PS4 NPL NNSW Round 21 Preview










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Match of the Round
Valentine Phoenix v Edgeworth Eagles
2.30pm Saturday 5th August at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2017: Edgeworth 1 Valentine 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
Ladder: Valentine 5th (32pts), Edgeworth 1st (39)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Valentine – Lost Olympic 1-2 (a), Drew Magpies 2-2 (h), Won Jets 3-2 (h)

Edgeworth – Won Bears 3-0 (h), Won Blues 3-1 (a), Lost Olympic 0-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Both Valentine and Edgeworth have experienced heartache in recent times, and while one was on the national stage and the other locally, each defeat had similar importance for both sides.

Last weekend, with a chance to keep themselves in the top four and potentially put themselves in the box seat for a first finals appearance since 2010, all appeared to be going along just fine for Valentine.

Josh Murray put them ahead, and they were on their way to a famous victory against a club with a much bigger budget. But, an equaliser from Kane Goodchild and a last-minute winner from Daniel Bird sent the Phoenix home empty handed.

Now their finals hopes hinge on this weekend. They’ll have to do what just two local sides have done this season – beat Edgeworth. Without victory against the Eagles, a top four is almost impossible. A season which promised so much, may fall short of its destiny.

Similarly, for Edgeworth, they will know exactly what the Phoenix’s pain feels like. In the Westfield FFA Cup, they too played against a side with a much bigger budget. They too had their opportunities. But, a last-minute goal from South Melbourne striker Milos Luijic and they went home empty handed.

There is so much at stake this weekend.

Edgeworth will be aiming to keep ahead in the race for their third premiership, and keep alive the dream of the triple-double (three premierships and three Grand Final wins in three consecutive years). A feat not achieved since the Weston side of the early 70s.

Meanwhile, Valentine will be trying to make the finals for the first time since 2010.

Edgeworth are no doubt favourites, but against a Phoenix side who has lost just once at home this year, and whose season is on the line, this one could go down to the wire.

What the Coaches Said:

Sam Griffin (Valentine Assistant)

“The message [after last weekend’s loss] is going to be that we are good enough. I genuinely believe that the players we have are good enough and the team is even better again. It’s decent individually, but I feel like as a team we have the capability to win everything. We knew that if we wanted to win the comp, we would have to beat Edgeworth at some point and it may as well be this week.”

“I’m liking that they’ve [Edgeworth] played a few games recently. It would have been good if they had of beaten South Melbourne so might have been that little bit more distracted. But, it could go the other way. They might have their confidence dented a bit, and realise they’re not invincible and it would be good for us to exploit that. Again, if you look at where we can poke holes in them it is a short conversation, but we’ll find one.”

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“They [Valentine] are well organised. I watched the game on the weekend, and they have to count themselves unlucky not to get something out of it in the end. A mistake by Reece [Pettit] but he couldn’t be faulted in general. That’s the game isn’t it, you get punished for one mistake. They were good and around the time of their goal they had a few chances and could have gone 2-0 up and they definitely wouldn’t have lost the game from there. They would have won it to be honest.”

“I think we still have been defending well, but we haven’t kept a clean sheet in a while. It was good to get that back on track [last weekend]. I thought we defended really well in the Cup, and probably should have kept a clean sheet there. It’s a different beast, Valentine down at that ground [Cahill Oval]. It is quite easy to get Jalon Brown isolated against guys, because it is so big. They do counter and use him quite well.”

Key: Can this weekend’s must win match bring out the best in the Phoenix?

 

Lambton Jaffas v Maitland Magpies
2.30pm Saturday 5th August at Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2017: Maitland 1 Lambton 2 at Cooks Square Park.
Ladder: Lambton 3rd (36), Maitland 6th (28)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Maitland – Lost Magic 1-3 (h), Won Roosters 4-0 (a), Drew Phoenix 2-2 (a)

Lambton – Won Rosebud 6-1 (h), Drew Blues 2-2 (h), Lost Magic 1-3 (a)

Bottom Line

While Lambton had the weekend off in Round 20, Maitland had their hopes all but ended by Broadmeadow Magic in a 3-1 defeat at home.

Although they are still a chance mathematically, it seems more like an impossible mission for the Magpies, who now sit five points outside the top four.

In recent weeks, Maitland will rue the two goals they conceded late against Hamilton in round 15, where three points were all but secure until they fell apart defensively. Then in round 18 against a ten-man Valentine outfit they could only manage a draw.

While draws have stalled their progress, the Magpies have been difficult to beat, losing just two of their last eight matches.

In addition, their record away from home is also very good, with Maitland losing just one of their nine trips away from Cooks Square Park.

Their opponents Lambton experienced a difficult run of form before having the weekend off with the bye.

They lost to Broadmeadow and drew with Charlestown, before winning last start against Adamstown in a canter by six goals to one.

While the Jaffas have sat at the top of the ladder for much of the year, the recent form slump has meant they are not yet assured of a finals spot.

Victory over Maitland on Sunday would ensure their spot in the finals and a point would go a long way to confirming their place in the top four.

However, with Jobe Wheelhouse and Nathan Morris still out indefinitely, the task is still a little tricky for the understrength Jaffas.

