Friday, 22 March 2019

PREVIEW: New-FM Round 3 2019




Under 19's:
Belmont-Swansea (=6th) v Wallsend FC (9th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Those with short memories may forget the performance Belswans 19's put on in Round 1 with under tough circumstances. Against the defending Champions West Wallsend and down to ten men after eight minutes or so due to a highly controversial red card to Casey Turner, the new-look side rallied and almost knocked off the pre-season Premiership favourites on their home turf.

Newcomer Colin Thompson had praise heaped on him for his two goals and overall performance but it was a team effort that helped secure a result. They kept digging down deep and the character shown there is perhaps an indication of things to come over the next twenty or so weeks. If that's what they did with ten players, what can they do with eleven?

Round 1 was not the start Wallsend 19's were looking for and ultimately it was another case of what could have been as they went down 3-2 to South Cardiff in tough circumstances, including an own goal. Coach Craig Tselembis has truly seen every negative scenario possible over the last few years so will know what to say to try and get the team to bounce back.

The returning Sam Willis scored in their Round 1 clash and so did promising attacker Ben Schieb. Ironically the Reds were at Blacksmiths Oval in Round 3 last year where they put a slow start to the year behind them with a victory. It's a vastly different squad but they'll be full of hope that this weekend can be the start of something special.

Prediction: The Red Devils have added some quality to their squad but question marks definitely still remain heading into their second game. Belswans on home turf and feeling positive after their performance in the opening game of the year will be a tough test in a game that could realistically go either way.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-1 Wallsend FC

The Inside Word: The visitors will need to keep tabs on Colin Thompson but also be very mindful of paying too much attention on one player. A balancing act indeed.

Colin Thompson was vital in Round 1 as Belswans 19's started their year with a bang.
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Under 23's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea (3rd) v Wallsend FC (4th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

It's hard to remember such a quality result from a Belswans 23's side as their Round 1 display against West Wallsend. Granted the Bluebells were terrible on the day but it was still a big positive for Benny Haddow's team to rack up five goals. Charlie Herivel's first game as captain saw him score a rare hat-trick which was the icing on the cake.

Now attention moves on because this game may be a little bit of a tougher challenge. But hopes will be high this season and the new coach seems to be having a positive impact on some of the players. Mick Stafford is keeping tabs and watching closely so Belswans is a club where consistency in the 23's may very well result in chances in the top grade. That's always a plus.

Wallsend won their first match of the year in the Gallagher Shield clash with Southy but certainly left things late with a penalty to Lucas Egge sealing a nervy 1-0 win away from home. Three points is better than one and that's important heading into this encounter. Inconsistency is common in this grade and the points cut-off for finals is typically a little lower that say 1st Grade so that adds so much extra onto each and every point you earn through the year.

The Red Devils' lineup was a bit of a mystery heading into Round 1 but overall have a slightly younger 23's squad than last year but still with some key more experienced players like Cody Simpson and Zac Parkes to lead them around. New goalkeeper Chris Teasdale is a quality addition too and someone with experience in the NPL system.

Prediction: Well first thing's first, this likely won't be the walk in the park that Belswans were handed in Round 1. Possession won't be as easily won and the defensive work of the opposition should be stronger. This will be a tougher test and really think both sides' attacks cancel each other out. Can see a draw here.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-1 Wallsend FC

After an easy 5-0 rout in Round 1, Belswans 23's will likely be tested a bit more on Saturday.

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1st Grade:
Belmont-Swansea (4th) v Wallsend FC (=9th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

The first game at Blacksmiths this season is a big one as the Red Devils come to town. Belswans were unaffected by the wet weather last weekend due to the fact that they had the bye but did miss out on staging their scheduled family fete day unfortunately. Back to the football though and it was three points to start the year at a hostile Johnston Park so not bad for the defending Champions.

Belswans didn't look anyway near their blitzing best though and will be missing a few key players this weekend which will add to the difficulty of this match. Mick Stafford is a big believer in the youth at the club and will not hesitate to give a go to some of the younger players coming through. You probably won't see Belswans hit their best football for another month or two but if they can notch another three points they won't mind that.

Wallsend would have liked their chances at home against a youngish Kahibah side tipped to struggle this year but ultimately it's a second straight road trip for the Reds and they'll be adamant on avoiding the carnage they partly brought upon themselves at Ulinga Oval two weeks ago. Southy tore Wallsend to shreds but the second half saw improvement and that's the key.

