Friday, 24 April 2015

PREVIEW: NPL, New-FM & NPL Youth ANZAC Weekend

As of 3pm it seems as though this game will be going ahead tonight. I for one am pleased personally as it should be a cracker but I still think calling it off would have been a wise choice due to the fact that a few of players would no doubt be affected from the recent storms. Nonetheless it's on tonight.

Magic are coming off the back of a hugely impressive 5-1 result over Maitland last weekend whilst Edgeworth were outdone by Hamilton at Darling St Oval. Now in what is essentially a top of the table clash, these two sides meet each other at a wet Jack McLaughlin Oval tonight.

I've been keen to watch Edgeworth play after an impressive start to the season whilst I thought Magic's performance last week was better than any display they put on last year (I went to nearly every Magic game so I can make a call on that).

These two sides always put on an entertaining match-up and Edgeworth always have a vocal crowd behind them. Whether or not that crowd show up tonight is a big question but the Eagles will be fired up as they've got a great chance to go back to the top of the table with a win.

As for my tip, I'm going with Magic. Last week's game started slowly for Broadmeadow but once they got going they couldn't be stopped. Edgeworth will be much tougher to break through than Maitland but with Dino Fajkovic in goalscoring form and his teammates starting to find some real fluency, I think Magic will get the points tonight.

*Both 22's and 19's games are OFF*

My Tips:
1st Grade: Edgeworth 1-2 Broadmeadow
Under 22's: POSTPONED
Under 19's: POSTPONED

Word is that all three grades will be going ahead at Ulinga Oval on Sunday unless further rain affects the ground. Firstly, it's a bit strange that South Cardiff have had three straight home games to start the season, seems a bit unfair but of course that will mean a few away games at the back end of the season.

As for my preview, South Cardiff couldn't overcome the Newcastle Jets Youth side last week but did rescue a 3-3 draw. Weston on the other hand defeating the Lambton Jaffas and gained some revenge for their Grand Final loss to the same side last season.

The Bears showed some class last week against the Jaffas and I think they'll be too strong here for the Gunners. South Cardiff will be aiming to avoid a third-straight draw but I can't see them beating Weston. Anything can happen on a heavy track like Ulinga will no doubt be on Sunday but Bears for my money.

In the 22's, South Cardiff are coming off of a 3-2 win over the U/18 Emerging Jets while Weston could only record a 2-2 draw with Lambton at Rockwell Automation Park. I'm going with the draw here. Again the heavy pitch will affect play and I can see this being a 0-0 or a 1-1.

Weston should be too strong in the Under 19's after two straight wins over Adamstown and Lambton in the first two rounds. South Cardiff went down to the U/16 Emerging Jets and I don't like their chances against the Bears this Sunday.

My Tips:
1st Grade: South Cardiff 0-2 Weston Workers
Under 22's: South Cardiff 1-1 Weston Workers
Under 19's: South Cardiff 0-2 Weston Workers

Credit has to go to the grounds staff at Blacksmiths if this game goes ahead. It's a very flat ground at Blacksmiths Oval so it's a surprise to see it being on depending of course on the weather over the next day or so.

It's been two weeks since the Belswans last played and on that day they went down disappointingly at home to Cessnock City. In fact, Belmont-Swansea have lost their last three on the bounce before last week's draw. Wallsend on the other hand have won their last four, including an away win in Singleton last weekend.

The Red Devils should be good enough to continue their good form this weekend. They're the best of the three promoted sides so far and are proving they are in their element in this division. I think it'll be a fifth-straight victory for the Red Devils on Sunday.

In the 23's, Belswans have let in ten in their last two outings whilst Wallsend are backing up after a 2-0 win at Singleton last week. Belswans have to work on their defence in this grade and I think they'll do it. They need to return to their early season form and Sunday's a great time to do just that.

Belswans 19's have scored seventeen goals in three games and meet a Wallsend side that put four away in last week's win over Singleton. If the ground isn't heavy under foot, expect a goal or two but it's more likely this'll be a lower scoring game due to the conditions. Either way, Belswans for the win.

Wallsend's 17's have won their last two on the bounce but are coming up against a Belmont-Swansea side that scored nine goals last time out (against a weakened Cessnock). I'm going to back an away win here. Wallsend can move into the top four with a win and I can see them grabbing it.

My Tips:
1st Grade: Belmont-Swansea 1-2 Wallsend
Under 23's: Belmont-Swansea 2-1 Wallsend
Under 19's: Belmont-Swansea 3-0 Wallsend
Under 17's: Belmont-Swansea 1-3 Wallsend

I'll be making my way out to Kahibah for this one and I'll try and remember to bring a blanket or something to sit on rather than the cold concrete grandstand. Anyway full credit to the groundstaff at Kahibah if this one goes ahead. I played there last year after rain and it was pretty dangerous under foot, not to mention my semi final was called off after less rain so it's a surprise to see this one still possibly going ahead.

As for the preview, Cooks Hill were superb in their 6-1 win over Toronto-Awaba last weekend but this is a much tougher ask against a Kahibah side that have pulled off two impressive road wins at Singleton and Thornton in recent weeks. 

This is the first ever New-FM home game for team in green and black and are in form after those two wins but Cooks Hill's defence is a tough one to break through. I'm going to tip a draw here. Hopefully an entertaining 2-2 draw.

In the 23's, Cooks Hill are coming off the back of a 4-1 win over Toronto last weekend and I can see them picking up three points again this Sunday. Kahibah could only muster a draw against Thornton last week and if the Cookers play like they did last week they'll get the points.

The 19's is interesting as Kahibah have put poor early season form behind them and won their last two (albeit against teams in the lower half). Cooks Hill however won 2-0 against Toronto-Awaba last weekend and are unbeaten on the road after a 3-2 win at Wallsend and a scoreless draw at Lakes.  I'm tipping the visitors to get the points.

Finally in the 17's, Kahibah were supreme in their 8-0 win over Thornton last week but they face a tougher test in Cooks Hill this weekend. The Cookers 17's sent Toronto down a few spots on the table with a 4-1 win and are looking at closing the gap at the top to just two points with a win here. I'm cautiously tipping the away side to get the win.

My Tips:
1st Grade: Kahibah 2-2 Cooks Hill
Under 23's: Kahibah 1-3 Cooks Hill
Under 19's: Kahibah 0-2 Cooks Hill
Under 17's: Kahibah 2-4 Cooks Hill

I normally do the NPL Youth tips in their own separate section but decided to throw this here as it's one of the few fixtures going ahead this weekend.

The U/12 Emerging Jets are struggling in the Under 13's comp and are up against a Charlestown team that are in a similar situation. They say when it doubt tip a draw. That's what I'll do.

The Emerging Jets 13's are dominating in the Under 14 division and it's hard not to see them doing the same thing this weekend.

Charlestown's 15's have been on the end of some close defeats and against a Jets side that have drawn two out of five games, I'm going to back the Blues to leave Speers Point with a point.

Charlestown have struggled in the Under 17's and it doesn't get much easier for them having to play on synthetic turf this week. Don't get me started on how much the synthetic fields give the Emerging Jets an advantage. That conversation can wait for another day. Jets for the win here.

My Tips:
Under 13's: Emerging Jets U/12's 1-1 Charlestown
Under 14's: Emerging Jets U/13's 4-1 Charlestown
Under 15's: Emerging Jets U/14's 1-1 Charlestown
Under 17's: Emerging Jets U/15's 2-1 Charlestown

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