NPL Women’s NNSW Round Two Preview: The Panthers look to go back-to-back, while Azzurri set to finally hit the pitch against Adamstown

Match of the Round  
Warners Bay FC v New Lambton FC 
John Street Oval, Sunday 4pm

Warners Bay will be looking to claim their first back-to-back win since 2022 when they host New Lambton FC on Sunday afternoon. 

The Panthers picked up a monumental win in round one, defeating Mid Coast 8-1 and claiming their first victory since the 2022 season. But their opponents this weekend will also be hungry for three points, going down in the final minute of their opening round match against Broadmeadow Magic last Saturday. 

The two teams will be looking to use their attacking threats to claim all three points. Warners Bay’s new signing Emily Diaz scored four goals in her first hit out in new colours, while New Lambton’s veteran striker Tara Andrew scored a stunning free-kick at Magic Park. The two strikers will be hoping to repeat their performances in this weekend's clash. 

Warners Bay’s coach Ryan Swinkels was thrilled to see the work he and his side had done in preseason reaping the rewards in round one.

“We’re feeling good, we put the work in over the off-season. We feel like this is the start of something,” Swinkels said. 

The Warners Bay gaffer is impressed with the newfound confidence of his side and the importance of new signings including Emily Diaz and Indiana Asimus to the team both on and off the pitch. 

“That was a big thing to get players in and around the original squad. We really needed those one or two people to come in and help boost the side and their confidence,” Swinkels said. 

“The biggest thing about our squad at the moment is that everyone is turning up to everything and we can see that togetherness that we are trying to create being formed.”

Despite an impressive result in the opening round, Swinkles has areas that he wants to work on ahead of this weekend’s fixture. 

“Our focuses are fixing bits and pieces that we struggled with on the weekend and focus on making ourselves even stronger when we are without the ball,” Swinkels said. 

“Our main focus in our squad will be to focus on what we can do as a team and to know our roles and responsibilities to be able to shut the other team down. We also want to remain positive throughout the match and not drop our heads.” 

The Panthers squad will remain the same with the addition of Libby Ellis returning to the squad after working overseas in the off-season.

New Lambton will hope to see the return of Ally Pike into their match day squad on Sunday, as they look for their first points of the season. 

Coach Aaron Stedman will not be centering his attention on the opposition this season but knows how tough each match will be.  

“I think that all year every team will be a hard game,” Stedman said. 

“I think the way we are going, it’s to be week by week and not think too far ahead or focus on individual teams.”

Stedman said that his side is ready to go again this weekend and hopes to return from John Street Oval with all three points. 

“It’s now back to work and we have to go again,” Swinkles said. 

“Effort maintained throughout the whole game is so important. It’s all well and good to have a great game against Magic but you have to maintain that week in and week out.

“The goal will be 100% competitiveness and to focus on us.

“We’ve got to keep going for the full 90. We are a small group and that comes down to being positive through the whole game and having the mentality to keep going.”

New Lambton defender Amy Gosling remains sidelined with a quad injury. 

Charlestown Azzurri FC v Adamstown Rosebud JFC 
Lisle Carr Oval, Saturday 4pm

Charlestown Azzurri will be eager to finally start their season when they take on Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday afternoon. 

The Blues missed out on their opening clash last weekend due to wet weather and will be looking forward to finally stepping foot on Lisle Carr Oval. 

Adamstown will be hoping to wipe last week’s result from memory after suffering a 9-0 loss to Newcastle Olympic. 

Adamstown’s coach Martin Slade still took positives from his side’s dramatic loss and acknowledged that his young squad was outclassed by Olympic. 

“Olympic will be a top two team, they were ruthless on the weekend,” Slade said. 

“I think that we stuck to our principles of looking to keep possession of the ball and have a high possession rate.

Slade believes that his team will continue to improve and develop as the season progresses. 

‘We have a very young squad but we will get better throughout the season,” Slade said. 

“They are young and enthusiastic and they want to get better. 

“They are learning to play a different style of football in being more patient on the ball and knowing that they do have the ability to play through pressure at all times.

“We will carry on with what we are doing and concentrate on putting on a good performance.

“We want to keep pace with the teams around us.” 

Adamstown’s gaffer says that players such as goalkeeper and captain Olivia Sneddon have been integral in guiding his young side.

“Liv (Sneddon) is integral to everything that we are doing and she displays all of the quality of what the club aspire to be,” Slade said. 

Slade is aware that Azzurri’s young side will come out firing this season under new coach Heath Whyte. 

“By all reports, Heath’s side are going to come out quick and fit,” Slade said. 

“We will look to be slightly more organised in the next few weeks.”  

Broadmeadow Magic FC v Maitland FC  
Magic Park, Friday 8pm

Broadmeadow Magic will be out for revenge when they host Maitland FC at Magic Park this Friday night. 

Despite it only being round two, Magic will have a score to settle, after going down to the Magpies in the HMRI Charity Shield earlier this month. 

But Broadmeadow was able to start the NPL Women's NNSW competition with three points after they ground out a 3-2 win against New Lambton scoring a stoppage-time winner. 

Nima Nikfarjam was pleased with his side’s first hit out of the season and will be looking for them to build on their performance in round two. 

Mercedes McNabb, Madi Gallegos and Imogene Tomasone, who switched from black and white to red this season, will be eager to get a win against their old teammates and secure back-to-back victories for their side. 

The Magpies will be eager to finally get on the pitch this weekend after their round one match was postponed due to wet weather. 

Keelan Hamilton’s side has seen some big changes in personnel over the off-season but his new recruits have already impressed in the HMRI Charity Shield match. New attacker Georgia Amess was a threat all game, creating multiple goal-scoring opportunities, netting two goals and assisting with another.

Sophie Jones remains sidelined for the Magpies with an MCL injury. 

The match is expected to be a high-quality, fierce battle between two sides who are desperate to walk away with three points.  

Newcastle Olympic FC v Mid Coast FC 
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 2pm

Newcastle Olympic will be looking to keep the good times rolling when they host Mid Coast on Sunday afternoon. 

Olympic had a dream start to the season defeating Adamstown 9-0 and will be eager to continue their winning form when they return to Darling Street Oval. 

There is no doubt that Craig Atkin’s side will repeat their ruthless high press and pressure seen in round one this weekend, which allowed the Olympic players to turn over possession and catch the Middies on the counter-attack. 

Olympic will remain without their number one goalkeeper Claire Coelho (hand injury) with Isabella Whitton expected to feature between the posts again this weekend. 

On the other side of the pitch, Mid Coast will be hoping to turn things around after they suffered a horror 9-1 loss in the opening round of the season. 

Mid Coast were unable to pick up a win against Olympic in 2023, adding some extra fire to the belly as they search for three points this weekend.

The Middies were able to get onto the score sheet in round one through Evie Gill, which will be important to boost the confidence of Brett Walker’s young side. 

It will be crucial for the Middies to sure up their back line in attempts to stop Olympic attacking weapon Jemma House from breaking through after she scored a hat-trick in round one.