It has taken a while but Maitland will finally play their first match at home this season. With byes and wet weather, the Magpies have had a long wait to finally get their season started.
Match of the Round
Maitland Magpies v Hamilton Olympic
2.30pm Sunday 2 nd April at Cooks Square Park
Last Meeting: Round 10, 2016. Hamilton 1 Maitland 1 at Darling Street Oval.
Ladder: Maitland 11 th (0 pts), Hamilton 5 th (3)
Last Starts (most recent first):
Maitland – Yet to Play
Hamilton – Won Rosebud 1-0 (a), Lost Jaffas 2-3 (h)
A lot has happened in the pre-season with Phil Dando coming in as a coach to replace the departing Dean Heffernan and there would be no doubt Dando has enjoyed the extra time with his squad to get them playing to his structure.
The Magpies meet a Hamilton side who they have had some success against in the four matches they have played against each other since Maitland’s promotion in 2014. Maitland are undefeated in the last three against Olympic after two draws last year and a win in the final round of 2015.
With Matt Thompson, Ryan Clarke and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff all available for the weekend it makes for a mouth-watering battle as they come up against the likes of Kane Goodchild, Scott Smith and Kyle Hodges from Olympic.
Rhys Cooper remains on the sideline for Olympic while Kyle Hodges is a week-by-week proposition and will more than likely miss the match. Andrew Swan (groin) will still be out for Olympic while brother Matt will return to the side.
Key: After such a long wait to the season, will the Magpies take a little while to find their groove?
Newcastle Jets Youth v Charlestown City Blues
2.30pm Saturday 1 st April at Lisle Carr Oval
Last Meeting: Round 11, 2016: Charlestown 0 Jets Youth 4 at Lisle Carr Oval
Ladder: Jets Youth 8 th (1), Charlestown 9 th (1)
Last Starts (most recent first:
Jets Youth – Drew Rosebud 4-4 (h)
Charlestown – Drew Roosters 1-1 (h), Lost Phoenix 1-2 (h)
Charlestown coach Shane Pryce was furious with his side’s first-half showing last weekend and will be hoping for a change in attitude against the Jets Youth.
The two sides traditionally play out high-scoring matches with the last three averaging 4.8 goals per match. When there are plenty of goals, it seems to favour the Jets and it has done so, with the side winning three of the last four clashes, including the last match in emphatic style as they won 4-0.
The Jets started off the season with a high-scoring draw against Adamstown, while Charlestown grabbed their first point of the season on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Lake Macquarie.
However, Pryce wasn’t happy with the point after a disappointing first half from his side. In the second the Blues had their chances they just couldn’t make any count when they dominated the final 15 minutes.
The Jets had the bye during round two, so will be very fresh coming into the match after also having their round three match against Maitland washed out.
They looked good in attack during their round one draw with Adamstown, however, it was at the back where they struggled again, conceding four goals and they can’t afford that against a Charlestown side who have been strong at the back over the last two seasons.
Key: After blasting his side’s performance last weekend how will Shane Pryce’s men respond?
Lambton Jaffas v Valentine Phoenix
2.30pm Sunday 1 st April at Arthur Edden Oval
Last Meeting: Round 13, 2016: Lambton 2 Valentine 3 at Arthur Edden Oval
Ladder: Lambton 2 nd (7), Valentine 6 th (3)
Last Starts (most recent first):
Lambton – Won Eagles 2-1 (h), Drew Bears 2-2 (a), Won Olympic 3-2 (a)
Valentine – Lost Lakes 0-3 (a), Lost Magic 2-3 (a), Won Blues 2-1 (a)
Valentine will look to make it two wins from two at Arthur Edden Oval since their promotion in 2015 when they take on the Lambton Jaffas on Saturday afternoon.
Last year the Phoenix shocked the Jaffas 3-2, as youngster Riley Russell grabbed the match winner in the dying moments of the match and based on Valentine’s early season form you wouldn’t write them off causing an upset against the highly fancied Jaffas.
Lambton were held by Weston the weekend in a match where coach James Pascoe felt they played well enough to take the three points but just didn’t finish their chance as well as he would have liked. However, the disappointment at Weston was quickly forgotten on Wednesday night as the Jaffas took down the Premiers 2-1.
