Photo: Sproule Sports Focus
Maitland Magpies v Hamilton Olympic
2.30pm Sunday 2nd April at Cooks Square Park
“Match of the Round”
Last Meeting: Round 10, 2016. Hamilton 1 Maitland 1 at Darling Street Oval.
Ladder: Maitland 11th (0 pts), Hamilton 5th (3)
Last Starts (most recent first):
Maitland – Yet to Play
Hamilton – Won Rosebud 1-0 (a), Lost Jaffas 2-3 (h)
It has taken a while but Maitland will finally play their first match at home this season. With bye’s and wet weather, the Magpies have had a long wait to finally get their season started.
A lot has happened in the pre-season with Phil Dando coming in as a coach to replace the departing Dean Heffernan and there would be no doubt Dando has enjoyed the extra time with his squad to get them playing to his structure.
The Magpies meet a Hamilton side who they have had some success against in the four matches they have played against each other since Maitland’s promotion in 2014. Maitland are undefeated in the last three against Olympic, after two draws last year and a win in the final round of 2015.
With Matt Thompson, Ryan Clarke and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff all available for the weekend it makes for a mouth-watering battle as they come up against the likes of Kane Goodchild, Scott Smith and Kyle Hodges from Olympic.
Rhys Cooper remains on the sideline for Olympic while Kyle Hodges is a week-by-week proposition and will more than likely miss the match. Andrew Swan (groin) will still be out for Olympic while brother Matt will return to the side.
For Maitland, English recruit Josh Dutton-Black still isn’t up to full fitness and will most likely play in the u20s and sit on the bench for first grade. Ryan Clarke (hamstring) and Ben Martin (calf) are in doubt for the Magpies.
What the Coaches Said:
Phil Dando (Maitland)
“We’ve ended up with four games in nine days which is not ideal. We were hoping that we could have the second of the postponed games put off for another week but it’s not the case. So, four games in nine days it is to kick off our season, and it’s just what we have got to do, we’ve got to cope.”
“To be honest the ladder doesn’t worry me too much [having played no games while other teams have played three]. I don’t see the point in looking at the table this early on. Three games in, it’s neither here nor there. We haven’t played and whatever we do is in our own hands and it has nothing to do with anyone else. If we get nine points from our three games we are doing better than anyone else and there is no reason we can’t.”
Michael Bolch (Hamilton)
“It’s a tough one, I haven’t seen them play in a while. They’ve obviously got some quality bringing in [Shane] Cansdell-Sheriff and young [Andrew] Pawiak from the Jets. They have obviously improved their group from last year and they made the semi-final last year and I’m sure they’ll be fresh and ready to go.”
“The boys did really well on Tuesday night, with a 92nd-minute winner. The week before against Jaffas it was an ageing squad and running out of legs so it was good to see them go the full 90 minutes against Adamstown.”
Key: After such a long wait to the season, will the Magpies take a little while to find their groove?
Newcastle Jets Youth v Charlestown City Blues
2.30pm Saturday 1st April at Lisle Carr Oval
Last Meeting: Round 11, 2016: Charlestown 0 Jets Youth 4 at Lisle Carr Oval
Ladder: Jets Youth 8th (1), Charlestown 9th (1)
Last Starts (most recent first:
Jets Youth – Drew Rosebud 4-4 (h)
Charlestown – Drew Roosters 1-1 (h), Lost Phoenix 1-2 (h)
Charlestown coach Shane Pryce was furious with his side’s first-half showing last weekend and will be hoping for a change in attitude against the Jets Youth.
The two sides traditionally play out high-scoring matches with the last three averaging 4.8 goals per match. When there are plenty of goals, it seems to favour the Jets and it has done so, with the side winning three of the last four clashes, including the last match in emphatic style as they won 4-0.
The Jets started off the season with a high-scoring draw against Adamstown, while Charlestown grabbed their first point of the season on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Lake Macquarie.
However, Pryce wasn’t happy with the point after a disappointing first half from his side. In the second the Blues had their chances they just couldn’t make any count when they dominated the final 15 minutes.
The Jets had the bye during round two, so will be very fresh coming into the match after also having their round three match against Maitland washed out.
They looked good in attack during their round one draw with Adamstown, however, it was at the back where they struggled again, conceding four goals and they can’t afford that against a Charlestown side who have been strong at the back over the last two seasons.
Key: After blasting his side’s performance last weekend how will Shane Pryce’s men respond?
