PS4 NPL NNSW Round 9: Hamilton Olympic travel away to Valentine Phoenix

Valentine Phoenix v Hamilton Olympic

2.30pm Saturday 6th May at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 17, 2016: Hamilton 2 Valentine 2 at Darling Street Oval.

Ladder: Valentine 2nd (15), Hamilton 3rd (13)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Valentine – Won Jets 1-0 (a), Won Magpies 4-0 (a), Won Rosebud 2-0 (a)

Hamilton – Won Bears 2-0 (h), Drew Eagles 1-1 (a), Won Magpies 2-0 (a)

Bottom Line

Hamilton coach Michael Bolch returns to his former stomping ground at Cahill Oval and will hold good memories of the ground having not lost there as an Olympic coach since 2011.

His side has returned to form in recent weeks, after a disappointing showing against Charlestown in round six, Olympic are undefeated in three matches and have surged into the top four.

They did it the hard way against Weston, with a gritty first-half display before coming home strong in the second half. As it was in 2016, defence has been the bedrock of their return to form. Hamilton has conceded just once in three matches and that was from the penalty spot.

Olympic has held the wood over the Phoenix of late, winning four of their last five. Valentine’s last victory over Hamilton doubled as Bolch’s last loss at Cahill Oval back in 2011.

However, the Phoenix are a different proposition this season, scoring an average of two goals a game and conceding just over one a game. It has been the last three matches where Valentine has been impregnable at the back, keeping three clean sheets in a row.

Leading goal-scorer Jalon Brown has been a revelation – scoring three so far – and proving to be a constant menace for opposing defences.

These two sides have shown they can score goals and keep them out, so it should be a fascinating contest.

Valentine will be without Matt Paul (triathlon) this weekend, but, Wilson Edwards (away) and Chris Brown (away) will return to the side this weekend. Rhys Cooper (knee) remains on the sidelines for Olympic as does Captain Kyle Hodges (toe).

What the Coaches Said:

Darren Sills (Valentine)

“It’s going to be a difficult one. We were fairly sore and sorry after the weekend so we didn’t train very hard at all on Tuesday night, we had a light session. There are a few sore and sorry bodies from the weekend. It’s going to be difficult but we’d rather play them after winning a few in a row than not, so hopefully fingers crossed we perform to the best of our ability and that’s all we can ask of the players.”

“It’s very important [to start well]. They’ve had the midweek game as well. Although they may have rested a few players it’s important that we get away to a good start. This team were undefeated last year coming into the semi-finals, so these are the sort of teams you want to play against. They’re the benchmark. I watched them play the week before on the Wednesday night up against Maitland and I thought they were really good.”

Michael Bolch (Hamilton)

“They look pretty solid all the way across the park, they kept their third clean sheet in a row so they are doing really well defensively. They work really hard as a unit, Sillsy has got them working really hard for each other. Coming to terms with that pitch will probably be the biggest factor on the day, to be honest with you.”

“It’s not so much what we’ve got to exploit from them. We just need to be more clinical in the front third. We are creating so many chances in games, we probably created 10-12 chances [last weekend]. We’ve just got to be more clinical in the front third.”

Key: Belief. Valentine lost their last two matches at Cahill Oval against Olympic 5-0 and 3-0. After a strong start to the season, do they have the belief to overcome a poor recent record?

U20s Valentine – Hamilton Olympic Cahill Oval Saturday 6th May kick off 12.30

U18s Valentine – Hamilton Olympic Cahill Oval Saturday 6th May kick off 10.45


U16s Hamilton Olympic – Maitland Sunday kick off 2.30 pm at Darling St Oval

U15s Hamilton Olympic – Maitland Sunday kick off 1.00 pm at Darling St Oval

U14s Hamilton Olympic – Maitland Sunday kick off 11.30 am at Darling St Oval

U13s Hamilton Olympic – Maitland Sunday kick off 10.00 am at Darling St Oval


Broadmeadow Magic v Maitland Magpies

2.30pm Sunday 7th May at Magic Park

Last Meeting: Round 18, 2016: Maitland 0 Broadmeadow 2 at Cooks Square Park.

