NPL Northern NSW Round 5 Preview
Match of the Round
Broadmeadow Magic v Charlestown City Blues
Sunday 15th April, 2:30 pm at Magic Park
Two title contenders meet at Magic Park again this weekend – this time a wounded Broadmeadow play host to a Charlestown side on the hunt for their fifth win on the trot.
Each side comes into this one off the back of vastly different round four matches. Magic went down to a plucky Weston outfit, while Charlestown managed to claim a last-gasp win over Lambton.
Results between these two sides have historically been dead even. They’ve both won six each in the league since 2012, with each claiming a win every season over the other.
It was a shock result for Magic out at Rockwell Automation Park last weekend though when they went down to 2-1 to Weston. The Magic boys will be out and hungry to snap a two-game losing streak on this Sunday.
Despite the loss, one positive Broadmeadow will be able to take from, is the league debut of youngster Sam Webb, who came on midway through the second half and went close to levelling the scores in the dying minutes of the match.
There have been casualties from last Sunday however, with Dino Fajkovic in doubt due to a hamstring complaint and Jacob Dowse will miss out with a knee injury he picked up in the 20s match.
This weekend’s opponents may suit Magic’s style of play, given they like to take advantage of space in behind and use their wide men to run at defenders.
You have to sift through the records back as far as 2006 to find the last time any side won their first five games in the league – that year it was Edgeworth, who went on to win the league by a margin of six points but lost in the grand final.
The first half of Charlestown clash with Lambton last weekend was as frantic as a semi-final match-up, and they grounded out the second-half managing to nick all three points at the death.
Scarily for the rest of the competition, Charlestown coach David Tanchevski said at the start of the season that his side would improve throughout the season as they spent more time together.
Five weeks in, and this is a prophecy which seems to be slowly fulfilling itself. The absence of Kane Goodchild hasn’t had the negative impact which their title contenders may have hoped, and the Blues look more dangerous than ever.
What the coaches said:
Ruben Zadkovich (Magic)
“Charlestown are going to be a difficult side to play against, they’ve proven in the last few weeks how good they are, they’re very solid and don’t concede many goals, and they’ve got guys that can hurt you so we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.
“We haven’t had much luck in the past couple of weeks, it’s about improving in a few areas and I think we’ll be alright in the next match. I think it’s more so a lack of focus at key points during games rather than lack of effort, last week we could have been two, three, four up and we didn’t take those chances. We make a schoolboy mistake, gift a goal, Maguire scores a bomb, and then we’re behind and then it’s a mentality thing.
“We’re looking for a ninety-minute performance (this weekend) to be honest, in patches in games we’ve been good. Against Lambton, we were poor for seventy-five, eighty minutes, and then in the final ten had ten or fifteen chances… if we can put it together for longer periods in games, we’ll be alright, but that’s not to say it won’t be difficult because we’re playing against a quality team.”
David Tanchevski (Charlestown)
“Same approach as what we’ve been doing, not too much will change. Cal (Lewis) came in for Kane Goodchild on the weekend and did a really good job, so he’ll continue up front and the rest of the squad at this point are available so we’ll see that we can get through training on Thursday night, and it’ll be a pretty similar start to what we’ve been doing.
“I think with Broadmeadow, you’re always up for a tough match and when you play the top teams they’re always hard to beat, Magic will want a reaction and will probably be a bit more desperate and they have quality players – guys like James Virgili, Kale (Bradbury), Dino (Fajkovic) and Maj (John Majurovski) up front can hurt you… we’ll be setting up like we normally do.
“They’re no different to the Jaffas front three or the Maitland front three, they’ve got the speed and quality that can change the game so we’ve got to make sure defensively we’re working as a unit, which is what we’ve been working on over the past couple of weeks.”
Lambton Jaffas v Adamstown Rosebud
Saturday 14th April, 2:30 pm at Arthur Edden Oval
Bouncing back from losses last weekend which were disappointing for different reasons, Lambton welcome Adamstown to Arthur Edden Oval in a match which is a must-win for both sides.
There isn’t any doubt about who is the dominant side in the recent history between these two teams. Adamstown hasn’t beat Jaffas since Lambton was promoted in 2014, and in fact, have only drawn once from ten matches between the two.
The last time they met, Jaffas claimed a big victory; 6-1 at Arthur Edden Oval back in round 19 last season, with Pat Brown scoring three on the day.
For the home side this weekend, it’s a good opportunity to crack back into the winners’ circle after losing last weekend’s clash with Charlestown with the last kick of the game.
