Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 17 Preview

August 4th, 2016
Photo: Sproule Sports Focus

Ben Homer

 

Match of the Round

Edgeworth Eagles v Maitland Magpies

2.30pm Sunday 7th August at Jack McLaughlan Oval

Last Meeting: Edgeworth 3 Maitland 1 at Cooks Square Park, Sunday 29th May, 2016

Ladder: Edgeworth 2nd (37pts) Maitland 4th (29)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Edgeworth – Won Blues 2-1 (a), Lost Olympic 3-1 (a), Won Magic 2-0 (h)

Maitland – Won Bears 3-2 (h), Drew Jets 1-1(h), Won Jaffas 4-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Edgeworth meet a Maitland side who have roared back to life over the end of the season. The Magpies are undefeated in their last five matches and have won four of those five. Their only hiccup was a 1-1 draw with a resurgent Jets Youth side last Wednesday.

However, their second halves in their last three matches haven’t been as dominant as their start the matches. Against Lambton, they led 3-1 at the break and gave Lambton chances to get back into the game. A John Majurovski penalty, which was brilliantly saved by Matt Trott was one of a few chances the Jaffas were given to get back into the match.

Against the Jets Youth they conceded in the 84th minute to share the points and against Weston, they let in two late goals to give the Bears a final sniff. One thing Maitland cannot afford to do against Edgeworth is fall asleep late in the match. The Eagles are the kings of the final fifteen minutes. This season they have scored 12 of their 43 goals in that period, almost a third of all Edgeworth’s goals have come from the 75th minute onwards.

Edgeworth also have had the wood over Maitland since they were promoted at the end of the 2014 season. The scorelines haven’t looked good for the Magpies either, as Edgeworth have racked up the goals. Last season the Eagles won 4-1 and 2-0 and earlier this season it was a 3-1 win.

In regards to the table, the top four is now settled but this is a huge match for Edgeworth in the minor premiership race. Their match against Valentine will be their fourth match in 12 days so there will be plenty of tired bodies for the Eagles. Taking on Maitland currently sitting fourth makes it all the tougher however with Carl Thornton, Dean Heffernan and Matt Thompson potentially being rested for this match it could make the job a little easier for Edgeworth.

Make Comerford (hamstring) is out and Ryan Clarke is in doubt with a hamstring injury as well. Josh Evans (work) will miss the match for the Eagles.

What the Coaches Said:

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“We’ll try and rotate and give three guys another break tonight [against Valentine]. We brought in four fresh players on the weekend, and we were able to rest three, so essentially we have seven players ready for Valentine.”

“We want to play on Thursday [against Valentine] because if it gets called off Sunday as well we will have three games in five or six days. Apart from Jim [Fogarty], there will only be a few players they who have played all four games. It comes back to the squad again, we talk four games in 12 days, but not many of them will play all four.”

Reece Thompson (Maitland Assistant)

“I’m hoping they play against Valentine on Thursday, but with the weather it doesn’t look good. Our plan is first and foremost prepare for semi-finals, but we want to go into the semi-finals with a full head of steam. We can still finish 3rd and that is the plan.”

“The reality is we wanted to make the semis and we’ve achieved that. Now, we want to ensure all the squad is at peak fitness come finals time, but at the back of your mind you also want to finish as high as you can on the table and we will play for that. How we go this weekend, will really determine how we approach Broadmeadow [in the final round].”

Key: If Matt Thompson, Dean Heffernan, and Carl Thornton don’t play, can Maitland’s less experienced players step up to the plate against the 2nd placed Eagles?

 

Newcastle Jets Youth v Lambton Jaffas

2.30pm Saturday 6th August at Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Lambton 1 Jets Youth 1 at Arthur Edden Oval, Saturday 28th May 2016

Ladder: Jets 7th (18) Lambton 8th (16)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Jets – Lost Olympic 1-0 (a), Drew Magpies 1-1 (a), Won Rosebuds 4-1 (h)

Lambton – Won Rosebuds 2-1 (a), Lost Magpies 4-1 (h), Drew Blues 0-0 (a)

Bottom Line

In the opening match of round 17, both sides will be aiming to finish the season as high as they possibly can, with the top four now wrapped up. Both can finish in 5th spot on the ladder, and that will be their thinking. Lambton’s major goal though will be to get ready for their Westfield FFA Cup tie next week against Devonport. The match being on a Saturday aids the Jaffas cause, giving them some added rest before their trip south.