The two teams clashed around this time last year with Wallsend winning 3-2 so they'll be hoping to repeat that form and pick up their first three points of the new season. You can't mention Wallsend without mentioning their strong attacking lineup but the defence still has question marks around it and that's a key area they'll need to address come Saturday.

Prediction: Between your 9-0 floggings, Grand Final shootouts and Wallsend's stunning win last year you never know what to expect when these sides meet each other. Belswans are missing a few including Chris Gazzard and Corey Wilson. That might give Wallsend a bit of a sniff but they need to defend better.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-1 Wallsend FC

The Inside Word: Belswans' defensive duo of Mitch Cook and Reece Newton are the key for the home side to get anything out of this game. Stopping Goldsmith and co. is crucial.

Wallsend are becoming experts at striking early in games. They'll look to lead from the front foot.

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Under 19's:
Cooks Hill United (1st) v Singleton Strikers (11th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

After four years of doing this, Newysports has seen plenty of 1st v 11th mismatches and more often than not they go as expected. Cooks Hill have looked good through the first two rounds, flexing their muscles in a dominant win over an underperforming Thornton squad before showing they can win tight games in a very tough arm wrestle with fellow top side New Lambton last weekend.

What last week showed is a little bit of the physicality that probably needed to be addressed in the pre-season. Working with the Zone League and training with experienced and hardened players seems to have helped some of these 19's players. Hugh Dallen was one who didn't take a backwards step last week whilst the skipper Taj Abrahams bounced up from a fair tackle on more than one occasion. A key aspect of any successful 19's team is their will to dig deep.

Singleton will indeed need to dig deep given they are still finalising their squad and working hard just to make the numbers. Only ten players took to the park against local rivals Cessnock City last week and by the end of a tough match that number sunk to eight due to two injuries. Hopefully that doesn't hinder them but things have been tough in the first two rounds.

Singo's will to keep fighting was on true display last weekend as they kept Cessnock to just one goal in the second half despite the Hornets having a two man advantage for a large period of time. Coach Todd Geddes has seen it all in his time in football and will let the team know that they've sometimes got to play with their backs against the wall. They've got to trust each other and work hard as a unit.

Prediction: The Strikers put in well during the second half last week but have a feeling things may get worse before they get better. It's a long year and hopefully there'll be some positive days ahead but with numbers not great and an injury bug hitting them, this could and probably will be a very tough outing for the Strikers. 

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 7-0 Singleton Strikers

The Inside Word: If Louis Rothfield can find his best scoring boots expect a hat-trick.

Cooks Hill had to work hard for their win over New Lambton last weekend.

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Under 23's:
Cooks Hill United (1st) v Singleton Strikers (11th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

It's first v last in the 23's as well at the AthField but Singleton 23's showed last week that they can put up a good fight at this stage of the season. Onto Cooks Hill and their start to the season has been close to ideal. They've warded off first half pressure and gone on with the job against two of last year's top sides in Thornton and New Lambton. 

The defending Champs have seven goals in two games with none conceded and the worry for the other sides is that they've still got plenty in the tank. A lot of new faces have come in and are starting to show what they can do, the likes of Max Harlen and Jaidyn Kianou adding something new to a team that already had some good ability.

Singleton were smashed in Round 1 and looked in bad shape early on against Cessnock last weekend when they fell 2-0 down. The Strikers to their credit were able to rally and through Nathan Smart scored twice to turn the game around. Ultimately they still went down 3-2 but there were a lot more positives to take out of than their Round 1 loss.

Last time the Strikers came to Cooks Hill they went down 8-0 but improved to a 3-1 loss when they met the eventual Grand Final winners later in the season. They should be more than confident about improving a long way on that first result and will be hopeful to cause an upset and knock off the ladder leaders this Saturday.

Prediction: This Cooks Hill team have really shown some quality in the early weeks of the season and there's no reason to not expect that to continue on throughout the year. Singleton are coming up against a very confident side and one that definitely they can measure themselves against and see exactly where improvement may be needed.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 4-0 Singleton Strikers

Singleton 23's showed positives last week but still need a little more to pick up their first win.

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1st Grade Match of the Round:
Cooks Hill United (1st) v Singleton Strikers (2nd)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

There's a very intriguing clash at the AthField this Saturday when top of the table Cooks Hill meet 2nd-placed Singleton. The back-to-back Premiers have got their search for the three-peat underway in rousing success. Impressive second half performances against both Thornton and New Lambton has helped them to six points and seven goals from the first two outings.

