Friday, 21 August 2015

PREVIEW: NNSW NPL Semi Finals Week 1

Saturday


1st Grade: Broadmeadow Magic (4th) v Edgeworth F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Saturday 22/8 2:30pm
2015 Meetings: EDG 1-4 BMG & BMG 1-2 EDG

It's Semi Final time in the Northern NSW NPL and it all kicks off with a Broadmeadow side that unconvincingly found their way into the finals against high-flying Edgeworth. I say Magic's been unconvincing and although that doesn't stand for their last couple of games, for the majority of the middle part of the season Magic have struggled to produce the goods.

Magic's two main man Kale Bradbury and Peter Haynes will need to play to their best if the home side are to get anything out of this as Edgeworth are a very tough opponent with the form they're in. Edgy have shared their goals around and have several threats in attack. The likes of young guns Keanu Moore and Brody Taylor have been helped by quality players like Brenton Olzomer and Dylan Holz. There's quality across the park for Edgeworth and credit has to go to Damian Zane and his squad as they've been entertaining to watch all season.

A few times this season Magic have been required to step up their game and this is one I don't think they can lose. Travelling to Edgeworth next week will be a tough ask as it stands and if the Eagles have an away leg lead, the task will be even greater. It's because of that pressure that I'm tipping Magic to get the job done in the home leg. Whether they can keep a clean sheet or not could go a long way towards determining who plays in the Grand Final.

My Tip: Broadmeadow 2-1 Edgeworth 

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Under 22's: Broadmeadow Magic (4th) v Edgeworth F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Saturday 22/8 12:45pm
2015 Meetings: EDG 1-2 BMG & BMG 1-2 EDG

Broadmeadow are the underdogs in this game but come into the Semi Final 1st Leg on the back of a highly convincing 5-0 smashing of Charlestown City. Routine goalscorer Levis Dusenge bagged a hat-trick last week with additional goals to Paul Sichalwe and regular first grader Rhys Tippett.

Edgeworth were less convincing winners, 1-0 over a mid-table Weston outfit. The Eagles, just like their first graders have shared around the goals in their minor premiership-winning season. Honours have been shared between these two this season with the away side winning on both occasions.

Magic I think need to win this first leg before heading to Edgeworth next week and based on recent form, I'm hesitantly tipping them to do just that.

My Tip: Broadmeadow 2-1 Edgeworth

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Under 19's: Edgeworth F.C (4th) v Weston Workers (1st)
Kickoff: Saturday 22/8 11:00am
2015 Meetings: WES 1-1 EDG & EDG 0-3 WES

Edgeworth's Under 19's stumbled into the finals series (unlike their older counterparts) and have only made it to the final four due to Charlestown's 0-0 draw with Broadmeadow last weekend. Edgeworth played Weston at home last week and were soundly beaten 3-0 so you'd think they're going to struggle to overcome the Bears in this two-legged Semi Final.

Weston's season has been strong for the majority, although last month they fell to a bit of a form slump over a few games. Regardless, the Bears were able to claim the minor premiership due to Magic dropping points last week. Top goalscorers Jacob Golding and Isaac Peek will be ones to watch for in the Bears lineup and the Bears are my tip to get the win. They won 3-0 against Edgy last week so why not again?

My Tip: Edgeworth 0-3 Weston


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Sunday:


1st Grade: Hamilton Olympic (3rd) v Lambton Jaffas (2nd)
Kickoff: Sunday 23/8 2:30pm
2015 Meetings: HAM 1-1 LAM & LAM 0-0 HAM

With the Lambton Jaffas looking to enter their third-consecutive Grand Final, 3rd-placed Hamilton Olympic, an out-of-form Hamilton Olympic I must add will be looking to produce the goods in the first leg and avoid having to come from behind in the away leg next weekend.

Lambton have won their last three whilst previously in-form Hamilton fell to lower-table side Maitland last weekend, on their home turf. The Jaffas main man, former Olympic star John Majurovski has been finding the net again in 2015 and with goals coming from Jobe Wheelhouse and Alex Palozzi, as well as a handful of goals from the fullbacks, the Jaffas really can strike from anywhere.

Two names that the Jaffas will have to watch out for are Kane Goodchild and Simon Mooney. These two front men have been Hamilton's strike force all season and with other quality players like breakout 2015 star Rhys Cooper and the Swan brothers, Olympic are a really good chance of making their first Grand Final in four years. With the history and winning tradition Hamilton have, three straight years without a GF appearance isn't good enough.

Both times these sides have met this season, it has ended in a stalemate (1-1 at Darling St. and 0-0 at Arthur Edden) and I feel as though one of the most important battles on the field is that between custodians Danny Ireland and Brad Swancott. The two keepers switched clubs in the pre-season in somewhat strange circumstances and now face off in a crucial two-legged Semi Final. Both keepers will need to bring their 'A' game.

I want to tip a draw, a 1-1 draw and an advantage to Lambton via the away goals rule but it wouldn't surprise me to see Hamilton pick up the win though in front of their vocal home fans.

My Tip: Hamilton 2-1 Lambton

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Under 22's: Hamilton Olympic (3rd) v Emerging Jets U/18's (2nd)
Kickoff: Sunday 23/8 12:45pm
2015 Meetings: HAM 2-3 EMJ & EMJ 1-2 HAM

Some of the Emerging Jets Under 18's would no doubt have been involved with the Grand Final-winning Under 16's side last season and they're looking to book a spot in the decider with a win over Hamilton Olympic. These sides met just a month ago and on that day, Hamilton held on for a 2-1 victory via goals to Tynan Wingrove and Alex Tserepas. Olympic will be looking to do the same on Sunday.

The Jets have been superb in their last eight or so games and their only blemish just happened to be that 2-1 loss to Hamilton. They beat Adamstown 4-0 last week and impressively had four different goalscorers (Reece Pettit, Jake McGuinness, Callum Bower and James Thompson).

Hamilton have been unconvincing in recent weeks with a 1-0 win over 9th-placed Charlestown City and a 1-1 draw last week with wooden spooners Maitland. I'm tipping the Jets to come away with the win and a vital away goals lead.

My Tip: Hamilton 0-2 Emerging Jets U/18's

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Under 19's: Hamilton Olympic (3rd) v Broadmeadow Magic (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 22/8 11:00am
2015 Meetings: BMG 0-2 HAM & HAM 1-1 BMG

Neither Hamilton nor Broadmeadow's Under 19's come into Sunday's Semi Final with the best of form under their belts and considering these sides drew their last match 1-1 via goals to Hamilton's Johnny Nicholson and Magic's Matteo Mazzantini.

Both teams have their danger goalscorers in Hamilton's Luke Vallone and Magic's Trent French. Both line-ups feature strong sides and every time these clubs met, regardless of the grade, it's always an entertaining match-up. As for my prediction, I'm going with Hamilton to get over the line in their crucial home leg.

My Tip: Hamilton 2-1 Broadmeadow



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Note:

Credit to Hamilton for making the finals in all three grades and Broadmeadow as well. Magic in fact made the finals in all four youth grades as well so it really shows the quality the club has. Yes a lot of that's to do with money but it's football and you don't find success in football without the money. Sometimes you have to accept the new way. Olympic though have been a success for many years and it's a real traditional football club and they've done well this year across the senior grades.

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