PS4 NPL NNSW Round 21 Preview

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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