Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 18 Preview

August 11th, 2016
Photo: Sproule Sports Focus

Ben Homer

Match of the Round

Adamstown Rosebud v Edgeworth Eagles

2.30pm Sunday 14th August at Adamstown Oval

Last Meeting: Edgeworth 2 Adamstown 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval, Wednesday 29th June 2016

Ladder: Adamstown 9th (11pts) Edgeworth 1st (43)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Edgeworth – Won Magpies 2-1 (h) Won Phoenix 4-2 (h), Won Blues 2-1 (a)

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

Bottom Line

With the minor premiership all wrapped up last weekend after their win over Maitland last weekend, it remains to be seen what kind of side Damian Zane will play against the 9th placed Rosebuds. It has been another season to remember at Edgeworth, securing their second minor premiership in as many years.

It remains to be seen though if they can balance Westfield FFA Cup aspirations with the PlayStation® 4 NPL Northern NSW finals to claim a second grand final win in a row. Edgeworth also has been unable to defeat second-placed Hamilton all season – last season’s grand finalists – and it sets up an intriguing finals series.

Adamstown, on the other hand, has had a season to forget, with six red cards, injuries to key players and the loss of coach Graham Law before the season end contributing to what will be a 9th placed finish. As well as after finishing 6th last season and missing the finals by a win, it seemed the only way was up for the Rosebuds. But, it hasn’t gone to script this season and a loss to Weston last weekend would have hurt.

A final round battle against the Eagles at home gives Adamstown a chance to salvage something from this season and it would be a massive positive going into a long pre-season if they were to cause a huge upset in this one. Earlier in the season, Edgeworth had a tight 2-0 win over the Rosebuds at home, so don’t write them off here.

In a boost for the home side Thom Lino and Dayne Pawlik both return from suspension for the Rosebuds. Bren Hammel, Dom Bizzarri, and Lachie Pasquale will all miss the match on Sunday as they will be rested having received four yellow cards this season and risk a one-week suspension with another yellow. Brody Taylor (ankle) will also be rested in preparation for the finals.

What the Coaches Said:

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“A few of the player last night at training, they said to me ‘I want to play this weekend’ so I think [it may not seem like a match that means much] but, we want to finish as far ahead as we can. To get 15 wins that is what I am striving for.”

“We set goals at the start of the season to get through to the round of 16 of the FFA Cup, win the minor premiership and get to the semi-finals, and we have achieved those. We really want to do well in the NPL Finals and the cup is not over yet. We are not finished, and have probably set a fairly long goal list but so far we are ticking them off.”

Chris Dale (Adamstown)

“This weekend obviously isn’t going to make or break our season, but it’s going to give us a platform to move into next year with. Edgeworth are the flag bearers for the competition at the moment and it provides a good opportunity to test ourselves and finish off the season well.”

“It’s important to put in a good performance in front of our home fans. The club’s administration is trying to make a link back to the junior club and trying to get them involved as well. Our youth teams will also be there on Sunday and hopefully, we can show the same effort and desire we showed against Weston on the weekend.”

Key: After a disappointing season, can the Rosebud’s put in a performance to remember against the minor premiers?

 

Lambton Jaffas v Weston Workers Bears

2.30pm Saturday 13th August at Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Lambton 3 Weston 1 at Rockwell Automation Park, Wednesday 29th June 2016

Ladder: Lambton 8th (16) Weston 10th (6)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Lambton – Lost Jets 3-0 (a), Won Rosebuds 2-1 (a), Lost Magpies 4-1 (h)

Weston – Won Rosebud 4-1 (h), Lost Magpies 3-2 (a), Lost Blues 3-2 (h)

Bottom Line

Weston will be buoyant after their first win of the season last weekend against Adamstown and will be looking to carry that kind of performance into this weekend’s matchup with the Jaffas. The Bears were in danger of being the first side since Toronto Awaba in 2010 to go a whole season in a Northern NSW competition without a victory and removed any chance of that on Sunday.

While Weston’s season has been one to forget, it has seen the emergence of some young talent in the form of Jake Barner, Lachlan Rowan, and Trent Partridge. With Steve Piggott returning to the helm at Weston next season he will have plenty of local talent to work with.

Meanwhile, the Jaffas travelled to Devonport on Wednesday night and it will be interesting to see whether James Pascoe goes with a younger side for the weekend’s clash in preparation for next season or if he uses more of his experience players in Jobe Wheelhouse, John Majurovski, and Joel Wood.

What the Coaches Said:

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“I’ve got absolutely no idea who will play on the weekend, we will assess the damage on Friday and see how people have pulled up from the FFA Cup match. There are a few sore bodies as the boys haven’t played in conditions like those on Wednesday night very often.”

“After the FFA Cup loss, there is a little bit of a let down about the club, and it will be nice to get the last round out of the way. Of course, every time you go out you want to win and we’ll be trying to do that on the weekend. A win finishes us on 19 points for the season, our goal a few weeks ago was to get to 20, but we can’t do that but it would be nice to finish on a positive note.”

