The Women’s Premier League top four makeup has been settled after Merewether secured a 4-1 win over South Wallsend at Walker Fields on Sunday afternoon in the closing round of the regular season.
United climbed to an early advantage away from home, as Rhali Dobson, Tamara Nash, and Leah Giuffre all found the back of the net. Maryjane Mason was able to convert a kick from the spot to send the teams into the sheds at 3-1.
The defending champions slowed their goalscoring efforts in the second half, but Dobson notched her brace with a second to seal the deal. The three-goal win locks Merewether into the third-seed for finals. They will now face Warners Bay in the two-legged semi-finals.
For Merewether coach Cass Koppen, the squad’s goals were to “prepare well” considering they had already clinched a finals place in weeks passed. For the most part, the Llamas did just that at Walker Fields.
“The team played relatively well in tough conditions, it was cold and wet and the poor field gets pretty congested for the most part too,” Koppen said.
“Everyone’s relieved to get the season proper out of the way. The last two games we already had that top-four spot confirmed, so we’ve just been getting ready for the finals. We have a good record there, so we’re looking to continue that as we build.”
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Considering South Wallsend were shorthanded coming into the closing game, with big-name players like leading scorer Ash Brodigan locked away in the reserves, Koppen said she wouldn’t be drawing “too much” from their strong win.
Instead, she plans to look at how Merewether played together. There was more to learn there, she said, as the finals loom next weekend.
“We can’t take too much away from that game because of Southy’s play situation with a few key stars out,” she said.
“For us, it’s going to be more about learning from our mistakes that we’ve had in the last few weeks. We need to find a level of consistency for our performances because it’s finals now.
“We still have a bit of work to do, we’re very much that work in progress. Warners Bay have such a brutal attack, so we wanted to make sure we could tighten up our backline considering they were a likely opponent. I think we did well with that, and we’re ready.”
Elsewhere on the weekend, New Lambton wrapped up their premiership campaign with a 3-1 win over Thornton, while Warners Bay trashed Football Mid North Coast 9-1 with Jenna Kingsley scoring six, and Wallsend defeated Adamstown 2-0.
TABLE: New Lambton (56), Warners Bay (47), Merewether (43), South Wallsend (38), Wallsend (35), Adamstown (13), Thornton, Mid North Coast (7).