Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 14 Preview

June 16th, 2017
PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS

BEN HOMER  

Match of the Round

Valentine Phoenix v Broadmeadow Magic

2.30pm Saturday 17th June at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: FFA Cup Round 6: Broadmeadow 4 Valentine 0 at LMRFF.

Ladder: Valentine 2nd (25pts), Broadmeadow 7th (15)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Valentine – Won Roosters 1-0 (h), Won Blues 3-1 (h), Lost Eagles 0-1 (h)

Broadmeadow – Won Bears 4-1 (a), Lost Eagles 0-3 (a), Lost Olympic 1-2 (h)

Bottom Line

Broadmeadow will be looking to keep their confidence flowing after a successful long weekend in the Westfield FFA Cup where they qualified for the round of 32 for a record third time for a Northern NSW club.

On their path to Westfield FFA Cup qualification, they disposed Valentine 4-0 in round six, a victory which should give them the mental edge along with their 3-2 defeat of the Phoenix in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NNSW in round three.

However, in the Westfield FFA Cup match-up, Phoenix played a vastly inexperienced line-up in comparison to the one which will take the park on Saturday and coach Darren Sills is opting to put the cup on the backburner.

Sills is putting all his resources into leading Valentine into the finals of Northern NSW’s premier competition for the first time since 2009.

Valentine have been almost unstoppable in the league losing only three times this season, and more importantly only recording the one draw which has seen them rise up to second on the ladder.

The Phoenix have won three straight since their defeat at Edgeworth and that loss is their only defeat in their last nine matches in the PS4 NPL NNSW.

In contrast, Broadmeadow have only won two of their last nine matches in the NPL and their finals hopes are hanging by a thread. With a six-point gap between themselves and fourth spot, Magic cannot afford to drop any more points en route to the playoffs.

Magic have won their last two against Valentine and probably come into the clash as slight favourites, but it really is anyone’s game with the Phoenix yet to lose in five home matches in 2017.

What the Coaches Said:

Darren Sills (Valentine)

“Football is a game of opportunities and there was an opportunity [in the FFA Cup] to give a few of the boys who had niggles to have a rest, and an opportunity to give some players that probably have not had the best of seasons in the u/20s and look to try and get something out of their season and see what they are made of. They can hold their head high. I think the 38th minute in the second half we were still only 1-0 down, so it was basically in the last ten minutes that they got us. [Mentally] there will be no scars at all [this weekend].”

“[Our home record] gives us confidence and we were lucky enough to train on Cahill Oval on Monday. It’s a lot bigger pitch, a lot more uneven bounce compared to Saturday’s game and probably compared to what Broadmeadow are used to. We’ve conceded seven goals against them in seven games, so our whole attitude to defence has got to be spot on or we will get punished.”

Key: Can Magic take their Westfield FFA Cup confidence into the NPL?

 

Lambton Jaffas v Weston Bears

2.30pm Saturday 17th June at Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Round 3, 2017: Weston 2 Lambton 2 at Rockwell Automation Park.

Ladder: Lambton 1st (26), Weston 10th (7)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Lambton – Won Eagles 2-0 (a), Won Olympic 3-2 (h), Lost Jets 1-2 (h)

Weston – Lost Magic 1-4 (h), Lost Roosters 0-2 (a), Lost Phoenix 1-2 (a)

Bottom Line

The Jaffas will look to forget the disappointment of their Westfield FFA Cup clash with Edgeworth and take confidence out of their last match in the PS4 NPL NNSW where they outplayed the same opposition on their home patch.

The difference is this weekend Lambton will be without midfield maestro Jobe Wheelhouse who was injured just before half-time in the Jaffas 5-0 Cup defeat to the Eagles and it will provide an acid test as to how well they can cope over the next six weeks.

Lambton sits first on the ladder with just over half of the season played. They have been outstanding up to this point of the season. Add in Ryan Griffiths to the mix who scored in his PS4 NPL NNSW debut at Edgeworth and the Jaffas have the ingredients to win the premiership and go deep into the finals series in 2017.

It’s been an emotional week for Weston with coach Steve Piggott’s wife Jodi passing away during the week. The young Bears will look to do their coach proud on Saturday as the footballing community rallies around their mentor.

Weston had the weekend off with the Westfield FFA Cup matches being played and the Bears will be looking to bounce back from three straight defeats when they face the Jaffas.

While they have lost three straight, Weston have been right in all three matches, the first of which they lost in the dying moments to Valentine.

A week later, a Sam Walker special hurt them with less than 20 minutes to go, and against Magic, in their last start, the Bears drew level only to concede three times in the final 24 minutes to lose 4-1. A scoreline which probably didn’t do them justice.

In the last meeting between the sides, Weston pushed Lambton all the way in round two, leading on both occasions before the match ended at 2-2.

While the Jaffas will be expected to win this one and will be red hot favourites, Weston has shown that they are no pushovers and could test the Jaffas without Jobe.

