Photo: Sproule Sports Focus
Match of the Round
Hamilton Olympic FC v Broadmeadow Magic FC
Darling Street Oval
Sunday, May 15, 2.30pm
The Match of the Round in Round 6 of the PlayStation® 4 NPL Northern NSW season, presents us with our first battle between perennial rivals Hamilton Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic. Two sides, who are yet to be defeated in 2016.
Hamilton have had the wood over Magic of late winning 4 of the last 5 clashes between the pair. In fact, the last time Broadmeadow beat Hamilton was in 2013, where they needed 6 goals to get past Olympic in a thrilling 6-5 win at Darling Street.
Hamilton will be full of confidence after last weeks’ Grand Final rematch, where they nosed out Edgeworth in what was a very tight encounter 3-2. Goalkeeper Danny Ireland was outstanding and you wonder just how many points his performances in goals for Hamilton will be worth come seasons end.
Coach Mick Bolch said his side “was buzzing” after the win against Edgeworth and that the match “was a massive confidence booster, after beating one of the benchmark sides.”
On the clash with Magic, Bloch said it was a game “the players live for” and he was pleased the previously suspended Simon Mooney would return for the derby.
For Broadmeadow, it has been their attack which has been most impressive in 2016. With 14 goals in their opening 5 matches, they boast the most potent attack in the competition. With a three pronged strike power including Kale Bradbury, James Virgili and Peter Haynes, Magic have been almost unstoppable in front of goal.
However, a matchup with Hamilton, who have conceded just 3 goals this season will be a test for Broadmeadow’s front men.
Broadmeadow co-coach Rob Virgili believes it will be a tight contest.
“Hamilton are in good form at the moment, and we are in pretty good form, so I don’t think there will be much in it.”
But he would still like to see a more polished performance from his side.
“I’d like to see more improvement in the side from back to front, but at the moment we are undefeated and we just need to keep the momentum going.”
Join Chris Turner, Damien Smith and myself live from 2.30pm this Sunday on BarTV.
Key: With the best defence in the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW competition – Hamilton will need to keep up their outstanding defensive record against a Broadmeadow side that has the best attack in the competition.
Valentine FC v Edgeworth FC
Saturday, May 14, 3pm
After their first win of the year against Weston last weekend, Valentine return home to Cahill Oval for Round 6 of the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW. They will come up against an Edgeworth side that will be keen to avenge their first loss of the season to Hamilton, a 3-2 loss that was a thrilling encounter.
Valentine have started out of the blocks slowly in 2016 as they grabbed just one point from their opening 4 fixtures, but a strong performance against Weston away from home will boost the confidence of the men in orange.
The key for the home side will be Brenton Olzomer, who has been outstanding over the opening two rounds of the competition where he has scored 3 goals in total. Olzomer was back among the goal scorers in Round 5 taking his tally to 4 for the season and there is no doubt he’ll be looking for more against his former club.
Alex Burrell also starred for the Phoenix scoring a goal and helped Valentine keep Weston scoreless for all bar the last kick of the game.
“He was immense for us on the weekend,” Valentine assistant Sam Griffin said, glowing in praise of his centre back.
“That first win of the season was massive for us. We have a tough run now, so coming into some tough matches against Edgeworth, Olympic and Magic, that win showed that we are up to the level of this competition.”
For Edgeworth, the grand final rematch didn’t go as planned on Old Boys Day at Jack McLaughlan Oval as Hamilton crashed their party to take the Round 5 clash 3-2.
Edgeworth coach Damian Zane said that their first loss “was a good lesson in that if you give away goals through errors in the big games, it will cost you.”
Zane’s side started the season outstandingly with 3 wins on the trot before a tough draw with Broadmeadow Magic and now the loss to Olympic.
On the topic of meeting Valentine, Zane said the Phoenix “were very impressive in the FFA Cup and gave Hamilton a run for their money.”
So expect a tough contest on Saturday afternoon.
Key: Can Edgeworth’s defence keep their former teammate Brenton Olzomer quiet?
Adamstown Rosebud FC v Newcastle Jets Youth
Sunday, May 15, 2.30pm
Will the Adamstown’s fortunes turn around in this Round 6 matchup? In just 6 rounds they have had two goalkeepers sent off, as well as midfielder Dane Pawlik. Captain Dan Clements, one of the cornerstones of Graham Law’s young side, as well as Alex Gillespie are both out for the season.
On the injury and suspension situation coach Graham Law was shocked with the outcomes his team has faced already.
“I’ve played for 15 years and coached for 5 years and I can’t recall anything like this.”
“But we’ll be right. Whoever plays on the weekend, I’ve got the trust in them that we can get a result.”
After a 2-0 win over Valentine in Round 3, things looked on the up for the Rosebud, but how things quickly went south. Scott Carter was sent off last in that clash, before Clements was injured in their 2-0 defeat at Charlestown the week after.
