Game 1: Cooks Hill United v Valentine FC (Sat 14 Mar 2:30pm)
I'm looking forward to watching this game on the weekend at the Newcastle Athletics Track. It was great to see the club I play for take the step-up to the NewFM competition last week and they played well against Cessnock City. However this week they will be up for a test against pre-season favourites Valentine FC.
I can't be certain but I believe this game will show just how well Cooks Hill United will do in this competition. If they can beat Valentine they can beat anyone. That statement won't be true if Valentine aren't at their best or even go down to ten men like last week. But if the Phoenix are up to their best standard, a Cooks Hill win would be an impressive result.
Of course playing for Cooks Hill I would hope that they can pull off the upset but I can't see them doing that unfortunately. Valentine should get the win here.
My Tip: Valentine FC Win
Game 2: Belmont-Swansea v Kahibah FC (Sat 14 Mar 4pm)
Kahibah play their second straight away game due to their field being used for the end of the local cricket season and this time it's a trip to Blacksmiths to face Belmont-Swansea.
Belswans should be expected be stronger in this game. Don't get me wrong, this is a big game for Kahibah FC as they look to cement their spot in the competition but I can't see them overcoming Belmont-Swansea.
My Tip: Belmont-Swansea Win
Game 3: Cessnock City v Thornton Redbacks (Sun 15 Mar 2:30pm)
Thornton Redbacks kick off their new season away to Cessnock City and look to be ready for the challenge after overcoming Zone League Two side Medowie 12-0 last night in the FFA Cup Qualifying Round 2.
I got to see Cessnock play last week at Cooks Hill and they struggled a little bit at the back. It's expected teams will be a little shaky at the back in the early rounds. Due to their impressive result last night I will go for Thornton for the away victory.
My Tip: Thornton Redbacks Win
Game 4: Toronto-Awaba v West Wallsend (Sun 15 Mar 2:30pm)
Not many teams worry about their results in the opening round as there's so many games to follow but Toronto-Awaba should be generally concerned after conceding six goals in their away loss to Lake Macqaurie City last weekend.
Hopefully for the Stags conceding a bucketload of goals won't be a regular thing but letting six in during the opening game isn't a good look, neither is losing to Zone League One side Jesmond Rams in the FFA Cup. West Wallsend started last season conceding 14 goals in two games and could very well move to the opposite end of the table this weekend. Bluebells for the win here.
My Tip: West Wallsend Win
Game 5: Lake Macquarie City v Wallsend FC (Sun 15 Mar 2:30pm)
This one is a little hard to predict scorewise. I'm pretty certain Lakes will win but by how much is the question. It's hard to tell if Lakes were just that good last week in their 6-1 victory over Toronto-Awaba or if the Stags were just that bad. I guess we'll find out on Sunday.
My Tip: Lake Macquarie City FC Win