WPL: South Wallsend and Thornton chase first wins of Herald Women’s Premier League season


South Wallsend captain Maddy Searl is poised for her first appearance of this season. Picture: Simone De Peak

Coach Brad Parkes hopes the return of captain Maddy Searl and a handful of other experienced players can sparkSouth Wallsend’s season as they chase their first victory of the 2018 HeraldWomen’s Premier League at Thornton Parkon Saturday.

On paper, the Wolves are among thestrongest teams in the competition with four former W-League players in Searl, Gemma Pearce,Alesha Clifford and Olivia Kennedy.

But injuries, unavailability and suspensions has stalled thestart to their season and they remain winless after three outings, having conceded 19 goals and scored just two.

Searl and Erin Wilson have missed the first three games through suspension carried over from last season but will line upagainst the Redbacks.

Pearce also returns to steady the defence after being out through unavailability andParkes said it would be the strongest team he has been able to field so far.

South Wallsend celebrate one of just two goals they have scored this season. They have conceded 19. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

“They willbring a lot of experience into the team and Gemma is back as well, so we will be putting a much more experienced side on the park,” Parkes said.

“I don’t think there has been anything wrong with the effort but this will give us some more experience and hopefully just help us get back abit more consistency.

“We still have a couple out andI’ll be interested to see how we go when we finally put our strongest line-up on the park.”

Thornton are also winless and will be equallydesperate for points.

New Lambton will be keen to bounce back from an 8-2 loss at the hands of Warners Bay when they host Merewether intheir first ever home game at Alder Park on Sunday.

“I didn’t think we were horrendous against Warners Bay, even by the scoreline,” Eagles coach Keelan Hamilton said. “I thought we were just outplayed by a better side.

“We’re not going to dwell on it too much, we’re just going to move on and put our best foot forward on Sunday.

“We’re still very early in our stages of development andas long as webounce back from the Warners Bay match and keep improvingthen I think we’ll steadily get there.”

United have lost key midfielder Grace Macintyre to a season-ending knee injury and are also without W-League strike weapon Rhali Dobson, who is overseas this month.

Wallsend are chasingtheir third win in eight days againstWarners Bay at Wallsend Oval on Sunday.

The Red Devils surged into third place on the ladder after beatingAdamstown 3-1 last weekend then Thornton 3-2 in a rescheduled fixture on Wednesday night.

Sunday’s game completes a tough eight-day stretch.

“There were some moments in our game where we were particularly good, like the first half last week, but there were some other moments where we dropped to quite a level below, so we’re looking for consistency this week,” Hingston said.

“We had a good chat after the game on Wednesday night and we said the way we play in patches is really good but, if we drop a little bit like we did against Thornton in the second half and turn over the ball in dangerous areas, then Warners Bay aregoing to make us pay every time.

“Focus and constant pressure are going to bethe two key things we’re looking towards this weekend and if we can do that and empty the tank then hopefullywe can get something out of it.”

All games are at 2.30pm. Adamstown have the bye.

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