Reserve goalkeeper Paul Bitz was then given his marching orders after Adamstown were leading 1-0 against Maitland, which the Magpies quickly piled on the pain, racking up a 6-1 thumping.
They will meet a Jets side struggling at the foot of the ladder after their five completed matches. The Jets Youth have conceded a massive 20 goals across those opening four matches and their defence is a real concern.
Clayton Zane believes that the defence will be a key focus for his side.
“We need to look at our defence and our structure and get back to basics to keep our goal intact. Teams are sitting back against us, and they know our weakness. We just need to improve and get better at dealing with it.”
Adamstown will be without goalkeeper Paul Bitz on Sunday, due to his mandatory one-week suspension for the red card and Jake Hamilton will line up in goals for his 4th first grade appearance in 2016.
Key: Thom Lino and Cameron Joice. With two young sides doing battle, can either of these impressive youngsters inspire their side to a win?
Maitland FC v Lambton Jaffas FC
Cooks Square Park
Sunday May 15, 2.30pm
Both Maitland and Lambton have started the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW season heading in different directions.
For Maitland they were laying just outside the top 4 after their massive 6-1 victory over Adamstown on the weekend, however after last night’s catch up victory over the Jets they have moved to equal second.
Maitland are one of just four sides left in the competition who have not lost a match but coach Steve Piggott believes his side has some improvement left in their attack.
“The only thing that has been frustrating for us is not putting the ball in the back of the net. Last week we did, but one game where we put the ball in the net isn’t enough, we still had 20 or 30 chances in that game and put 6 in. The positive for me is that we can only improve.”
Lambton’s form to start 2016 has been scratchy to say the least. After 3 tough matches to start the season against Edgeworth, Hamilton and Broadmeadow, the Jaffas looked like they had turned a corner after disposing of Valentine 2-0 in round 4. But it wasn’t to be for Lambton as Charlestown took them down 3-1 on the weekend.
After just a little over 5 weeks in charge of the Jaffas, coach James Pascoe believes that the team do well with possession but will need to take risks in attack.
“We just need to put a 90-minute performance in. Our first half against Charlestown was a bit flat and one paced. We controlled the majority of it through possession and then conceded two goals from the counter attack.”
“We were probably a little bit too safe in possession and didn’t take enough risks going forward.”
“One of the big things I have noticed in this seasons competition, compared to 2014 when I coached the Jets Youth team, is the league has become very counter-attacking. Most of the teams we have played have set up to be very compact and counter quickly and at times we haven’t coped with that so well.”
There is no doubt Lambton will need to overcome Maitland’s counter-attacking style if they are to come away with the points on Sunday.
For Maitland Matt Crowell remains on the sideline for 8 more weeks with a hernia injury and Ryan Clarke has been brought in as an injury replacement, but will be unable to play until round 10 due to his suspension. Matt Thompson and Dean Heffernan will be back from illness and suspension respectively in a boost for the Magpies.
Key: Can Lambton’s mix of youth and experience find their mojo against a Maitland side yet to be beaten in 2016?
Charlestown City Blues FC v Weston Workers FC
Lisle Carr Oval
Sunday, May 15, 2.30pm
Charlestown have shocked many with their unbeaten start the year and a return home to Lisle Carr Oval in Round 6 will be a welcome boost for a side written off as title contenders before the season started.
Charlestown haven’t beaten Weston since 2013, that was a 4-2 win at home, and in 2015 Weston grabbed 6 points from a possible 6 against the Blues with 3-1 and 1-0 victories in what was a disappointing season for Charlestown.
But in 2016, all the running will be with the home side, and they will go into this one as favourites to make it 6 games unbeaten. With the likes of Scott Smith and Rene Ferguson on fire in the goal scoring department and Captain Ben Hughes steadying the ship in the midfield Charlestown have been outstanding. The question is, can they keep it up?
Before Nathan Morris’ penalty in the last kick on the game last Sunday, Weston hadn’t scored in the 390 minutes of football, with Weston’s defence where they have earned their points this year.
To hold Broadmeadow Magic scoreless in Round 2 was nothing short of brilliant for Trevor Morris’ side, given Magic has scored 14 goals in their other 4 matches.
The Bears’ disappointing attack hasn’t been because of a lack of trying though, striker Mick Ryan chipping an early chance against Valentine onto the crossbar, while midfielder Lee Ashton, late in the second half put his shot straight at Beyhan Irmako in the Valentine goal.
When asked about the match against Valentine, Coach Trevor Morris said all the players were “disappointed” in their “effort”.
“The players all knew it, when we spoke at training this week. But, the only way to bounce back is on the football field.”
Morris was excited to play a side who were undefeated and is adamant his side will be right up for what will be a tough match.
Key: Weston will need to keep Rene Ferguson and Scott Smith quiet if they want to claim a vital three points at Lisle Carr Oval.