Lucas Walshe, Jamie Lloyd, George Tsamouras, Nikolai Zervas, Charlie Stevens, Kade Wise.
source: Tom Tsamouras
Lucas Walshe, Jamie Lloyd, George Tsamouras, Nikolai Zervas, Charlie Stevens, Kade Wise.
source: Tom Tsamouras
HAMILTON Olympic have won the race to sign New Zealand international and A-League veteran Leo Bertos for the 2016 Northern NSW National Premier League season.
Olympic coach Michael Bolch announced the signing on Saturday, ending speculation about where the right midfielder would be playing locally.
Bertos was a regular at Newcastle Jets training up until recent weeks as he tried to maintain his fitness after returning from stints with Indian Premier League sides East Bengal and NorthEast United.
The former Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix player, who turns 34 in December, has family in the Hunter and was talking to multiple NPL clubs about playing in the region in 2016.
The recruitment of Bertos is a major coup for Hamilton, who finished third this year and lost to Edgeworth 2-0 in the grand final.
Bertos played 162 A-League games across eight seasons, starting with 35 for Perth from 2006-08. The rest were with Wellington, who he also played for between 1997 and 2000 in the New Zealand domestic competition.
He played 56 games for New Zealand from 2003 to 2013, including all three matches in the All Whites’ undefeated run at the 2010 World Cup.
He also played in England between 2000 and 2006, starting at championship division club Barnsley before stints at lower league Rochdale, Chester City, York City and Scarborough.
Hamilton Olympic FC wish to thank all the players, coaching staff, sponsors, volunteers, and our magnificent fans for their support during the 2015 NPL season.
HAMILTON OLYMPIC NEED YOUR HELP!!!!
Our second ground, Islington Park is having a new amenities block built by Newcastle City Council. Unfortunately, the canteen is ONLY A SHELL, without tiles, benchtops etc. The club have applied for one of the Newcastle Stronger Community Grants. Online community voting is now open. While there are other worthwhile projects, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO VOTE for our PROJECT. It is under the name of NEWCASTLE OLYMPIC FC, which is our incorporated name.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP THE CLUB?
· Click here and VOTE. You only VOTE for one project, hopefully ours!!!
· Can you pass this email to AS MANY FAMILY MEMBERS, FRIENDS, WORK COLLEAGUES YOU KNOW? You can only VOTE ONCE.
· We are against some big organisations, SO WE REALLY NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!!!
· There is only limited time, so PLEASE VOTE SOON!!!!
Thank you in anticipation.
On a cloudy afternoon and a relatively heavy Magic Park, Hamilton Olympic contested the 2015 NPL Grand Final against Edgeworth Eagles in front of 3,600 spectators and were narrowly defeated by 2-0.
In the first 15 minutes both teams cancelled each other out with physical exchanges and with no clear cut opportunities for a goal.
The first hint of a goal-mouth activity came in the 15th when Brody Taylor whipped in a cross from the right across the face of the Olympic goal but without any player from Edgeworth in the area to poke in the ball in.
Olympic’s first opportunity came from a Simon Mooney free kick which dipped and swerved before deflecting off the goalkeeper’s body!
Edgeworth followed this up on the half hour mark when Bren Hammel broke into the area and sent in a cross which initially Danny Ireland was unable to hold, inviting Brody Taylor to launch himself at the ball but being unable to send it into the Olympic net.
The final opportunity of the half came to Bren Hammel who receives a fine through ball from the midfield but whose shot is wide of Danny Ireland’s goal.
The game is physical and scrappy with neither team using the full width of the field with their wide players.
The second half begins with both teams continuing to cancel each other out.
After ten minutes of play Ayden Brice receives a great ball inside the area and as soon as an Olympic defender attempts to challenge him, he falls to the ground, inviting the referee to award a penalty!
From the ensuing penalty, Bren Hammel sends Danny Ireland the wrong way to record a 1-0 lead for Edgeworth.
Olympic tries to reply in kind but is unable to penetrate, particularly through its wide players.
As the clock ticks away, Pat Brown is withdrawn and his place is taken by Andrew Swan, who leaves the left back position to Cody Lucas.
Olympic continue to attack but are unable to create clear cut opportunities for an equaliser.
