PS4 NPLNNSW GRAND FINAL: EDGEWORTH EAGLES v BROADMEADOW MAGIC

All season the Edgeworth Eagles have dominated the news in Northern NSW football. They’ve taken out their second NPL Premiership in succession, and they became the first Northern NSW football club to advance beyond the FFA Cup Round of 32. Apart from the achievements listed above, Edgeworth have also caught the imagination for the manner in which they play. But on Sunday they face an opponent that has also lit the competition up with sexy football and goals aplenty.

In 2016 Broadmeadow Magic have failed in all three attempts to defeat the Eagles. In March Edgeworth knocked Broadmeadow out of the FFA Cup via penalties. In May, the Magic once again held Edgeworth to a draw over 90 minutes (1-1), while in July the Eagles ran out 2-0 winners at Jack McGlauglan Oval. So whilst Broadmeadow have been on the wrong side of the ledger, the margin is only slight and it should be noted that the most recent win in July came with goals in the 83rd and 90th minute, on a dodgy surface.

Swinging things in Broadmeadow’s favour this Sunday is the fact Edgeworth will be backing up from a demoralising FFA Cup defeat at the hands of Western Sydney Wanderers. The Eagles were thumped 5-1 as they attempted to play their attacking brand against a far more equipped opponent. It was a reality check. Now Edgeworth have to recover physically, and significantly they have to get their heads right.

GAME CHANGER: Broadmeadow hard man Josh Piddington is still under an injury cloud. The centre back finished the Hamilton Olympic match with a knee injury and he has received mixed reports from medicos. In the Newcastle Herald the team’s co-manager Bob Naumov was quoted saying, “he’s got to weigh it up in regards to his own health.” There is little doubt the injury is serious and legitimate so either way, Broadmeadow will go into the match with a centre back less than 100% or an irregular centre back.

GAME CHANGER: According to the Herald, manager Damian Zane said, Brody Taylor would likely start from the bench. This may leave space for Japanese import Keigo Moriyasu to get a rare start in the decider. Zane has made a habit of starting his top goal-scorer from the bench in recent weeks, with Moriyasu getting less than 20 minutes in the FFA Cup despite the team being behind by 3 goals as early as the 48th minute. In the semi final last weekend Moriyasu came on in injury time and scored the match winner. Surprisingly the Bar TV commentator made the claim it was “. . . a wonderful substitution from Zane.” Perhaps a more critical observation would have been to ask the question, ‘why wasn’t he on earlier’. Nevertheless the Japanese import will definitely have fresh legs on Sunday.

GAME CHANGER: James Virgili and Kale Bradbery. This pair has ripped up opposition defences all season. In July, Bradbery and Virgili picked up 7 goals collectively as the Broadmeadow demolished the Jets Youth 10-2. Virgili a former Newcastle Jet has proven himself a class above the rest this season and should be considering options in Asia as it seems he is still unwanted in the A-League.

Kick off: 2:30pm Sunday, 4th September.

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