PS4 NPL Northern NSW Round 22 Preview

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 22 Preview
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It may be a derby, but with both sides now assured of a finals spot it seems this weekend’s evening clash may not live up to the hype which seemed to be brewing in the previous weeks.

Match of the Round
Hamilton Olympic v Broadmeadow Magic
6pm Saturday 12th August at Darling Street Oval
Last Meeting:
 Round 11, 2017: Hamilton 1 Broadmeadow 2 at Magic Park.
Ladder: Hamilton 2nd (37), Broadmeadow 4th (33)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Hamilton – Won Roosters 4-0 (a), Won Phoenix 2-1 (h), Won Bears 3-0 (a)
Broadmeadow – Won Jets 2-0 (h), Won Magpies 3-1 (a), Won Rosebud 3-0 (h) 

Bottom Line

With Valentine and Maitland in the finals race and Broadmeadow and Hamilton struggling midway through the season, this clash seemed as though it could be a decider for the final spot in the four not so long ago.

But recently Magic and Olympic put paid to that and have both confirmed they will play finals football once again.

Unfortunately for the neutrals, these are the perils of final round derbies and it looks as though both coaches will rest players in yellow card trouble to ensure there are no needless suspensions going in the finals.

But, regardless of who steps out for either side, both clubs will want the bragging rights going into the finals in what may shape as their last clash of the season.

What is certain is that both Hamilton and Magic are in white-hot form. Magic have won their last eight, Hamilton are unbeaten in eight and have won six straight.

In comparison to this time last season, Hamilton won just two of their last four going into the finals and Magic claimed victory in just one of their final four.

Both have got the formula exactly right this season and will do some damage in the finals.

It’s a difficult match to split with both sides weakened, but the statistics don’t lie and show that Hamilton don’t lose at home often.

They have lost just four of their last 45 regular season home matches and head in as slight favourites.

Key: Magic have conceded twice in their last four, Hamilton just once in four. Can either find a way to goal on a tight and compact Darling Street Oval?

 

Newcastle Jets Youth v Lambton Jaffas
2.30pm Saturday 12th August at Arthur Edden Oval
Last Meeting:
 Round 11, 2017: Jets Youth 2 Lambton 1 at Arthur Edden Oval.
Ladder: Jets Youth 10th (15), Lambton 3rd (36)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Jets Youth – Lost Magic 0-2 (a), Won Roosters 5-0 (h), Won Bears 1-0 (h)
Lambton – Lost Magpies 1-2 (h), Won Rosebud 6-1 (h), Drew Blues 2-2 (h)

Bottom Line

The biggest question on everyone’s lips is what has happened to Lambton recently?

Top of the ladder for much of the season, everything has turned sour for the Jaffas recently and the common denominator is the absence of skipper Jobe Wheelhouse.

In seven PS4 NPL matches they have played in Wheelhouse’s absence Lambton have won just three, and they were all against sides – Weston, Lake Macquarie and Adamstown – in the bottom half of the ladder.

Against sides in the top six, they have lost to Valentine (2-1), Broadmeadow (3-1), Maitland, last weekend (2-1) and had to share the points with eighth-placed Charlestown (2-2).

If the Jaffas are to be a finals force they will need their midfield maestro back, otherwise it seems that a season which promised so much may deliver so little.

The Jets, on the other hand, seem to be on the improve after what can only be described as a disappointing season, where the highest they can finish is ninth.

They have won two of their last three and were unlucky on the weekend against Broadmeadow not to get on the scoreboard with Angus Thurgate and Cameron Joice missing golden opportunities.

Key: The best attack in the Jaffas (46 scored) and the worst defence in the Jets Youth (52 conceded) meet. Can the Jets keep Lambton’s strong front-men quiet? 

 

Weston Bears v Valentine Phoenix
2.30pm Sunday 13th August at Rockwell Automation Park
Last Meeting:
 Round 11, 2017: Valentine 2 Weston 1 at Cahill Oval.
Ladder: Weston 11th (7), Valentine 5th (32)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Weston – Lost Blues 1-2 (a), Lost Eagles 0-3 (a), Lost Olympic 0-3 (h)
Valentine – Lost Eagles 0-5 (h), Lost Olympic 1-2 (a), Drew Magpies 2-2 (h)

Bottom Line

Valentine will round out their bright season on Sunday with a trip up to the Hunter Valley where they meet the Weston Bears who will end a second straight season with the wooden spoon.