Pat Brown scored a double against the Eagles and now has five in three matches for the Jaffas and seems to be in the form of his career back under James Pascoe.
On the other hand, Valentine took the battle to Broadmeadow Magic, and in the end, were unlucky not to snatch a late point as Jalon Brown’s shot was well saved by Magic keeper Niko Giantsopolous.
Key: Lambton only won two of nine home matches last year. Can they turn it around?
Broadmeadow Magic v Lake Macquarie City Roosters
2.30pm Sunday 2 nd April at Magic Park
Last Meeting: Round 16, 2014. Broadmeadow 3 Lake Macquarie 0 at Macquarie Field.
Ladder: Broadmeadow 1 st (7), Lake Macquarie 3 rd (5)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Broadmeadow – Won Phoenix 3-2 (h), Won Bears 2-0 (h), Drew Eagles 1-1 (a)
Lake Macquarie – Won Phoenix 3-0 (h), Drew Blues 1-1 (a), Drew Bears 2-2 (a)
Two of the PlayStation® 4 NPL Northern NSW’s undefeated sides clash at Magic Park on Sunday with the newly promoted Roosters facing arguably their toughest test of the season.
The unfancied Roosters have shone over the opening three rounds and expect them to roll up theIR sleeves and get right into the battle with a Magic side who sits top of the table.
Since returning to football this season Justin Broadley has been a revelation, scoring in Lakes’ opening two matches including from a curling free kick in the Roosters draw with Charlestown on Sunday.
It took a couple of matches but finally, talismanic striker Sam Walker opened his account with a brace on Wednesday night. Expect his confidence to flow into the match against the league leaders.
Broadmeadow have gone about their business with a minimum of fuss and coach Ruben Zadkovich seems to be getting the side to gel more, every match they play. They defended well in stoppage time against Valentine to hold onto their 3-2 lead and ground out a victory the week before on a damp pitch against Weston.
Peter Haynes is the key for Broadmeadow, with the Magic Legend at his creative best over the opening three rounds. Against Weston especially, Haynes showed his class almost setting up Kale Bradbury on a number of occasions despite only being on the ground for the final 20 minutes.
Lakes are injury and suspension-free while Broadmeadow are still without Jayden Barber who has a niggle. Magic midfielder Matt Hoole is a chance of returning to the first-grade side.
Key: Lakes haven’t beaten Broadmeadow since 2011 – a run of six matches – when Chris Turner’s (Lakes) beat Damien Smith’s (Magic) 3-0 at Magic Park. Can the Roosters turn the tide?
Adamstown Rosebud v Weston Bears
2.30pm Sunday 2 nd April at Adamstown Oval
Last Meeting: Round 17, 2016: Weston 4 Adamstown 1 at Rockwell Automation Park.
Ladder: Adamstown 10 th (1), Weston 7 th (2)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Weston – Drew Jaffas 2-2 (h), Lost Magic 0-2 (a), Drew Roosters 2-2 (h)
Adamstown – Lost Olympic 0-1 (h), Lost Eagles 0-6 (a), Drew Jets 4-4 (a)
After promising so much, with their Heritage Cup victory in the pre-season, the opening rounds of their 2017 campaign hasn’t quite gone to script for Pete McGuinness and his Adamstown side.
Red cards in both of their opening two matches handicapped the side, while a late goal from Hamilton’s Scott Smith on Tuesday night rubbed salt into the Rosebud’s wounds after copping a 6-0 thumping from Edgeworth on Saturday. Describing it as a tough week for the Bud’s is probably an understatement.
Weston, on the other hand, is a side full of confidence after holding a star-studded Jaffas side to a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon. The Bears have impressed over their three matches, with draws against Lambton and Lakes, while a 2-0 loss against Broadmeadow was a lot tighter that the scoreline shows.
Weston’s Nick Thompson who has played up front for the Bears for much of the season has done a sterling job for someone that has been thrust into a position they are not used to. Thompson scored a double of the weekend and has held up the ball nicely to create chances for brother James in the front third.
Key: Home Ground Advantage? It’s been seven matches since the Rosebud’s last won an NPL match at Adamstown Oval. That last win was against Weston. Can they turn it around?