It will be interesting to see what kind of side Lambton line up with on Saturday, given their aging squad and it seems likely that midfielders, Pete McPherson and Jobe Wheelhouse won’t play the full match on Saturday given with the likely rain this week the pitch will be heavy. John Majurovski is another one of the Jaffas old guards and he too may not see the full 90 minutes on Saturday.

With Lambton focusing on the Westfield FFA Cup midweek, now that finals are no longer a worry, this gives the Jets Youth a chance to continue their strong run of form. If you take out their 10-2 defeat at the hands of Broadmeadow, their form over the last month has been solid. They beat Adamstown convincingly, drew with Maitland and lost 1-0 on the weekend to Hamilton in a match where they deserved at least a goal.

The Jets Youth’s NPL squad of 20 players will be cut to 16 for the National Youth League (NYL) season so there is plenty of motivation for them to put their best foot forward to coach Clayton Zane. Kristian Brymora will also be full of confidence after coming off the bench for the Hyundai A-League Jets on Wednesday night in their Westfield FFA Cup match.

Finn Paris and Jake McGuiness are both in doubt for the Jets after also not playing last weekend while Tyson Jackson may also miss the match.

Michael Sessions remains suspended for the while Ben Hay will return for the Jaffas. Jamie Byrnes is also a chance to return in the u/22s for Lambton.

What the Coaches Said:

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

“We’ve had a bit of a trial process this week for the NYL. The last two matches will be the last shop window for boys to try and get selected and bit part of that. Also, we want to build on the last two games, which have been an improvement on the match against Broadmeadow. Against Adamstown, Maitland and Olympic we’ve looked more solid over the pitch.”

“We’ve had a couple of boys who have trained with the Jets this week, but we are pretty settled as a group and we have had some time to do some work with the boys which has been good.”

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“It’s a case of one eye on this week and one eye on the FFA Cup next week. Obviously, the weather will play a part in preparations so I don’t know how much training we will get in this week. Fingers crossed the rain stays away because I would still like to play the game so we can work on some bits and pieces before the Tasmania game.”

“I’m going to use this match to give some of my younger boys a chance so we will be quite young and mobile as well, so I think it will be an even contest from an athletic point of view, it’s just a matter of who on the day plays the smartest game to suit the conditions and who is technically better.”

Key: With two youthful line-ups expected on Saturday, which set of youngsters will take their chance?

 

Weston Workers Bears v Adamstown Rosebud

2.30pm Sunday 8th August at Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Adamstown 2 Weston 1 at Adamstown Oval, Sunday 29th May 2016

Ladder: Weston 10th (3) Adamstown 9th (11)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Weston – Lost Magpies 3-2 (a), Lost Blues 3-2 (h), Drew Phoenix 2-2 (a)

Adamstown – Lost Jaffas 2-1 (h), Lost Jets 4-1 (a), Lost Magpies 4-2 (a)

Bottom Line

This match won’t change anything in terms of the ladder, but a heap of pride will be on the line this Sunday afternoon at Rockwell Automation Park. Weston are still searching for their first win of 2016 and there is no better time to do it than this weekend in front of the fans who have stuck with the Bears through a difficult season.

It has now ticked over to just over a year since the Bears last tasted victory in the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW, that win was back in round 15 last year against Charlestown at Rockwell Automation Park. Since the Rosebud’s were promoted at the end of the 2013 season the sides have met on five occasions with Weston winning one, Adamstown two and two draws. Weston haven’t beaten the Rosebuds at home since 2007 where they won 7-0.