The scary thing is that the Cookers still have four more home games in a row to come over the next month. If other teams aren't consistent enough the race for top spot could be well be favouring Cooks Hill by the time they have the bye in Round 7. Everyone has done their job reasonably well over the first two games and their attack is looking very dangerous once again. All is good for Graham Law and his side at the moment.

Singleton are in 2nd place but their underwhelming performance at Turner Park last weekend did nothing in the way of selling them as legitimate top contenders in 2019. With respect to Cessnock, those are the sort of games that teams aiming for success should be winning. The Strikers weren't on the money and will need considerable improvement on last week if they are to come away with anything.

It's obviously tough to be so judgmental two weeks into the year but Singleton are an ambitious bunch and will know that they need to produce their very best week in week out. This weekend will be a little bit more difficult than normal with cricket commitments perhaps ruling some names out. It's a tough ask but hopefully they'll produce the sort of effort we've become used to seeing over the past couple of seasons.

Prediction: Graham Law was in attendance for Cessnock v Singleton and didn't look too worried about what he saw. Cooks Hill are a side that you can only beat with your absolute "A" game. Have a feeling Singleton are still a few weeks away from their finished product and this game might just set them back a peg or two.  

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 4-1 Singleton Strikers

The Inside Word: Graham to be back in the patented tracksuit pants with the socks over the top after facing Jarrod Gorsuch-levels of scrutiny over those shorts last week.

Defender Jack Wilkinson was a standout performer in the win over New Lambton.

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Under 19's Match of the Round:
West Wallsend (=6th) v New Lambton (2nd)
Kickoff: 11:00am

The big games keep coming the 19's and this time it's the defending Champions West Wallsend under pressure to bounce back from their first up draw and facing a challenge in the form of New Lambton. Westy were almost beaten by a Belswans side that played over 70 minutes with ten men and that won't sit well with the ambitious group of players.

The Bluebells need to answer questions about their defence which lacked at vital moments in Round 1 and also find a way to get their attack firing. It is a long season but there's little doubt the players will be keen to bounce back to winning form and in style against a team that has started the season well.

New Lambton are a very exciting outfit in the 19's this season but again they face a very firm test of their credentials. They were unlucky not to leave Cooks Hill with more than a loss last weekend so truly they'll come into this with full intentions of beating the Bluebells and sending a message that they mean business.

The captain Aidan Galvin is a shock leader of the 19's Golden Boot chart with the centre back scoring three in the first two games whilst time in the NPL competition has seen Pat Nolan and Kurt Suleiman improve their game since they last appeared in this league. If they can take their chances they'll do very well most weeks.

Prediction: The Bluebells didn't look great against Belswans and were clearly missing Bailey Cooper at the back. If he's back they may be able to win it although their attack is still missing a little bit of fire. New Lambton if they're up for the fight may be able to take a rare three points off the Bluebells on their home patch.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-2 New Lambton

The Inside Word: Eagles' defence to be just a little bit too good on the day.

Jacob Brain put in a solid performance at the AthField last weekend.

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Under 23's:
West Wallsend (10th) v New Lambton (6th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

There was probably no more disappointing opening round performance given expectations worse than what Westy 23's produced in their first start against Belswans. A 5-0 loss at home was a pretty rough old way to start the year and even this past weekend Head Coach Brandon Slade was unsure exactly how things went so wrong.

The players are better than what they showed in Round 1 and the whole squad will be more than keen to bounce back to form by knocking off a side that played in the Grand Final last season. Ball retention should be underlined on the whiteboard in the pre-game chat because that is the starting point on how they improve their performance. They're definitely capable.

New Lambton started the season with a 2-0 win but fell to a very disappointing 3-0 defeat last weekend against Cooks Hill in the Grand Final rematch. There weren't a lot of positives to take out of a game where the Eagles were for the most part outplayed and conceded a fair few chances. Cooks Hill could have won by more on the day.

So the Eagles will be more than keen to put that behind them and get back to winning ways. Two players come off with injuries last week in Harry Callen and goalkeeper Ryan Fuller so hopefully both can take their place this weekend. They like Westy will be focused on a good start and they also like Westy are capable of doing the job.

