NPL Men’s NNSW Round 12 Preview: Olympic and Cooks Hill face tricky battle, while Jaffas set out for three points against Roosters

Match of the Round  
Newcastle Olympic v Cooks Hill United  
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 2:30pm 

Newcastle Olympic co-coach Paul De Vitis admits his side is in a tricky situation when they go head-to-head with Cooks Hill United at Darling Street Oval this Sunday. 

The two sides are in a unique situation as they play each other twice within the space of five days. 

Olympic were crowned victorious against Cooks Hill on Wednesday night when Lachlan Griffiths scored a late winner in round five of the Australia Cup. The 1-0 victory will see Olympic move into the next round of the competition.

But the two teams will now have to refocus their attention to battle each other once again on Sunday.

De Vitis said it was challenging to face the same team within such a short period of time. 

“It happened against us and New Lambton a couple of weeks ago and it was very strange. The two games were very different,” De Vitis said.

“I think it is a tricky situation because you never know if the team Cooks Hill are playing in the Cup are their full-strength team. The more you think about it the harder it becomes. 

“In the Cup game, we will just try and get a feel for the opposition and then go from there.” 

Olympic and Cooks Hill also met back in round one when Olympic scored a 2-1 win but De Vitis believed this weekend’s clash will be a lot tougher with Cooks Hill hitting their strides. 

“I think round one was tough one, we played great that game but I have watched a few of their (Cooks Hill) games lately and they will be a better team than when we played them first up,” De Vitis said.

“Cooks Hill have been in close games. They have young attackers up front that will cause us some issues. 

“We will have to defend well against them and try and exploit the areas to get through in attack. We will try and dominate them with the football but it is up to us to finish our chances.”

Olympic have lost brothers Dylan and Jackson Burston to Maitland FC in the transfer window but are hopeful of signing A-League veteran Jason Hoffman.  

De Vitis was unsure if defender Jacob Pepper would appear this weekend as he has just returned to training from a calf injury. But Olympic will be without Archie Finn (broken leg) and Rhys Cooper (honeymoon) on Sunday. 

Cooks Hill has had a mixed start to the season with two wins, two draws and five losses in the competition. They sit ninth on the table and trail their opponents this weekend by five points. 

Cooks Hill’s coach Chris Zoricich also admitted that playing Olympic twice within a week was a strange occurrence but said his side were ready for revenge. 

“It is an interesting scenario this week,” Zoricich said. 

“It will be interesting to see if formations change in the Cup for Olympic compared to the league. 

“It’s a tough round of games coming up, Olympic beat us in the first round and we want to get some revenge on that.

Cooks Hill came back from behind last weekend to secure a 2-1 victory over Weston FC which Zoricich said was just what his side needed to surge their confidence, but they will not get ahead of themselves. 

“The boys needed the boost with the three points last week,” Zoricich said.

“The confidence is high at the moment. But we have spoken about not getting ahead of ourselves. 

“We are still at the bottom half of the table and need to climb to the top of the table. 

Daniel Minors continues to be sidelined with injury, but the rest of the squad will be available to battle it out at Darling Street on Sunday.  

Lambton Jaffas v Lake Macquarie City FC  
Arthur Edden Oval, Saturday 2:30pm 

Lambton Jaffas coach David Tanchevski does not believe his side will be complacent when they host Lake Macquarie City FC at Arthur Edden Oval on Saturday. 

The league leaders have been unbeaten so far in the competition this season and are six points clear at the top of the table with one match in hand.

But despite playing a team at the bottom end of the table, Tanchevski said his team would treat the game like any other fixture. 

“I think the mentality has been impressive. It is hard to get up for games when you are at the top of the table,” Tanchevski said.

“We are just focused on one game at a time and we look tactically at how we can beat each opponent. Then we set up and train that week with how we want to play and I think that keeps us on our toes. We don’t always line up the same and rotate players a lot.

“We want to keep our boys fresh and have a few different players that have come back from injury that brings in a bit of freshness. It also keeps the competition up between everyone.”

Jaffas’ coach is thrilled with his side’s success but admitted that it has made team selections difficult with several players back into the squad from injury. 

“We want to keep momentum going,” Tanchevski said. 

“It is hard to change a team that is winning a lot, picking 11 when you have at least 15 that could start. 

“But it’s nice to be able to rotate with the quality of players that we have.

Lakes has struggled to take off this season, with one win and seven losses to their name this season. They sit 11th on the table with three points and have three matches in hand. 

The Roosters have suffered three straight competition losses as well as a 6-1 loss to Broadmeadow Magic in the Australia Cup on Wednesday night. 

Pete Preston will hope that his side can bounce back with some fresh blood entering the mix.

In a big boost for the Roosters, they have recruited Edgeworth FC duo Jordan Lennon and Theodor Skarp in the transfer window. 

One of the Lakes’ senior players, Guilherme Evangelista Dos Santos, will be sidelined for an extended period with a knee injury.

Goalkeeper Cobe Preston will also return to training with the squad after he missed the first 11 rounds with an injury. 

A win could see Lakes move up above New Lambton FC into 10th position which will be an extra motivator to take it to the league leaders on Sunday. 