What’s especially encouraging for Lambton this weekend, however, is the chance of Jobe Wheelhouse returning to the lineup. He sat on the bench last weekend due to Michael Kantarovski withdrawing late due to injury.
Building on their early home form this season will be crucial to Lambton’s chances in the league this season. They’ve won both games at home and only taken a point from two matches on the road.
Adamstown has technically picked their only point in an away match, but it is only on a technicality – they managed it against the Jets Youth at Adamstown Oval in round one, where they were the away side.
Rosebud would have regarded last weekend’s match against Lakes as one which they may have been able to take points from, but a red card and four goals against sees them now rooted to the bottom of the ladder.
It’s just about a full contingent for Adamstown this weekend, with the return of Luke Rutledge from suspension likely to cover for Danilo O’Brien who was sent off in the second half of their defeat to Lakes last weekend.
What the coaches said:
Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Adamstown)
“The results over the last two weeks don’t look good, I think if you break the games down a little bit then bad scenarios have caused games to fall apart in our hands, we have young boys out there still learning the game and finding what it takes to continue and battle on.
“The game of football, it doesn’t matter if they’re top of the table or not, anyone can win the game and it’s just a matter of turning up, working hard and getting that little bit of luck. Lambton are a good side, well-organised and some experienced players, full of confidence, they’re going to come at us with their game and it’s in their hands to lose.
“They have to come to us and perform, we have nothing to lose.”
Edgeworth Eagles v Weston Workers Bears
Saturday 14th April, 5:30 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval
Saturday night football is back at Jack McLaughlan Oval, and this weekend the Eagles play host to a Weston outfit who will be flying high after knocking off Broadmeadow last weekend.
It’s been a long time since Weston have beat Edgeworth. The Eagles have had the better of this fixture with wins in their past five encounters.
You have to go back almost three years since Weston last beat Edgeworth, and back further still to 2013 to find the last time the Bears beat the Eagles at Jack McLaughlan Oval – that day, it was on penalties in the elimination final.
Four rounds and three matches in for Edgeworth and they’d have to be awarded a pass mark for their efforts so far. Two wins and a loss to Lambton with a relatively new-look side is a good start.
To grind out a result in the fashion they did against the Jets Youth in that 1-0 victory last weekend is another good sign for Edgeworth, but they’ll have to take a different approach this weekend.
Weston showed their resilience in defence and sat back for much of their match last weekend, while Edgeworth were outplayed by the young Jets for periods of their match. A different type of approach for the Eagles may be necessary this weekend.
Two wins this season for the Bears already doubles their tally from last season and equals their total across the past two. If they’re to grab the three points this weekend, it’ll be the first time they’ve gone back to back since round 8 and 9 of the 2015 season.
Of course, last Sunday was that stunning win over Broadmeadow which shocked the competition. Goals from Tega Marcus and Josh Maguire, paired with a stunning defensive performance in the second half seen Weston make it through.
The departure of Sam Ford from the club erodes the Bears’ depth slightly, given his ability to play in either the defence or midfield. The return of Jake Barner against Broadmeadow at the weekend will help fill that void.
What the coaches said:
Damien Zane (Edgeworth):
“We’re improving, our first half last weekend (against the Jets) and there were probably ten or fifteen minutes where we defended and did it well, I think we fatigued a touch in the heat and made a few cheap mistakes and turnovers, but I was pretty happy… if you can defend well, you give yourself a chance to win the game.
“I like Weston, they’re a good side with a bit of experience this year, so I think they’re a real threat this year and it’ll be a tough match… Macca is 50/50 for this weekend and if he does play a role it’ll be off the bench, Dylan Holz was really crook on the weekend but he had Tuesday night off to recover and get himself back to 100%.”
Hamilton Olympic v Newcastle Jets Youth
Saturday 14th April, 6 pm at Darling Street Oval
The fourth game of the season for Hamilton and it’s their fourth under lights, as they return to Darling Street Oval for a floodlit Saturday night matchup against Jets Youth.
It’s been close to six years since a Jets Youth side has beaten Hamilton. A 4-2 win on the 6th of May, 2012 was the last time Hamilton conceded all three points.
The last time these two sides went head to head in round 16 last season, Hamilton needed two goals in the final twenty minutes to edge their way past in a 2-1 win.
As mentioned the last time Hamilton played a mid-evening match at Darling Street Oval, despite their heavy association with the fixture they don’t boast the best record there. They haven’t won in their last six 6 pm kickoffs.
