Friday, 28 August 2015

PREVIEW: Northern NSW NPL Semi Final 2nd Leg

1st Grade: Edgeworth F.C (1st) v Broadmeadow Magic (4th)
Kickoff: Saturday 29/8 3:00pm
1st Leg Result: Broadmeadow 3-3 Edgeworth

Broadmeadow Magic are one game away from their fourth State League Grand Final in five seasons but standing in their way is this season's Minor Premiers and a side that have not been to the biggest game of all since 2010, the Edgeworth Eagles. This is a do or die game in every sense of the occasion.

A late comeback from Magic in last week's 1st Leg put them firmly back into Grand Final contention and the Magicians almost stole a win from under Edgeworth's nose in that 3-3 draw. Make no doubt about it, the Broadmeadow side have done it before and know how to win pressure games.

Edgeworth's 2015 season has been almost perfect. Yes they started a bit slowly and lost 4-1 to Magic but throughout the last few months, the Eagles have soared at the top of the Northern NSW NPL and a gallant display against Melbourne City in the FFA Cup was a great advertisement for football in Newcastle. I, along with 2400 others were firmly behind the Eagles that night.

Damian Zane deserves a lot of credit for bringing in some young up and comers and really building a lot of potential in this Edgeworth side. Across the park there is talent in the Eagles' line-up. Keane Moore has been one of the NPL's best this season and along with Brody Taylor and Dylan Holz has really turned into a dangerous attacker. Upcoming fullback Aaron McLoughlin has been strong as well not to mention several others. It's a great team.

Defence is going to be key in this match and it's only fitting that The Herald featured an article on Magic's Ben Higgins as the defender turned defensive midfielder is going to be crucial for the away side's chances. I think either side could get the win here but at home, in front of a big crowd and after a big season, I think Edgeworth will make the GF.

My Tip: Edgeworth 2-1 Broadmeadow


Under 22's: Edgeworth F.C (1st) v Broadmeadow Magic (4th)
Kickoff: Saturday 29/8 1:00pm
1st Leg Result: Broadmeadow 0-3 Edgeworth

Anyone wearing the red and yellow or in this case the grey and black would be wishing the Under 22's Semi Final was a still evenly poised like the 1st Grade fixture but in all honesty it's not. Edgeworth have one firm foot in the Grand Final and a massive turn-around is going to be required if Magic are any chance of making the big dance.

A double to Josh Carroll and a goal to Aaron Pritchard gave minor premiers Edgeworth a vital 3-0 away win and as I said, only a minor miracle would see Magic turn this around. Magic need to score first, it's that simple. I can see the Magicians having a better day out than last Saturday but I have my doubts about them turning this around.

My Tip: Edgeworth 2-1 Broadmeadow


Under 19's: Weston Workers (1st) v Edgeworth F.C (4th)
Kickoff: Saturday 29/8 11:00am
1st Leg Result: Edgeworth 1-0 Weston

Minor Premiers Weston were beaten by Edgeworth last week in the Under 19's, courtesy of a Jayden Demir goal and now the Bears will have to be wary of the Eagles having the away goals advantage on their home turf. They can't afford to let Edgeworth get too far away on the scoreboard, with every Eagles goal on Saturday effectively counting as double.

It was a big turnaround in the 1st Leg for an Edgeworth side that lost 3-0 at home to the same opposition the previous week. Defending will be crucial for both sides and I feel as though all the pressure is on the minor premiers from Weston. Edgeworth scoring the first goal would mean Weston would need three. It's a game that is teetering and could very well go either way. I'll give the Bears a chance in my prediction though.

My Tip: Weston 2-0 Edgeworth 


1st Grade: Lambton Jaffas (2nd) v Hamilton Olympic (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 30/8 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: Hamilton 2-1 Lambton

With a home leg win last weekend, Hamilton Olympic travel to Arthur Edden Oval knowing the job is only half down. Lambton are aiming for their third-straight Grand Final and with players like Jobe Wheelhouse and John Majurovski in their side, along with the dangerousness of the likes of Luke Remington, the Jaffas cannot be underestimated. 

Hamilton picked up a 2-1 lead last week courtesy of goals to Jacob Bailey and Kane Goodchild but with Lambton scoring a vital away goal through Peter McPherson, this game is certainly still there for the taking. Olympic are looking to enter their first Grand Final in three years and they're only 90 minutes away from doing that.

The Jaffas are a strong side but at home they possess an added danger, they simply know how to win on their home turf and I feel as though they will get the win on Sunday. 2-1 is the most common score in football and would just happen to take this to a penalty shootout. I'm tipping Jaffas to win and a thrilling shootout in which Olympic come out winners.

My Tip: Lambton 2-1 Hamilton (Olympic Win Via Penalties)


Under 22's: Emerging Jets U/18's (2nd) v Hamilton Olympic (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 30/8 1:00pm
1st Leg Results: Hamilton 1-6 Emerging Jets

If you thought the 1st v 4th Under 22's Semi Final was already nearly decided, then you'd probably want to look away now. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, you simply do not come back from a 6-1 home leg loss. Olympic are simply playing for pride on Sunday in my honest opinion. They were outclassed by the Jets and going down to ten men did not help.

Goals to Kristian Brymora, Regan Lundy, James Thompson, Jake McGuiness, Reece Pettit and Finn Parris completed a six-one demolishing of the home side as the Emerging Jets put one perhaps two firm feet into next week's Grand Final. I think this Sunday's result isn't important as 99% would say this is already over.

My Tip: Emerging Jets 3-1 Hamilton


Under 19's: Broadmeadow Magic (2nd) v Hamilton Olympic (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 30/8 11:00am
1st Leg Results: Hamilton 2-1 Broadmeadow

Hamilton Olympic got the job done in a fast-paced and physical Under 19's match with Broadmeadow on Wednesday night. I really enjoyed watching the re-scheduled 1st Leg fixture and thought highly of the skill of both sets of players. As I said, the pace was fast and the action was intense.

Olympic are the away side on Sunday and if they happen to score first then the job for Magic will be a lot tougher than it already is. The Magicians were a tad off I thought on Wednesday night and some passes went astray. If they can fix that then they'll be a big chance of progressing to the Grand Final. I'm going to tip a 2-1 win for Magic and a win for them via penalties.

My Tip: Broadmeadow 2-1 Hamilton (Magic Win Via Penalties)

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