Adamstown Rosebud v Broadmeadow Magic  
Adamstown Oval, Saturday 2:30pm 

Adamstown Rosebuds will face another tough challenge this Saturday when they host Broadmeadow Magic at Adamstown Oval. 

The Rosebuds enters the competition off the back of a disastrous 7-0 loss to league leaders Lambton Jaffas last weekend. 

Daniel Dawkins and his side will have another uphill battle this weekend against second-placed Magic.

But Adamstown will have some newfound confidence coming into Saturday’s clash after they defeated HIT106.9 Northern League One Cessnock City Hornets 4-0 in Wednesday night’s Australia Cup game to progress through to round six of the nationwide competition.

Adamstown occupies the bottom of the table with two points and a win could see them leapfrog Lakes into 11th. 

Magic also played a mid-week Australia Cup match which saw them defeat Lake Macquarie City FC 6-1 on Wednesday night and advance to the preliminary round six. 

Broadmeadow bounced back from their only two losses of the season to secure back-to-back wins and will be eager to return home with another three points. 

They sit second on the table with 24 points and match in hand as they trail Lambton Jaffas by six points. 

Jim Cresnar will hope that his side can secure a crucial three points and that they can close the gap between the league leaders. 

Bailey Wells’ return from suspension proved vital for Magic after he netted two goals in their 5-1 victory over New Lambton FC.  

Valentine FC v Maitland FC 
Croudace Bay Complex, Saturday 5pm 

Two sides will be eager to return to the winners’ circle when Valentine FC hosts Maitland FC at Croudace Bay Complex on Saturday afternoon. 

Phoenix remains in fourth position on the table but will come into the match off the back of three consecutive competition losses. 

In a further knock, Valentine was knocked out of the Australia Cup on Wednesday night after a 4-3 loss to Edgeworth FC.

With the teams below them on the table beginning to close the game and to keep in touch with the top three sides, a win for Valeninte is crucial this weekend. 

Maitland will also hope to turn things around after they suffered a 5-0 defeat to Lambton Jaffas in their last competition match at the end of April. 

The Magpies missed out on their round 10 match-up against Edgeworth and will be keen to get back out on the pitch. 

One thing that coach Mick Bolch believed was an issue for his side this season was their lack of depth. 

But the Magpies have recruited Newcastle Olympic brothers Dylan and Jackson Burston in the latest transfer window to help boost the side. 

Mick Bolch and his coaching team have recruited Newcastle Olympic brothers Dylan and Jackson Burston in the transfer window to help boost their side.  

Weston Workers FC v Edgeworth FC 
Rockwell Automation Park, Sunday 2:30pm 

Weston Workers FC will be eager to return to the winners’ circle this Sunday when they go head-to-head with Edgeworth FC at Rockwell Automation Park. 

The Bears have struggled to gain consistency in results, which is something coach Kew Jaliens is desperate to achieve. 

They were unable to make it three from three when they went down 2-1 in the final minutes against Cooks Hill United last weekend. 

Weston will be without key defender Angelo Calfo as he serves a one-match suspension after he denied a goal-scoring opportunity against Cooks Hill. 

The Bears sit mid-table in sixth with 13 points and is the only team to have played all 11 matches of the season. 

A win could see Jaliens’ side jump up as high as fourth, which will be an extra motivator to get the job done this weekend. 

Edgeworth enters Sunday’s match off the back of four straight wins and will hope to make it five from five against the Bears. 

The Eagles missed their round 11 fixture against Maitland but got back out on the pitch on Wednesday night when they defeated Valentine FC 4-3 in the Australia Cup to advance to the next round.

Peter McGuinness’ side sits one spot and one point above the Bears on the table in fifth but has the potential advantage of two matches in hand. 

Edgeworth has lost defender Jordan Lennon and striker Theodor Skarp in the transfer window to Lake Macquarie City FC. 

But the Eagles have proved already this season that they have depth in their squad and will be up for the fight on Sunday afternoon.  

New Lambton FC v Charlestown Azzurri  
Alder Park, Sunday 2:30pm 

New Lambton will be desperate for a win when they host Charlestown Azzurri at Alder Park on Sunday afternoon. 

The Golden Eagles have struggled to take flight this season with only one win and one draw under their wing and sit 10th on the table. 

Shane Pryce will be eager for his side to turn things around against heavyweights Azzurri but will need his attack to crack the Blues’ experienced defenders to grind out a result. 

Azzurri will hope to make it three from three from three this weekend after back-to-back wins against two of the top four sides. 

The Blues sit third on the table and trail league leaders Lambton Jaffas by nine points with one game in hand. 

Rene Ferguson continues to hit the back of the net for the Blues and is third in the golden boot race with eight goals in 10 matches. 

But Azzurri have three of their key players who are one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. Nigel Boogaard, Tyran Cousins and Harrison Frendo each have four yellow cards to their name in the competition and will have to be mindful this weekend not to receive a fifth. 

A-League veteran Taylor Regan remains in doubt to play this weekend after he suffered a hip injury against Broadmeadow Magic in round nine. 

A win for the Blues could see them move up to equal points with Magic and most importantly, keep them in touch with Jaffas.  

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