WPL: Minor premiership on the line
Finals football comes early this weekend when Warners Bay aim to secure the Herald Women’s Premier League minor premiership in their top-of-the-table battle with Merewether.
The two sides meet at Myamblah Oval in round 19 on Sunday. They have played twice this season – United won 2-1 in round five and Warners Bay got up 1-0 in round 12.
Warners Bay hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Merewether after beating Adamstown 4-0 in a rescheduled match on Thursday night.
United still have four games to play before the end of the season proper while the Bay have two. It means Warners Bay will be uncatchable if they win on Sunday.
“The bottom line is we’ve got to win,” Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis said. “We know we can beat them. Football-wise we’ll be fine but we’ve got to win the one-v-one battles because they’re a strong, physical side.”
United coach Cassie Koppen said they “need to treat every game now as a final”.
South Wallsend, fifth, need to take maximum points against Thornton, last, at Walker Fields to stay in the hunt for fourth spot. Sixth-placed Wallsend host fourth-placed Mid North Coast at The Gardens.
AFL: Spotlight on women at No.1
Nelson Bay player-coach Lauren Cooper believes their 85-point loss to unbeaten leaders Newcastle City in round 10 was the shake-up they needed as they defend their Women’s Black Diamond AFL title.
The defeat was the first since the Marlins lost the 2015 grand final to the Blues.
The match was expected to be a closely fought arm wrestle but City waltzed away with a 15.16 (106) to 3.3 (21) win.
“We played a pretty strong first half but we had a bit of an inexperienced backline and lost our ruck Pippa Smyth at start of the third quarter, which was a big loss,” Cooper said.
“We were still fairly competitive until that point but this time we need more of the second efforts and predicting the football a bit. We were more reactive last time and we faded hard in the last quarter.
The match will be the final in a day of women’s AFL action at No.1 Sportsground, which begins at 9am when Maitland take on Cardiff.
In total there will be six back-to-back women’s games, culminating in the 6.10pm showdown between City and Nelson Bay.
All games will be televised live on Bar TV.
“I think it’s great for the women’s game,” Cooper said.
“The first game is at 9 in the morning and going through until 8pm.”
Lake Macquarie play Muswellbrook, Killarney Vale take on Singleton, Newcastle Novas meet Wyong Lakes and Gosford battle Warners Bay.
Netball: BNC aim up to leaders
Fourth-placed BNC Whanau came close to upsetting competition leaders West Leagues Balance when they last met and will be keen to improve this time around in the Newcastle Open Netball Championship.
West won the hard-fought round-four match by just five goals.
In other action on Saturday as netball returns after a three-week break, Souths Lions take on Nova Thunder, Junction Stella play Souths Pride and Maryville Tavern battle Forsythes Business Advisors.
Basketball: Hunters hold on to hope
Fifth-placed Newcastle (7-7) will know if they are still in the women’s Waratah Basketball League championship play-off race before taking the court against eighth-placed Hills Hornets (1-11) at Hills on Sunday.
The Hunters must win their last two games, against Hills then Norths on July 29, but second-placed Norths (9-3) will end Newcastle’s hopes if they beat seventh-placed Sydney (3-10) at Northern Suburbs Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday, or last-placed Illawarra (1-12) at the Snakepit on Sunday.
Rugby League: North Newcastle look to bounce back
North Newcastle will be without their three Blues players Bec Young, Caitlin Moran and Isabelle Kelly when they chase glory against winless Berkeley Vale Panthers at Berkeley Vale Oval on Saturday.
North Newcastle slipped two points off the pace of the competition front-runners after going down to league leaders Redfern last weekend.
Hockey: Regals fighting for season
Regals face a must-win game against fourth-placed Souths and will be buoyed by a winning effort over Newcastle District Women’s Premier League leaders Avoca last round.
But Regals are missing several players and Souths continue to improve.
Gosford revived their season with a 5-1 win over Oxfords last outing and will be looking to back it up with another strong showing against Central.
Avoca take on Tigers in a top-of-the-table encounter. Second-placed Tigers can seize the competition lead with a win.
Wests play Macquarie at Harker Oval in the other Sunday match.