New-FM 1st Division Tips-Round 3
The only game on Saturday sees Belmont-Swansea host Toronto-Awaba at Blacksmiths Oval. The Stags are in all sorts and after two first up losses to Lakes and West Wallsend, the boys from Lyall Peacock Field sit at the bottom of the New-FM 1st Grade table.
Belswans on the other hand are unbeaten after two and sit in equal second on the table. A 1-1 draw with Kahibah last week wasn't exactly a good result for the Belswans and I expect them to make up for that by getting all three points this week against the struggling Toronto-Awaba.
Starting with this week I'm going to have a stab at all four grades in each game so we'll see how that goes.
1st Grade: Belswans 3-0
23's: Belswans 1-0
19's: Belswans 4-1
17's: Belswans 2-1
I guess this game could be called a Hunter Valley derby of sorts. I watched Cessnock in Round 1 and they weren't too bad but a 2-0 loss to Thornton last week has the Hornets grounded for the time being in 8th position but they can kickstart their campaign with a crucial home win over Singleton.
The Strikers weren't too far off the pace in a 1-0 loss to Belswans in week 1 and will be fresh coming off the back of a bye last week so this should be a highly-competitive match-up. It's could go either way on the day but at the moment I'm going to lean toward Singleton.
1st Grade: Singleton 2-1
23's: Cessnock 1-0
19's: Cessnock 2-0
17's: Cessnock 2-1
Two New-FM league newcomers will be seeking their first win in the competition when Wallsend FC host Cooks Hill United at the Gardens on Sunday. The Red Devils had a strange outing last week. They led Lakes 3-1 before collapsing to a 9-4 loss. It's hard to predict where Wallsend will go now to be honest. Not being there in person I'm not sure if it was a case of Lakes being too strong or Wallsend being pretty ordinary.
I've watched both of Cooks Hill's game and they were a tad unlucky not to get all three points against Valentine last week. This time round they hit the road for the first time and head west to Birmingham Gardens. I was impressed with the skill of the #10 and #14 (I'll try and learn names soon) and I'm sure the Cookers will be fired up to get their first win.
Both teams should be firing and I wouldn't be surprised to see a draw.
1st Grade: Draw 1-1
23's: Draw 1-1
19's: Cooks Hill 2-1
17's: Cooks Hill 4-0
Valentine haven't kicked off their season in the form that was predicted by many in the pre-season. The Phoenix were good enough to come from behind to draw with Cooks Hill last week and return to their temporary home at Baxter Field to face the Thornton Redbacks.
Thornton got a great result at Turner Park last week after a bye in week 1 and will be hoping for another big result this time round as well. It's a hard game to predict this one. I want to give Thornton a chance of a draw but it's too hard to go past Valentine.
1st Grade: Valentine 2-1
23's: Valentine 3-0
19's: Draw 2-2
17's: Draw 1-1
In another tough match to call, West Wallsend host the high-flying Lake Macquarie City on Sunday afternoon. Lakes have scored a whopping 15 goals in two games and are looking like a massive threat in all four New-FM grades. In my opinion t's not a matter of if Lakes will win but by how much they will win.
1st Grade: Lakes 5-1
23's: Lakes 3-0
19's: Lakes 1-0
17's: Lakes 4-1
Under 23's Preview:
Valentine and Lakes are dominating the 23's after two rounds and I've tipped them both to continue that good form this weekend. Cooks Hill's 23s are struggling compared to the club's other sides and are meeting fellow newcomers Wallsend FC who are also lacking form in the 23s.
Under 19's Preview:
After two rounds, Belmont-Swansea and Lake Macquarie City are in control in the Under 19's competition. Belswans scored seven last week against Kahibah and I'm tipping them to put a few past Toronto-Awaba this weekend.
Lakes 19's haven't been scoring many but they've got two wins from two and I can see them grinding out a third straight against West Wallsend this weekend. The 19's clash at Johnston Park could be the match of the day with both sides sitting inside the top four.
Under 17's Preview:
Lakes are up there in the 17s as well and it's a tad surprising to see Kahibah doing so well too. It's great to see Cooks Hill leading the way and as a Cooker myself I think that is a direct result of the club's massive junior membership. On the flip side it's quite surprising to see Valentine in dead last on the 17's table as their junior base is fairly big as well. That's football for you.