What the Coaches Said:

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“We didn’t build that [FFA Cup] match up extensively. It’s certainly not one we wanted to lose, but we just said whichever way the outcome goes we’ll just take the positives out of it. The positives for us out of it are that we get to focus fully on the NPL competition without worrying about any other eventualities around [the Cup] that lead into finals time and then during finals time if you progress into it. We were obviously disappointed with our performance, but Edgeworth were the better side on the day.”

“After learning about Piggo’s [Steve Piggott] wife earlier today I don’t feel like playing, to be honest. I don’t know how he is feeling the poor bugger. Typical of most young groups, probably their performances across 90 minutes, they probably just have a few holes in them. But, I think there is enough there to know if you are not switched on you get hurt. It’ll be a tough game, no doubt they’ll be up for it with everything that has happened with Piggo this week as well. They’ll want to put in a good show for the gaffer.”

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“It’s been noted that they have had a few injury problems and their squad gets tested at times, but they’ve got a quality side. The inclusion of Ryan Griffiths gives them more options in attack and they are pretty solid defensively. If we can deliver anything near what we did the last time [we played them] we’ll be in it and if we are not we might cop a hiding.”

“I’m looking forward to coaching and getting back into it. I could easily have said, I’m pulling the pin, it’s all too hard. But, no. I’m not ready to give the game away. I’m not ready to give up on these guys. These guys are the future of Weston Football Club and they’ve all got a future in the game, it’s just how far they can go.”

Key: How well will Lambton deal with the loss of Captain and star midfielder Jobe Wheelhouse?

 

Maitland Magpies v Newcastle Jets Youth

2.30pm Sunday 18th June at Cooks Square Park

Last Meeting: Round 3, 2017: Maitland 4 Jets Youth 2 at LMRFF.

Ladder: Maitland 5th (17), Jets Youth 9th (9)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Maitland – Drew Blues 1-1 (h), Lost Rosebuds 1-3 (a), Lost Jaffas 1-2 (h)

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

Bottom Line

With a four-point gap between Maitland and the top four and a game in hand on Hamilton Olympic who sit in fourth and have the bye this weekend the Magpies really need three points this weekend.

It has been a sluggish month for Maitland, who haven’t won in their last three PS4 NPL NNSW matches. They have struggled since their crushing 7-0 demolition of Broadmeadow at Magic Park, with their main troubles coming in front of goal.

While they showed their best performance of the month against Edgeworth in round seven of the Westfield FFA Cup on Tuesday night, the Magpies still were unable to find the back of the net. In the PS4 NPL NNSW so far this season, apart from the 7-0 victory, Maitland have only scored 11 times in 11 matches.

In a boost for Maitland they play a side who has the worst defensive record in the competition, in the Jets Youth who have conceded 31 goals in 11 matches, however, in front of goal, the Jets have scored more than the Magpies, with 19 goals thus far.

With Kristian Brymora jetting overseas, it could hurt the Jets attack considering he is their leading scoring with five goals to this points. The likes of Cameron Joice (3 goals), Cody Carroll (2) and Leroy Jennings (2) may have to play a greater role in the goal-scoring department.

Earlier in the season, these two sides played out a high-scoring match in what was the Magpies first match of 2017 after a belated start. Maitland won that evening 4-2 at the Regional Football Facility, but with the elements at Cooks Square Park, including the usually windy conditions expect a tighter contest.

What the Coaches Said:

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“There is no doubt about it. The boys have been tired with the volume of work we have had so the performances in recent weeks have been down because of that. I don’t blame them. I said to the wife that I’m tired and I don’t even kick the ball. I can only imagine what they must be like.”

“As we say in England, we set our stall out in the FFA Cup against Edgeworth and we showed what we could do and we’ve got to maintain that standard now. If you’re not disciplined they are going to pick you off and you expect them [Jets Youth] to improve as the season goes on. We’re expecting a stern test and we have to be similarly organised and disciplined as we were on Tuesday night.”

Key: Can Maitland continue their strong form after a quality performance against the Eagles in the FFA Cup?

 

Adamstown Rosebud v Edgeworth Eagles

2.30pm Sunday 18th June at Adamstown Oval

Last Meeting: Round 3, 2017: Edgeworth 6 Adamstown 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

Ladder: Adamstown 11th (7), Edgeworth 3rd (24)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Adamstown – Lost Olympic 0-3 (a), Lost Jets 2-3 (h), Won Magpies 3-1 (h)

Edgeworth – Lost Jaffas 0-2 (h), Won Magic 3-0 (a), Won Lakes (a), Won Phoenix 1-0 (h)

Bottom Line

Adamstown caretaker coach Nick Webb has been thrown in the deep end in his NPL coaching debut with his side first taking on Hamilton Olympic, and now Edgeworth in consecutive PS4 NPL NNSW matches.

After building to their first win of the season against Maitland in round 11 under former coach Pete McGuinness, Adamstown have now lost two straight. Webb will need to right the ship or risk the Rosebuds finishing rock bottom in Northern’s top flight for the first time since they were relegated in 2007.

The loss against Hamilton showed defensively Adamstown are still quite frail, have conceded six goals now in their last two clashes and conceded two-and-a-half goals on average per game.

