PS4 NPL NNSW Round 10 Preview










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BEN HOMER 

Match of the Round
Edgeworth Eagles v Valentine Phoenix
2.30pm Sunday 14th May at Jack McLaughlan Oval

Last Meeting: Round 15, 2016: Edgeworth 4 Valentine 2 at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.

Ladder: Edgeworth 4th (15pts), Valentine 3rd (16)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Edgeworth – Won Bears 2-1 (a), Won Blues 2-0 (h), Won Jets 1-0 (a)

Valentine – Drew Olympic 1-1 (h), Won Jets 1-0 (a), Won Magpies 4-0 (a)

 Bottom Line

Two of the form sides of the competition meet this weekend in the ‘Match of the Round’ with both undefeated in their last five matches.

After a sluggish start to the season, Edgeworth has responded over the last three weeks with three wins which have seen them soar inside the top four. They now sit just a point behind the third-placed Phoenix and just two points off the first-placed Lambton Jaffas.

A side that seemed to be cracking under pressure against Hamilton in round seven when veteran Daniel McBreen was sent off and coach Damian Zane almost followed him, they have responded in a way that will surprise no one who has witnessed their performances over the last two seasons.

But, after all the improvement of the last three weeks, they can’t afford a defeat against Valentine. A loss against the Phoenix will make the premiership race more difficult, considering they will have to reel in a star-studded Lambton line-up.

Their opponents Valentine have been the real surprise packet of the PlayStation® 4 NPL NNSW comp this season, and coach Darren Sills has discovered the right formula in 2017 for his side to flourish.

American import Jalon Brown has excelled, however, the weekend against Hamilton he didn’t have his best outing, missing several one-on-one chances which could have wrapped up the contest for the Phoenix. Expect him to return to form this weekend.

Valentine has lost their last six against the Eagles, and haven’t taken three points from a match against Edgeworth since 2011. Those statistics shouldn’t matter as this Phoenix side has the firepower up front and defensive steel to take it to Edgeworth on Sunday.

Bren Hammel (cork) is in doubt for the Premiers while Matt Paul (triathlon) is back for Valentine.

 

What the Coaches Said:

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“I think we’ve got the central defenders to make sure we take care of Jalon Brown and I think we match up fairly well. They have really impressed me defensively. I rate Reece Pettit and I do rate this year Zac Sneddon, he’s been very good. I always thought he was a decent player, but this year he’s impressed. Where he is playing, they’ve got a really good combination. That’s exciting for them.”

“This is where if you’ve got your starting 11 [the Cup match on Wednesday] possibly [creates a depth issue]. But, for me for your Adam Cawleys and Aden Gardners, this might be their chance to stake a claim and I sort of use it as ‘if you do well here you might in this next big game be in the starting team.’ That’s why I think rotating your squad is [beneficial]. You bring in guys and they are  hungry as hell.”

Darren Sills (Valentine)

“We’ve got nothing to lose. They are the Champions, they have won it two years in a row. Final 16 of the FFA Cup. They have got quality players, like [Daniel] McBreen in the bank. I thought we did fairly well against Olympic and trained really well this week. We’ve got no pressure on us, and I don’t think they have either as they are travelling alright so it should be a good game of footy.”

“The boys are happy and there is a little bit of self-belief there now. We had 5-0 against Olympic last year and came out and played really well [on the weekend]. It was 4-0 at this time last year against Edgy [Edgeworth] so if you draw a parallel and draw a line through that I’m very confident we are going to hold ourselves and hold our heads high.”

Key: It’s all in the mind. Valentine has shown their ability to match it with the top guns this season. Can they continue to do so against the Eagles?

 

Newcastle Jets Youth v Broadmeadow Magic
2.30pm Saturday 13th May at Magic Park

Last Meeting: Round 17, 2016: Hamilton 2 Valentine 2 at Darling Street Oval.

Ladder: Broadmeadow 8th (9), Jets Youth 11th (3)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Jets – Drew Roosters 3-3 (a), Lost Phoenix 0-1 (a), Lost Eagles 0-1 (h)

Broadmeadow – Lost Magpies 0-7 (h), Drew Rosebuds 0-0 (a), Drew Jaffas 1-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Many are still trying to come to terms with what quite happened on Sunday afternoon to Broadmeadow Magic. A match that most expected would be a tough, low-scoring and hard-fought contest quickly turned pear-shaped.

Maitland were imperious on Sunday, and led by the calming Matt Thompson in midfielder they were simply unstoppable. Some days in sport the opposition is just too good and Maitland was just that on Sunday.

What really has been missing for Magic lately is their ability to score from open play and even score in general. In the league, they have gone seven hours without a goal in open play, and more than three hours without a goal at all.

Their opponents the Jets Youth haven’t had the same issues scoring, it has been in defence where they have continued to leak goals. They have conceded 23 in eight games at almost three a game, and statistics will tell you it is very difficult to win matches with that kind of defence.

While they have conceded plenty, the heart, desire and never-say-die attitude is one which should be commended.

