A heated rivalry that “shares absolutely no love”. Two undefeated teams that have scored 15 goals in their opening three games. The competition’s first streamed game on BarTV Sports.
The Women’s Premier League match of the round at Wallsend Park this Sunday has all the hallmarks of an instant blockbuster, and it’s already shaping up to be a thrilling affair as Wallsend and South Wallsend clash for the first time in 2019.
South Wallsend has scored two big wins in the Herald WPL so far, and they’re looking to make it a third straight when they face their local rivals come Sunday afternoon.
“There’s definitely a statement to be made there, but we also want to just play the football that we know we can play,” South Wallsend coach Cas Wright said ahead of the rivalry battle.
“It’s a local derby, and there’s been some bad blood, we’ve had a couple of players leave Southy for Wallsend, and vice versa. Because of that, there’ll be a question about whether we can play the football we want to because of the game’s tension.
“There’s also that expectation for both teams because of the new BarTV coverage, but I think as long as we play our own game and the girl’s heads stay in the right place we’ll come out on top for sure.”
Wright also confirmed the team will still be without W-League Jets star Gema Simon due to her commitments with the Matildas. She also confirmed defender Kalista Hunter (ankle) was still a doubt ahead of the derby but said they weren’t “too concerned” about rushing her back into the side.
On the other side of the dugout, Brad Jones is preparing Wallsend Park for a lukewarm reception of Wallsend’s local rivals.
“It’s always a big one, you don’t need to motivate the players for this one – they’re all up ready to face South Wallsend,” Jones said. “If you listen to everyone that’s talking they’re all saying that the Big 4 have already made it into the semi-finals so I think Southy are going to come in as the favourites.”
“However, there’s a lot of belief in our squad and we aren’t listening to the pundits that are saying there’s a gap between the top four and everyone else.
“We’re still coming together and are a few weeks away from the finished product, so while a result is important for us it won’t define our season. That said, it would be great to grab a result, and it certainly wouldn’t be a shock to anyone in our camp if we do.”
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Elsewhere this weekend, New Lambton is set to face Adamstown this weekend at the Adamstown No.1 Oval after both teams played last weekend despite the game-ending storms that cut the round in half.
The Eagles bagged a 7-nil win as they played out their game against Football Mid North Coast in the second round, and head coach Keelan Hamilton is eager for more of the same when they travel to face the Rosebuds this Sunday.
“After a positive performance and result against Football Mid North Coast we need to make sure we back that up again with another good performance on Sunday,” Hamilton said ahead of the round 3 clash.
“We are very much focused on continuing to improve our processes and execution, and making sure we turn our potential into consistent performances. Adamstown will be another tough match so we will have to perform at our best to get the result we want.”
Also on Sunday, Warners Bay are set to welcome Thornton to John Street Oval after facing a postponed match due to the wet weather last weekend. Finally, Merewether United will look to continue their quest to defend their premiership against Football Mid North Coast in the final match of the third week.
After having their match last weekend postponed due to weather, United will now look to re-find their feet early in the season, while FMNC searches for their first goals of the 2019 season.