Mid Coast's first win of the season could not have come at a better time.
After five rounds they have played only three games due to two washed-out matches and have a big couple of weeks of football ahead of them.
The 1-0 win over New Lambton, who remain winless at the bottom of the table, not only moved Mid Coast to four points and into fifth position, it should serve as a confidence boost as they prepare to host what coach Michael Grass described as "a big test" against unbeaten NewcastleHerald Women's Premier League leaders Broadmeadow (15 points) in Taree this Sunday.
They then face an important clash against Maitland, who are seventh with three points, before a weekend double-header against sixth-placed Charlestown, who are also on three.
After five rounds, Magic and Olympic are looking the most likely candidates to fill the top-two positions by season end with the other two remaining wide open.
"We've just got to make sure that we can compete against those other teams in every moment of every game," Grass said. "There were periods [against New Lambton] where we let them back into the game, just with a lack of intensity and execution not being what it needs to be. But, hopefully with a few more games under our belt and some more training, we should start to get it right."
Grass was full of praise for left-back Tash Ruge against the Eagles.
"I thought she was excellent," Grass said. "The energy that she brought and her ability to shut down attacks from the opposition was really good, and then her ability to get forward when we had the ball was really good as well. She gave us a bit of momentum at times when we needed it, when it wasn't being created somewhere else."
Broadmeadow coach Jake Curley is unlikely to be making the trip to Taree. Both he and Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell were shown red cards during their round-five clash at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Saturday night.
Adamstown will be without goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon when they face Warners Bay on Sunday after she was red-carded for denying Magic striker Ash Brodigan a clear goalscoring opportunity as the last line of defence. Sneddon will serve a one-match suspension.
A number of Herald WPL coaches face nervous waits this week to see if key players will be fit to take the field this weekend.
Maitland were without their two most experienced players - Sophie Stapleford (quadriceps) and Kaitlin Radstaak (groin) - against league heavyweights Newcastle Olympic last round but Magpies coach Keelan Hamilton hoped to have them back on deck when they play New Lambton at Alder Park on Friday night.
Charlestown midfielder Tamara Nash (calf) was forced from the field during their 2-1 loss to Warners Bay on Saturday while Panthers players Ryley Field (back), Elly Cook (ankle) and Sian Keating (hip) all had to be replaced as well.
Magic midfielder Nadja Squires (ankle) was carried from the field in their game.
Northern NSW Football will celebrate and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the football community through the inaugural RTC Group Indigenous Roundto be held May 28-30. The initiative has been timed to coincide with National Reconciliation Week 2021 and the RTC Group Indigenous Roundwill be celebrated across all NNSWF competitions.
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