Prediction: The two sides both have lineups that are capable of better than what they showed last time out so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from their respective losses. New Lambton look a little closer to the eight ball at this early stage so might tip an away victory.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-3 New Lambton

The Eagles' 23's were unfortunately left feeling sore and sorry after their Round 2 loss.

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1st Grade:
West Wallsend (8th) v New Lambton (5th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Welcome to what New Lambton are titling "the Real Big Blue". Indeed this rivalry has more history behind it then Sydney v Victory. Two very big clubs steeped in tradition and hopefully a game that will live up to the expectations. West Wallsend were unimpressive in Round 1 but have Tye Jones and Ryan Cole to slot back into their attack that didn't exactly fire against Belswans.

Adding to the returns is the news that Tom Sparre and Luke Slade have joined the club. Slade adds more to the club's already strong depth whilst Sparre could be an absolute star given how well he did at Cooks Hill a few years back and coming off playing in the NPL with Lakes. Perhaps the biggest signing out West since Blake Redman?

New Lambton are a team to really keep an eye on this season. Yes they were unable to finish the job last weekend after leading Cooks Hill at half time but they have a very handy side on paper and still have names to slot back in. Jim Foley has mentioned once or twice that it will take time for this team to gel and when they do they'll hope to be right in the mix for finals football.

The Eagles can take solace from the fact that they had Cooks Hill rattled last weekend and if they can build on what they did in the first half there and maintain that for a ninety minute display they may very well be in business. There's a few younger players in that late teen-early twenties age bracket that are still adapting to the system that the Eagles want to use so again, it'll take time.

Prediction: With Jones and Cole to slot back in, that will be close to the best team West Wallsend can put on a football field. That adds some pressure given they're at home and coming off a Round 1 loss. New Lambton can not be taken lightly and they have every chance of winning this game but that home ground advantage has seen Westy get over the line before.

My Tip: West Wallsend 3-2 New Lambton

The Inside Word: Tye Jones to score on his return. No pressure.

Blake Redman will be searching for his first clean sheet since joining Westy.

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Under 19's:
Cessnock City (5th) v Toronto-Awaba (3rd)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Last weekend was Cessnock's biggest 19's victory in four years. They put six past Singleton on the 22nd March 2015 and last Sunday it was five against their undermanned local rivals. Zac Kronholm and Callan McNamara combined for four goals and all round it was a very positive outing for those in black and yellow. Although it must be said that they probably would have liked a couple more goals.

One key aspect of the squad wasn't exactly tested heavily last weekend and that is their defence. It was an easy day out considering Singleton were down a man the entire game so no doubt they'll have to switch right on for the visit of a Toronto side that can definitely strike from anywhere. Beating Singleton is one thing but now the task at hand is to impress against the Stags.

Toronto's last outing came two weeks ago and they too eased past the struggling Singleton. A 4-0 victory was convincing enough and they have looked decent at times during their pre-season games. As mentioned before Josh Masters has left them which is a key out but Jacob Gallagher is a solid enough keeper to work well with their defence.

The Stags can ill-afford to get ahead of themselves. Complacency can be a costly thing at this age level so their minds have to remain firm on the task at hand despite heading up to Turner Park as the favourites. They've got a difficult draw over the next month or so, so it's paramount to pick up as many early points as possible.

Prediction: The Hornets did look decent as they cruised past Singleton last weekend but of course this is a tougher opposition they face at Turner Park. Toronto have some hard to handle attackers like Tom Appleby. The Stags have a better side on paper at this stage of the year so tipping the visitors.

My Tip: Cessnock City 0-2 Toronto-Awaba

The Inside Word: Cessnock's defence will be tested a lot more than last weekend.

Zac Kronholm and Callan McNamara combined for four goals last weekend.

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Under 23's:
Cessnock City (5th) v Toronto-Awaba (2nd)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

This should be an interesting encounter in the 23's and it's safe to say the Hornets definitely had an interesting day last weekend as they battled rivals Singleton. They were cruising at 2-0 early on but then things went a bit wayward as Singleton scored twice in the blink of an eye. Eventually the Hornets came away with the win as Kyle GIllis scored in the second half.

That sort of switching off is something you can see in the 23's grade and will be something that Cessnock will be keen to avoid going forward this season. They've got a decent side on paper but of course it's all about consistency when it comes to success. A third straight home game is a chance to pick up another win and perhaps jump into the top four.

