Match of the Round
Maitland FC v Broadmeadow Magic FC
Cooks Square Park, Sunday 4pm
For a second week in a row, Broadmeadow Magic will be in a top-of-the-table clash but this time with a different opponent, Maitland FC.
The Magpies will host Magic at Cooks Square Park this Sunday in a highly anticipated match.
Maitland were able to swoop into second on the table after defeating Warners Bay 12-0 and Magic defeated Olympic 3-2 last weekend.
The Magpies are now confirmed to play finals for the first time in the club’s history and now have a shot at the premiership too sitting just four points behind Magic.
Maitland’s coach Keelan Hamilton says his squad knows the magnitude of this weekend’s match but are feeling confident going up against the league-leaders.
“Feeling really good, we are on a good run. We are really happy at where we are at,” Hamilton said.
“We know Sunday is going to be a tough game.
“Magic have one and a half hands on the premiership.
“If we don’t win the premiership, we want to keep that chase alive for another week.”
But Maitland are faced with a big loss to the squad as attacker Bronte Peel finished up with the club, returning to college in America.
“Bronte is such a good player and a good person,” Hamilton said.
“We knew all along that she would be leaving at this time but it is disappointing that we can’t finish the season with her.”
In another potential blow to the Magpies, captain Sophie Stapleford is in doubt with an ankle injury.
Stapleford reinjured her ankle in the New Lambton clash in Round 17 and missed out on last weekend’s match against Warners Bay.
Maitland’s gaffer reported that Stapleford would return to training on Friday but it was still unknown if she would return against Magic this weekend.
“Sophie will train tomorrow (Friday) but it will be 50/50 if she plays on the weekend,” Hamilton said.
Despite the shakeups, Hamilton is still confident that his squad has the depth and game plan to get the job done against a strong Broadmeadow outfit.
“We have a number of options. It is the same as what we have done all season in rotating players. We will see what will work best against different opponents,” Hamilton said.
“They are a good team.
“We are aware of their threats, they have good players in every line.
“I think it is a cliché but if you focus too much on an individual you get into a hole where you get hurt by other players.
“We are focused on what we can bring to the game. It is always more about what we are doing and not the opponent.”
Broadmeadow Magic’s coach Jake Curley is looking forward to another tough battle, after coming from behind to defeat Olympic last weekend.
The gaffer is not focusing on the premiership race but rather on his side to pick up as many possible points for the remainder of the season.
“It will be another great contest. Maitland are a good team,” Curley said.
“I am just taking each game week by week and not focusing on that. We still have three games.”
Magic have showcased their dominance this season in all areas of the pitch but especially in attack.
Lucy Jerram, Chelsea Lucas and Adrianna Konjarski have continued to shine for their side, scoring goals left, right and center all creeping up in the standings for top goal-scorer in the competition with Konjarski out in front.
Curley is hopeful that his side is able to show the same grit and determination that they demonstrated against Olympic and continue playing the football they are.
“They showed resilience and played well to keep fighting against Olympic,” Curley said.
“We have been playing really well and just need to continue what we are doing.
“We will just be focusing on ourselves.”
Three points will be vital for both teams in the battle for the premiership, making this match one not to miss this Sunday.
Adamstown Rosebud JFC v Charlestown Azzurri FC
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Saturday 7pm
Adamstown Rosebud will hope bounce back when they host a confident Charlestown Azzurri side at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Saturday night.
The match will be a tight contest with both sides with something to prove.
Rosebud will be wanting to put last week behind them, going down to New Lambton 0-5 due to multiple defensive and goalkeeping errors.
Rosebud sits sixth on the table and will miss finals this year despite a positive first half of the season but will be keen to respond from their recent drop in form against an aggressive Azzurri side.
Azzurri will be coming into this weekend’s match feeling good, after winning their last two matches by a landslide.
After a disappointing run of results, Azzurri have been able to turn things around and get two big wins under their belt against Mid Coast and Warners Bay. The side lost two strong players from the side Emily Diaz and
Young striker Cassie Corder has stood out for Azzurri in attack in recent weeks, pulling the strings in attack, scoring 8 goals in the last two matches.
Azzurri have struggled with defensive errors in the back end of this season, which is something that coach Niko Papaspiropoulos has worked hard with his squad to correct. He will be hoping that his team can continue their positive form in this match and walk away with the three points, as they begin to prepare for finals football in the coming weeks.
The Blues look set to play finals football, sitting fourth on the table with nine points separating them and New Lambton in fifth.
New Lambton FC v Newcastle Olympic FC
Alder Park, Sunday 4pm
New Lambton will be eager to squash Olympic’s premiership hopes when they go head-to-head at Alder Park on Sunday afternoon.
Greg Lowe’s side defeated Adamstown Rosebud 5-0 last weekend in a desperate attempt to reach the top four. But their final’s hopes are all but over as Charlestown Azzurri also picked up a win keeping the gap between fourth and fifth at nine points.
New Lambton’s Newcastle Jets players Cass Davis, Tara Andrews and Lauren Allan pulled the strings for their side against Rosebud, dominating in attack and all getting on the scoresheet.
Lowe will be hoping that his side can take the confidence from last week’s win into this Sunday’s clash and hurt Olympic’s chance of claiming the premiership.
Newcastle Olympic will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2-3 loss to Broadmeadow Magic last weekend which saw the side fall to third on the table below Maitland.
But Olympic have an opportunity to move back into second if they can pick up three points and Magic defeat Maitland. They are also still in the race for the premiership, making three points this weekend even more crucial.
Olympic have suffered two major blows in their attack heading into this weekend’s match. Star striker Jemma House will miss the match through suspension from an accumulation of yellow cards. They will also be without Sophie McDonald who suffered a dislocated knee in the match against Magic and is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks.
But Lowe’s side will see the return of experienced player Georgia Amess who missed the past two matches travelling overseas, to help fill the hole and help boost Olympic’s attack.
Mid Coast FC v Warners Bay FC
Taree Zone Field, Sunday 4pm
Both sides will be eager for a result in a bottom-of-the-table clash between Mid Coast and Warners Bay this Sunday.
Neither team have the ability to make finals sitting seventh and eighth on the table and will be looking to pick up any points they can to finish the season on a positive note.
Mid Coast have had some changes off the pitch with the Peter Masterantonio replacing Emma Stanbury as head coach for the remainder of the season.
Middies have won one of their last five games when they caused an upset over Adamstown Rosebud but in recent weeks have suffered big defeats, going down 0-9 to Charlestown Azzurri last weekend.
Mid Coast are seventh on the table and sits 11 points behind Adamstown Rosebud who are sixth.
Warners Bay have had a season to forget, still sitting at the foot of the table on zero points. The Panthers suffered a 0-12 defeat against Maitland in Round 18.
The last time these two sides met, Mid Coast walked away with the three points defeating the Panthers 4-0. Middies will be hoping that they can repeat this performance this weekend, while Warners Bay will be desperate to pick up their first points of the season.