#1. It’s close!
It’s official – this is the closest we’ve ever seen in NPL Northern NSW at the halfway point of the season, and it’s fantastic to watch.
Heading into Round 11, Broadmeadow were sitting four points clear on the top of the table and it looked as though the competition might start to spread out and begin to take shape however instead, following Magic’s loss and the rest of the results from the weekend, there’s just six points between Broadmeadow and Hamilton (1st v 8th), and with Maitland and Valentine still with a game to play compared to the rest, it means the competition could have even been closer.
Broadmeadow and Edgeworth still loom large in the race for the premiership and will be expected to be thereabouts come season’s end, but there’s many sides such as Weston, Maitland, Lambton and Charlestown who will be confident of challenge.
Fans of the league will be watching intently as the second half of the season takes place and will hope it continues to go down to the wire.
#2. New Lambton: the invincibles?
Many fans of the Herald Women’s Premier League thought that New Lambton would push for the premiership and championship this year, but would anyone have expected them to win their first 11 games of the year? I highly doubt it.
The Eagles have been incredibly impressive so far this year and six points clear at the top of the table and the question needs to be asked of whether anyone will, or even can, beat them?
The last team to go undefeated in the Herald WPL was Lake Macquarie City in 2013 in the early stages of the competition (although they ended up losing the Grand Final), while 2010 was the last, and one of the only times in Premier Competition history, that a team, also Lake Macquarie City, won every single game of the regular season in the NEWFM Northern League One, but they too also lost in the Grand Final.
Could New Lambton etch their name into the history books this season by continuing their perfect form? Well they’ve got second-place South Wallsend this week in a match that will push them to their limits if their last encounter is anything to go off.
#3. Gunners show their might
Watch out for South Cardiff, because they’re coming into the second half of the NEWFM Northern League One red-hot and on fire.
Combinations and structures at Ulinga Oval seem to have finally gelled and begun to thrive as Wallsend harshly found out on the weekend with an 8-1 loss that now see the Gunners with one of the best attacking records in the competition.
The additions of Dino Fajkovic, Dan Casciaroli, Sam Ford and Tom Butzmann are paying dividends and the team are shaping up to be one that, although may be stretching too far to win the premiership, will certainly be throwing their name in the head for the Grand Final.
#4. Merewether return in style
Given Wallsend’s strong start to the Herald WPL season, some question marks were placed over Merewether’s spot in the finals, but it hasn’t taken them long to bounce back to their brilliant best especially considering their huge 7-1 over the Red Devils.
That victory now puts nine points between them and Wallsend behind them and probably sees them have one foot planted in the finals which has largely been courtesy of the 26 goals they’ve scored in their past four matches.
The Llamas have had their Westfield W-League star Rhali Dobson to thank for much of those, but the team has really banded together once more as we approach ‘crunch-time’.
Will they be able to improve yet another level as the season ends? We’ll have to wait and see.
#5. Jaffas stuck in a hole
It took eight weeks for Lambton to lose a match in the NPL NNSW and at that point in time, many had them pencilled in to be a premiership-contender. However, since then, they haven’t won a match – drawing two, and losing three.
Missing key striker Braedyn Crowley did them no favours on the weekend when they lost to Edgeworth and their season’s hopes may all come down to his form and whether or not he continues to appear and fire in front of goal.
The Jaffas have now cascaded to seventh on the table, but still only sit five points off the top and two away from the top four – a position they’ll be desperate to improve with a victory in the coming weeks.