As mentioned last weekend it's very nice to see Toronto 23's sitting high in 2nd place after the first portion of the new season and more importantly it's great to see how many numbers the club has across the top two grades after some tough times last year. It seems a world away from the forfeits and the double digit losses of the latter parts of 2018.

Of course there's added incentive to how this team perform because Darrel McAllister has appeared to be watching the lower grades closely and keeps tabs on the players he has at his disposal. First Grade time is no longer handed out to anyone who shows up with a pair of boots but can be earned by hard work and positive effort.

Prediction: Toronto cruised past Singo in Round 1 whilst Cessnock found it a little tougher against the Strikers (granted Singo's lineup was improved in Round 2). This is a very tough match to call. Cessnock probably should win it given their attacking quality but have a feeling it might not go so well.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-2 Toronto-Awaba

The Inside Word: Cessnock's defence is still a work in progress so think that might be their downfall.

Former Wallsend player Jack Benson has seemed to have settled in nicely at his new club.

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1st Grade:
Cessnock City (6th) v Toronto-Awaba (=9th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

It wasn't all that long ago that these sides were facing off at Turner Park in a wooden spoon battle but both have greater intentions now and are looking to really kickstart their campaign with a win here. The Hornets are one of just four teams to have played twice and definitely last week was an improvement on their Round 1 loss although they still need to show a lot more and likely are capable.

What the Hornets lacked last week was a significant enough attacking presence. Klaudon Ahmataj is returning this week although likely off the bench whilst Lachlan Hodgetts is still another month or so away. They came close to beating Singleton last week so will be hopeful of their first victory of the season this weekend. Just don't go putting money on Ando to score again!

Toronto-Awaba's fitness may have question marks around it considering they fell away in a 4-2 loss to Singleton in Round 1, the same Singleton that Cessnock would have held scoreless last week if not for a penalty. The Stags were always going to need time to work out their best system and find their top form so whether that comes now or later we'll have to wait and see.

Toronto were convincing winners last time these sides met but they can not head up to the game with complacency in their system. Darrel McAllister likes to keep his troops grounded and will be hoping for a full ninety minute performance. It's a long season but three points on Sunday would be a nice way for Toronto to start their climb up the table.

Prediction: This is the toughest game to tip of the 1st Grade fixtures. Cessnock didn't look too crash hot (excuse the casual slang) against Singleton whilst Toronto are coming off a loss. Looking at the two sides attacking units, it's safe to say the Stags are probably a little better on paper. Hornets will be happy that Newysports has tipped them to lose again...enjoy the result whether it be a draw or even a win!

My Tip: Cessnock City 0-2 Toronto-Awaba

Greg Anderson's goal last week was apparently his first in eleven long years!

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Under 19's:
South Cardiff (4th) v Kahibah FC (8th)
Kickoff: 2:00pm

South Cardiff were victors in Round 1 but certainly didn't do it easily against Wallsend. Good character was shown to fight through that game and come away with a hard-fought 3-2 victory. The Gunners are an entirely new look outfit on last year's cellar dwellers and they're dead serious about success across most grades at the club in 2019. This team have so far shown they're capable of working towards that.

The coach Aidan Paintner has been spotted observing games of other clubs in the league so will be well-informed about how to perhaps set his side up to combat what they will come up against this season. As for the players themselves, it's an improved squad on what they had last season and considering Southy's boastful numbers in the Senior Squad, they might get to keep some of their better performers rather than loss them to 23's.

They face Kahibah this Sunday and you can be forgiven for forgetting that the Rams are even part of the competition given they had the first round bye and got washed out last week. For the third consecutive year Kahibah have to wait until Round 3 to finally take the field and it's definitely not an easy match for their first outing.

New coach Jason Zechel will be under the spotlight a lot this season. He has a better squad at his disposal and is at a club that looks for its younger grades to be successful. As for the squad, there's some impressive talent in the lineup. One of Zechel's recruits Ty Cowley has been consistent this pre-season and will be viewed as one of the leaders of the team alongside the likes of Liam Whitehead and Kyle Williams.

Prediction: It's anyone's guess as to how this might go. Southy arguably have the better attack given Kahibah haven't set the world on fire in that department over the course of the pre-season but Kahibah have a fairly solid defence. Can very much see the two of those things cancelling each other out.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-1 Kahibah FC

Kahibah still have a couple of last year's 19's including Liam Whitehead.

