you must restrict the supply they get by being nice and aggressive. The second part of that is that you need to deny them space in behind by just defending that fraction deeper than you otherwise would.”

Bobby Naumov (Broadmeadow)

“I don’t think we played any worse than what we have been playing so far this season against Maitland. The difference was that we actually competed and the boys were up for it mentally and physically they challenged. It was pleasing to see and it has been missing the past few weeks.”

“I don’t think their [Lambton’s] win on the weekend was an upset. When you look at their players and the calibre of players, they have a good side and one that everyone should be fearing. When you’ve got people like Majurovski, McPherson, Wheelhouse in that side and Swancott they’ve got a good base and backbone. You’d be a fool to take them likely.”

Key: Both have been on a rollercoaster ride of late, so which side can get it together on Saturday?

 

Charlestown City Blues v Jets Youth

2.30pm, Sunday 26th June

Lisle Carr Oval

Last Meeting: Charlestown 5 Jets Youth 2 at Lisle Carr Oval, April 17th, 2016

Ladder: Charlestown 5th (14) Jets 6th (11)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Charlestown – Lost Phoenix 3-2 (a), Lost Magic 4-2 (h), Lost Eagles 6-1 (a)

Jets Youth – Won Valentine 4-3 (h), Won Weston 3-0 (h), Drew Jaffas 1-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Charlestown’s season has taken a turn for the worst in recent weeks, with three losses in a row, and it won’t get any easier taking on a Jets Youth side who after a slow start to the season, have hit their straps of late.

After conceding just six goals in their opening six matches the Blues were sitting second on the ladder and only two points off top spot. Not bad for a side who was written off at the start of the season, and expected not to feature in the finals.

However, in just three matches the Blues have dropped to fifth, and in doing so conceded 13 goals. They are in desperate need of a win to keep in touch with fourth placed Maitland, who are two points ahead of them.

The loss of Scott Smith through suspension, from the red card he received against Valentine will no doubt hurt the Blues in the front third. Rene Ferguson, Jarryd Johnson and Andy Kjiln will need to be on song in attack against a Jets side who can’t stop scoring.

The Jets have scored seven goals in their last two NPL matches, and if you included their friendly against Shandong, which they won 5-0, that’s 12 goals in their last three matches. The Youth side have warmed to the task lately and coach Clayton Zane has them firing on all cylinders.

The biggest improvement in the Jets over the season, has been in defence. Leaking 16 goals in their opening seven matches was a major issue for the Jets, but in their last three matches they have conceded just four.

Last time they met the Blues, they conceded five, and this will provide a good measure as to just how far the Jets have come since round 2.

What the Coaches Said:

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“Technically they are really, really good and are very fit. We’ve got to turn up and be the senior team and get my senior players to step up. Not saying so much they we’ve got to be physical with them. We’ve just got to stamp the way we want to play really early.”

“When we lose the ball, we need a collective effort to win it back. I just don’t think there is enough of us doing that. We just are leaving it up to a couple of players to do the hard work. We are a team that all needs to work hard to get something out of a game.”

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

“I think that first half last time [against Charlestown] was one of our better halves of football over the first half of the season. Obviously we never had a lot of depth with our backline – we couldn’t play a back four and at that particular time. We had a back three for that game. We’ve got strength in numbers now and can play a back four.”

“I think the improvement [in defence] is down to a bit of added pressure on the personnel there. Matt Richardson is fit now so straight away when you have six players to pick from when you select your back four it means one has to miss out. In the last two weeks, there has been competition for places, and people are looking over their shoulders now which is a good thing to have.”

Key: Charlestown’s defence will need to return to its early season dominance against the Jets. If not, the likes of Krisitan Brymora, Cameron Joice and Cody Carroll could have a field day.

 

Weston Workers Bears v Edgeworth Eagles

2.30pm Sunday 26th June

Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Edgeworth 2 Weston 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval, April 15, 2016.

Ladder: Weston 10th (2) Edgeworth 2nd (22)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Weston – Lost Jets 3-0 (a), Lost Rosebud 2-1 (a), Lost Magpies 3-0 (h)

Edgeworth – Won Jaffas 5-0 (h), Won Magpies 3-1 (a), Won Blues 6-1 (h)

 Bottom Line

The last time these two sides met at Rockwell Automation Park, it was the Bears who claimed a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Carl Thornton header, but it seems for the Bears those are distant memories, after their performances this season.