Ladder: Broadmeadow 8th (9pts), Maitland 4th (13)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Broadmeadow – Drew Rosebuds 0-0 (a), Drew Jaffas 1-1 (a), Lost Blues 0-1 (a)

Maitland – Won Roosters 1-0 (h), Won Bears 1-0 (h), Lost Phoenix 0-4 (h)

Bottom Line

Ruben Zadkovich will be hoping his side’s performance writes the headlines this weekend and not his comments after the Broadmeadow boss’ controversial thoughts marred the post-script of a tense ANZAC Day tussle.

Broadmeadow will be aiming to bounce back after a dour draw against the Rosebud’s where they struggled to create chances in the second 45. In the first half against Adamstown and the week before against Lambton, Ruben Zadkovich’s side created chances but were unable to finish.

While they have created chances, finishing has been an issue, with Magic scoring just once in their last three matches – a penalty against Lambton. Of their eight goals this season, just five have come from open play.

After a pair of disappointing results, Maitland has returned to form in the last week with two tight 1-0 wins against Weston and Lake Macquarie which has seen them squeeze their way into the top four.

After a busy start to the season – where they played seven matches in 26 days – Maitland will probably give themselves a pass mark.

A congested schedule, injuries, and players missing matches due to work commitments has made life difficult for the Magpies, 13 points and sitting just four points from the top spot with a game in hand will keen coach Phil Dando happy.

In a positive for the spectacle, both sides head into the match at full strength. Expect a tight contest, with only a goal in it. Broadmeadow will be desperate as a loss will see them slip further from the top four.

What the Coaches Said:

Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)

“It’s been the same problem all season, we just need to take our chances. We are certainly creating plenty and we are very hard to beat at the moment. We haven’t really conceded many goals from open play. It’s just about the boys taking their chances, but we are playing some really good stuff and obviously, Maitland are as well, so it should be a cracker of a game.”

“When we stick to the way we want to play we look deadly, we look really, really dangerous. It’s just the longer it goes without taking those chances the more frustrated people get so I think that really kicked in on ANZAC Day. It’s just the frustration from the boys that they are playing against 11 men camped in their own half and the fact that we hadn’t scored it just got harder and harder.”

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“They’ve had an indifferent start to the season. They haven’t quite hit their straps yet. By the sounds of it, Ruben was a bit disappointed with the way they played the other week. He’ll probably have done a fair bit of work on the training pitch, and they’ll come at us all guns blazing I would imagine. They will want to put things right so we’ll have to be at our best.”

“We had a training session on ANZAC Day in the morning and we did our only session on defending in that session and since then we have kept two clean sheets. It’s just little things that needed rectifying and people just needed to concentrate a bit better. I think that’s what let us down a little bit, the tiredness when we played Valentine, everything went out the window then. [The last two matches] have been very pleasing].”

Key: The front third. With the two lowest scoring sides this season meeting, which side can get their front third firing?


Weston Workers Bears v Edgeworth Eagles

2.30pm Sunday 7th May at Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Round 11, 2016: Weston 0 Edgeworth 3 at Rockwell Automation Park.

Ladder: Edgeworth 5th (12), Weston 9th (4)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Weston – Lost Olympic 0-2 (a), Lost Magpies 0-1 (a), Drew Jets 2-2 (a)

Edgeworth – Won Blues 2-0 (h), Won Jets 1-0 (a), Drew Olympic 1-1 (h)

Bottom Line

After a promising start to the season where they lost just one of their opening five matches, Weston have lost their last two and sit just two points from the bottom of the ladder.

A tight loss to an understrength Maitland side, followed by a strong performance against Hamilton only to be let down by two individual errors has left the Bears in a difficult spot as they get ready to host an Edgeworth side who has returned to form over the last two weeks.

