MATCH OF THE ROUND
Kariong v Woongarrah
WPL Round 8 Match of the Round is the clash between Kariong and Woongarrah, two developing teams who are yet to pick up a single first-grade point, but all that is set to change this weekend.
Kariong is coming off their biggest defeat of the season after they were handed a 7-0 loss in round 8 to league leaders Gosford. That result now marks Kariong’s 3rd straight game where they have been unable to get on the scoresheet. This Kariong side has been very unfortunate with injuries so far this season as they slowly welcome back more key players each and every week. The Cougars will be hoping they can get back to scoring ways against the second-worst defensive team in the competition and also possible pick up their initial win that they have come very close to obtaining on multiple fixtures this year.
“We are looking forward to playing against Woongarrah this weekend, as always an enjoyable game against the side. We are coming off a tough few weeks against top opposition and we are starting to get a few players back on the field, as they are recovering from their injuries so it will be an interesting game to watch. It should be a fairly even match,” commented Kariong coach Haylie Eyers.
Woongarrah started the year going goalless in their opening 5 games, it was until Nyah Small scored a hattrick for the Wildcats in round 6 to give them their initial goals of the year. Unfortunately, Nyah’s hattrick would not be enough for Woongarrah to get their opening points of the year as they fell to Wyong 5-3. Last weekend Dave Hurley’s side came the closest to these points in a 2-1 loss to Southern & Ettalong. Despite their below-average goal scoring start to the season, they come into this round 9 matchup against Kariong having scored 4 more goals than the Cougars side in recent weeks.
Woongarrah coach Dave Hurley knows of the quality Kariong possess and how they are a well-structured side but says his team is ready to pick up their first 3 points of the year. “We are looking forward to this weekend’s game, with both teams yet to gain 3 points from a win this season, we will not be taking this game lightly. Over the past few seasons, Kariong have set a very well organised defensive formation and have provided us with a challenge to get beyond their backs, to set up goal-scoring opportunities. Noting this and our teams desire to “get off” the bottom of the table and to acquire our first win for the season, we will be looking at dominating the midfield section of the pitch and providing our striker’s plenty of opportunities in front of goals. The other challenge, that we have ahead of us, is our first clean sheet for the season. A target that we have achieved in 45-minute halves, not the complete 90 minutes.
East Gosford v Gosford
East Gosford and Gosford are set to clash in a rematch of the 2021 Mate Association Cup Final as the Rams look to slay the Dragons and ruin their perfect start to the season.
East Gosford enters round 9 coming off their biggest loss in the 2021 WPL competition, going down 4-1 to Kanwal in last week’s Match of the Round. The Rams have been dealing with multiple injuries to multiple key players and it has shown in their results. East Gosford have not won back-to-back games since the opening 2 rounds of competition as they continue to struggle for form. The Rams currently find themselves in the 7th spot on the ladder but a win over 1st place Gosford could take them as high as 4th. Although when these two sides met earlier in the year and Gosford came out victorious 4-0, Jorge Chavez’s side held the Dragons to a 0-0 scoreline at halftime and will look to take confidence out of that into this weekend.
Pete Edwards and his Gosford squad don’t look like slowing down at all after their tremendous start to the season. Expectations were high at the start of the year for the reigning League Champions but not many people would have expected them to have only conceded 1 goal from the opening 8 rounds. Since conceding in their first encounter of the season, Gosford has gone on to accomplish 7 perfect results as they have kept a clean sheet in all of these matches. Gosford will look to leap even further away from the rest of the competition with another comprehensive win come Sunday.
Wyong v Kanwal
Kanwal will play away from home for the first time since round 3 as they travel to Baker Park to take on WPL newcomers Wyong in round 9.
Kanwal commenced their year with a 5-0 win over local rivals Woongarrah, it wasn’t until last weekend that the Bulls once again managed to score over 3 goals in a game as they conquered East Gosford in a 4-1 win. Coming off their second-biggest win of the season, you can expect Kanwal to be full of belief as they look to pick up their first back-to-back wins of their 2021 campaign. Last year’s semi-finalist had a less than ideal start to the year but another win this weekend could see the Bulls go as high as 3rd place. These two sides have never faced in WPL, so Kanwal won’t know what to expect from Wyong other than the fact that Wyong have the worst defensive record in the competition.
Wyong joined the WPL competition at the start of the year and a lot was unknown about how this side would fair with the rest of the league. In their first 2 matches, Wyong lost by a total of 22-2 and many thought they would be a pushover team this year but since then the Emu’s have proved the doubters wrong. Wyong is coming off their first draw of the year as they split the points with Killarney (2-2) in round 8 and Paul Halton’s side will be hoping they can go unbeaten in 2 straight games with a result over Kanwal in front of a home crowd this weekend. Wyong are yet to keep a clean sheet in this season but have had no trouble in finding the back of the net as they have scored in all games this year but 1.
Killarney v Umina
A big weekend for Killarney and Umina who both dropped points last round to teams below them on the competition ladder.
After 8 rounds, Killarney still have a remarkable statistic that involved their games which was whenever Killarney won, they kept a clean sheet and whenever they lost, they failed to score however the Terriers did pick up their first draw of the year in a 2-2 battle with Wyong last weekend. Killarney currently sits on 13 points alongside Kanwal with a win this weekend will take them on equal points as their opposition Umina. Killarney have a decent record when playing at home as they have not lost at Edsaac since round 1. Killarney have the 3rd least goals scored for in the competition but also share the 3rd least goals scored against which is a credit to their resilient defence that will hopefully help them get a win this weekend.
Umina are coming off their first loss since 2019 to a team who isn’t Gosford after Terrigal came from behind to beat the E-Gals last weekend 2-1. Umina coach Steve Donaldson said that was one of the worst performances he has seen from his side and will be hoping it serves as a turning point for the rest of the year like it has in previous seasons. Umina still boasts the 2nd best-attacking record in the competition as the E-Gals have scored a combined 32 goals to start the year. 13 of those goals have come from the current Golden Boot leader Kate Styles who has scored 4 more goals than the whole Killarney team. Umina will be out to repeat last year’s result this weekend as they beat the Terriers on their home turf 3-0.
Terrigal v Southern & Ettalong
2nd Place Terrigal will host 4th Place Southern & Ettalong this weekend as the O’lasses look for another win over top 4 opposition in back-to-back weeks.
Terrigal are coming off their best win of the year as they took down last year’s WPL Premiers 2-1. After being a goal down at halftime, the O’lasses showed exactly what they are made of as they came back to beat Umina away from home. They are only the second team who have produced a win over Umina since 2019 as Terrigal leap-frogged over them with that result to go outright 2nd on the ladder. Terrigal have now not lost at home since round 2 as they also continue to boast the leagues 2nd best defensive record, only having conceded 7 goals after 8 games and will enter their encounter with SEU full of confidence having picked up a 3-2 win over their opposition last year.
Although Southern did not have the most convincing scoreline over the last-placed Woongarrah last weekend (2-1), Augusto Terra’s side stayed in control for the majority of the game. Southern’s job this weekend is to improve on that win with another result over tough opposition. A win for Southern this weekend would put them on equal points with their opposition as they look to remain in the top 4. Southern currently sit alone in 4th place on 15 points but have the only negative goal difference amongst all the team in the top 7. SEU will look to go back-to-back for the 3rd time this year with a win away from home over Terrigal.
Written by Adam Blunden.