Championship-winning player Shannon Day is set to make her Herald Women's Premier League return on Sunday after signing with competition heavyweights Warners Bay.
Day has made over 120 appearances in WPL, playing for Valentine, Merewether, Wallsend then Mid North Coast in 2017 alongside New Lambton recruits Imogene Tomasone and Sophie Jones. She won titles with Phoenix and United.
The midfielder did not play last season, instead focusing on futsal.
Her last WPL appearance was for Mid North Coast against Warners Bay in the 2017 semi-finals at John Street Oval, where she is set to make a return after joining the Panthers roster this week.
Warners Bay coach Antonio Ambrogetti will use Day in the 20s side then start her on the bench for first grade when they host Wallsend in what should prove the closest encounter of the second round.
Centre-back Holly Ayton returns after missing the Panthers' 9-1 rout of Adamstown in round one.
Wallsend opened their 2019 campaign with a 6-0 win over Thornton but Red Devils coach Brad Jones was expecting a much tougher test on Sunday.
"Warners Bay are the benchmark and have been for the past two years," Jones said.
"They're clearly favourites in a game like this and we're underdogs. We know that we're playing the best in the competition over the past few seasons but we won't shy away from that. They've got class all over the park but we've got a game plan.
"In terms of expectations, our expectation is to see where we sit against the heavyweight and, from our perspective, all of the pressure is on them."
Wallsend defender Alesha Clifford is unavailable for the clash.
New Lambton coach Keelan Hamilton could be fielding a new-look centre-back pairing when they travel to Taree on Sunday to take on Mid North Coast.
The Eagles opened their 2019 campaign with a 4-2 win over back-to-back defending champions Merewether but will be without centre-back and former W-League defender Stacey Day this weekend through work commitments. Jenna Kennedy is in doubt after hyper-extending her knee against United last weekend but will be given until game day to prove her fitness.
Mid North Coast lost 5-0 to South Wallsend in round one but the Eagles mentor was reading nothing into the result.
"There's no such thing as an easy game until after you've played it," Hamilton said.
"We need to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we improve on our own performance because there was plenty to improve on from last week."
Midfielder Jess Terry is in doubt for Adamstown with a head knock as Rosebud attempt to get their season back on track against the Wolves at Adamstown Oval on Sunday.
The Buds are already without injured trio Courtney Wiltshire (ankle), Taylor Kelly (elbow) and Maggie Quinn (ankle).
Adamstown coach Paul Devitis said they have not dwelt on the eight-goal loss to Warners Bay and instead "moved straight on" to what he described as "a big game for us".
The focus against the Wolves will be "ball retention" and "closing down shooting opportunities, especially on the edge of the box".
Wolves coach Cas Wright was chasing another win and another clean sheet with an eye firmly set on a top-two position by the end of the first of three rounds in the 21-round competition.
Defender Sarah Hartree missed the round-one match through injury but coach Cassandra Koppen said could return on Sunday against the Redbacks. Brigitte Holt sustained a season-ending knee injury against the Eagles.
Koppen said the two-goal loss to New Lambton had not been discussed during the week.
"The girls are more focused on our own game," Koppen said. "We're a bit rusty and a little underdone and it's a matter of working on improving our connections. Mostly this week the girls were worried about Brigitte and sad for her."
All matches kick off at 2.30pm on Sunday.
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