Last weekend’s bye will have come at a good time for Hamilton, who have used a couple of rescheduled under 20s fixtures to get game time into key legs – including the likes of Stuart Musalik, Simon Mooney, and Jacob Bailey.
Musalik will miss out this weekend, however, with Bailey an uncertainty. Blake Green will continue his stint on the sidelines thanks to a bruised foot he picked up in round one, while Jed Honery strained his hamstring against Valentine and may play a role this weekend.
Olympic may view this weekend as a good opportunity to attempt to put some distance between themselves and the wrong end of the ladder. They’re one of three teams on 4 points, currently sitting in seventh.
The tight 1-0 loss last weekend was the young Jets’ first of the campaign, and things don’t get any easier this weekend up against Hamilton.
It was a performance which Jets coach Lawrie McKinna rued ‘deserved something’, given their improvement at the back end of the pitch meant they managed to keep things much more compact.
They went toe-to-toe with a young opponent in Edgeworth, but this weekend is a different type of challenge against a Hamilton side which boasts wily characters of some experience.
What the coaches said:
Peter McGuinness (Hamilton)
“I went and watched the Jets play last weekend and they had the lions share of possession in the second half, had a few opportunities and I thought they were very competitive last week and did alright, they’ll be difficult for us this weekend.
“Simon Mooney, Jacob Bailey and Stu Musalik have been back in the 20s to get some game fitness… Stu has had a reoccurrence of an injury and won’t play this weekend, Simon Mooney will come into the first team squad as he’s done well since he started playing again, and Jacob Bailey I’m unsure of at the moment.”
Lake Macquarie City v Valentine Phoenix
Sunday 15th April, 2:30 pm at Macquarie Field
A local derby will be played at Macquarie Field, with this weekend’s hosts looking to claim back-to-back wins for the first time since late 2016 while Valentine is searching for their first of the season.
Phoenix claimed a 1-0 win over a ten-man Lakes the last time these two met, thanks to a Jalon Brown goal in the 75th minute back at the start of June last year.
Points are finally on the board for Lakes, after they managed to knock off a ten-man Adamstown side 4-0 on Sunday. Mitch Hunter and Paul Sichalwe both scored their first league goals for the club in that one.
The last two times the Roosters have played at Macquarie Field has been against two of the league’s big dogs in Broadmeadow and Charlestown, but this weekend isn’t exactly an easier assignment.
It is, however, a chance for Lakes to claim back-to-back wins for the first time in their short time in the NPL. The last time they managed two in a row was at the backend of the 2016 NEWFM First Division competition.
An already injury-hit Valentine side had the misery piled on last weekend, with Scott Carter exiting with a dislocated left shoulder in the late stages of their draw with Maitland.
That result, 1-all at Cooks Square Park, was the second point Valentine has taken from a good opposition this year. However, four rounds in and they’re one of only two teams not to have won in the NPL NNSW this season.
Scott Carter isn’t the only injury concern this weekend. Chris Brown will continue to miss out after hurting his knee in the loss to the Jets Youth in round two, while Daniel Ott is out until at least the start of May. Zac Sneddon may be in line for a return though, depending on how he trains this week.
What the coaches said:
Nick Webb (Lakes)
“We’ve been in every game other than the Magic game; last week was just rewards and 4-0 probably didn’t do justification to the performance, it could’ve been anything before half-time and the ten-men made it a bit easy, but we dominated from start to finish and we’re looking forward to Valentine.
“I’ve watched Valentine a couple of times, so there’s no surprises there but we’re just concentrating on ourselves and doing the best with what we have. Last weekend’s win absolutely gave us confidence, we hadn’t scored a goal until then besides an own goal and we were starting to doubt a few things… we converted four, it could have been double and that’s a good thing.”
Darren Sills (Valentine)
“We’ll go into this one fairly similar to how we did against Maitland, we’ve taken some time to gel as a unit with seven new players and we’re working towards getting that right, each week we’re improving and keep doing what we’re doing… the boys are hungry, we’re training quite well and we’ve just got to bring that to game day.
“We’ll concentrate on our own game this weekend, I’ll sit down and have a look at their tape from last weekend on Wednesday night, but I used to coach both Walker brothers and I know what Sam especially can do, a couple of other boys like Mitch Hunter seem to be in form, so they’ll be on a high after their win and for us to be competitive in the competition we need to get three points.”
Maitland have the bye