Weston haven’t scored in two matches now, and facing the best defence in the competition won’t make it any easier for the Bears attack.

Kieran Sanders and Brody Taylor struck two stunning strikes on the weekend to get them home against the Blues, and couple that result with the win over the Jets and it seems the Eagles are returning to their 2016 form.

They have won their last three matches against Weston, and haven’t lost against the Bears since 2015 where a gritty and determined Weston side rolled up their sleeves and ground out a 1-0 victory at Rockwell Automation Park.

If the young Bears are able to channel that determination on Sunday, Edgeworth could be in for a real test. But, to beat Edgeworth, they will need to score because under Zane the Eagles have been kept scoreless just once in their last 29 Playstation®4 NPL matches.

Daniel McBreen’s suspension is over, but he will miss them match due to Fox Sports commitments with the Hyundai A-League Grand Final. Adam Cawley (illness) will return to the side.

What the Coaches Said:

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“Each week they are shattered when they don’t get a result, don’t get me wrong, they are shattered because they have worked hard. No one has thumped them. I thought we may have got a thumping or two, but they have stood up and they have worked hard and they have been in every match and they probably could have got more out of the weekend’s match if they worked out a way to score a goal.”

“I think overall the group has improved tactically, they are more tactically aware than, ten weeks ago. They have worked hard at the things I have asked them to do and they have executed the game plans to about 80% of their capacity. It’s finding that little bit more and the one percent things that I challenge them to do each week and improve on. Once they click this team will be a fair team.”

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“We played them in a trial game and then the heritage cup and there was massive improvements from one game to the next which was what I expected with Piggo [Steve Piggott] as coach. Everyone was sort of saying Weston would be down the bottom and the whipping boys and they might be down the bottom but they have been competitive in every game. I expect them to come out and try and stop us from doing what we do.”

“They’ve got some good players in there too to be honest. I think [Max] Foster and [Jake] Millsteed are pretty handy in midfield and Jamie Byrnes is as dangerous as anyone on his day in my opinion. The young [Cooper] Buswell, we’ve got a few Central Coast people in our club and they rate him pretty highly, and the young boy [James] Thompson. If we don’t turn up, it’s like every game, we won’t win.”

Key: Will a confidence boosting from the Westfield FFA Cup win on Wednesday spur the Bears to victory on Sunday?


Charlestown City Blues v Adamstown Rosebud

2.30pm Sunday 7th May at Lisle Carr Oval

Last Meeting: Round 13, 2016: Adamstown 1 Charlestown 3 at Adamstown Oval.

Ladder: Charlestown 7th (10), Adamstown 10th (3)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Charlestown – Lost Eagles 0-2 (a), Lost Jaffas 1-2 (h), Won Olympic 2-1 (a)

Adamstown – Lost Jaffas 1-3 (h), Drew Magic 0-0 (h), Lost Roosters 1-2 (h)

Bottom Line

It’s been a long time between away matches for Adamstown, and this weekend they will hit the road for the first time in a month to travel to Charlestown to take on the Blues.

After hitting rock bottom, with the defeat to Lake Macquarie in round six Adamstown have responded well with improved performances against Broadmeadow and then at the weekend against Lambton.

Up against the ladder leading Jaffas many expected Lambton to get the job done easily on Sunday afternoon, but, it wasn’t to be with Chris Berlin bridging the deficit to just a goal in the second half and the Rosebuds as they clawed their way back.

Unfortunately for the Rosebud’s they couldn’t find the equaliser and Joel Griffiths put them out of reach late on in stoppage time.

Charlestown were flying high a little over two weeks ago with wins against Broadmeadow and Hamilton coming in quick succession.

Losses to Lambton and Edgeworth in recent times have brought them back down to earth but it shouldn’t be a worry for Shane Pryce’s men, having given a solid account of themselves against two of the strongest sides in the competition.

This match though is one Pryce will want to win and will provide a good indication as to whether victories over Olympic and Magic were a flash in the pan. A win here for the Blues and they will keep pace with the top four.