Lambton Jaffas v Valentine Phoenix
2.30pm Sunday 1st April at Arthur Edden Oval
Last Meeting: Round 13, 2016: Lambton 2 Valentine 3 at Arthur Edden Oval
Ladder: Lambton 2nd (7), Valentine 6th (3)
Last Starts (most recent first):
Lambton – Won Eagles 2-1 (h), Drew Bears 2-2 (a), Won Olympic 3-2 (a)
Valentine – Lost Lakes 0-3 (a), Lost Magic 2-3 (a), Won Blues 2-1 (a)
Valentine will look to make it two wins from two at Arthur Edden Oval since their promotion in 2015 when they take on the Lambton Jaffas on Saturday afternoon.
Last year the Phoenix shocked the Jaffas 3-2, as youngster Riley Russell grabbed the match winner in the dying moments of the match and based on Valentine’s early season form you wouldn’t write them off causing an upset against the highly fancied Jaffas.
Lambton were held by Weston the weekend in a match where coach James Pascoe felt they played well enough to take the three points but just didn’t finish their chance as well as he would have liked. However, the disappointment at Weston was quickly forgotten on Wednesday night as the Jaffas took down the Premiers 2-1.
Pat Brown scored a double against the Eagles and now has five in three matches for the Jaffas and seems to be in the form of his career back under James Pascoe.
On the other hand, Valentine took the battle to Broadmeadow Magic, and in the end, were unlucky not to snatch a late point as Jalon Brown’s shot was well saved by Magic keeper Niko Giantsopolous.
However, the Phoenix disappointed midweek in their 3-0 derby loss to Lake Macquarie and will be keen to respond. That makes it three losses by combined scores of 11-5 in midweek catch-up matches for the Phoenix over the last two years.
Lambton have a full squad for Saturday’s match while Alex Tserepas (ankle) is in doubt for the Phoenix. In an intriguing side note, Ridge Marpu (Lambton) will play his former side for the first time.
What the Coaches Said:
James Pascoe (Lambton)
“My hope is [the win against Edgeworth] gives the boys heaps of confidence. In regards to myself, I expect us to beat everyone we play against. Even though we have recruited well it’s still a new group and we are still not completely fluent with the ball yet. So, there is a huge amount of improvement left in us.”
“We’ve purposely concentrated particularly against Olympic and Edgeworth, being really solid without the ball and not trying to dominate games too much with the ball. Its worked as we hoped it would work to this point, but we have to get better with the ball and we will. The signs are there for us to become a good football team.”
Sam Griffin (Valentine Assistant)
“It was pretty appalling [on Wednesday against Lakes]. Our attitude just wasn’t right for a first-grade game. Overall it just wasn’t good enough. I tried to pick out some good points to be positive about, but there weren’t many. We’ve just got to give credit to Lakes for that one.”
“If we can put out a performance against Magic where I thought we were unlucky to get a point and then you put the same 14-15 guys on the park three or four days later and perform nowhere near that level its got to be down to attitude. I’ve got no doubt we’ll be up to the game on Saturday. It’s just about finding those elements which drive them to produce a good performance every week, regardless of the opposition.”
Key: Lambton only won two of nine home matches last year. Can they turn it around?
Broadmeadow Magic v Lake Macquarie City Roosters
2.30pm Sunday 2nd April at Magic Park
Last Meeting: Round 16, 2014. Broadmeadow 3 Lake Macquarie 0 at Macquarie Field.
Ladder: Broadmeadow 1st (7), Lake Macquarie 3rd (5)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Broadmeadow – Won Phoenix 3-2 (h), Won Bears 2-0 (h), Drew Eagles 1-1 (a)
Lake Macquarie – Won Phoenix 3-0 (h), Drew Blues 1-1 (a), Drew Bears 2-2 (a)
Two of the PlayStation® 4 NPL Northern NSW’s undefeated sides clash at Magic Park on Sunday with the newly promoted Roosters facing arguably their toughest test of the season.
The unfancied Roosters have shone over the opening three rounds and expect them to roll up theIR sleeves and get right into the battle with a Magic side who sits top of the table.
Since returning to football this season Justin Broadley has been a revelation, scoring in Lakes’ opening two matches including from a curling free kick in the Roosters draw with Charlestown on Sunday.
It took a couple of matches but finally, talismanic striker Sam Walker opened his account with a brace on Wednesday night. Expect his confidence to flow into the match against the league leaders.
Broadmeadow have gone about their business with a minimum of fuss and coach Ruben Zadkovich seems to be getting the side to gel more, every match they play. They defended well in stoppage time against Valentine to hold onto their 3-2 lead and ground out a victory the week before on a damp pitch against Weston.
Peter Haynes is the key for Broadmeadow, with the Magic Legend at his creative best over the opening three rounds. Against Weston especially, Haynes showed his class almost setting up Kale Bradbury on a number of occasions despite only being on the ground for the final 20 minutes.