Twice is the two weeks they have been down going into the final five minutes and twice they have found an equaliser to share the points. Clayton Zane will be hoping they can go one better this weekend – score late to win – and they have shown they can do it.

What the Coaches Said: 

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

“I think we’ll be facing a difficult opponent after that loss. I’ve seen they had a player sent off and that has a massive impact, I’m sure it wasn’t a 7-0 game and when a player gets sent off in the 19th minute that would impact any team. If they win one or two games they are right back in the mix so we expect them to be wounded and come out like a raging bull.”

“They’ll have a lot to prove this weekend so for us, it’s probably the worst time to play them after they come off the back of a loss like that. They are a good team, they’ve got good players in their team. Everyone knows they are a top four team so that’s what we will be expecting to play against this weekend.” 

Key: Goals. Broadmeadow is in need of some in the league. They have scored just once in seven hours of play.

 

Weston Workers Bears v Charlestown City Blues
2.30pm Sunday 14th May at Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Round 15, 2016: Weston 2 Charlestown 3 at Rockwell Automation Park.

Ladder: Weston 9th (4), Charlestown 7th (11)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Weston – Lost Eagles 1-2 (h), Lost Olympic 0-2 (a), Lost Magpies 0-1 (a)

Charlestown – Drew Rosebud 2-2 (h), Lost Eagles 0-2 (a), Lost Jaffas 1-2 (h)

Bottom Line

With Daniel Laiman (knee), Matt Tull (quad), Josh Maguire (groin) and Jarryd Johnson (hamstring) Charlestown have ticked just about every box for injuries to the lower half of the body.

Once again, their young brigade with be called on to step up again against another youthful outfit in Weston.

With regular starters missing on the weekend, Charlestown fought hard against Adamstown in what was described as a scrappy match at Lisle Carr Oval. The young Blues went within minutes of claiming all three points in a positive result for the future.

Charlestown may not have claimed a victory in their last three matches, but they have performed admirably with a tight loss to the table-topping Jaffas, followed by a tight loss to Edgeworth and followed by the draw with Adamstown.

However, if they want to keep touch with the top four, a win is a must for the Blues this weekend.

Weston had a positive start to the season, undefeated in four of their opening five matches, but, the last three weeks has seen three league losses, along with their victory in the Westfield FFA Cup against Cooks Hill.

They don’t seem to be far off a victory, pushing Edgeworth all the way on the weekend, and Hamilton the week before.

Their defending in key moments has hurt them along with their inability to finish off chances and Steve Piggott will be looking for his side to take another step in the right direction this weekend.

What the Coaches Said: 

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“There are no easy games for us, we haven’t got any wins so not too many changes. We have just got to put together 90 minutes of real good stuff and as least amount of mistakes as we can that don’t cost us.

“We probably in the last 15 to 20 minutes we just couldn’t keep the ball against Edgeworth. We were tired and the midweek game caught up with us, there is no doubt about that. We have got another one next week when we play Maitland. The FFA Cup is having a little bit of an impact on the squad and we’ll have to see what we can do this to try and take that impact away. Our main focus at the minute is Charlestown this weekend and try and get three points.”

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“I just think they don’t deserve to be where they are on the table. I think that they have been in a lot of matches and it just hasn’t gone their way. Beware the team that hasn’t had a win, they are probably looking forward to play us to try and get one.”

“With 30 minutes to go in the FFA Cup against the Jaffas, I had two senior players from my starting 11 on the field only and Jaffas scored two late goals so we found out that some young guys can step up against a full strength Jaffas side. There was a couple of guys who made their debut against Adamstown and they can hold their head up high as well.”

Key: Playing for 90 minutes. Steve Piggott has stressed it to his squad. Can the Bears put it together on Sunday?

 

Hamilton Olympic v Lake Macquarie City Roosters
2.30pm Sunday 14th May at Darling Street Oval

Last Meeting: Round 12, 2014: Lake Macquarie 5 Hamilton 1 at Macquarie Field.

Ladder: Hamilton 5th (14), Lakes 6th (12)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Hamilton – Drew Phoenix 1-1 (a), Won Bears 2-0 (h), Drew Eagles 1-1 (a)

Lakes – Drew Jets 3-3 (h), Lost Magpies 0-1 (a), Won Rosebud 2-1 (a) 

Bottom Line

Hamilton will be keen to get themselves back into the winner's circle this weekend after a three-week period where they haven’t been firing on all cylinders.

They were brilliant in their round four catch-up match against Maitland three weeks ago, but, since then they have only won once in three matches on route to slipping out of the top four.

If the last three weeks is the worst Olympic will play all season, that will please Mick Bolch. They haven’t lost, and still have Rhys Cooper, Andrew Swan and Danny Ireland to welcome back to the side in the coming weeks.

Lake Macquarie too has stuttered recently after flying out of the blocks at the start of the season, however, coach Anthony Richards says his side much prefers to be the underdogs.

Against the Jets Youth, they started well, before fading in the second half and ultimately giving up the three points in the final ten minutes as the Jets Youth drew level.

Lakes don’t have a great recent record against Olympic even though they won in their last meeting. Hamilton have won four of the last six, with Lakes winning one, along with a solitary draw during that period.