Trevor Morris (Weston)

“To be honest, I think we have played better and lost than we did on the weekend, but we got the result and that is all that matters. We’ll be doing the things we have been working on the last 7-8 weeks so hopefully, everything comes to fruition.”

“The year has been frustrating, we know we could all do better from the coaching staff right through. Everyone has worked very hard and it is what it is. The players have never once shirked it, they’ve all turned up and worked hard, so there isn’t really much I can say.”

Key: How well will the Jaffas recover from their midweek FFA Cup match at the ‘Lake of Devonport’ on Wednesday night will be key to their chances of winning in the final round.

 

Valentine Phoenix v Newcastle Jets Youth

3pm Sunday 13th August at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Jets Youth 4 Valentine 3 at Johnston Park, Wednesday 15th June 2016

Ladder: Valentine 7th (19) Jets Youth 6th (21)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Valentine – Drew Olympic 2-2 (a), Lost Eagles 4-2 (a), Won Magic 2-1 (h)

Jets – Won Jaffas 3-0 (h), Lost Olympic 1-0 (a), Drew Magpies 1-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Sixth place in the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW competition is on the line this weekend when the Valentine Phoenix meet the Jets Youth at Cahill Oval. Both sides have had a topsy-turvy season and will be keen to finish off 2016 on a positive note. Both sides have lost just three of their last nine matches, after starting the season with five losses in their opening eight matches.

Valentine will be out to make history this weekend; since the Jets entered the top grade in a Northern NSW competition, the Phoenix have been unable to beat them, with the Jets winning three of the five matches along with two 2-2 draws the sides have played out.

Valentine have had an outstanding finish to the season, with a come-from-behind draw against Hamilton last weekend proving how much they have improved from the 5-0 thumping they copped from the same side just two months earlier.

In the last five weeks, they have beaten Lambton and Broadmeadow to add to their draw with Hamilton. However, a draw with last-placed Weston is evidence of the Jekyll and Hyde nature of Valentine’s performances.

The Jets too, like Valentine, have been up and down, although mainly up in the back half of the season. Good wins over Lambton and Adamstown coupled with a draw against Maitland and a close defeat to Hamilton are evidence of their quality. But, similar to Valentine the Jets have had some disappointing results shown by a 10-2 loss to Broadmeadow.

Valentine’s goalkeepers Beyhan Irmako (back) and hero from the weekend Perry Budden (concussion) are both in doubt with Zac Park to take the gloves if both Irmako and Budden are out. The Jets will go into the match will the same squad who met Lambton last weekend.

What the Coaches Said:

Darren Sills (Valentine)

“The Jets are young, youthful and energetic and they absolutely slaughtered us in the first half of the game in the first round. It was a night game and there were a lot of guys who were coming from work and were fatigued. It was the only time all year I’ve had to give them a spray in the sheds. We won’t make the same mistakes hopefully.”

“It’s extremely important to have a win to end the season. It’s everything to us and if we win on the weekend we leapfrog the Jets. We can’t get fifth and that was our aim when we couldn’t get in the semis. To be honest it would just cap off a great season if we could beat the Jets.”

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

“We want to finish the final game with a win and finish as high up the table as possible. I think we can finish either 5th, 6th or 7th depending on our result and Charlestown’s. There is plenty to play for in terms of making our season look decent on paper and it still is important for our preparation for the NYL.”

“This weekend is also a bit of a test of the mentality of the boys as well because they are still in the stage of the season where teams are out of finals and they can lose a bit of focus. We want them competing at the same level now as they were in round one as we are trying to get them ready for a 27 round A-league season.”

Key: Little separates these two sides, so whoever can do the little things right on Saturday should get the three points.

 

Maitland Magpies v Broadmeadow Magic

2.30pm, Sunday 14th August at Cooks Square Park

Last Meeting: Broadmeadow 3 Maitland 0 at Magic Park, Wednesday 15th June 2016.

Ladder: Maitland 4th (29) Broadmeadow 3rd (29)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Maitland – Lost Eagles 2-1 (a), Won Bears 3-2 (h), Drew Jets 1-1(h)

Broadmeadow – Lost Blues 3-2 (a), Lost Phoenix 2-1 (a), Drew Olympic 2-2 (h)

Bottom Line

Maitland and Broadmeadow will be playing for third place and the right to meet Hamilton in the finals next weekend when they clash at Cooks Square Park on Sunday. Both sit on 29 points after 17 rounds and a draw will be enough for Broadmeadow to clinch the third spot due to a superior goal difference.

Both sides come off defeats last weekend, Broadmeadow went down to a resurgent Charlestown 3-2 after leading 2-0 early on in the first half. While Maitland, fell to Edgeworth 2-1 on a wet and heavy Jack McLaughlan Oval.

It is old boys’ day this weekend at Cooks Square Park, so that will not doubt give the Magpies a boost. But, the opportunity of taking on a side who haven’t beaten them this season in Hamilton will be a huge carrot for Maitland. The sides drew 0-0 at Cooks Square Park in round one, while they drew 1-1 at Darling Street in round 10, and the Magpies would be keen to take on Olympic once more. They will be keen to miss the Eagles who have beaten them 3-1 and 2-1 this season.