In their last meeting, Edgeworth put six on the Rosebud’s after a first half red card to the now departed Daniel Yaxley. Apart from that big win, the Eagles have struggled to find form in front of goal at PS4 NPL level.

They have scored just 14 goals in 11 matches if you take out their demolition of the Rosebud’s in round three, which is in stark contrast to the 52 goals they scored in 18 regular season matches last year.

However, defensively in 2017, the Eagles resemble a brick wall. In their last six matches in all competition, they have conceded just three goals and it looks like it will be a difficult assignment for the second worst attack in the competition in the Rosebuds to break through.

The Eagles are red-hot favourites in this one, but post-FFA Cup fatigue could play its part in a sluggish showing from Edgeworth if they can’t get themselves up for a clash with the bottom side.

These are the matches the Eagles have made a habit of winning over the last two seasons and they will need to do similar here.

What the Coaches Said:

Nick Webb (Adamstown)

“Obviously, they are going to be a formidable opponent, they are doing really well coming off another win in the FFA Cup. But, we are going into the game full of confidence so far. We had a good hit out at training and hopefully, we can reap some rewards.”

“It’s been a lot different for the guys, my way of training compared to what they are used to. It’s been good, it’s been good feedback and they are all on board ready to put their best foot forward on Sunday. We’ve just got to match their intensity for 90 minutes. If we can match their intensity for 90 minutes we are well and truly within our capabilities to win the game. That’s our main goal.”

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“It’s this time of year that they put in four nights a week sometimes. It almost ends up as six days a week. That’s why they deserve the success they get. I sort of say to them, I know I’m asking a lot but you like being successful and they are willing to do it.”

“I think Valentine we had a night game at Speers Point last year, there was no atmosphere and we were up by two goals, and then it was 2-1 and then we were up 3-1, 3-2 and they could have equalised and won 4-2 in the end. We’ve been really good at winning the games we’re expected to so for us especially going into the bye, [it’s a huge match].”

Key: After a draining weekend of FFA Cup matches can Edgeworth put in one last effort before the bye?

 

Lake Macquarie Roosters v Charlestown City Blues

2.30pm Sunday 18th June at Macquarie Field

Last Meeting: Round 3, 2017: Charlestown 1 Lakes Macquarie 1 at Lisle Carr Oval.

Ladder: Lakes 6th (16), Charlestown 8th (12)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

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

Charlestown – Drew Magpies 1-1 (a), Lost Phoenix 1-3 (a), Lost Bears 0-3 (a)

Bottom Line

After a week of turmoil where coach Shane Pryce was told that he would not be employed at the Blues after this season, Charlestown will look to put it to one side and build on their confidence boosting a 1-1 draw with Maitland from their last outing.

Before the Magpies match-up, the Blues season was spiralling out of control after three straight losses and after a promising start the year it looked as though it may turn pear-shaped.

But, against the Magpies, Shane Pryce’s side showed determination and drive to claim a point, holding on for the 1-1 draw as the Magpies came at them in the second 45 minutes.

With the loss of seven first team players since the start of the season, Pryce has blooded some of Charlestown young guns who have not let the side down.

Lake Macquarie had the weekend off after their rescheduled clash with the Jets Youth was cancelled following the deluge which hit the Hunter last week.

The Roosters went down in a tight match against the Phoenix at Cahill Oval in their last start which continued their topsy-turvy form in recent weeks.

They currently sit five points outside the top four, and with Hamilton having the weekend off due to the bye it provides the perfect opportunity for the Roosters to reduce the deficit.

It was a tight contest last time these two sides clashed, with a 1-1 draw the result. This weekend should be another tight one, with Lakes heading in as slight favourites.

What the Coaches Said:

Anthony Richards (Lake Macquarie)

“In all honesty that is the toughest game we have had to be honest [against Charlestown in round three]. We were really lucky to get away with a draw that day. They are a difficult side and have some super players up there. The big Cass [Dan Casciaroli], I really like him. He is a terrific player, he wasn’t there in round three, he was out suspended. He’s a good player and he’s a nice guy too. He’s one of the dangers for them.”

“The break came at a great time for us. We were out doing a rain dance, to be honest on Friday. We had a few guys that were starting to limp a little bit and the week off has done them wonders. It’s freshened them up and they were all buzzing around training this week.”

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“Richo’s [Anthony Richards] got them playing a certain brand of football where they are well structured obviously and difficult to break down and they’ve got some dangers as well. We’ll definitely be fresh because we haven’t had any football for a while. They deserve their spot on the table, they’ll be structured and hard to break down. We’ve just got to try and get as many points as we can from as many games, so that’s our attitude.”

“We started two young blokes who made their debut [last round]. It was very, very pleasing the effort from senior players that have been around and the performance of the young guys who came in. It was brilliant. The week off has probably hurt us a bit, it would have been good to keep that momentum, but it is what it is. They haven’t played either.”

Key: Will the Blues step up for Shane Pryce after the announcement this week that it will be his last season at the helm?

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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