PS4 NPL NNSW Semi-finals 1st Leg Preview
PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS
Match of the Round
Broadmeadow Magic v Edgeworth Eagles
6.30pm Saturday 19th August at Magic Park
Last Meeting: Round 12, 2017: Broadmeadow 0 Edgeworth 3 at Magic Park.
Ladder: Broadmeadow 4th (39), Edgeworth 1st (43)
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Broadmeadow – Won Olympic 2-1, Won Jets 2-0 (h), Won Magpies 3-1 (a)
Edgeworth – Drew Roosters 2-2 (h), Won Phoenix 5-0 (a), Won Bears 3-0 (h)
Nine matches ago, Broadmeadow Magic’s finals hopes were in dire straits, beaten 3-0 by Edgeworth at home in one of the most one-sided matches played all season.
Magic were totally outplayed that afternoon, but the way in which they have turned their season around since has been nothing short of incredible.
Broadmeadow has won nine straight PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues (NPL) Northern NSW matches to roar into the finals and in the wash-up finish just four points off the side they play in week one of the playoffs.
Last weekend, Magic deserved to win 2-1 at Darling Street in a tight match. James Virgili and Scott Pettit scored the goals as Broadmeadow entered the finals in the best possible form.
Edgeworth, on other hand, drew 2-2 with a depleted Lake Macquarie side on Sunday.
Down 2-0 heading into the final 15 minutes the Eagles fought back to share the points, but how much can be read into that result is debatable after they won the Premiership on Saturday night with Magic’s win over Olympic.
It is difficult to see Edgeworth not getting back on the horse this weekend and putting on a strong display against Broadmeadow.
The sides have met on two occasions this season, with a tight draw in their round one clash, and Edgeworth winning the second. Historically, Magic haven’t beaten Edgeworth in 8 matches dating back to 2015.
Both sides have recent history in the finals.
The teams met in the 2015 finals series – a repeat of the 2017 semi-finals – where Edgeworth got through to the Grand Final across two tight legs 3-3 and 0-0 on the away goals rule. Last season they met in the Grand Final where Edgeworth won 2-1.
After sealing their third straight Premiership Edgeworth head into the clash as favourites, but it shapes as their toughest test against Broadmeadow this season.
What the Coaches Said:
Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)
“It was nice to see young ones come in and do a good job [against Hamilton], Jeremy Wilson in particular. Also, just changing the formation a bit, playing people in positions that they have never played. They are all good players and they are slowly getting their good football education and they are slowly improving week to week so I’m really, really proud of them.”
“They [Edgeworth] are just a class outfit, they are just good all over the park. They are extremely well coached, they are a well-drilled team. Make no mistakes they have got key players that hold their structure together. They have got players that can pop up and hurt you and they’ve had many different goal-scorers, and I think that is a testament to their organisation and the fact that there is a lot of movement and rotations between positions. That signals to me that they are well-coached and they can fill in for each other.”
Damian Zane (Edgeworth)
“I tried to motivate the boys with a few little stats [last weekend] and we came out and won a penalty. At nil-all, the boys thought it was a good idea for Lachie [Pasquale] to take it and try and score his first goal of the year. I just thought that was the wrong thing to do. Fair enough if it was 2-0, but the first job was to take care of business, and we paid for it straight after. I smashed them at half-time, it was Old Boys Day and it was sort of good in a way. If was scored the penalty I thought we would have got another one and had a poor second half where it sort of petered out.”
“They [Magic] are on a good run. We were the last team to beat them as well, so they’ve been on a good run but we have got the better of them so far this year. It’s just like another game. We are very respectful of our opponents no matter who they are. We’ll be the same this week, but we’ll back ourselves every game. That’s who we want to be as a club and what we expect.”
Key: Can Magic turn the tide of their recent results against Edgeworth and get off to a flying start?
Lambton Jaffas v Hamilton Olympic
2.30pm Sunday 20th August at Arthur Edden Oval
Last Meeting: Round 12, 2017: Lambton 3 Hamilton 2 at Arthur Edden Oval.