What the Coaches Said:

Pete McGuinness (Adamstown)

“The Lakes game I thought we had enough ball to win two games and just didn’t win the game which was pretty poor on our behalf. The Magic game was a bit of a shift in tactics and how we played and I was happy with how we defended which was good. On the weekend, we opened up a bit and tried to win the ball higher up the pitch. It’s been an improvement, they are working hard and that’s a big positive.”

“They’ve been doing quite well so I’m expecting a pretty difficult game. To be honest I think they have got a couple of good midfielders in Josh Maguire and Matt Tull, very experienced. Then there’s Daniel Laiman, he’s always a force coming from deep areas. [Rene Ferguson] has been getting some goals, he scored goals last year and he’s got a few this year.”

Key: With seven of 21 players from the start of the season gone, can Charlestown’s youngsters make the step up?


Lake Macquarie City Roosters v Newcastle Jets Youth

2.30pm Sunday 30th April at Macquarie Field

Last Meeting: Round 15, 2014: Lake Macquarie 2 Jets Youth 1 at Macquarie Field.

Ladder: Lake Macquarie 6th (11), Jets Youth 11th (2)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Lakes – Lost Magpies 0-1 (a), Won Rosebud 2-1 (a), Lost Jaffas 0-4 (h)

Jets – Lost Phoenix 0-1 (a), Lost Eagles 0-1 (h), Drew Bears 2-2 (a)

Bottom Line

Both Lake Macquarie and the Jets Youth are coming off losses last weekend and are in need of a win, but for two very different reasons.

After an unbeaten start to the season, where the Roosters sat on top of the ladder they have now dropped two of their last three and have only managed to find the back of the net twice during the time.

Over the same time period, Lakes have dropped from first to sixth and a loss against the Jets Youth on Sunday afternoon could potentially see them drop to as low at eighth, with the top four getting out of their reach.

The Jets Youth, on the other hand, haven’t won in seven matches and sit bottom of the table – not a position the Youth side will want to sit in considering how the Newcastle Jets finished off the Hyundai A-League season.

It has been a tough two months for the club, with criticism fired from all parts and a win here to pull them off the bottom of the ladder could just prove the perfect tonic for some positivity.

At the same stage last season, the Jets only had two more points than they do currently, with only a win and a draw from their seven matches. They recovered to win seven of their final ten matches to finish fifth.

After a start to the season where they regularly conceded four goals a game, they have improved at the back, only conceding twice in the last two matches.

Cody Carroll and Finn Parris both have hamstring issues and are in doubt for the Jets. For Lakes, Justin Broadley (toe) is back training, but will still remain on the sideline this weekend. Dean Holt (overseas) missed the match as well.

What the Coaches Said:

Anthony Richards (Lakes)

“This is a really tough one for us because these guys play really good football, and play it at a good speed so on our ground this is going to be a super test. This will be our hardest game I think of the year. I think they are very close to their first win. Let’s hope it’s a fortnight away not a week away.”

“We just want to improve in trying to keep the ball, as if we’ve got the ball we can’t score. We are really concentrating on keeping the ball. Even in the FFA Cup, we didn’t really care too much about the scoreline we were just more concerned about keeping the ball, and we did well [in the FFA Cup] keeping the ball I thought.”

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

“We’ve had our games that we should have picked up three points in. That game on the weekend was a bit of a let down for everyone because we dominated the game and we threw three points away. I never felt the game was in any threat on the weekend. It was a good week defensively for us because we had all the rain and didn’t have a chance to work on the defensive side, so we have done a few weeks on it now.”

“I put them under pressure internally that we have to win games, but, with anything that has got to do with the media or anything that is out there on forums or people want to make comment I take full responsibility and they know that. We went through this last year and the margins are very small when it is boys playing against men, this can happen. I’m not concerned, we have shown improvements defensively, and we’ve score goals this year.”

Key: The Jets Youth have created chances over the past few weeks, and have had nothing to show for it. Can they take them on Sunday?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.