Mason Campbell leaves the game and is replaced by Alex Tserepas as the Olympic bench throw everything in attack to try and salvage a goal that will send the game into extra time.
During a sustained Edgeworth attack in which Olympic’s defence fails to clear, Brody Taylor sends in a shot which sees the ball come off the post and into Danny Ireland’s net!
With a 2-0 lead and only two minutes of regular time on the clock, the only thing that Edgeworth have time for, is to have Luke Walker sent off with a second yellow card.
Olympic continued trying until the final whistle but it wasn’t meant to be.
HAMILTON captain Kyle Hodges said the experience of grand final defeat was driving him and many others in the Olympic camp as the club chases a first major premiership since 2009.
The centre back will fight for a first grand final victory at his third attempt when he leads out Hamilton on Sunday, and he is one of several from the Olympic camp out to end a hoodoo.
Hodges and twins Andrew and Matt Swan lost the 2008 grand final to Broadmeadow while with Azzurri, then the 2009 decider to Hamilton while with Phoenix under current Olympic coach Michael Bolch.
In 2012, Bolch steered Hamilton to their first minor premiership but lost the grand final 4-1 to Broadmeadow. Current Olympic players Ben Koina, Jacob Bailey and Pat Brown were in that losing squad.
Simon Mooney missed Magic’s 2011 grand final win because of suspension, while Jason Korotkich was part of South Cardiff’s losing squad that same year. Kane Goodchild was part of Azzurri’s 2008 loss, and goalkeeper Danny Ireland won one grand final and lost another while at the Lambton Jaffas the past two seasons.
Hodges said the Hamilton line-up were determined to turn around their grand final fortunes together.
“We are all definitely due,” Hodges said. “Hopefully it’s third time lucky for me.
“There’s a few of us due for a win, so hopefully we can get one. It certainly gives you a bit of hunger in the belly.”
After missing the finals last season, Hamilton enjoyed a resurgence this year with the addition of Ireland and Goodchild and return of Mooney from injury.
See your ad here
They were undefeated until losing 3-1 to Edgeworth in round 12 but ended up third after a shock 2-0 loss to Maitland in the final round.
Olympic fought back to qualify for the decider with a gutsy 2-2 draw with Lambton last week after trailing 2-0 midway through the second half.
Hamilton’s strength at set pieces and attacking options off balls to Goodchild were keys to victory against the Jaffas.
Those strengths may give them an edge over the slick Eagles passing game if rain on Friday and forecast showers create a soft and slippery pitch at Magic Park on Sunday. Hodges, though, said neither side would have an advantage in the wet.
“Edgeworth’s ground has been soggy for much of the year, and bumpy, so I think they know how to play in these conditions quite well,” he said.
“When we played them out there, they beat us 3-1, and the ground was terrible.
“They seemed to work it out, so it could play into their favour a little, but it doesn’t bother us, whatever the pitch is like.
“I think it will be a close game – grand finals usually are – and it will probably be a bit scrappy and come down to who wants it more.”
Edgeworth Eagles are the first of two sides to contest the Northern New South Wales PS4 National Premier Leagues Grand Final.
In 2015 Edgeworth are looking to become just the second side to win the top flight double in 17 years
Since 1999 the only side who has ‘done the double’, that is finish the season first and win the Grand Final, is Broadmeadow Magic who achieved it three times; in 2013, 2008 and 2005.
Edgeworth’s form this season has been incredible. Two losses in their first three rounds at the hands of Broadmeadow and Hamilton threatened to derail their season however they bounced back with twelve wins from 15 games to finish first.
In total they won 13 games, drew once and lost just four on their way to 40 points and the first placed finish.
In the Semi Final they did not win either of their two matches against Broadmedow. All of the six goals of the 3-3 aggregate score came in the first leg at Magic Park however, which meant the Eagles progressed to the Grand Final on the away goals rule.
Their end of season form prior to the Semi Finals has been impeccable, as they spent the final seven rounds of the competition in first place. In fact they have only lost one of their last eleven matches.
The Eagles have match-winners all over the park, however their key man is certainly Josh Evans. In the heart of defence Evans is largely responsible for his side’s equal competition best 22 conceded, which is just over one per game. He has a huge job in this match in containing Kane Goodchild and Simon Mooney but this is definitely a job he can handle.