What the Coaches Said:

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“[Maitland are a] good side, a positive goal difference of plus ten, that tells a story in itself I think. They had the issues around the weather at the start of the year which made it really quite difficult for them, I think. On their day, they are as good as anyone so not expecting anything but a very tough game.”

“I think it’s really important, obviously, the bye last week and the 6-1 result the week before against Adamstown was pleasing. So, if we can build on that result with a couple of positive results into the first week of the finals I think very quickly confidence gets restored and all of those sorts of things. We are confident that we well finish the season well.”

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“They [Lambton] are up there and they are doing well. They have recruited players, good players and they have made themselves very difficult to beat. But, having said that, for all the good players they have recruited they should be sitting on top of the comp and not in the position they are at the moment. They are one of the top four and they are going to be difficult to beat.”

“Mathematically we are still in with a chance so we have just got to do the best we can and just work as hard. If we play at our best we can beat anyone, we’ve just got to go and do it. We haven’t been doing it on a regular basis and there are reasons for that. We’ve just got to make sure we get a result and other results go our way. It’s a slim chance, but there is still a chance and we’ve got to go for it.” 

Key: Can Lambton record back-to-back wins for the first time since early June, and set sail for a finals assault?

 

Broadmeadow Magic v Newcastle Jets Youth
2.30pm Sunday 6th August at Magic Park

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2017: Jets Youth 1 Broadmeadow 4 at Magic Park.
Ladder: Broadmeadow 4th (33), Jets Youth 10th (15)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Broadmeadow – Won Magpies 3-1 (a), Won Rosebud 3-0 (h), Won Jaffas 3-1 (h)

Jets Youth – Won Roosters 5-0 (h), Won Bears 1-0 (h), Lost Eagles 1-4 (a)

Bottom Line

Broadmeadow farewell a legend of the club on Sunday in what should be a massive afternoon of Old Boys Day celebrations.

After 19 seasons of top grade action Peter Haynes has decided to call it a day, and this weekend’s match with the Jets Youth will mark his final regular season home match.

However, he will get one last match at Magic Park if Broadmeadow make the finals, which is looking increasingly likely.

Magic have achieved what no other side has managed to this year in winning seven matches straight in the league.

Seven weeks ago with their finals hopes in tatters after a round 12 defeat to Edgeworth the equation was simple. Win seven of their last nine and they would make the finals. Since that afternoon, seven of seven have been won.

Last week, in their toughest test of recent times against Maitland, Broadmeadow dug deep with injuries forcing Jon Griffiths and Josh Piddington off the field and won 3-1 to move into the top four for the first time since round four.

The Jets Youth play their first NPL match in three weeks after an up and down trip to China for the Weifang Cup, an international youth football tournament, where they finished the competition in eighth place.

The Jets tournament started brightly with a 3-1 victory over Shandong Luneng, before they were quickly brought back to earth by Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara in a 3-0 defeat.

With a spot in the semi-finals on offer in their final group match, the young Jets put in a strong performance against the Belgian giants Club Brugge, but could only manage a 2-2 draw which pushed them into the playoff spots for fifth to eighth.

Back to back losses to the u/19 Chinese National Side and FC Tokyo ensured the Jets finished the tournament in eighth.

Back in the NPL, the Jets have experienced a good recent run of form with back-to-back wins.

A tight 1-0 win against Weston, followed by a crushing 5-0 victory against Lake Macquarie saw the Jets rise to ninth, but wins for Adamstown in recent weeks have pushed the Jets back to second last – a position they will be keen to move away from.

With so much on the line for Magic, it seems there will only be one result on Sunday, but how fatigued they are after their extra-time Westfield FFA Cup defeat could have a significant bearing on the match.

What the Coaches Said:

Labinot Hailit (Jets Youth Assistant)

“I think it was a great experience [in China] for them. They learnt a lot, they lived for 10 days with other clubs and saw them first hand. It was a great opportunity and experience for them and one that will live with them forever. They got to see other clubs, big clubs at the same age and how they do things, what they do and got to play against them. It was a privilege to play in the tournament.”

“They [Magic] are always up there, every year. They are always challenging. They are always at the top, so I think it will be a good test for the boys and we are looking forward to it. There are two more games left, and we will assess how everyone pulls up [after the Weifang Cup]. First things first, we’ll let them enjoy a couple of days off, because they deserve it, and then we will see how they are feeling.”

Key: Can Magic re-focus on the finals run in after their FFA Cup disappointment?

 

Charlestown City Blues v Weston Bears
2.30pm Sunday 6th August at Lisle Carr Oval

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2017: Weston 3 Charlestown 0 at Rockwell Automation Park.
Ladder: Charlestown 8th (16), Weston 11th (7)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Charlestown – Lost Rosebud 0-1 (a), Lost Eagles 1-3 (h), Drew Jaffas 2-2 (a)

Weston – Lost Eagles 0-3 (a), Lost Olympic 0-3 (h), Lost Jets 0-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Charlestown will aim to send departing coach Shane Pryce out on a high this weekend, when they play their final match of the season at home against Weston on Sunday.