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Under 23's:
South Cardiff (8th) v Kahibah FC (7th)
Kickoff: 3:30pm

This could be a very entertaining 23's game given where both teams are aiming for in 2019. Firstly onto the Gunners and they'll consider themselves unlucky to have lost to Wallsend in Round 1 and will be raring to go after the wash-out last weekend. As mentioned last week the Gunners have possibly the largest Senior Squad in the competition so there's a lot of players pushing for spots and pushing for success.

Jayden Catt and Alex Evans will come up against the Rams for the first time since their departure so you already have some storylines to add to the game just there. The Gunners have a tough draw over the next four games or so, so just like a lot of teams they'll be looking for a chance to kickstart their form.

On the other side of the pitch will be Kahibah FC and it's a side that sees a few promoted players from the Premiership-winning Under 19's side. Isaac True, Kye Condon and Kallum Garbett are just some of the names who could feature whilst Cameron Wamsley is a very good addition to the attack. Goalkeeper Blake Gates returns to the club where he played 17's a couple of years ago.

New coach Mitch Gorsuch takes over the reigns and after his brother Jarrod departed in pre-season it leaves Mitch with a chance to prove himself as a coach and work more with Andre Gumprecht and the Senior Squad. Speaking of Gumps, it's likely he'll be a feature in the 23's side this year as an experienced leader. Kahibah 23's are always tipped for a strong year but they always find a way to fall short, perhaps 2019 is their time? (Copied and pasted from last week...)

Prediction: This game like a lot of 23's matches through the year could very realistically go either way. It's still far too early to gauge where both teams are at but they're both ambitious and both have seemed to put together decent lineups. Thinking Kahibah may edge it but will depend on availabilities on the day.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-2 Kahibah FC

The Inside Word: Said it last week, Cameron Wamsley to score on his competitive debut for Kahibah.

Southy 23's will be hoping to rally for their first win of the new season.

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1st Grade:
South Cardiff (3rd) v Kahibah FC (7th)
Kickoff: 5:30pm

The final game of the weekend once again takes place at South Cardiff as the Gunners host Kahibah in a twilight match that promises to be intriguing. For a large majority of the first half, South Cardiff looked superb against Wallsend but the second half left a little bit to be desired, at least in terms of pure all out attacking football.

The Southy lineup this season is enough to send shivers down your spine because if they switch on and play their best football they'll be very close to knocking Cooks Hill off their perch. The Gunners at this early stage look the only team capable of stopping the Cookers juggernaut from a third-straight Premiership. If that isn't a glowing endorsement then who knows what is?

Facing them is everyone's second favourite club Kahibah FC, the club that could, would, should and so far in four seasons haven't. Jokes aside 2018 was the low point of Andre Gumprecht's reign as coach and Kahibah's time in the competition but they've worked hard on changing the culture (you can debate what that even means) and player-wise they have a much younger and dare we say enthusiastic bunch of players.

You'd expect Newysports to have a finger on the pulse at Kahibah and know all the ins and outs but truth is no news has come through. At last check centre back pairing Heath Kepreotes and Ryan Stuchbury weren't up for selection but that was before last weekend. Defence is going to be a big question mark for the Rams this year and it will be tested by a high-quality Southy side.

Prediction: Truth be told this is a much more difficult first game for the Rams than what Wallsend would have been. Southy if they can play like they did against Wallsend in that first half will be near impossible to stop. Hopefully Kahibah will improve over the course of the year and a win here would be a major upset to kickstart their year but it's hard to see anything but a comfortable enough Southy win.

My Tip: South Cardiff 4-1 Kahibah FC

The Inside Word: Tom Butzmann and Murray Leyland facing off against their old side. Expect both to be gunning for the win.

Hakan Canli was impressive on debut for the Gunners and is one of many experienced players.

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YOUTH GAME(s) OF THE WEEK: This Saturday sees two powerhouse clubs meet in the youth league as Westy hosts New Lambton. Across every grade these clubs have some talented players. Singleton 17's impressed in Round 2 but are up for a test at the AthField. Last but not least, Southy v Kahibah will surely be full of fire in the 15's and 17's given all the connections between the two clubs. Big Richard v Mat Moncrieff in a battle of the super coaches in the 17's!

*UPDATE: South Cardiff were victorious in the 13's and 15's last night, coming from 1-0 down in both games to win 2-1.

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