In the middle of the park Luke Walker dominates for the Eagles, and provides leadership and experience that has benefitted the large number of younger players Edgeworth possesses. Walker missed the first half of the season through injury, and it is no coincidence that two weeks after his return Edgeworth moved into first where they stayed for the rest of the season.
In the front third Edgeworth boast a number of key players in Keanu Moore, Dylan Holz, Brenton Olzomer and Brody Taylor.
Each of these players are game changers, but none more than Holz who showed his class and ability to perform in big games with a superb finish in the first leg of their Semi Final against Broadmeadow, and who earnt the tag from coach Damian Zane as the Eagles best player in the last third of the season and in the Semi Finals.
Zane has some crucial experience that he has been able to share with his side, as he was a part of Edgeworth’s last Grand Final winning side in 2010.
‘I told the boys to enjoy the week because an opportunity like this might not come around again,’ he said.
‘I feel lucky, it’s my first year as coach and to coach this amazing young team with the atmosphere that’s at the club is really special’.
Zane went on to say that although the win was amazing as a player, it would be more special to achieve as a coach.
The club has so much to be proud of in 2015; finishing Club Champions, Premiers in First Grade and 22 Years, a narrow Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Melbourne City, and featuring in the Grand Finals of all three grades.
The ultimate goal for any club is to win the Premiership and the Grand Final in First Grade however, so victory for the Eagles today would be the icing on the cake for Damien Zane and his men.
Bolch Hoping for ‘Third Time Lucky’ Effect
The second of the two sides in the Northern New South Wales PS4 National Premier Leagues is Hamilton Olympic.
Hamilton spent four rounds in the middle of the season at the top of the table, however Edgeworth finished the season the stronger of the pair, and a last round loss to Maitland saw them fall behind Lambton Jaffas to finish third.
They won ten matches this season, and lost a competition best two. Six draws hit the side in Blue and White extremely hard, as it saw them drop twelve points, which was ultimately their downfall in terms of the Premiership.
They still have a chance of success in 2015 as they look to defeat the high-flying Eagles, something they already achieved in a 2-0 victory back in Round 2 in April.
In the return fixture in Round 12 they were defeated 3-1 by Edgeworth, making the Eagles one of just two sides that have defeated them this year.
In 2012 Hamilton Olympic finished the season in first place, however lost the Grand Final 4-1 in a disappointing day for the club. Three years prior they won their most recent Grand Final, defeating Valentine 2-0.
Those two matches have one thing in common: Mick Bolch was the losing coach on both occasions.
Each of his last three Grand Finals, including 2015, have been three years apart, and he will be hoping that this year it is third time lucky and his side can pick up a win.
One look at the players at his disposal and their 2015 form suggests this year is his best chance yet.
Jacob Bailey has been one of Olympic’s standouts best this season, with Bolch describing him as ‘a rock in the middle of the park’. Most of Olympic’s play goes through Bailey, and he managed seven goals this season which is a huge effort from a holding midfielder.
Another key player for Olympic in 2015 has been Kyle Hodges. His season was delayed due to injury, however his presence was felt as Hamilton boasted the equal best defensive record in the competition. Hodges leads by example and will have a huge part to play in the Grand Final, going up against Edgeworth’s young and enthusiastic front third.
In Olympic’s own front third stand two new faces, who have formed a deadly partnership. The acquisition of 2014 leading goal scorer Kane Goodchild from Charlestown City Blues turned out to be one of the signings of the season. Simon Mooney signed for Hamilton at the end of 2013 but missed all of 2014 through injury. The pair scored 22 of the side’s 46 goals this season, and will have to step up in the biggest game of the year against the likes of Pat Wheeler, Josh Evans and Ayden Brice who have been sensational this year at the back for Edgeworth.
Within the Olympic ranks are two of the brightest young talents in the Northern New South Wales PS4 National Premier Leagues in midfielder Rhys Cooper and defender Tom Davies. Both Cooper and Davies have shown maturity beyond their ages in Olympic colours both in this season, and in previous seasons, and will need to play key roles if the side are to take out the 2015 Grand Final.