Lakes are injury and suspension-free while Broadmeadow are still without Jayden Barber who has a niggle. Magic midfielder Matt Hoole is a chance of returning to the first-grade side.
What the Coaches Said:
Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)
“I think [Lake Macquarie] have conducted themselves quite well considering it has been quite a big step up for them [from the Northern League One]. I watched them play against Weston and a little bit last week and they are looking quite decent. I think they are proving their point [that they can compete at this level] and they are undefeated and not an easy team to play against.”
“We’ve just got to execute the game plan. We haven’t really been executing at all. We’ve been well below our best probably running at about a four out of ten in our execution of what we want and the style of play we want. Application and attitude and resilience is the thing that is getting us over the line at the moment. It will be nice to see the team put in a 90-minute performance and not play in patches.”
Anthony Richards (Lake Macquarie)
“Every game we are just looking to do a bit better each time and I think we are slowing doing that. We are slowly getting better and some of the guys are getting used to the speed of the competition. We are happy with our progression and to be playing Broadmeadow Magic at Broadmeadow is fantastic for our guys and they are really excited about that.”
“It meant the world to the guys like Tom Walker, Sam Walker and Brad York who were involved when they got relegated. It’s been a while for those guys since to get back [to Macquarie Field] to plan an NPL game. They were over the moon. The other boys were happy for them, the new boys to the club, they could see how important it was for them.”
Key: Lakes haven’t beaten Broadmeadow since 2011 – a run of six matches – when Chris Turner’s (Lakes) beat Damien Smith’s (Magic) 3-0 at Magic Park. Can the Roosters turn the tide?
Adamstown Rosebud v Weston Bears
2.30pm Sunday 2nd April at Adamstown Oval
Last Meeting: Round 17, 2016: Weston 4 Adamstown 1 at Rockwell Automation Park.
Ladder: Adamstown 10th (1), Weston 7th (2)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Weston – Drew Jaffas 2-2 (h), Lost Magic 0-2 (a), Drew Roosters 2-2 (h)
Adamstown – Lost Olympic 0-1 (h), Lost Eagles 0-6 (a), Drew Jets 4-4 (a)
After promising so much, with their Heritage Cup victory in the pre-season, the opening rounds of their 2017 campaign hasn’t quite gone to script for Pete McGuinness and his Adamstown side.
Red cards in both of their opening two matches handicapped the side, while a late goal from Hamilton’s Scott Smith on Tuesday night rubbed salt into the Rosebud’s wounds after copping a 6-0 thumping from Edgeworth on Saturday. Describing it as a tough week for the Bud’s is probably an understatement.
Weston, on the other hand, is a side full of confidence after holding a star-studded Jaffas side to a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon. The Bears have impressed over their three matches, with draws against Lambton and Lakes, while a 2-0 loss against Broadmeadow was a lot tighter that the scoreline shows.
Weston’s Nick Thompson who has played up front for the Bears for much of the season has done a sterling job for someone that has been thrust into a position they are not used to. Thompson scored a double of the weekend and has held up the ball nicely to create chances for brother James in the front third.
With Weston’s new striker arriving this week in Cooper Buswell, who recently played for the Central Coast Mariners’ Youth Squad in the National Youth League, it should add to the Bears potency up front.
The Bears also welcome back Jordan Jackson (suspension) and Jamie Byrnes (virus), while Jacob Golding (injured) will remain on the sideline for the Bears. For the Rosebuds
What the Coaches Said:
Peter McGuinness (Adamstown)
“Weston have got a young side and a very good coach and he’ll have them well organised, I’ve got no doubt. It was a great result for them against Lambton last weekend, and they’ll have some confidence in what they are doing and have some belief so it’ll be a tough match.”
“Knowing Piggo, he’ll have them extremely well organised defensively and they will look to counter attack. We’ve just got to be good with the ball and if it the game pans out that they are organised defensively and look to counter attack we will need to be good with the ball and go forward.”
Steve Piggott (Weston)
“[The most impressive thing over the first three rounds] has been our tenacity and having a go. We’ve still got areas to improve on and each week we are trying to improve on those things. I’ve got three things noted down this weekend. Can we work towards getting a clean sheet? That needs to happen sooner than later, we need to score from open play more than once and try to run out the match in the midfield against the best teams.”
“James [Thompson] has been one of our best players right from the start of training, right through our pre-season games and the Heritage Cup. When he first started he was trying to do too much, trying to beat too many players, but he is starting to lay it off now a little bit more and he had a fair game last weekend.”
Key: Home Ground Advantage? It’s been seven matches since the Rosebud’s last won an NPL match at Adamstown Oval. That last win was against Weston. Can they turn it around?