NPL: Newcastle Olympic need a win at Valentine to secure semi-finals




Newcastle Olympic are one game away from returning to the finals arena and will be desperate for maximum points when they travel to play Valentine on Sunday.

A win would see Olympic move to 23 points and as high as third if they were to win while a draw or a loss could see them slip out of the five.

Newcastle defeated Adamstown Rosebud 2-0 last start with key players Reece Papas, Rhys Cooper and Blake Green all featuring in the NPL NNSW Team of the Week.

Valentine will be playing for pride and will want to finish their season on a high on their home turf.

The side narrowly went down 1-0 to Maitland last start and will finish the season in eighth.

Newcastle Olympic interim-coach Alex Tagaroulias said his side knows the significance of this final game.

“It’s a must win situation. It certainly is massive as a couple of teams could leapfrog us,” Tagaroulias said.

“It would be a fantastic outcome [to win]. It’s been a very difficult year for all our administration and volunteers and any clubs that are rewarded with a semi-final spot will feel really vindicated.

“We just have to be at our best. Valentine are no easy beats, lots of experienced campaigners and everyone has to be switched on and be mindful of them and then we need bring our own game.”



After an enthralling 2020 regular season, it all comes down to the final round with a couple of finals places on the line in a few huge games across the weekend.

Broadmeadow Magic host a fired up Lambton Jaffas in a colossal battle at Magic Park.

Broadmeadow have locked up second spot on the table and will be eyeing a solid performance in preparation for the finals series while Lambton must win this game to keep their season alive.

The Jaffas sit two points outside the top five and only a win would do for the Jaffas, while they would require either Newcastle Olympic or Charlestown Azzurri to drop points.

Broadmeadow went down 2-0 to Charlestown Azzurri last start to knock them out of the premiership running while Lambton are fresh off the bye, with the Jaffas unbeaten in their last four fixtures.

Few can forget the last time these two sides met in round five with Magic stealing a 3-2 victory with a 90th minute winner at Arthur Edden Oval.

Broadmeadow coach Anthony Richards said his side were wary of Lambton’s capabilities and wanted an improvement from his side ahead of the finals.

“[Lambton] are a very good team and on their day probably the best side in the competition. If they are good enough to make the semi-finals, they could go on and win it,” Richards said.

“I’m sure they will be up for a big game against us and hope one of the other teams slip up.

“We need to lift on our intensity from last weekend and we just have to tidy things up in a couple of areas and we’ll start heading in the right direction again.”

Lambton coach James Pascoe said his players were solely focused on trying to beat Broadmeadow.

“Hard work on the training pitch is the only way to prepare for any match and this one is no different,” Pascoe said.

“We can’t control what happens elsewhere so our only focus has to be on getting what we need at Magic Park which is to win the game.

“At 2-1 up in the 87th minute in the last game against Magic fatigue had set in and we didn’t manage the game as we needed to.”



Edgeworth will lift a record-breaking 13th premiership after they take on Adamstown Rosebud at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

The Eagles have swept all before them winning 10 games out of 12 to wrap up top spot with a game to play and the side will want to continue the momentum heading into the finals.

Edgeworth are fresh off the bye last round and will take on the Rosebuds who will be looking to avoid last spot.

Adamstown went down 2-0 to Newcastle Olympic last start and sit one point above Lake Macquarie heading into the final round.

Rosebuds coach Shane Cansdell-Sheriff will take charge of his final game for the historic club and the players will be aiming for a high-quality send off for their experienced coach.

The Eagles defeated Adamstown 3-1 earlier in the season with striker Kristian Brymora scoring a hat-trick that day.

Edgeworth player-coach Josh Rose said it was a great feeling to know his side had won the premiership.

“It was a good feeling when the final whistle went [in the Charlestown-Broadmeadow game]. I think one of the boys mentioned it would have been nice to win it on the field together against Adamstown but once the result was finalised it didn’t take away from it and everyone was happy,” Rose said.

“We spoke about keeping our focus. Adamstown will be full of energy and it will be a good game for us.

“We want to win the game. It will be Old Boys Day so it’s always a special day at Jack McLaughlan.

“We recognised we did have a good group together and we grew even stronger through adversity. We had a fantastic season considering everything that happened at the start and it’s just a real credit to [the players] to push aside everything that happened and continue to focus on the job.”



Charlestown Azzurri are on the verge of finishing in the finals for the first time since 2014 if they are to beat a determined Lake Macquarie at Macquarie Field this Sunday.

Azzurri sit in the same boat as Newcastle Olympic as a victory will earn them entry into the finals, while a draw or loss could spell the end with Lambton Jaffas sitting just behind.

Charlestown defeated Broadmeadow Magic 2-0 last round and have won five of their last six games to be in red-hot form.

Lake Macquarie will be out to avoid last spot as the Roosters sit a point below Adamstown in the fight to avoid the dreaded last place.

The Roosters suffered another loss going down 3-0 to Weston last round and will want to finish the season on a high to build into 2021.

Lake Macquarie earned a draw against Azzurri last time these two sides played in round four.

Charlestown coach Graham Law said his side were focused on putting in a good performance and would not underestimate the Roosters.

“We have a lot to play for and [Lakes] won’t want to finish bottom of the league, so there will be no means taking them lightly,” Law said.

“There’s an opportunity [for us], there is also a nice blend of young players wanting to get to the finals for the first time and senior players who have had great careers and want to make a statement.

“We just know if we focus on this game and play the way we can then a win would take us through regardless so it’s just about getting a good performance and playing well.”



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