NPL Women's NNSW Round 21 Preview: Middies after more than three points in their final match, while the battle is on for second spot

Match of the Round  
New Lambton FC v Mid Coast FC 
Alder Park, Saturday 1pm 

New Lambton and Mid Coast will look to finish their 2023 seasons on a high when they go head-to-head at Alder Park this Saturday.  

New Lambton were unable to reach finals contention, sitting in fifth spot seven points behind Charlestown Azzurri in fourth, while Mid Coast also missed out this season in seventh.  

New Lambton co-captain Cass Davis is disappointed that she and the side will be missing out on finals and says it can be challenging to find the motivation to play games already knowing that her side won’t be playing finals football.  

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t make the finals, so it kind of gets hard playing games when you know that you are done,” Davis said. 

“We missed out in a couple of games that we didn’t get the result meaning that we missed out.” 

But Davis hopes that her side can go into the weekend and enjoy their final match of the season together and the club can keep building for next season.  

“Similar to last week, we just want to enjoy it,” Davis said.  

“Obviously you want to finish as high as possible on the table and with three points but we said to the girls just go and enjoy yourselves and there’s no pressure. 

“I think New Lambton has built on what they did last season and hopefully they can keep building.”  

New Lambton knows that their final game will be challenging, with Mid Coast putting it to them the last time they met, going goal for goal in the first half. Davis also knows the impact a new coach can have on a side and the motivation of the players.  

“Middies have always been a tough team to verse and we still really need to switch on,” Davis said.  

“They work hard and are always a tough team to battle against. 

“Obviously a new coach into a team means that everyone has a point to prove. It’s always hard to play a team that has had those changes and have players that are wanting to make the starting lineup and competing for spots.”  

Davis has been immense for her side in attack assisting and scoring goals and hopes that she can add continue her form for her final game for the Golden Eagles on Saturday. 

“I like to assist more than score I think, it’s more my game to set the strikers up. Hopefully, I can get a few more assists and try and get my teammates on the scoresheet,” Davis said.  

New Lambton’s squad will be mostly unchanged with Elizabeth Jones coming back into the squad after being unavailable last weekend and Lauren Allan returning from suspension. 

Mid Coast have had a challenging year both on and off the pitch, sitting seventh on the table, struggling for numbers due to unavailability and injuries as well as changing coaches within the final month of the season.  

New coach Peter Masterantonio acknowledges the tough season the side has had. He has been focusing on more than results since taking the reigns and is approaching the final game of the season the same way.  

“I guess that we measure success a bit differently than just a win and a loss. We have different motivations than other teams,” Masterantonio said.  

“We have some goals that we want to achieve out of this game. We want to change the way we are playing the game. 

“They have been up against it a lot and have been playing survival instead of playing the game the way you want to. 

“Our focus is to be confident and play in a certain way. I think it is just about believing in that and if you can achieve.” 

Masterantonio hopes that his young squad can learn from the opportunity to play against experienced players such as Davis, Allan and Tara Andrews.  

“You can really see some of the lessons that some of the girls can learn watching these players play. Sophie Stapleford from Maitland showed her experience last weekend against us and I think the girls learned a lot from watching her play. It will be the same this weekend,” Masterantonio said.   

The new gaffer has been taking it week by week and is not looking ahead to the 2024 season but rather focusing on finishing this year’s season on a high note.  

“I think we haven’t focused beyond each weekend,” Masterantonio said.  

“We are going into this game treating it as a one-off and to see if we can play the way we have implemented since the changes in the club. 

“It’s been a crazy season but we can finish Saturday on a really positive note. We are keen for the weekend.”  

Charlestown Azzurri FC v Newcastle Olympic FC 
Lisle Carr Oval, Saturday 1pm 

Charlestown Azzurri will be eager to bounce back in the lead-up to finals as they host Newcastle Olympic at Lisle Carr Oval this Saturday.  

The Blues went down 0-4 to premiers Broadmeadow Magic, in what has been a mixed second half of the season for the side.  

