Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 12 Preview

May 25th, 2017
PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS

BEN HOMER  

Match of the Round

Lambton Jaffas v Hamilton Olympic

2.30pm Saturday 27th May at Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2017: Hamilton 2 Lambton 3 at Darling Street Oval.

Ladder: Lambton 2nd (20), Hamilton 4th (18)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Hamilton – Won Magic 2-1 (a), Drew Roosters 1-1 (h), Drew Phoenix 1-1 (a)

Lambton – Lost Jets 1-2 (h), Won Magpies 2-1 (a), Won Rosebud 3-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Since Lambton were promoted to the Northern NSW top flight in 2013, Hamilton and the Jaffas have shared a healthy rivalry.

In 2013, Lambton won two penalty shoot-outs in the finals series against Olympic – both 5-4 – after 1-1 draws in regulation time. In 2015, Hamilton got their revenge, winning through to the Grand Final courtesy of a Rhys Cooper goal in extra-time.

Last year, it was Olympic who crushed Lambton in their first meeting, led by striker Kane Goodchild’s hat-trick.

Then in the Westfield FFA Cup last year, when most thought Olympic would waltz through to the Round of 32 against an injury-ravaged Lambton side, Jobe Wheelhouse produced a midfield master to cause one of the biggest upsets of the season.

This season, the roles and reversed and it is Lambton who are flying high, and Hamilton who will look to clip their wings.

While Olympic, have been very much up and down in recent weeks they returned to form last weekend, as they rolled up their sleeves and put in a tough 90-minute display in a 2-1 defeat of rivals Broadmeadow.

Comparatively, Lambton come into the match following just their second defeat of the season. An injury-ravaged Jaffas side fell to an impressive Newcastle Jets Youth outfit 2-1 at home.

After leading the competition for a majority of the season to date, Edgeworth have now taken over that mantle and Lambton will be keen to keep pace with the Eagles.

It’s hard to split this one with both sides experiencing injury worries. There is no doubt it will be tight.

In a boost for Olympic, Matt Swan will return, however, midfield dynamo Rhys Cooper (knee) is still a fifty-fifty proposition according to coach Mick Bolch.

For Lambton, Ridge Marpu (hamstring) and Michael Kantarovski (groin) will miss the match, while Nathan Verity is in doubt.

What the Coaches Said:

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“A couple of things in the Jets Youth game, that didn’t look like ourselves. We were pretty tactically ill-disciplined in terms of timing of movements and patterns of our runs when we had the football. That then effects, when you lose possession, your defensive set-up. We were a bit all over the place with and without the ball on the weekend. The boys are well up for this one so I think we’ll see a much better performance.”

“I think [we got a lot of confidence after that round one win]. We spoke about that this week. One of the things we have been this year is pretty resilient. I think in the opening three of four games we were a goal down and game back, or it’s been backing up for after a loss and making sure we’ve won the next game. That game I think kicked that whole process off, to come back from 2-0 down, the first game of the season, decent crowd, a team that was undefeated in the competition proper the year before, home and away. That did a lot for confidence.”

 Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“[Lambton] are strong all over the park. They have recruited seven new players and they ran over the top of us in the first round. They’ve got threats all over the park. Pat Brown’s been knocking goals in, Griffo’s [Joel Griffiths] been knocking goals in. Luke Remington’s a danger, Jobe Wheelhouse is quality. Ridge Marpu and [Dain] Greentree have been really good out wide. They’ve got quality all over the field.”

“[The round one loss won’t affect us] greatly. I thought we were really good for 45 minutes and poor for the last 30 minutes. They ran over the top of us. That was nine weeks ago, so hopefully, we’ve improved a bit since then. They obviously had a few out last week against the Jets, but, up to then they had sort of been the benchmark for everyone chasing. It’ll be an interesting game.”

Key: Lambton have won just 3 of their last 14 home matches. Do they have an issue with the smaller Arthur Edden Oval?

 

Adamstown Rosebud v Jets Youth

2.30pm Saturday 20th May at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2017: Adamstown 4 Jets Youth 4 at Adamstown Oval.

Ladder: Adamstown 10th (7), Jets Youth 11th (6)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Jets – Won Jaffas 2-1 (a), Lost Magic 1-5 (h), Drew Roosters 3-3 (a)

Adamstown – Won Magpies 3-1 (h), Drew Blues 2-2 (a), Lost Jaffas 1-3 (h)

Bottom Line

The Jets Youth thought they had escaped the cellar last weekend when they caused a huge upset against the first-placed Jaffas, only for Adamstown to do likewise against Maitland at Adamstown Oval.

Both of these sides have improved considerably since the early part of the season. While they are both by a stretch the worst defensive sides in the competition, the last month for both has been kind.

In the four matches each both sides played during that time, they only lost three combined. It has simply been the draws which have crippled them.

Last weekend the Jets were impressive in the way they used pace to hurt the Jaffas on two breaks that were finished off by Kristian Brymora on both occasions.

