PS4 NPL NNSW Round 18 Preview
Edgeworth FC vs. Weston Workers FC
Sun 16 August 2:30 PM
Jack McLaughlin Oval
Match of the Round
This weekend marks the final round of the PS4 Northern New South Wales National Premier League regular season, with five huge match ups set to conclude the regular season.
If you are looking for a match full of excitement, pride, passion and action, then look no further than then Match of the Round as Edgeworth and Weston go to war, each with a different, but season defining intention.
Edgeworth have been the most successful side this season so far, leading the pack by a point. They have won twelve, drawn once and lost four on their way to thirty-seven points, which sees them in the box seat for the Premiership.
Long story short: a win and they are Premiers, however a draw, even a loss, may be enough.
Should Hamilton lose and Lambton drop points then the Eagles are guaranteed the top spot. The club, its coach Damian Zane, and the players will not be looking for other results to get them over the line however, they are going for the win.
They are set to welcome back two key players for the most important match of their season. Aaron McLoughlin was rested in Round 17 after he picked up a swollen knee in the Melbourne City FFA Cup clash and Josh Evans pulled out morning of the same game with sickness. Both will return to the field against the Bears.
Another positive sign for the Eagles is that they have overcome their keeper crisis, as Jim Fogarty successfully got through an Under 22’s match last weekend against the Jets as he continues recovery from an injury sustained earlier in the season against Lambton.
Eagles coach Damian Zane is excited with the challenge that lies ahead of his side for this weekend’s match.
‘We are very confident with the position we are in,’ he said.
‘We will have a light training week to get refreshed for the match. Justin Tannock is back into consideration for us so we are basically at full strength’.
‘Playing at full strength at home on old boys day for the minor premiership should really get the guys excited for the match; if that can’t then nothing will’.
Weston have a lot to play for themselves, as they look to sneak back past Broadmeaow and into the top four, after the Magic defeated them last week, moving above them into fourth.
The Bears have won nine matches this season, drawn six and lost six. They are on twenty-nine points, even with Broadmeadow however their goal difference is fifteen behind Magic.
Weston will be left ruing missed chances and several poor performances if they do not make the finals. They finished last year with two clean sheets but finished second, however this year they have kept six clean sheets but may miss the top four, highlighting their inconsistency over the eighteen rounds.
They will have to be at their defensive best against the Eagles, as they were last time the sides met which saw the Bears win 1-0 at home thanks to a late Carl Thornton bullet header back in Round 9.
Just like that match this one will be broadcast live on Bar TV, however the best spot to watch the action unfold will be in the grand stand or on the hill at Jack McLaughlin Oval, as the Eagles fight for the premiership and the Bears fight for their finals hopes.
Adamstown Rosebud FC vs. Newcastle Jets Youth
Sat 15 August 2:30 PM
The opening game of the final round of 2015 sees the Adamstown Rosebud host the Newcastle Jets Youth, in a match where both sides will be looking to achieve maximum points, and as a result end their season on a high.
The Rosebud are on twenty-five points following seven wins four draws and seven losses this season, surpassing their 2014 performance.
Sitting behind them in seventh are the Jets Youth who have won five drawn two and lost ten.
Regardless of the result in this match, and all other matches in Round 18, these two sides will finish the season in those positions.
The Rosebud have been unlucky in season 2015, losing Guy Bates and Garry Kenneth before expected, Stu Musialik unable to feature in a First Grade fixture, and key players like Nick Hills and Travis Cooper only participating in parts of the season.
Their coach Graham Law refuses to dwell on the negatives, proud of the players and the club, believing that they will only build on this season.
‘I refuse to talk about the loss of certain players because it is disrespectful to the players we have with us now, who have been absolutely amazing this year,’ he said.
‘My players work hard for me and that’s where I get the satisfaction, even though we haven’t made the finals this year’.
Following a devastating 6-0 loss to Lambton in Round 16 Law was sure his side would respond in the best way possible.
‘I said and I knew we would bounce back from that big Jaffas loss, because there is so much strength in our team’.
The last time these two sides faced off the Jets took the lead on the half hour mark through Tom Waller, however goals to Garry Kenneth and Nick Hills, who have since departed Adamstown, gave the Rosebud a 2-1 win.
This is the last game for both sides as the Jets were never going to feature in the finals, and the Rosebud’s chances were dashed three weeks ago.
Both sides however, will be determined to end their season on a high, as winners, and highlight their character as fighters until the end.
Lambton Jaffas FC vs. South Cardiff FC
Sat 15 August 2:30 PM
Arthur Edden Oval
Lambton host the South Cardiff Gunners at Arthur Edden Oval in their Round 18 match on Saturday afternoon.
The Jaffas are currently third following an impressive ten wins, four draws and three losses this season.
A win on Saturday takes them to first on the ladder, for a night at least. They can finish the season as Premiers if they do win, and Edgeworth and Hamilton both lose the following day to Weston and Maitland respectively.
South Cardiff are also in a scenario where they need a win, and another side to lose, but for a completely different reason.
The Gunners have won just twice, drawn three times and lost twelve matches this season. Sitting in tenth they trail ninth placed Maitland by three points, and with an inferior goal difference of eleven they would need a huge win, and Maitland to get beat by a considerable margin by Hamilton, to avoid relegation.
Jaffas coach David Tanchevski was relieved last weekend after defeating Maitland 2-1, as it ensured his side a third finals series in a row since being promoted in 2013.