Adamstown have had a week of turmoil in which coach Graham Law quit the club effective immediately to give them more time to find a replacement. Former Mariner Andre Gumprecht, former Jets Youth and W-League coach of the year Pete McGuinness and Neil Owens who played for Adamstown are all in line for the top job.

On the field, it has been a tough year for Northern NSW’s most successful club, with just three wins in their 16 matches so far. Six red cards also haven’t helped the consistency of the Rosebud’s side with Law constantly having to play with a different squad.

But, draws against top sides Hamilton and Broadmeadow have given the fans some positivity as they head towards a long off-season. Once again the Rosebuds won’t feature at the back end of the season. It will be the 17th straight year they won’t feature in the finals.

For Weston, Greg Anderson is in doubt with a groin injury, while Lee Ashton is in doubt with a hamstring injury. Ash Balcomb has reinjured his foot and is out for the season while Michael Holt misses the match through suspension.

Dayne Pawlik, Owen Littlewood, and Thom Lino will all miss the match for the Rosebuds as they are still serving suspensions.

What the Coaches Said:

Trevor Morris (Weston)

“Every week is a big chance to get our first win of the year. We’ve got to have a look at the troops this week and see what the injury crisis is like, so we’ll take stock at training and have a look from there.

“I’m approaching these last two matches [of my coaching at Weston] with plenty of enthusiasm, plenty of commitment and plenty of desire. Just like the players. We’re going full throttle, we are still playing for pride and respect and I’ve asked the players to do that every week so nothing will change.”

Chris Dale (Adamstown – Technical Director)

“The decision from Graham came as a surprise for the players and coaches at the club. We understand and respect the reasons for Graham making this decision as he felt is in the best interest of the club.”

“The players were addressed by the coaching staff on Tuesday night and trained very well. We move forward as a club and our focus is now on our next fixture at Weston on Sunday and working collectively to get 3 points.”

Key: Heart and desire. There is not much on the line in terms of the ladder in this one. Weston desperately want a win; Adamstown won’t want to be the side who loses to them. Whoever wants it more will win on Sunday.

 

Hamilton Olympic v Valentine Phoenix

2.30pm, Sunday 8th August at Darling Street Oval

Last Meeting: Hamilton 5 Valentine 0 at Cahill Oval, Saturday 28th May 2016

Ladder: Hamilton 1st (38) Valentine 6th (18)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Hamilton – Won Jets 1-0 (h), Drew Magic 1-1 (a), Won Eagles 3-1 (h)

Valentine – Won Magic 2-1 (h), Drew Bears 2-2 (h), Won Jaffas 3-2 (a)

Bottom Line

Hamilton will be missing two of their most important players when they meet Valentine at Darling Street on Sunday afternoon, with the terrible news coming out this week that midfielder Jacob Bailey will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL and keeper Danny Ireland is out for anywhere between two and four weeks.

However, if any side has the depth to cover the injuries it is Hamilton. The experienced Andrew Swan or Simon Mooney will come into the side to replace Bailey, while backup goalkeeper Tom Pullin had a full season of the first-grade experience with former club South Cardiff in 2015.

Hamilton will look to the experience of Tommy Spencer in midfield. Spencer has been a revelation this season and looks to have added some creativity to a Hamilton side that struggled to break down Edgeworth in the Grand Final last season and now have beaten them twice this year. The speed and skill of Rhys Cooper will also be key who drops back into Bailey’s midfield role.

While Valentine has been the surprise packet this season, coach Darren Sills never doubted their ability and has set the bar high for the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW newcomers in 2016. While their performances have been outstanding in some matches – such as in last weekends 2-1 win over Broadmeadow – in others they just have only turned up for part of the match, as was the case in their 2-2 draw with Weston the week before.

What the Coaches Said:

Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“Tom Pullin did very well for [South Cardiff] last year and he had had a great year in the u/22s for us this year, so I’m sure he will grab his opportunity with both hands. He’ll be starting this weekend and he did really well when he came on for Danny [Ireland] on the weekend.”