For such a long period of the season it seemed as though the fairy-tale story of the Phoenix would continue into the finals, but with the sleeping giants of Hamilton Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic awakening in the final half of the competition it proved a task too difficult for the Phoenix and they will finish just outside the four.

Last weekend their finals hopes were ended by a clinical Edgeworth side 5-0, who can now almost touch a third consecutive Premiership.

It seems the Phoenix will rue a late season slide, as the significant reason they will miss the finals.

Valentine come into this weekend’s match, winning just one of their last five, and without their leading goal scorer Jalon Brown who injured his hamstring in the loss to the Eagles.

Weston’s downhill slide has continued for a much longer period than the Phoenix, and they will no doubt want to finish the season on a positive note.

Last weekend’s loss to Charlestown was their tenth straight defeat in the PS4 NPL and, their 14th of a disappointing campaign which started on a much brighter note.

Weston lost just once in their first five matches, but with a young side it seems the long season has taken its toll and they have lost 14 of 15 since.

In fact, Bears fans could be forgiven for wondering when their next victory will come.

Key: Can Valentine keep the focus for the final week after having their finals dreams shattered last weekend? 

 

Maitland Magpies v Adamstown Rosebud
2.30pm Sunday 13th August at Cooks Square Park
Last Meeting:
 Round 11, 2017: Adamstown 3 Maitland 1 at Adamstown Oval.
Ladder: Maitland 6th (28), Adamstown 9th (16)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Maitland – Lost Magic 1-3 (h), Won Roosters 4-0 (a), Drew Phoenix 2-2 (a)
Adamstown – Won Blues 1-0 (h), Lost Jaffas 1-6 (a), Lost Magic 0-3 (a)

Bottom Line

Maitland and Adamstown will round out of the season at Cooks Square Park on Sunday, with only pride on the line as the Magpies look to avenge their 3-1 defeat to the Rosebuds in round 11.

Maitland headed into last weekend’s clash with Lambton a mathematical chance of making the finals and they kept the slim hopes of a miracle alive with a 2-1 victory.

But, Broadmeadow’s victory on Sunday against the Jets Youth have made certain there will be no finals for the Magpies this season.

It’s been a disrupted season for the Magpies, with coach Dean Heffernan leaving before a ball was kicked, followed by their first four matches being washed out.

They started the season well, and looked destined for the finals when they beat Broadmeadow 7-0, but that match seemed to be the turning point in their season, winning just one of their next six and their finals hopes went south.

Key: Can Maitland cure their Cooks Square jitters against Adamstown, a ground they have one just three times at in 2017?

 

Edgeworth Eagles v Lake Macquarie Roosters
2.30pm Sunday 13th August at Jack McLaughlan Oval 
Last Meeting: Round 11, 2017: Lake Macquarie 1 Edgeworth 2 at Macquarie Field.
Ladder: Edgeworth 1st (39), Lakes 7th (22)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Edgeworth – Won Phoenix 5-0 (a), Won Bears 3-0 (h), Won Blues 3-1 (a)
Lakes – Lost Olympic 0-4 (h), Lost Magpies 0-4 (h), Lost Jets 0-5 (a) 

Bottom Line

Edgeworth will be shooting for their third straight premiership when they host the Roosters on Sunday and it has been in these types of matches over the last three seasons where the Eagles have been so clinical.

Since their defeat to Olympic last month, Edgeworth have quickly racked up three straight victories and have set sail for the finals series.

If they seal the Premiership on Sunday, they will also take part in their third PS4 NPL Finals Series where their first assignment will most likely be against Canberra Olympic in the nation’s capital.

But, first things first for the Eagles and that will be to claim victory over the Roosters on Sunday and head into the finals on the back of four victories in the PS4 NPL.

In contrast, the wheels have seemed to have well and truly fallen off Lake Macquarie’s season with the Roosters conceding 14 unanswered goals in their last four matches and have been unable to find the back of the net in their last three.

The news that popular coach Anthony Richards will leave the club at the season’s end is sure to have played its part in the sides poor result against Olympic on Sunday and the Roosters will want to send Richards out with a solid showing on Sunday.

Edgeworth are unbeaten in their last three matches against Lake Macquarie and it seems highly likely that number will stretch to four this weekend.

Key: With an understrength side, can the Roosters put the Eagles to the test?

 

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