With the bye in round 22, the Blues finish their season after Sunday’s clash, and will want to take home three points to ensure they finish a rollercoaster season in at least eighth.

Defeat on Sunday, could mean Charlestown finish second-last if both Adamstown and the Jets Youth can claim victory in their final matches.

After a bright three weeks where Charlestown faced off against the current top three sides in the competition, and led in all three matches, they couldn’t repeat the dose against Adamstown on Saturday falling 1-0 in a tight contest at Adamstown Oval.

It’s been the story of the Blues season. They have shown their quality, but not consistently enough over the year.

Weston come into the match on the back of a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Edgeworth in a match described by many to have lacked intensity.

The Bears will want to add another win to a disappointing season. Their only victory came in their round 10 clash with Charlestown where they ran out comprehensive 3-0 victors at home.

Neither side has tasted much success this season and both will be keen to end the year on a positive note.

The Bears have won just once in their 18 matches thus far, while Charlestown have only won once in their last 13 matches after they started so brightly with three wins in their first six matches.

It’s a difficult match to split, but the Blues may just head into the clash with the edge, playing their final match and looking to make it a positive farewell for Shane Pryce.

What the Coaches Said:

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“They are a bit of a rudderless ship at the minute. Shane has probably clocked off a bit. He is moving on. Their results have been mixed, they’ve played a few young guys the last couple of weeks and again it’s a battle of two teams who are probably not doing too well.”

“I spoke to a couple of players today about the disappointing effort last weekend [against Edgeworth] and most of the players are primed and at this stage. In the talks I’ve had they want to do better than we did last weekend and try and get two victories. That’s always the aim, whether we are successful at that it will be up to what we do and what the other team come out and do. We beat them [Charlestown] in the last round, so I think it’ll be another tight game. Whoever makes the most mistakes will probably get punished.”

Key: Which side can release the shackles and put a difficult season behind them?

 

Lake Macquarie Roosters v Hamilton Olympic
2.30pm Sunday 6th August at Macquarie Field 

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2017: Hamilton 1 Lake Macquarie 1 at Darling Street Oval.
Ladder: Lakes 7th (22), Hamilton 2nd (37)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Hamilton – Won Phoenix 2-1 (h), Won Bears 3-0 (a), Won Eagles 1-0 (h)

Lakes – Lost Magpies 0-4 (h), Lost Jets 0-5 (a), Won Rosebud 3-1 (h)

Bottom Line

It’s amazing just how much the seasons of both Hamilton and Lake Macquarie have changed since their last meeting in round nine.

Lakes were sitting in sixth, and Hamilton fifth. Just two points separated the sides, and in the end Lakes went within a whisker of claiming all three points at Darling Street.

In yet another one of Hamilton’s comeback stories Grant Brown scored in the 86th minute to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat for Olympic.

Since that afternoon, Lakes have won just three of their last nine matches. Olympic have won seven of their last nine and instead of two points separating the sides, it is a cavernous gap of 15 points which separates them.

They say losing is a habit, as is winning and Olympic just can’t find a way to lose a game even if they tried. Hamilton have won five matches straight and in three they have been a goal down, before fighting back to claim victory on all three occasions.

Lake Macquarie have had a tough run of late, losing their last two matches and being on the end of some hefty score lines.

Lakes lost 4-0 last start to Maitland two weekends ago, which followed their 5-0 midweek thumping at the hands of the Jets Youth.

They had the week off last weekend, due to playing the Jets match earlier and have had time to process the news that coach Anthony Richards will no longer be at the club next year.

With Lakes in some turmoil, and Olympic with everything to play for the visitors will be heavy favourites to make it six straight victories.

What the Coaches Said:

Anthony Richards (Lakes)

“[I’m excited] especially when there are two games to go we get to play the two better sides in the comp. I guess, we won’t make the semi-finals but we are going to treat them like it’s our Grand Final. It’s good for us. It’s not so much about spoiling the party for Olympic, but its making sure we finish the year on a good note. We’ve done well to get to where we are and we don’t want to throw away the year with two poor results against two good sides.”

“We want to take these games like we did the first games of the year. We want to be competitive in the big games and we are still testing ourselves as we go. They can smell semi-finals those guys. The seasoned campaigners, guys that have been there a long time. The [Kane] Goodchilds and [Scott] Smiths. This is where they come into their own.”

Michael Bolch (Hamilton)

“We just got to worry about us. They [Lake Macquarie] haven’t got a great deal to play for apart from spoiling some parties. We’ll find out a lot more what happens on Saturday, realistically. The big games are played on Saturday, and they’ll decide a lot before Sunday’s game I think.”

“Obviously, the boys are gaining confidence from it each week. To me they are just getting their rewards for hard work. They put in week in and week out at training and they are receiving the rewards they deserve at the moment. We had a sit down four or five weeks ago about attendance at training and all the side distractions. To their credit the boys have really knuckled down the last five weeks and I think that is showing from the results they are getting.”

Key: In Anthony Richards’ final home game as Lake Macquarie coach, can the Roosters cause a shock and send their mentor home a winner?




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1st Grade - PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues - Senior