“Valentine have been playing really well. I saw them play Magic on the weekend and they did really well in that game. They are mobile and [Darren Sills] has got them working really hard for each other. I say it every week, but we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves.”

Sam Griffin (Valentine Assistant)

“Magic had a couple out on the weekend and we made the most out of that so hopefully we can do the same this weekend. The confidence [that win over Magic] gave the players was immeasurable. We’ve beaten three of the sides above us now and knowing that we can compete and take points from these teams in terrific.”

“We’ve got to keep Hamilton quiet this weekend and not give away easy goals. When they have the firepower they do, you can’t give them those easy ones. We played well in the first half against them last time and then didn’t turn up in the second, but we are a completely different team now, both in attitude and the way we are playing so I’m backing us to have a red hot crack at them.”

Key: The loss of Ireland and Bailey opens the door slightly for Valentine. Can they take the opportunity with both hands?

 

Broadmeadow Magic v Charlestown City Blues

2.30pm Sunday 8th August at Magic Park

Last Meeting: Broadmeadow 4 Charlestown 2 at Lisle Carr Oval, Sunday 29th May 2016

Ladder: Broadmeadow 3rd (29) Charlestown 5th (21)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Charlestown – Lost Eagles 2-1 (h), Won Bears 3-2 (a), Drew Jaffas 0-0 (h)

Broadmeadow – Lost Phoenix 2-1 (a), Drew Olympic 2-2 (h), Won Jets 10-2 (h)

Bottom Line

With Charlestown’s finals hopes gone after their loss to Edgeworth on the weekend, and Broadmeadow’s slim chance to claim the minor premiership ended on the weekend, it seems both sides will have little to play for on the weekend. The highest Charlestown can finish is fifth while Broadmeadow will finish the season in either third or fourth depending on how their final two matches go.

But with that all said, the match will be crucial for both squads, with positions on the line for next season. Shane Pryce will be looking at players he will keep for next year, while Broadmeadow coaches Rob Virgili and Bobby Naumov will be looking for their best side for the finals series.

The sides have split their last six matches, with Broadmeadow winning the last two, including their match earlier in the season which Magic won at Lisle Carr Oval 4-2. However, Charlestown haven’t been able to win at Magic Park since 2013, where they won 5-2.

Broadmeadow have been hindered by suspensions of late, with Shane Paul out again this weekend. Michael Kantarovski returns along with Jon Griffths, but if Kantarovski receives a yellow card he well be suspended for two matches, including week one of the finals, while if Griffiths is suspended he will miss three matches and only return for the Grand Final if Broadmeadow make it.

Michael Finalayson returns from a knee injury which he suffered in Magic’s win over Charlestown in round eight. Jayden Barber is in doubt with a knee issue and NPL Northern NSW leading scorer James Virgili is out until the finals.

For Charlestown, leading scorer Rene Ferguson returns as does Jarryd Johnson (foot). Sam Hudson will miss the match with a foot injury.

What the Coaches Said:

 Rob Virgili (Broadmeadow)

“First and foremost getting the squad mentally prepared is important. Because I thought probably last weekend mentally they just weren’t in the right frame of mind. We want a better performance than last weekend.”

“It doesn’t really matter whether we finish third or fourth because we know we will need to beat Broadmeadow or Edgeworth. The boys don’t really mind who we play. We know they are going to be tight games as they have been all year, the only issue we have is that we haven’t beaten either of them this year, so that will be the focus.”

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“Finishing the competition on a positive note is important for us and looking at individual performances within our club and looking for players to step up and show they want to be at the club next year.”

“I thought we were well structured against Edgeworth [on the weekend] and Magic play a similar formation so not much will change for us in the way we set up for the game. They are missing some keys players but I think it will be more about our performance. For me, coaching-wise, it doesn’t matter who we are playing or where we are on the ladder we want to win.”

Key: Charlestown need to keep Broadmeadow’s attacking weapons quiet. While James Virgili is out, Kale Bradbury has scored six goals in his last three games and the Blues will need to watch him.

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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