The Jets striker now has four goals in his last three matches and seems to be returning to the form he was in last year when he scored 13 and was the 5th highest scorer in the competition.

Finally, for the Rosebud’s, they grabbed an early goal and went on with it. Alex Read scored a double along with Aaron Niyonkuru’s first on the season against Maitland.

While they have played better and lost according to coach Pete McGuinness, that won’t worry Adamstown as that kind of performance has been brewing over the last month, where they have only lost one of four.

What the Coaches Said:

Pete McGuinness (Adamstown)

“It is absolutely paramount that we win this weekend, and I’ll be stressing that to the boys and I think they know that. They enjoyed last week, they enjoyed getting the win, and they enjoyed singing their song. If we want to climb ourselves up out of the bottom area then need to win this week.”

“The whole week of training this week will be a whole little bit more relaxed and a little bit more tactical. When you are losing all the time you are trying to fix things, you are trying to right the wrongs that had happened that had caused you to lose the game. When you win, it is all about how do we prepare for the next opposition, how do they play, what are we up against, what is their likely line-up so you are focusing more on the future than looking at the past, as a result of winning.”

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

“It’s a massive game for both of us. We both find ourselves at the wrong end of the table, and [Adamstown] have been quite competitive as of late and they have probably not picked up as many points as they would have hoped for either. We are both in similar situations, so it will be a decent game with quite a bit at stake for both teams.”

“For us, we are more amount trying to build confidence and build on our performance again. For a coach, it’s always nice getting the first win when you haven’t had one for a while it’s massive, but, then if you can string two or three you really start to get a lot of belief within your squad that anything is possible.

Key: Which side can keep the consistency going after recording their first victories last weekend?

 

Valentine Phoenix v Charlestown City Blues

2.30pm Saturday 23rd May at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2017: Charlestown 1 Valentine 2 at Lisle Carr Oval.

Ladder: Valentine 3rd (19), Charlestown 8th (11)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Valentine – Lost Eagles 0-1 (h), Drew Olympic 1-1 (h), Won Jets 1-0 (a)

Charlestown – Lost Bears 0-3 (a), Drew Rosebud 2-2 (h), Lost Eagles 0-2 (a)

Bottom Line

If Valentine want to go one step closer to ensuring they will play finals in 2017, they will want to take three points away from their meeting with Charlestown.

The Phoenix had a good record in their first year back in the top flight, against the Blues, drawing once and winning the other. They continued that run of form in the opening round this season as goals from Josh Carroll and Chris Brown led Valentine to a 2-1 victory.

While they did fall 1-0 in a tight clash against Edgeworth in round 10, Valentine have been in good form over their last seven matches, losing just once during that period. It leaves them just two points off the first-placed Eagles.

While Valentine have been flying high, Charlestown have dipped in form recently after claiming impressive victories over Hamilton and Broadmeadow earlier in the season.

The Blues haven’t won in four matches and while they had the bye last weekend, their last performance wasn’t one to remember, going down 3-0 to Weston.

At the halfway point in the competition, the Blues defence has been solid, conceding 16 goals in 10 matches, however, it is in front of goal where they have struggled, after the loss of striker Scott Smith to Hamilton, in the off-season, along with Josh Swadling after just round one.

Valentine are favourites in this one, although Charlestown have responded well to poor performances in the past. After a disappointing showing in round three earlier this year against Lake Macquarie, the Blues responded to win three of their next four.

Valentine will be thin on numbers this weekend with goalkeeper Scott Carter (quad) out of the side. Chris Brown and Scott McGinley (China) are also out as is Alex Tserepas (ankle). Zac Sneddon (groin) is in doubt as is Josh Carroll (foot).

What the Coaches Said:

Darren Sills (Valentine)

It is really important [to win this weekend]. It is getting tight there [on the ladder] now and there are still clubs hanging around. Maitland have got the bye this weekend, so it’s a good opportunity to get away from them again after their surprise defeat on the weekend. It’s something that we will be looking forward to doing. The other games obviously, Jaffas, Olympic and Magic and Edgy [Edgeworth] are huge games for the make up [of the finals].

“Our boys need a bit of a freshen up too, so we might do something a little bit different at training this week, we might even set up a little bit differently for the Charlestown game, just to freshen them up a little bit. We’ve been feeling good defensively, and because we are focusing on defence, the boys are working hard off the ball [which is fatiguing].”

Key: Valentine haven’t lost at Cahill oval this year. Can it remain a fortress?

 

Broadmeadow Magic v Edgeworth Eagles

2.30pm Sunday 28th May at Magic Park

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2017: Edgeworth 1 Broadmeadow 1 at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

Ladder: Broadmeadow 7th (12), Edgeworth 1st (21)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Broadmeadow – Lost Olympic 1-2 (h), Won Jets 5-1 (a), Lost Magpies 0-7 (h)

Edgeworth – Won Lakes (a), Won Phoenix 1-0 (h), Won Bears 2-1 (a)

Bottom Line

After a tight encounter in round one, Broadmeadow will feel they have the ability to end their poor run of form against the Eagles of late. Magic haven’t won in their last seven against Edgeworth dating back to their last victory in round three, 2015.

