Local NPL Preview

There’s plenty of action around the local NPL competition this weekend.

Charlestown Azzurri will come into this weekend with the sole purpose of reclaiming top spot when they host Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday.

Charlestown are second, only behind Broadmeadow Magic on goal difference. But with Broadmeadow’s game against stumbling Maitland already postponed, Azzurri have a chance to take advantage.

Azzurri remains the only unbeaten side in the competition and have further bolstered their star-studded squad after welcoming former Newcastle Jets defender Taylor Regan and former NPL Men’s NNSW player of the year Rene Ferguson to their squad in the last transfer window.

Azzurri are also expected to welcome back Dom Bizzarri after he recovered from a hamstring injury.

Adamstown have yet to notch a win this season, leaving them anchored to the bottom of the table on two competition points.

Two draws against Edgeworth and Valentine hinted that Dave Rosewarne’s men might have turned a corner. Rosebud were competitive in their last outing against Weston, only to eventually suffer their 11th defeat of the campaign.

Rosebud were again competitive when they met Charlestown back in round seven, with a 76th minute own goal handing Azzurri a 2-1 win.


Valentine will look to halt a revitalised Weston Workers side when they meet at Rockwell Automation Park on Sunday.

The match was transferred from CB Complex to the Bears’ den on Thursday, with Valentine’s home ground unplayable due to the wet weather during the week.

Valentine have struggled to take the field for most of the season given the weather conditions, as Adam Hughes’ side slipped to eighth after suffering back-to-back losses in their last two outings.

Valentine were beginning to stake their claims for a spot in the finals but with their opponents this weekend Weston returning to form as well as Newcastle Olympic, they now sit seven points adrift of the top five.

Valentine also increased their finals credentials with a good win against Newcastle Olympic midweek, downing Joel Griffiths’ side 2-1 on Tuesday night which has massive ramifications for the sides vying for fourth and fifth place. The win sees Valentine sit within four points of fifth-placed Weston.

Weston have put together three consecutive victories to catapult themselves into finals contention despite a tumultuous period for the club that saw head coach Leo Bertos resign from his position.

Weston are fresh from collecting their biggest scalp of the season against rivals Maitland last weekend and they now set their sights on continuing their good form after drawing level with fourth-placed Lambton Jaffas on 20 competition points.

The Bears have well and truly broken the shackles after their run of five matches without a victory, scoring a combined 11 goals in their last three wins.

Interim Weston coach Anthony Richards said his side would look to continue their good form against Valentine.

“Valentine is a very well organised side,” Richards said.

“They have some terrific experienced players there… it’s probably going to be our toughest match of the year.

“Those guys are well experienced and have good heads on them. Valentine is doing well and sitting mid table. We will do well to win.”


Women’s State Cup Preview

Maitland FC coach David Walker is hoping for a repeat of last year as the Magpies hunt for back to back Women’s State Cup titles.

The NPL Women’s NNSW competition will take a break this weekend with all eight clubs turning their attention to the fifth edition of the Women’s State Cup at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.

Maitland will be hope to emulate their cup win from last year as they celebrated their maiden season in style. While they continue to battle an extension list of injuries and unavailability, the Magpies are looking forward to getting the chance to play after their round 14 match against New Lambton was called off due to wet weather.

“I’m hoping to repeat last year’s performance obviously,” Walker said.

“The squad and the club did very well to win the cup last year so we’re going in with the same ambition and we’re looking forward to it.”

Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins sees the cup weekend as an opportunity for the club’s reserve grade and under-17s players to gain some experience playing with senior players, with the Panthers top of the NPLW NNSW first grade table.

“It’s a really good opportunity for our reserve graders and 17s to play and get some experience,” Atkins said.

“With younger players coming through the ranks it’s always good to play with these senior players and I think they’ll thrive in that environment.”

It is a similar story for Broadmeadow Magic coach Jake Curley, with the weekend a chance for the club’s youth players to get some experience playing with first graders.

“The [Women’s] State Cup is an opportunity for us to give the younger players in our club a chance at playing senior football in preparation for next season,” Curley said.

“Our squad is made up of a mix of 17s and senior squad players and I think it gives the players a good opportunity to get a feel for senior football.”

Mid Coast coach Mick Grass is looking forward to his squad having the chance to spend an extended period of time together to bond and play some good football.

“Our players always [look forward to] the [Women’s] State Cup because it gives them an opportunity to spend a bit of extended time together,” Grass said.

“We do a lot of travelling from different areas to come together to play games and train but we don’t spend a lot of time together over an extended period, so this is an opportunity for them to get together and bond a bit off the field as well as on the field and have a bit of fun.”

Newcastle Olympic coach Paul Devitis said the best part of the Women’s State Cup was the opportunity for his squad to play against different teams from outside the league.

“I think [the Women’s State Cup] is a great initiative,” Devitis said.

“Playing teams we don’t usually come up against is probably the best part of the competition. To be able to play against Lochinvar and Kempsey and this [NNSWF] Indigenous team that they’ve made is phenomenal.

“It’s definitely going to be challenging but it’s exciting to verse those different opposition.”

Charlestown Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said the weekend was a good opportunity to challenge his squad and get a good number of players some game time.

“It’s definitely something that they’re not used to, so it’ll be a good experience for everyone involved,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“This year we can nominate 25 players in the squad so it gives us the chance to rotate girls and make sure everyone is getting minutes.”

This year’s Women’s State Cup will also see the first NNSWF Indigenous Women’s representative team competing in the competition. The squad consists of First Nations players and coaches from throughout northern NSW.

The 2022 tournament will feature a record number of 20 participating teams.

As well as the eight NPLW NNSW clubs in action the competition will also feature community clubs Nelson Bay FC, Dudley Redhead United SFC, Urunga Raiders FC, Lochinvar Rovers FC, Kempsey Saints FC, Raymond Terrace FC, Cooks Hill United FC, Garden Suburbs FC, University of Newcastle Women’s FC, Toronto Awaba JFC and Port Macquarie FC.

The group stage begins on Friday night, continuing into Saturday, with the finals to be played on Sunday.

2022 Women’s State Cup fixtures are available HERE


Group A
Warners Bay FC
Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Urunga Raiders
Nelson Bay
Dudley Redhead United SFC

Group B
Charlestown Azzurri
Newcastle Olympic
Kempsey Saints
Lochinvar Rovers
NNSWF Indigenous Women’s Team

Group C
Broadmeadow Magic
Mid Coast FC
Raymond Terrace
Cooks Hill United
Garden Suburb

Group D
Maitland FC
New Lambton FC
Port Macquarie United
Toronto Awaba JFC
University of Newcastle Women’s