Lakes have also not won at Darling Street since August 2008.

Kyle Hodges (toe) will be assessed before the weekend’s match after returning last week against former club Valentine. Danny Ireland, Rhys Cooper and Andrew Swan will remain out for Olympic.

What the Coaches Said:

Michael Bolch (Hamilton)

“Sam Walker is obviously a danger man up front, he’s leading goalscorer in the comp at the moment. Blake Green has been doing well for them, Tommy Walker has been doing well for them. They are a similar side to Valentine, they do well on the counter-attack. They work hard across the park, so we’ll need to be on our game.”

“We are not where we need to be. If you break it down in our last four games we have had two wins and two draws, so even though we are not playing brilliantly at the moment we are still picking up points and it’ll come. It’s just around the corner, the boys are working hard. We still have improvement in us.”

Anthony Richards (Lakes)

“I think we’d rather play these games, to be honest. These are the games that we like looking forward to, the big games where there is no real pressure on us. People sort of expected us to beat the Jets, yet, they are still a handy little side and well coached. These are the better games for us against the Olympics and Edgys [Edgeworth], where we go in as the complete underdog and that’s where we like to be.”

“Starsky and Hutch [Kane Goodchild and Scott Smith] up front they are pretty good those two boys, the two coppers. Or is it Jon and Ponch, out of CHiPs? They are good all over the park and they have been for a long time. Olympic has done really well to keep a core of players together and that is the secret.”

Key: Kane Goodchild and Scott Smith. Combined they have scored eight this season. Six of those have come at Darling Street. Can they strike again at home?

 

Maitland FC v Lambton Jaffas
2.30pm Sunday 14th May at Cooks Square Park

Last Meeting: Round 15, 2016: Lambton 1 Maitland 4 at Arthur Edden Oval.

Ladder: Maitland 2nd (16), Lambton 1st (17)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Maitland – Won Magic 7-0 (a), Won Roosters 1-0 (h), Won Bears 1-0 (h)

Lambton – Won Rosebud 3-1 (a), Won Blues 2-1 (a), Drew Magic 1-1 (h)

Bottom Line

A top of the table clash worthy of ‘Match of the Round’ billing this match could prove crucial in the race to the premiership. It’s a six-point match and if one side can claim all three points it will put them in the box seat come to the halfway point of the season.

There is little more to say about the Magpies than they were brilliant on the weekend. Matt Thompson was the conductor and combined with Josh Dutton-Black on the left edge and Ryan Clarke on the right, Maitland were an unstoppable force.

They were the lowest scoring side coming into the match, so to score seven goals was a surprise in a fixture many thought would be tight. They now boast the second-best attack in the competition, while their defence is the third-best after eight matches.

Lambton will be fresh after the bye and it will be interesting to see whether the week off has given them a chance to get over some bumps and bruises from the opening two months or whether they may come out a little rusty.

The signing of Ryan Griffiths during the week is sure to be a boost, and with leading goal-scorer Pat Brown returning to full fitness, along with veteran Joel Griffiths, there will be plenty of competition for spots in the front third when the youngest of the Griffiths brothers arrives.

Lambton hasn't lost in four matches and while they were defeated in their last meeting with Maitland, they are undefeated in three of the last four against the Magpies.

Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (calf) and Matt Comerford (ankle) are in doubt for Maitland, while Pat Brown (knee) and Joel Griffiths (hip flexor) are a chance to return on Sunday.

What the Coaches Said: 

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“We just sort of got on with the job and put that [7-0 win on the weekend] to one side. It was the same as the Valentine game where we got beat 4-0, we didn’t say an awful lot and just went ‘right that was one of those days, we move on’ and get on with the job. Last week was the reverse and we did well and we still have got to get on with the job. We haven’t won anything yet and there’s no cups given out or trophies given out for last week’s win.”

“It’s not rocket science and the game hasn’t changed in 150 years that it has been played. You’ve got to be able to pass the ball well and you’ve got to be able to control it and be prepared to move into a position to receive it again. That’s what we are just hammering through to the guys – hard work will beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard and we’ve got a fair bit of talent and they work hard so we are a difficult team to beat.”

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“I went and watched [last weekend] and I think they are a good solid side. Anything you get from them you are going to have to earn it. I think if anything, their away record looks a little bit better than their home record at the minute so that might lend itself a little but to what I saw on the weekend. They look like they try to counter-attack mostly and I think that is easier to do on the smaller tighter grounds. Cooks Square Park for me is quite a big open ground so it will be interesting to see if they do the same thing tactically up there.”

“[The wind] won’t affect us too much. We’ve got the scope to either be expansive if the conditions are really good or if we need to be a little compact we can do that. That is with and without the ball. It’s usually the first thing I write on the whiteboard every week pre-match, that we have got to play the conditions, so we will keep an eye out for it as we get up there and see what it is like and adjust accordingly.”

Key: How will Lambton respond after the week off? Will they be fresher and faster or will they be a bit rusty to start the match?




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1st Grade - PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues - Senior