While they may be at different ends of the ladder, it would be foolish to write Broadmeadow of in this fixture.

In the so-called ‘big matches’ this year against sides in the top four, Magic have lost just once, to Hamilton. They drew with Edgeworth and Lambton, and they beat Valentine 3-2. So, what has gone wrong with Magic to date?

They have shown they can match it with the top sides, however, it has been their uncharacteristically poor form in front of goal which has crippled them this year. Last season they average 2.7 goals per game in the regular season, currently, they are at 1.4.

Edgeworth, in comparison, are humming along superbly and coach Damian Zane still doesn’t think they have quite hit their straps. The Eagles are undefeated in seven, which is nine unbeaten if you include their Westfield FFA Cup matches.

They have won their last six PlayStation®4 NPL NNSW matches and come into this clash against Magic with plenty of confidence after their late fightback to win against Lakes – where they scored two goals in the final 10 minutes.

Based on recent form, Edgeworth have to be favourites, but, if Magic can find form in front of goal they can’t be written off.

What the Coaches Said:

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“I think we’ve got to match-up in midfield well. Shane Paul, I think if you are not going to match it physically and work hard like he does [you’ll struggle], I think he’s a massive part of their team. He’s probably not that flashy guy that scores a lot of goals, but, he gets on the scoresheet and helps assist and does a lot of their dirty work. For me, against them, it’s just concentration for 90. If you switch off for one moment they have got guys that can punish you. I don’t care what form they are in. If you switch off, you can get hurt pretty quickly.”

“I don’t believe in luck. It’s a game of football. It’s a game of opinions. People say, we outplayed them and you walk off with a loss. Guess what, in some facet of the game, you didn’t outplay them, and they outplayed you because they scored more goals than you, so I’m not a believer in this ‘we should have won, we played better.’ You either win or you lose and there is a reason behind it.”

Key: Can Broadmeadow turn around their poor run of form against the Eagles?

 

Lake Macquarie City v Weston Bears

2.30pm Sunday 27th May at Macquarie Field

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2017: Weston 2 Lakes Macquarie 2 at Rockwell Automation Park.

Ladder: Lakes 6th (13), Weston 9th (7)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Lakes – Lost Eagles 1-2 (h), Drew Olympic 1-1 (a), Drew Jets 3-3 (h)

Weston – Lost Phoenix 1-2 (a), Won Blues 3-0 (h), Lost Eagles 1-2 (h)

Bottom Line

Two sides who were beaten in heart-breaking circumstances last weekend meet at Macquarie Field this week, the venue that Lake Macquarie fell to Edgeworth last weekend.

Lakes, we less than ten minutes from pulling off one of the upsets of the season, after they were beaten in a massive upset in the Westfield FFA Cup days earlier.

Matt Toohey ensured the Roosters would lead midway through the opening half and they carried the lead through until the 83rd minute when Keigo Moriyasu struck. If that wasn’t enough pain, Ayden Brice snatched all three points for Edgeworth in stoppage time.

In similar circumstances at Cahill Oval, Weston had the better of play in the second half against Valentine, however, the Bears couldn’t quite snatch the go-ahead goal.

In stoppage time, Dean Pettit struck for Valentine and Weston went home empty handed.

Both sides will have the fire burning this week after each side lost twice last week, both in the Westfield FFA Cup and the PS4 NPL NNSW. Lakes need a win to keep touch with the top four, while Weston would like to climb further away from the cellar.

Earlier in the season, these two couldn’t be split as they played out a 2-2 draw in Weston. It’s been a dry spell of results for Lakes against the Bears, having not won against them since 2011.

It should be another tight match, in a tough round to pick.

Jordan Jackson (cork) is likely to be out for the Bears.

What the Coaches Said:

Anthony Richards (Lakes)

“It doesn’t change anything for us to be honest. Last weekend’s result doesn’t inspire us to go to greater heights this weekend. Seriously for us, if its Weston we do the best we can and if it’s Edgeworth we do the best we can. So, nothing really changes for us, we don’t really put that pressure on ourselves. We just accept that it is a game of football and we’d like to be our best in it and if that’s best over 90 then happy days.”

“I said in round one that these guys as the year goes on are going to be a lot better. They are at a great stage now. They’ve got some good young guys. Brock Oakley at the back, the enforcer, he is honest at the back with Greg Anderson. Those two guys do really well for them. They’ve come along just how I would expect a good young side to come along.”

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“Very disappointing not to get a share of the points last week again. The 92nd minute, 30 seconds to go. The players you could see in their faces that they were disappointed not to get the result. You could see they worked so hard during the game and to get nothing out of that game, it’s a pretty hollow feeling.”

“Lake Macquarie, they’ve been in a lot of matches too. They’ve got a few more points than us and it should be a fairly open affair, to be honest. Whoever is tidy at the back and can keep the goals out I think will come out on top in this one.”

Key: Who can respond better after last weekend’s heartbreak?

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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