Newcastle Olympic can reclaim the Herald Women's Premier League lead with victory over winless Thornton at Thornton Park Wednesday night.
Olympic improved to 10 points but dropped to second with a 2-2 draw against Broadmeadow on Sunday while Merewether seized top spot, on 11 points, after beating Warners Bay 2-0.
The rescheduled round-five clash will be the second of three in a week for Olympic. Coach Harmonie Attwill said players would be rested if needed during the busy period and had no hesitation promoting some of the club's reserve-grade players.
"We're trying to blood those girls a little bit more and give them an opportunity because they're quality players and are doing so well in the reserve-grade comp," Attwill said.
She also reserved praise on Sunday for first-grade players' player Georgia Amess, saying the former New Lambton striker had seamlessly slotted in since joining Olympic last month, and describing her as "instrumental" to their come-from-behind draw with Magic.
"Georgia's really settled in the side and showed her experience against Magic," Attwill said.
Olympic trailed 2-0 at half-time. Amess delivered the cross which resulted in their first goal, through Brooke Summers. Then House sealed the draw with a free kick in the 85th minute.
Third place will be up for grabs when Magic play Adamstown at Adamstown Oval on Thursday night. Broadmeadow will be without captain and centre-back Kalista Hunter, who is serving a two-match suspension after being sent off for a professional foul on Olympic's Jemma House. Rosebud goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon is still out due to injury.
A 2-0 loss to United was not the result Craig Atkins wanted or felt his side deserved last weekend but the Warners Bay coach still found plenty of positives, including another strong effort from his back four of Sian Keating, Kristy Martin and Elly and Georgia Cook.
Centre-back Airlie Davis is out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury, leaving Keating as the only remaining player from last year's back line.
"I was really impressed with my back four, especially the way my two wingbacks got up and down and really caused some trouble," Atkins said.
He now wants to see more made of their attacking opportunities, saying "we've got to be doing a lot more in that final third to be getting a result".
Mid Coast coach Michael Grass said "there's a lot of belief in what they can achieve" as his young side rose to nine points and third spot by beating Adamstown 4-2 on Sunday.
While his strike force were clinical, Grass described his midfield of Nicki Learoyd, Evie Bobilak and Chelsea Hall as "exceptional".
"I asked a lot of our midfield this week and they really stepped up," Grass said.
"Nicki has just turned 17 and she's just a powerhouse in the middle. She works all day and doesn't give up. Evie Bobilak and Chelsea Hall are both 16 and our substitute midfielder, Emma Shipley, is 16 as well."
Coach Ash Wilson said a depleted Emerging Jets put up a good fight in a 1-0 loss to defending champions Sydney University in NPL NSW Women's last weekend.
Paige Kingston-Hogg is out with a season-ending knee injury, Renee Pountney has gone to the United States to take up a college football scholarship and Tessa Tamplin has a quadriceps strain. All three were in the Jets W-League squad last season.
Wilson promoted 18s players Josie Morley, Brianna Williams and Lara Gooch into the first-grade starting side against a Sydney University team which included W-League Jets Teigan Collister, Nicki Flannery and Clare Wheeler.
Emerging Jets left-back Kiarne Latham has also gone to the US to play college football.
They host Northern Tigers at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility at Speers Point this Sunday.