WPL, AFL, Leaguetag, Hunters and more in a weekend full of women's sport in Newcastle

STRONG: South Wallsend captain and central defender Laura Byrnes, right, has a big task ahead of her against Merewether on Sunday. Picture: Jeff Keating

STRONG: South Wallsend captain and central defender Laura Byrnes, right, has a big task ahead of her against Merewether on Sunday. Picture: Jeff Keating

WPL: Wolves eye United

South Wallsend coach Gary Wilson believes they “will get some joy” if they can contain Merewether’s key players and be more effective at both ends of the field in Herald Women’s Premier League on Sunday.

The Wolves are fourth, but just one point clear of their nearest rivals as the competition enters the final of three rounds.

They have played some quality football but inconsistency has at times cost them and a quick look at the competition statistics tell why.

South Wallsend have leaked 33 goals in 12 appearances and scored 20 goals for the second-worst defensive and offensive records in the league.

“We need to be better in front of goal,” Wilson said.

“We're scoring but we're missing a lot of chances as well and, to be fair, we need to be that little bit more committed in both 18-yard boxes.”

Second-placed United have conceded just 10 goals and scored 43, 11 of which have been against the Wolves.

“They've got some key players, three or four players that pretty much control their whole game,” Wilson said.

“We need to work on containing them and if we do that I think we'll get some joy.”

Merewether are without suspended goalkeeper Alison Logue for the game at Walker Fields.

League leaders Warners Bay are at home to third-placed Adamstown and last-placed Thornton host Mid North Coast, fifth.

All games are on Sunday with a 2.15pm kick-off.

AFL: Bay-City showdown

Defending champions Nelson Bay and arch rivals Newcastle City will finally meet in a grand final rematch in Women’s Black Diamond AFL on Saturday.

The two sides are unbeaten at the top of the competition ladder and have been on a collision course since the Marlins staged a stunning second-half revival to beat the Blues by three points in last year’s decider in August.

Neither team has been touched this season and both have amassed some huge scores in one-sided affairs in the first eight rounds of competition.

This match should be hard-fought and a great one for spectators with the region’s top women’s AFL talent on show.

The game has been relocated from No.1 Sportsground to Dick Burwell Oval and will now be played at 11am.

Warners Bay host Gosford in what is expected to be another tight tussle.

The Bulldogs are fourth, four points adrift of third-placed Gosford.

Killarney Vale are at home to Cardiff, Wyong Lakes take on Lake Macquarie, Singleton challenge Muswellbrook and Newcastle Novas take on Maitland at Max McMahon Oval.

Netball: West look to bounce back

West Leagues Balance coach Tracey Baggs is not reading much into her team’s first loss of the season in the last round of Greater Open Championship.

Defending champions Souths Lions ended the newcomers’ unbeaten start to the season when they won 42-36 in rain-affected conditions at National Park courts.

“The conditions played a major factor and obviously both teams had to adjust to that,” Baggs said.

“But for three quarters we were even, so I think on a good day it’s going to be a really good game.

“First round they were missing Narelle [Eather] and a couple of others, and last round I was missing two of my players.

“[Goal attack] Rhiannon Stokes was being inducted into the NSW Institute of Sport and drove up the freeway and arrived for the last quarter.”

West take on Maryville Tavern in round-nine action on Saturday.

“I’m of the belief a loss is a good thing during the season no matter when or how it turns up,” Baggs said.

“I don’t think any team should go through undefeated in a good competition and the games are getting closer and closer.

“Maryville, who we have this weekend, and BNC are competitors; I would not take either of those teams lightly at all.

“We were a bit of an unknown to the teams and that’s a big factor in how well we’ve done so far and now it’s just about trying to be a bit more consistent in how we play.”

Several West players were part of the Newcastle team which captured the NSW open at Baulkham Hills over the long weekend.

The Lions are up against BNC Whanau this round, Junction Stella play Forsythes Business Advisors and Nova Thunder take on Souths Pride.

Basketball: Hunters in crucial clash

Defending Waratah Basketball League women’s champions Newcastle face a must-win game against Bankstown Bruins at Bankstown on Sunday to remain in control of their own destiny.

The Hunters rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat Bankstown 83-75 at Broadmeadow on April 22, but coach Mark Gledson hopes they do not leave their run that late on Sunday.

That was Suzy Batkovic’s first game for the Hunters, posting 32 points and 16 rebounds, and the Hunters will need a similar performance from the five-time Women’s National Basketball League Most Valuable Player against Bankstown.

Newcastle are sixth with a 4-6 record and need to leap-frog the fifth-placed Bruins (4-4) then displace either fourth-placed Sutherland (5-4) or third-placed Manly (7-4) to qualify for the finals at Maitland on August 11-13.

“Our destiny is in our own hands and we want to keep it that way,” Gledson said.

“Both teams have to win this one to keep their hopes alive without worrying about other games you have no control over, so it will come down to who wants it the most.

“It will come down to bringing your best game for the whole game. Last time we played them we had to rally from a 21-point deficit.

“That showed a lot of determination and the desire to win, but this time we want to dominate the game from start to finish so we don’t have to play catch-up.”

Rugby: Greens out for revenge

Merewether will look to avenge their 21-point loss to defending champions University when the two sides go head-to-head in Hunter Women’s Rugby Union on Saturday at Bernie Curran Oval.

The Students, who beat the Greens with the last play of the game in last year’s decider, were too good for an understrength Carlton when the sides last met on May 27.

Maitland will also be keen to turn the tables on the Wanderers when they meet at Marcellin Park.

The Two Blues won 17-5 in their last encounter.

Leaguetag: Lakes expect hostile reception

Second-placed Lakes United were too good for Kurri Kurri when they traded blows in round six but the Bulldogs are expected to put up more of a fight on home territory in Newcastle Rugby League Ladies Leaguetag on Saturday.

Lakes won 22-4 when they played in round six but fifth-placed Kurri bounced back with a 44-0 win over Macquarie the following week.

The last-placed Scorpians should prove no match for unbeaten leaders Central at Peacock Field on Saturday.

On Sunday, third-placed Western Surburbs host sixth-placed Maitland and fourth-placed Souths are at home to Cessnock, seventh.