2024 HMRI Charity Shield Preview: Friendly fire set to light up when Magic takes on the Magpies before Jaffas battle Broadmeadow's men

The inaugural HRMI Charity Shield will kick off the 2024 NNSW premier competition season at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Friday 16 February, with all gate proceeds going to Hunter Medical Research Institute.  

The double header will see NPL Women’s NNSW premiers and champions Broadmeadow Magic go head-to-head with Women’s State Cup winners Maitland FC.    

Reigning NPL Men’s NNSW premiers and champions Lambton Jaffas will then take on Men’s State Cup winners Broadmeadow Magic.  

NPL Women’s NNSW: 
Broadmeadow Magic FC v Maitland FC 
Jack McLaughlan Oval, Friday 6:15pm 

Two new-look sides will kick off the HMRI Charity Shield when Broadmeadow Magic takes on Maitland FC.  

Magic suffered potential major blows after being crowned the 2023 premiers-champions losing multiple players and their coach. But three of Maitland’s key starters Mercedes McNabb, Madi Gallegos and Imogene Tomasone have swapped black and white for red, as well as Nima Nikfarjam taking the head coach role to fill the gaps in Broadmeadow’s squad.   

One of those players, Mercedes McNabb, is looking forward to taking on her old club in fresh colours and says the rivalry will remain friendly on Friday night.  

“I think it is a very exciting change for me,” McNabb said. 

“100 per cent there will be a bit of a rivalry. 

“We are all still good mates and have already talked about how fun it’s going to be but we are all pretty comfortable so we are going to have to just focus on how we play.” 

The 2023 Young Player of the Year says her side is in it to win it but also believes this weekend’s match will help the team see where they are at heading into the season.  

“The aim is to bring all of the trophies home this season,” McNabb said.  

“The football is still great after coming off the back of winning last year. It’s all really high quality and intensity. 

“It’s a good indicator as to where we are standing. I think Maitland are going to be up with us and it’s going to be a good indicator to see how well we are going to perform and see how the season is going to go.”   

Magic will be without their new shot-stopper Tomasone, who will miss the match due to a quad injury.  

McNabb’s ex-teammate and best friend Tahlia Gossner is excited to go head-to-head with some familiar faces at Jack McLaughlan Oval to help raise money for HMRI.  

“We are stoked to be a part of the event,” Gossner said.  

“It’s definitely hyped up the rivalry because you have ex-players there but Magic have always been a hyped-up team to play against so it's going to be a contest. 

Despite losing eight players from last year’s roster the Magpies’ co-captain is confident her new-look team has what it takes to bring home the shield and start the season on a high.  

“I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a season yet,” Gossner said.  

“It’s a great test before the season to get a good hit out against a good opponent and really see where we are at. 

“We are feeling pretty confident. We have gelled well with the new signings and they have fit in well. Our training has been good as well as our preseason hitouts. 

“Our main aim is to win as much as possible and put our name out there. It would be great to get the win and start the season off well.” 

The Magpies will be without Amy Parkinson who is away as well as teammate Sophie Jones who will be sidelined for an extended period after suffering a medial strain. Larna Kearney is also in doubt with a quad complaint.  

Lambton Jaffas FC v Broadmeadow Magic FC 
Jack McLaughlan Oval, Friday 8:15pm  

It will be a grand final rematch when the 2023 league premiers and champions take on Magic in the second match of Friday night’s event.  

Magic are out for revenge after losing last year’s premiership by one point and then the grand final in the 93rd minute and Jaffas are looking to continue their winning ways, with the two teams vying for the inaugural HMRI Charity Shield.  

The Jaffas may be without at least four of their key new signings against Magic with Jimmy Oates and Matt Buettner tentative to play and Shaun Pratt sidelined for four weeks with a calf injury and Matt Cahill out for eight weeks with a knee strain. 

But goalkeeper Ben Kennedy is still hopeful his side can bring home the silverware to kickstart their season. 

“We feel pretty good. We’ve had a few changes this year but everyone has fit in well and we are raring to go for the game on Friday,” Kennedy said.  

“Obviously having a competitive game ahead of the season is always good and having this standard of game can only benefit the squad. 

“Our aim this year is to win every competition we go in and that starts on Friday.” 

Kennedy is looking forward to having the opportunity to play a high-intensity, high-passion game against their rivals Magic that also is for a good cause.  

“I think there is always rivalry between Lambton and Broadmeadow,” Kennedy said.  

“It’s always a good game and close game and is one that we are looking forward to. 

“It’s massive to be able to help raise some funds for HMRI and I know all of the guys are pretty happy and honoured to be involved in a game like this.”  

Broadmeadow has also seen some change within their setup with Jim Cresnar taking the reigns as head coach as well as some new playing personnel.   

Forward Josh Benson is eager to see his new side in action under Cresnar and get the season rolling on Friday night.  

“We are feeling great,” Benson said.  

"Jim has come in and has done a great job to create a very professional and very competitive environment. 

“It’s brilliant to be able to verse such good opposition a week before the season starts. We are excited to finish a long pr-season with a big professional game is really important to us.” 

But Benson says there is extra motivation heading into the match other than winning the shield, after not being able to pick up a point from the premier-champions last season. 

“There is a little bit of heated tension, they are the team to beat at the moment,” Benson said.  

“To walk away last season without a point against them was very hurtful for us but we’ve set it as one of our goals to get on top of them this season. 

“We always pride ourselves on silverware, picking up the State Cup last year so it would be a huge way to start the season. 

“It would be huge to boost the confidence to win heading into the season.  We are planning to come out flying. 

“It's going to be a massive game on Friday.” 

2024 HMRI Charity Shield Match Day Information  

WHEN: Friday 16 February 

KICK-OFF TIMES: NPL Women’s NNSW 6.15pm, NPL Men’s NNSW 8.15pm  

(Champions will be decided by penalty kicks in the event of a draw.) 

GATES OPEN: 5.15pm  

PARKING: Supporters are advised to arrive early and leave plenty of time to enter the venue due to limited parking and with a large crowd expected.   

TICKETS:  $5 adults and concession, FREE 16-years and under.  Tickets will be available at the gate only with contactless payment preferred. Limited change will be available, with correct cash appreciated. All proceeds from gate entry will go to HMRI.  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Animals and pets (other than assistance dogs) are not permitted to enter the venue.