‘The win takes a lot of pressure off now, and mathematically we can finish first or second which is great going into the last round,’ he said.
Although they will be pleased with the finals spot, they are left ruing an extremely slow start to the season that saw them in sixth after seven rounds, on just nine points. Once again a strong finish to the season sees them sniffing around the top spot, but their slow starts which they have become notorious for restrict them from ensuring they finish as Premiers.
Defensively, the Jaffas welcomed back Kevin Davidson last weekend in the win over Maitland, however were without Grant Brown who will not feature in this weekend’s match against the Gunners.
The last time these two sides faced one another was in Round 9, the only match that round that was separated by more than a single goal. It was actually separated by five as Lambton cruised to a comfortable 5-1 win thanks to a Luke Remington first half brace and second half strikes by John Majurovski, Alex Palozzi and Michael Bridges.
Both sides will be determined to pick up the three points in this match, and with the Gunners requiring a huge effort to beat relegation expect an abundance of of shots, fast paced action and free space in the middle of the park in this game.
Hamilton Olympic FC vs. Maitland FC
Sun 16 August 2:30 PM
Darling Street Oval
Two sides at opposite ends of the table go head to head at Darling Street Oval on Sunday afternoon, as Hamilton Olympic host Maitland FC in what should be an enthralling day with immense atmosphere.
Olympic enter the final round of the season one point behind leaders Edgeworth. With a superior goal difference the scenario is simple: win and hope Edgeworth drop points, or draw and hope Edgeworth lose.
Even if Olympic do not finish the season as Premiers they will view the season as a major success after finishing sixth in 2014, and missing out on the Top Five which in that season would play in the finals series.
Despite winning the club championship that year coach Mick Bolch was not impressed with the season, suggesting that ‘it is never a successful season when first grade miss the semi finals’.
With just one loss this season they have achieved that goal already, and will now be determined to finish the season as Premiers and Grand Final winners, and having scored twenty goals in the last four games they are in the right form to accomplish this.
‘The depth at the club is great and it will only get stronger as these young kids are promoted through the grades,’ he went on to say last year.
This prediction has proved to be spot on, as although they featured in First Grade last year, young players like Reece Cooper, Tom Davies and lately Ben Koina have been instrumental in Hamilton’s success this season.
This weekend they are boosted as they welcome back Matt Swan who missed the 5-1 win last weekend over Charlestown with injury.
Maitland are almost guaranteed safety from relegation, although it is not impossible.
The side from Cook square Park sit ninth following three wins, as many draws, and eleven losses. They are just three points ahead of last placed South Cardiff, but have a superior goal difference by eleven.
This means that South Cardiff would need to heavily defeat Lambton, and the Magpies would need to be heavily defeated themselves, if the Gunners were to survive and edge out Maitland.
The last time these two sides met the Magpies led early through a Blake Thompson penalty, however goals to Hamilton’s two main men of 2015, Kane Goodchild and Simon Mooney, saw the heavyweights record a 2-1 win back in Round 9.
There will be two sets of passionate fans supporting their teams at Darling Street Oval on Sunday afternoon, which will provide a great atmosphere. Both of these sides have quality players to produce a game worth spending an afternoon at, and neither should need any extra motivation given what is at stake for them both.
Broadmeadow FC vs. Charlestown City Blues FC
Sun 16 August 2:30 PM
The final match of Round 18 of the PS4 NNSW NPL sees Broadmeadow Magic play host to Charlestown City Blues on Sunday afternoon at Magic Park.
Magic moved into fourth spot last week with a 1-0 win over Weston away from home, with Luke Virgili scoring the game’s only goal in the fifty-sixth minute.
It was their ninth win of the year, and combined with two draws and six losses they are within a fingertip of a finals spot.
Coaches Rob Virgili and Bobby Naumov will be happy with the current situation. Even though they will most likely need to win, with Weston breathing down their necks, things could be far worse for the side from Magic Park.
Just three weeks ago, in Round 15, Magic were five points outside the top four and looked certain to miss out on the finals for the second year in a row.
They have fought back though, and a win this weekend guarantees them a finals spot, where they will take on whoever finishes first in a home and away fixture for a place in the Grand Final.
Charlestown are in eighth position on the ladder after four wins, one draw and twelve losses this season.
Eighth is the highest they can finish however if they lose and Maitland beat or draw with Hamilton Olympic then the Blues will drop to and finish the season in ninth spot.
Having beat relegation last week the Blues will most likely play free, energetic football on Sunday afternoon, and having already beaten Broadmeadow once this year this is a danger game for the Magic.
They are also boosted by the return of key player Daniel Bird from suspension who should be a huge headache for the Magic defence.
Broadmeadow have been slightly inconsistent this year. They have been brilliant in the front third, as Kale Bradbury, Dino Fajkovic and Peter Haynes have been firing. Defensively they have lacked in some rounds, which has put them in the position where finals is not a certainty.
Last weekend however they were at their best and dominated Weston, due to a sound defensive performance. Their back four along with keeper Nathan Archbold were strong, which created a lot of space for their midfield as Weston pushed forward, but could not find a way through.
Peter Haynes picked up the Man of the Match award, as his distribution to Bradbury and Fajkovic was impeccable. The forward pair however, could not capitalize and find the back of the net, but will be looking to regain scoring form this weekend for the finals, given they win the match.
Magic will be hungry for another performance where all eleven players on the field are at their best. Charlestown have nothing to lose in their final match of 2015, so this match will be a highly entertaining fixture.