For Broadmeadow, the possibility of suspensions due to yellow card accumulation has cruelled the back part of their season and they will look to reach the finals with no suspensions hanging over the squad. It seems like it doesn’t matter who they meet in the finals, be it Edgeworth or Hamilton as they have a draw against both sides this season, a matchup with rivals Hamilton in the semis though would be an enthralling contest.

Matt Comerford (hamstring) returns for the Magpies while Matt Crowell’s luckless season continued spraining his ankle five minutes into his return from a hernia and will most likely miss the rest of the season.

For Broadmeadow, striker James Virgili (shoulder) is still out. Kale Bradbury (knee) is in doubt and is Jayden Barber (knee). Shane Paul risks a three-match suspension if he receives a yellow card on the weekend and is also in doubt for the trip to Maitland.

What the Coaches Said:

Reece Thompson (Maitland)

“We won’t be risking injury but we are definitely going all out for [third place]. We are going to put together our strongest possible side and we are willing to risk Matt Comerford even though he is on four cards. We want third, second year in the top flight and a top three would be a big finish for the club.”

“Against Broadmeadow the first round, I thought we were in the game, we pressed them well but were a bit unlucky in the end. We couldn’t press to full-time so we will take a different game plan. They probably overran us a bit in the middle of the park last time with Michael Kantarovski and Shane Paul in there. We’ve got a game plan and we’ll have a crack to try and finish third.”

Rob Virgili (Broadmeadow)

“We’d like to finish third [on the ladder] obviously, but it doesn’t really bother us who we play in the finals, whether its Olympic or Edgeworth they will be tough games.”

“We just need to try and improve on our last couple of games. It was disappointing to lose last weekend after leading 2-0 and we just need to get our backline and midfield players into shape. We will just try and keep a clean sheet coming into the finals and focus on our defence, as the attack will take care of itself.”

Key: With the third spot on the line, which side can overcome suspension and injury worries to set up a finals clash with Hamilton?

 

Charlestown City Blues v Hamilton Olympic

2.30pm Sunday 14th August at Lisle Carr Oval

Last Meeting: Hamilton 6 Charlestown 0 at Darling Street Oval, Wednesday 29th June, 2016

Ladder: Charlestown 5th (24) Hamilton 2nd (39)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Charlestown – Won Magic 3-2 (a), Lost Eagles 2-1 (h), Won Bears 3-2 (a)

Hamilton – Drew Phoenix 2-2 (h), Won Jets 1-0 (h), Drew Magic 1-1 (a)

Bottom Line

After a tight loss to Edgeworth followed by an upset victory over Broadmeadow Magic, Charlestown are surging towards the end of an impressive season, which would be made all the more impressive by a victory over Hamilton in the final round.

Hamilton has a history of not putting in their best performance in the final round, with a 2-0 loss last season to 8th placed Maitland at home ended their regular season with disappointment. Hamilton have only lost three of their last 38 games – that being one of them. The other two were against Edgeworth last season, once in the regular season and the other in the Grand Final.

Like most sides, this round Hamilton have nothing to play for in terms of the ladder. They will finish in second place after relinquishing any chance of winning the premiership last weekend when they drew 2-2 with Valentine. Coach Mick Bolch may be keen to rest some players before the finals, and at least this weekend will give Danny Ireland another chance to rest up his injured ankle.

Charlestown’s season has been outstanding, and they could have been in contention for a spot in the finals if not for a midseason slump where they lost six matches in a row. They went down 6-0 to Hamilton last time they met but that was on a cold Wednesday night, and the Blues were missing some of their key personnel, so don’t read too much into that result.

Charlestown’s Josh Pippen (knee) is out as is Ben Hughes who is struggling with what Shane Pryce described as ‘old age.’ Hamilton’s Andrew Swan (hamstring) is out, as is Grant Brown (suspended), Danny Ireland (ankle), Jacob Bailey (knee) and Daniel Bird will be rested as he is on five yellow cards.

What the Coaches Said:

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“It’s our last home game this weekend so we’ll be out to finish off the season against a side who has nearly won the comp. I think it will be more about us on the weekend, putting in a good performance and then being a bit sad we didn’t make the semis.”

“It would be nice to spoil Hamilton’s undefeated run, but they are a quality side and if they weren’t they wouldn’t be in the position they are in. I think this season the inconsistency had hurt us and we will look to review and fix that for next year. All in all, I think finishing 5th is still credible for the side we have got, but if we were a bit consistent we could have scraped into the top four.”

Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“Charlestown had a great win last weekend against Broadmeadow, and they did well the weekend before against Edgeworth. This weekend is all about making sure we have a healthy squad going into the finals. You don’t win anything for going through the season undefeated, our main aim now is the Grand Final.”

“Too many draws have cost us this season, realistically this year Edgeworth have been too good and they have won the comp. We’ve beaten them both times we have played them, but every team gets 18 rounds and they have accumulated more points than us over 18 rounds to they deserve the minor premiership.”

Key: With little on the line in terms of their position on the ladder, can Hamilton keep motivated to finish the season undefeated?

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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