WPL: Championship decider
Opposing coaches Cassie Koppen and Cassidy Davis are grateful their sides are playing each other in the Herald Women’s Premier League grand final at Edgeworth on Sunday.
Warners Bay, the defending champions and minor premiers, and Merewether have been a class above everyone else this season.
The Bay finished on top of the league ladder with 46 points, just one point ahead of United and virtually nothing has separated the sides this year.
Koppen, who coached Merewether to a historic minor premiership-championship double in 2015, predicted “a pretty good spectacle”.
“I’m glad we’re playing Warners Bay, you always want to play the top side and show off the best football,” Koppen said.
“Every time we’ve played them has been an incredible match and it’s been full of controversy and full of goals.
“We’re looking forward to it and I think we’ll put on a pretty good spectacle for everyone watching. It will be a good advertisement for women’s football.”
Warners Bay player-coach Davis echoed the sentiments as her side eyed the minor premiership-championship double.
“It’s a tough task in such a strong competition but we are up to the challenge and I think we’ve got the team to do it,” Davis said.
Players to watch: Warners Bay: Player-coach Cassidy Davis never stops working in the centre of the park and is a vital link in attack. She is smart with her distribution and can score from anywhere. Davis has contributed 16 goals this season. The W-League Jets player has had the added pressure of being coach but has taken on the role seamlessly. Striker Jenna Kingsley came across to Warners Bay from Wallsend in the off-season and has been on a goalscoring rampage since she arrived. She is explosive off the mark and lethal if given a sniff at goal. The W-League striker is the competition’s leading scorer this year and has found the back of the net 32 times. Captain Nadja Squires is the unsung hero of the team. She holds the midfield, is solid in the tackle, strong on the ball and can score from range. She has added eight goals for The Bay in 2017. Sass Seaborn keeps improving every year. The rangy winger has speed to burn and a nose for goal.
Merewether United: They have been one of the competition’s pace-setters for the past few seasons with a core group of experienced players but firepower was lacking last year. They accounted for that by signing Jets W-League players Rhali Dobson and Grace Macintyre for 2017 and both have been key acquisitions. Dobson is dangerous with the ball at her feet and Macintyre creates numerous opportunities every game. The former has scored 18 goals for United this season and the latter 12. United are strong across the park and have had several players contributing to their goal tally on a regular basis. Jane McDonald is the midfield lynchpin. She is almost impossible to get the ball off and can control the tempo of the game. She directs the play and is one of several tall timbers in the Merewether side. Defender Jamee Ellis is almost impregnable at the back but is also lethal off the set piece. She scored two goals on Saturday, one from a corner and the other a free kick. Sarah Halvorsen is another presence on the field, and not just because she is the tallest out there. She is strong, has speed to burn and can send pinpoint crosses into the box.
Netball: West Leagues-Lions showdown
Three-time defending champions Souths Lions go head-to-head with minor premiers Wests Leagues Balance in the Greater Open Championship major semi-final at National Park courts on Saturday.
Lions have held a stranglehold on the competition for the past few years but when young guns Wests joined the league this year they threw a cat amongst the pigeons.
Wests had Souths in shock with a 68-31 win in the season-opener but the Lions were missing some key players that day and turned the tables in round eight with a hard-fought 42-36 victory.
The match is set to be a nail-biter on Saturday. The winner advances to the grand final while the loser will meet BNC Whanau in the preliminary final on August 26.
BNC beat a depleted Forsythes Business Advisors in the elimination semi-final on August 12.
All finals are being played at 2.30pm.
AFL: Grand finalists to be determined
Unbeaten minor premiers Newcastle City play Maitland on Saturday and defending champions Nelson Bay take on Gosford in Women’s Black Diamond AFL preliminary finals.
Gosford killed off Killarney Vale with a 6.7 (43) to 2.2 (14) win and Maitland finished Wyong Lakes’ season in a 7.5 (47) to 4.1 (25) victory in the elimination finals last weekend.
The winners advance to the grand final on August 26.
Leaguetag: Wests-Souths clash
Wests host Souths in what should be the match of the round in Newcastle Rugby League Ladies Leaguetag over the weekend.
Just two rounds remain until the finals series begins.
Wests are third with 21 points and Souths are second on 25. The last time they met the game was drawn 12-12.
Souths finish the preliminary season against unbeaten Central and will be keen for a strong effort at Harker Oval on Saturday.
Kurri Kurri host Lakes United and Cessnock play Maitland in the other games on Saturday. Central are at home to Macquarie on Sunday.
Rugby League: Last game before finals
North Newcastle travel to take on lowly placed Forestville in the last round of the NSW Women’s Premiership on Sunday.
North have already secured a top-four finish.