Monday, 2 April 2018

PREVIEW: West Wallsend v Kahibah FC (Round 2 Catch-Up)


Under 19's:
West Wallsend SFC (2nd) v Kahibah FC (6th)
Tuesday 3rd April----Kickoff: 6:15pm
2017 Meetings: KAH 1-2 WWB & WWB 2-0 KAH

This game was talked up for the Round 2 matchday and if anything it's even bigger now after both sides impressed over Easter. West Wallsend returned to the field with a convincing 5-0 win over a much-hyped Thornton Redbacks. Now they sit firm on six points with a goal differential of +9 after just two outings. Make no mistake though, this game will be their toughest test to date.

Kahibah's cruised to a 4-0 win over a depleted Cooks Hill side and with Kurtis McRitchie scoring twice and being named Man of the Match, it's a real statement to the rest of the competition. The Rams have recruited heavily for the 19's this season and they looked like quality on the weekend. But like Westy, now they face an opposition that will put them firmly to the test.

Prediction: These are the sort of early-season games that can really define who may be title contenders. Based on the first couple of weeks, both West Wallsend and Kahibah look the two teams to beat in the 19's. Three games played between them and a whopping 14 goals scored and just one conceded. Expect a very tight and entertaining encounter under lights at Wembley.

My Tip: West Wallsend 2-2 Kahibah FC

Additional Tip: Kurtis McRitchie to continue his scoring form with one or two.

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Under 23's:
West Wallsend SFC (6th) v Kahibah FC (9th)
Tuesday 3rd April----Kickoff: 8:00pm
2017 Meetings: KAH 2-2 WWB & WWB 4-3 KAH

West Wallsend were the surprise packet in Round 1 with a big win over Singleton, 7-0 to be exact. But then on the weekend they were brought crashing down by Thornton 5-1. What set off a 10 goal turn-around is a mystery but it's an alarming result and one that'll have them more than fired up to right the wrongs against Kahibah. Last time they hosted the Rams it was a seven-goal thriller with Westy winning 4-3.

Kahibah 23's looked no different to last season on the weekend. Just lacking in crucial areas of the park and the ball movement was less than ideal. Still, to their credit, they were able to come away from the AthField with a point after a moment of goalscoring brilliance from an unexpected source in Brandon Hayes. If they can iron out the kinks, they'll do well.

Prediction: Looking at the form on the weekend, it'd be quiet easy to tip Kahibah to win but Westy deserve some respect after their impressive first-up win at home. Can see both sides finding the back of the net and just like the 19's can definitely see this one ending in a stalemate. Hopefully more entertaining than a typical 23's affair.

My Tip: West Wallsend 2-2 Kahibah FC

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1st Grade:
West Wallsend SFC (8th) v Kahibah FC (11th)
Wednesday 4th April----Kickoff: 7:30pm
2017 Meetings: KAH 3-0 WWB & WWB 2-1 KAH

The Bluebells last season were hindered by inconsistency. And after two games this year, it seems to have carried over. They were unlucky not to get a win against Singleton on opening day but on Easter Saturday, they were crushed into the turf at Thornton Park as the Redbacks won 6-1. Ryan Van Kemanade was shown a red card with the game at 5-1 which didn't help either.

Thornton were quiet impressive on the weekend but from reports, Westy's heavy loss can be blamed on a very underwhelming performance. They can't afford these sort of results this season. After only missing the finals by a couple of wins in 2017, consistency is the biggest thing needed from the Bluebells this season. They're still not at full strength just yet but they're a much better side than 6-1 losses suggest.

Kahibah had to wait to kick off their season but things went to the proverbial very, very quickly. The club's two best players in 2017 both came off injured inside twenty minutes. Heath Kepreotes with an ankle knock (expected back with a couple weeks to a month) and then club captain and goalkeeper Nick Hartnett limping off with a knee issue. Hartnett believed it was an ACL tear but there's still hope it's not a major injury. He'll have an answer sometime this week.

Make no mistake, Kahibah were outclassed by Cooks Hill on Saturday and questions will be asked of their attacking intent in this one. They were unable to create a lot of forward momentum on the weekend and you don't win football games without goals. The key boost for the visiting team is that they will hopefully not have to make changes early on. The likes of Carson Dodd and Ben Corling can properly prepare for a full 90 minutes.

Prediction: Westy beat Kahibah last season but that relied heavily on them taking the chances they made. Kahibah didn't make a lot of chances last week and their defence isn't at its strongest just yet. This is a key early season game for both clubs and they'll both be very keen to win. After being smashed on the weekend, Westy will need to spin things around and quickly. It's a tough ask though.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-2 Kahibah

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