#1. Sometimes, football is much more than a game
Sunday afternoon proved the incredible things that football has the power to do. The first-ever Life Without Barriers Cup was contested on the weekend between Wallsend and New Lambton, but the day exceeded far more than just what happened on the field.
The day was all about football, fun and inclusion and that’s exactly what ensued featuring market stalls, jumping castles, greyhounds rescue dogs, live bands and entertainment conducted by those at Life Without Barriers, and there was even a game of football or two played as well – all raising money a brilliant cause.
Wallsend took the cup on the day following the results from all four grades, but the way both clubs completely embraced the day to create such a successful and inspiring event is something to be admire and commended for.
#2. The Magicians get their nose in front
Over two straight weeks, Broadmeadow Magic have had to battle in two top-of-the-table clashes, and successfully won both, edging their way further in top spot of one of the closest ever NPL NNSW leagues, to now be four points clear of second.
On Saturday night, Magic defeated the red-hot Newcastle Jets Youth side with battering 5-2 win that saw them lead by five at one stage in the second half, and since their Round 1 defeat at the hands of Edgeworth, have been unbeaten in the league.
They also pose the best attacking record in the competition, averaging 3 goals a game, which includes one of the top scorers in James Virgili.
Ending their undefeated run is going to be a tall ask for their upcoming opponents, but with the possibility of mid-week FFA Cup duties coming up, they’ll need to dig deep to continue their tremendous start to the season.
#3. Cessnock find form
It’s been a hard slog for fans of the Hornets in recent years but those years of pain may be soon behind them if their side can keep up their great form into the back-end of the NEWFM NL1 season.
Cessnock pulled off one of the biggest FFA ‘Cupsets’ of the competition last round against Lake Macquarie City, and in the league, haven’t been beaten throughout all of May despite facing some tough opponents in Belswans, Thornton and Kahibah.
The team from Turner Park beat their local rivals, the Redbacks, 1-0 on the weekend, and although they have the worst attacking record in the competition, they’ve been getting the job done in areas that it counts.
Lino Gatti’s return to the helm of the club has certainly brought with it a transformation of form, and with it, a chance to raise serious eyebrows in the league if they do well in their next few games – New Lambton, Singleton and Toronto-Awaba – against teams who sit near them.
#4. Weston show fighting spirit
Many had the Bears touted as a dark horse of the NPL NNSW this season and Kew Jaliens and his men are most certainly proving that pre-season theory following their recent matches.
On the weekend they pulled out an impressive victory over the defending premiers, Edgeworth at home, and previously defeated Charlestown and Newcastle Jet Youth and they now sit inside the top four just four points off the leaders.
Multiple new faces have rejuvenated the side such as Dutchman Jason Tjien-Fooh, Liam Wilson and Kaleb Cox who have all began the season well, as have returning men Zac Sneddon and Robbie Turnbull.
It’s important for the Bears that they don’t get ahead of themselves though as can often happen with such a young squad – but if they keep their mind on the job, this team could do some great things in the latter stages of 2019.
#5. The Wolfies join Premiership race
Elsewhere in the Herald WPL, South Wallsend and Warners Bay played out a vital match that had the potential to alter the balance of the top four.
Southy come out with a 2-1 victory in the end, putting themselves in the conversation for a potential premiership challenge if they can manage to scrape points away from New Lambton in the near future.
The Wolfies have been on the precipice of being a title challenging team in recent years but have gone to a new level in recent weeks to truly stamp themselves as one to watch out for.
If the girls from Elemore Vale can keep up their solid form, especially in the big games when they face the other top four sides, don’t be surprised to see their name on one of the trophies come the beginning of September.