Weston have now lost six matches in a row, and haven’t tasted victory in the PlayStation® 4 NPL since round 15 last year when they beat Charlestown – a run of 12 matches without a win.

In defence they have been stout, hard to break down and determined and in the process have only conceded 20 goals this season. Which for a side who are sitting dead last, is an incredible effort. But this season, after every match bar round one, it has been like groundhog day for Weston. The focus has been their attack. It’s hard to look elsewhere with just two goals – both penalties – in eight matches.

But, positives are there for the Bears, with the performances of youngsters Lachlan Rowan and Isaac Peek giving the fans a positive glimpse into the future. They’ll get a great opportunity to test themselves against the competitions best when Edgeworth come to town.

The Eagles have been their old selves over recent weeks, with four straight wins since the disappointment of a loss at home to Olympic. They got through the Westfield FFA Cup weekend unscathed with big wins over Urunga and Singleton and find themselves in the final 32 for a second straight year, no doubt with the memories of that incredible match against Melbourne City in the back of their mind.

Damian Zane’s rotating line-up has ensured competition for spots remains over the course of the season, and he will be keen to ensure that there will be no complacency coming up against a side who sit last. He will be aiming for his first win as a coach at Rockwell Automation Park, and remember from his playing days that a trip to Weston is always a tough one.

Former Jets Youth player and defensive midfielder Dylan Murphy will play his first match for Weston after coming back from college football in America. Lee Ashton will most likely return from a hamstring strain, while Rurik Pereira is in doubt for the clash.

What the Coaches Said:

 Trevor Morris (Weston)

“When you look at Edgeworth on Sunday, we have the Jaffas, Wednesday, Magic on Sunday and then Hamilton the following Sunday, so it’s not a bad couple of weeks. It’s a great opportunity for the younger boys. I told them if you can look that man in the mirror and know you did your best that’s all I can ask for.

“Obviously they’ve got some strengths and they are mobile, they shut you very quick, and they press high up the field. I expect to spend a lot of time without the ball. We’ll put into practice this week, how we can combat that.”

Key: It will be a great opportunity for Weston’s youngsters to test themselves against the Eagles. Can they rise up to the challenge against the visitors?

 

Adamstown Rosebud v Hamilton Olympic

2.30pm, Sunday 26th June

Adamstown Oval

Last Meeting: Hamilton 3 Adamstown 1 at Darling Street Oval, April 16, 2016

Ladder: Adamstown 9th (7) Hamilton 1st (23)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Adamstown – Drew Magic 3-3 (h), Won Bears 2-1 (h), Lost Jaffas 5-0 (a)

Hamilton – Drew Maitland 1-1 (h), Won Phoenix 5-0 (a), Won Jets 5-0 (a)

Bottom Line

The big question about this match is: How will Hamilton respond after their first loss of 2016 on Sunday? Many expected Olympic would get through to the final 32 of the Westfield FFA Cup when they met Lambton on Sunday after a tremendous start to the season. But it wasn’t to be.

There is no doubt Olympic players will be hurting, but they can’t forget what they have already done this season from their nine matches. Seven wins and a couple of draws against Maitland have Hamilton leading the competition with an outstanding defensive record, where they have conceded just five times.

There is still plenty more for Hamilton to achieve this season without worrying about the Westfield FFA Cup, with a place in the PlayStation® 4 NPL Finals if they can win the minor premiership. How well the players respond this weekend against Adamstown will provide a huge indication of where Hamilton’s confidence is at.

After a run of injuries and suspensions to key players to start the season, Adamstown’s line-up appears more settled and an improvement in their results has shown. A win against Weston followed by a spirited 3-all draw with Broadmeadow where they just wouldn’t go away will no doubt steel the Rosebuds for the back half of the season.

Chris Berlin was in fine form against his former club Broadmeadow in their last outing and he will need to be on song again if Adamstown are to breach Hamilton’s defence. The Rosebuds are just one of four sides to have scored against Olympic this year, with now Valentine’s Matt Paul scoring their goal late on in their 3-1 loss.