Ladder: Lambton 3rd (39), Hamilton 2nd (40)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Hamilton – Lost Magic 1-2 (h), Won Roosters 4-0 (a), Won Phoenix 2-1 (h)
Lambton – Won Jets 4-2 (a), Lost Magpies 1-2 (h), Won Rosebud 6-1 (h)
For the third time in the last five seasons Hamilton and Lambton will clash in the finals of top flight football in the Northern NSW region and if those clashes are anything to go by the next two legs will be as tight as ever.
In 2013, the sides met in two enthralling contests, one in the qualifying final, the other in the preliminary final, both at Arthur Edden Oval. Both finished 1-1 and Lambton won both penalty shootouts 5-4.
In 2015, the sides would meet again, this time over two legs.
Hamilton won the first match 2-1 at Darling Street Oval, and Lambton won the second 2-1 after 90 minutes and the clash headed into extra-time.
On this occasion, Rhys Cooper would erase the 2013 heartache for Olympic fans and score an extra-time goal to send Hamilton through to the Grand Final.
Two years on and the sides meet again, and although Hamilton lost on the weekend and Lambton claimed the three points, over the past two months Olympic have been the better of the two sides.
Hamilton went down 2-1 to Magic on the weekend and rested several players – as did Magic – including Tom Davies along with twins Matt and Andrew Swan.
Before their defeat to Broadmeadow, Olympic hadn’t lost in eight matches dating back to their round 12 encounter with the Jaffas.
In contrast, Lambton’s win over the Jets Youth was just their third victory in their last seven matches and in comparison to Olympic they have limped into the finals in third place.
But, the Jaffas showed plenty of fight against the young Jets scoring four unanswered goals after being down 2-0 early.
Add that to their unbeaten record against Hamilton, with two come-from-behind 3-2 victories already this season against Olympic, Lambton will be confident.
In a significant boost for the home side Jobe Wheelhouse who played 30 minutes last weekend, off the bench in his return from injury, is likely to see more game time on Sunday.
On recent form, Olympic head into this clash as slim favourites, but with Lambton winning both matches this season it swings the scales back towards them. There won’t be much that splits these two sides after 180 minutes of football – if anything.
What the Coaches Said:
James Pascoe (Lambton)
“I haven’t seen a lot of them [Hamilton] lately. They’ve obviously had a terrific run to get themselves into the position they got themselves into late on. In terms of their threats, they seem to be fairly similar to where they have come from in the last few years. We have beaten them twice, but we don’t go into it overconfident. We expect to win both legs, but obviously, they are a group of boys that is going to break up after this year and a fairly tight group so it’ll be interesting that’s for sure.”
“I think it’s going to be pretty cagey. You can certainly find yourself out of the tie after a poor performance in the first leg so it lends itself I think to the teams being a little more compact and being able to absorb a little bit of pressure rather than leave yourself too open. Having said that, when I look at our record, we have scored 46 goals across the course of the season proper. We’ve just got to go out and play our normal game to a degree and be a little bit extra aware in other areas. The one thing we’ve got in our group is enough goals to win two games of football against anyone.”
Mick Bolch (Hamilton)
“They [Lambton] have beaten us both times they have played us [this year] so you would think they would be the favourites. Obviously, it will hinge on whether Jobe Wheelhouse plays or not. He came off the bench for 30 minutes on the weekend so we will see where he is at. We should nearly have everyone back on board. We were on a good run until the weekend, but it’s a new ball game come semi-final time.”
“We have just switched off a couple of times for ten minute periods [against Lambton this season] and they have put us to bed. The biggest thing for us is staying mentally focused for 90 minutes. If you break down the first game we completely dominated the first half and led 2-0, we had a chance to go 3-0 up and then within a 15-minute period they scored three goals, and the same [happened] second round. They are very dangerous when they get on a bit of a roll they can score goals quickly.”
Key: Twice this season Lambton have scored their three goals against Olympic in the second half. Can Hamilton keep the focus after the break and stop Lambton getting on a roll?