But Azzurri will play finals, finishing fourth on the table, heading into this weekend’s clash seven points clear of New Lambton in fifth.  

It will be important for Azzurri to turn things around heading into the finals series. The side has proven why they should be in the top four, causing upsets and fiercely competing with the other top three teams.  

Olympic are keen to keep the good times rolling after dominantly defeating Adamstown Rosebud 9-1 last weekend.  

The next aim for Olympic is to finish second on the table to ensure they will get the most opportunity to make finals. Maitland sit two points behind, meaning that a draw or win should secure Olympic the second spot.  

Olympic’s coach Neil Owens believes that playing in the Women’s League Cup final two weeks ago has boosted his side in the lead-up to finals. 

“The aim is to get a win and cement second place. That’s the number one priority,” Owens said.  

“Having the League Cup final a few weeks from the semis in hindsight after winning was a really good hit out. It is helping us prepare for the semi-finals in already having some finals experience under our belt. I think they are well prepared.” 

The side will remain without Jorja Hogg as it has been confirmed that she has a tear in her ACL. The extent of the injury is still unclear, with the club uncertain if Hogg will return this season.  

Adamstown Rosebud JFC v Maitland FC 
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Saturday 1pm 

Adamstown will look to turn things around for their final match of the season when they battle it out with Maitland on Saturday.  

Rosebud suffered their worst defeat of the season last weekend, going down 9-1 to Newcastle Olympic.  

But Adamstown will hope that they can finish the season on a more positive note and take home the three points to round out their season.  

Adamstown will be without midfielder Jenna Doyle, due to suspension for accumulating five yellow cards.  

The Magpies were able to bounce back from two losses to score a convincing 5-0 win over Mid Coast last weekend, which they will be eager to build on against Rosebud.  

Maitland are preparing for the club’s first-ever finals run in the competition, while still having the opportunity to finish second on the table after this weekend if results go their way.  

The Magpies sit two points behind Newcastle Olympic, meaning that it is possible to jump up to second in time for the finals.  

Coach Keelan Hamilton knows the importance of three points heading into finals but also for the side’s confidence.  

“The aim is to win and make sure that we are also prepared for the week after,” Hamilton said.  

“If we could get to 15 wins for the season, that would be massive for us and our club. 

“We also have the opportunity to finish second, I think that is probably unlikely I think Newcastle Olympic have the better chance but it is a possibility.” 

The Magpies have been hit with some big injury blows with multiple starting players out indefinitely. Goalkeeper Imogene Tomasone is sidelined with a back injury, Ainsley Childs is unlikely to return due to a knee injury and Madeline Howard has a suspected fractured ankle. 

But coach Hamilton has credited the depth of his squad and has faith that all of his players can step on the pitch and get the job done.  

“You can’t be successful without having a strong squad,” Hamilton said.  

“We have been really impressed with the quality of our young squad.” 

In positive news, it is highly likely that Tahlia Gossner will return to the Magpies squad after being sidelined with a hamstring injury for the past few weeks. 


Warners Bay FC v Broadmeadow Magic FC 
John Street Oval, Saturday 1pm 

It will be a battle between first and last on the table when Warners Bay host Broadmeadow Magic at John Street Oval on Saturday.  

Warners Bay will look to finish their season on a positive note in their final game this Saturday despite not picking up a point in the 21 rounds of matches.  

But the Panthers will have a tough task ahead of them this weekend if they want to rain on the premier’s parade this weekend.  

Broadmeadow Magic are hoping to continue their momentum all the way into finals, after winning the premiership last week when they defeated Charlestown Azzurri 4-0.  

After securing the premiership Magic’s coach Jake Curley says the confidence is high within the squad and will be looking at using this last weekend before finals to rest some of his players in the lead-up for finals.  

“I think being a top-four side and winning the premiership is good for the confidence of the girls,” Curley said.  

“We will have a few girls sitting out and will try and give some girls the opportunity to experience first grade this weekend.”  

Jemma Harrison will also miss this weekend’s clash, sidelined due to an injury.