Adamstown Captain Dan Clements could make a return from injury, but coach Graham Law believes he is more likely to return midweek against Edgeworth or in round 12.

Grant Brown returns for Hamilton after missing the Westfield FFA Cup due to already playing in the competition for Lambton, and Leo Bertos will also return after missing Sunday’s game as he was completing a coaching course.

What the Coaches Said:

 Graham Law (Adamstown)

“They will be the wounded beast after their [FFA Cup] match on the weekend. They are still an exceptionally good team, and quite rightly so have been the best team this year. We will get one of our hardest games of the season this weekend, I’ve got not doubts about that.”

“This will be a good test. I can feel something in the camp right now. I felt it before the Magic game, the boys just seem to be gelling. They did stuff together on the weekend, the characters are coming out. If we can back up a good performance against Magic, with one against Olympic, then we will set ourselves up for a stronger second half of the season to the first.”

Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“They have done really well the last couple of weeks. Scott Carter back in goals for them is big, he’s a brilliant shot stopper and they have improved well defensively since he has come back from suspension. Chris Berlin is scoring some good goals.”

“We’ve got to bounce back from our first loss on the weekend in the FFA Cup where we were pretty poor in the second half. The boys were devastated to be knocked out and it’s going to be tough mentally lifting them up with three games in seven games.”

Key: Were Hamilton’s defensive frailties which Lambton exposed last weekend a flash in the pan or have sides finally found out how to break Olympic down?

 

Maitland Magpies v Valentine Phoenix

2.30pm, Sunday 26th June

Cooks Square Park

Last Meeting: Maitland 3 Valentine 2 at Cahill Oval, April 16th, 2016

Ladder: Maitland 4th (16) Valentine 8th (8)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Maitland – Lost Magic 3-0 (a), Drew Olympic 1-1 (a), Lost Eagles 3-1 (h)

Valentine – Lost Jets 4-3 (a), Won Blues 3-2 (h), Lost Olympic 5-0 (h)

Bottom Line

If this match is half as action packed as the round two thriller at Cahill Oval, fans heading to Cooks Square Park on Sunday are in for an entertaining contest. Two red cards, five goals and plenty of feeling was witnessed last time these two sides did battle. It took a Matt Thompson goal in the final minutes after he blocked a Beyhan Irmako clearance to separate the two sides.

Recently, Maitland have come through their three toughest tests of the season in their last three matches and unfortunately for the Magpies they have just one point to show from them. Coming up against the three sides above them on the ladder the Magpies have struggled to find the back of the net – scoring just twice in the three matches.

The return of Ryan Clarke against Broadmeadow Magic was a welcome one for the Magpies and with his speed down the right combined with Matt Comerford’s on the left will no doubt improve the home sides goal scoring stats of late.

For Valentine, they took three steps forward with an impressive come-from-behind win over Charlestown in round 10. But, it was two steps back against the Jets where a poor first half saw the Phoenix concede four goals, which ultimately they couldn’t recover from.

Defence has been an issue for Valentine most of the season and is critical in this one. They have conceded 18 goals in their last five matches, and against a Maitland side who normally doesn’t conceded many chances in the front third could be limited.

The return of Dean Heffernan from suspension is a big inclusion at the back for the home side.

Chris Brown is in doubt for the Phoenix with a hamstring issue, while Reece Pettit and Ridge Marpu return from suspension. Josh Swaddling and Wilson Edwards will both return from injury in the 22s.

What the Coaches Said:

Sam Griffin (Valentine Assistant)

“If we can do what we did in the second half against the Jets which was to get in their face a bit and make it a bit uncomfortable and hopefully get one early, then we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

“Away from home against Maitland is one of the tougher fixtures. It would be a confidence booster if we got our first clean sheet out of this. Not saying that it’s not doable, we’ve got Reece Pettit back which strengthens up our backline.”

 Key: Maitland’s attack has wavered in recent weeks, as has Valentine’s defence. So if Maitland can find some goals, the question will be whether Valentine can breach Maitland’s solid defence.

 

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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