Olympic have improved drastically on their 2014 season which saw them finish sixth. No matter the result in the Grand Final they should feel proud of their efforts this season, however nothing could top it off better than a Grand Final medal and trophy.
19 Years Preview
In the opening match of the day Broadmeadow Magic challenges the first of three Edgeworth Eagles sides involved in the 2015 PS4 National Premier Leagues Grand Finals.
Magic did almost everything they could this season to finish as Premiers, however they missed out by just four goals. Incredibly, they and Weston both won twelve, drew three and lost three, and had a goal difference of 27. The Bears scored 47 compared to Broadmeadow’s 43, so the Magic finished second.
In their Semi Final they trailed after the first leg 2-1 against Hamilton, but won 2-0 in the return leg to book their spot in the biggest game of the year.
Their opponents, Edgeworth, finished the season in fourth place. Following eight wins, five losses and five draws they defeated Premiers Weston 2-1 on aggregate over the two legs to earn their spot in the Grand Final.
The Eagles have slightly better form than Magic despite finishing below them on the table. The Eagles lost just two of their last twelve matches including their two Semi Final matches, whereas Magic lost three of theirs.
The two sides have met twice this season, with a win to both sides. In Round 3 Broadmeadow won 2-1, and in Round 11 Edgeworth beat Magic 4-1 at Magic Park, the destination of this match.
Expect this match to be a lot closer than their Round 11 encounter. Both sides will come out with nothing to lose, and give their all in the most important match of the season.
It would be a fitting finish for Magic to win the trophy on their home soil, however Edgeworth will be desperate to spoil the party, and win the first of three Grand Final the club are featuring in on the day.
22 Years Preview
In the curtain raiser to the First Grade fixture, Edgeworth Eagles take on the 18 Years Emerging Jets in the 22 Years Grand Final.
This match is the only one of the day where first place plays second, and it should be a fast paced match between two sides who are lethal in the front third.
Like their First Grade side, Edgeworth finished the season in first place, they won 13 of their 18 games, drawing four and losing a competition best one to win the Premiership by seven points.
They scored 39 goals which is less than the four sides below them, however they boast the best defensive record in the competition, conceding just 16 goals at less than one per game.
The 18 Years Emerging Jets won eleven matches in 2015, drawing three and losing four. They finished second place and are Edgeworth’s biggest rival.
The two sides had a similar run into the Grand Final cruising past their Semi Final opponents. Edgeworth defeated Broadmeadow 7-1 on aggregate, whilst the 18 Years Emerging Jets went one better, downing Hamilton 8-1 over the two legs.
Both sides enter the match with brilliant form behind them. The 18 Years Emerging Jets have lost just one of their last twelve games, whereas Edgeworth were undefeated in their last 17, their only loss occurring back in Round 3 against Broadmeadow.
These two sides met twice this season with Edgeworth victorious 2-0 in Round 8, and the pair playing out a 2-2 draw in Round 17.
This match should be just as close and competitive, as the two best sides in the competition go head to head one last time for the year.
Expect an enthralling game that will showcase some of the best youth players the region has to offer. Goals may be scarce, however attractive football will be present for 80 minutes.
HAMILTON goalkeeper Danny Ireland is no stranger to grand final pressure and believes it is all on Edgeworth heading into the Northern NSW National Premier League grand final on Sunday.
Ireland will play in his third grand final in three seasons of top division football in Northern NSW when Olympic take on the minor premiers at Magic Park.
The 193-centimetre tall Ireland has arguably been the best gloveman in the competition over the past three years and has been a key factor in Olympic rising from sixth place in 2014 to third and grand finalists this season after moving from Lambton Jaffas.
Ireland was in goal as the Jaffas lost 4-1 to Broadmeadow Magic in the decider and he was back on the competition’s biggest day of the year in 2014 when Lambton defeated Weston 2-0.
He was optimistic about a snaring another major premiership on Sunday.
“I enjoyed my time at Lambton but I’m also enjoying my time at Hamilton,” Ireland said.
“They are good bunch of guys, just like they are at Lambton, and we’ve got a good team.
“We should do well in the grand final, we’ve just got to hang in there and keep pressing. Opportunities will come.”
The past two seasons Lambton Jaffas went in as the lower-ranked team from the regular season.
Hamilton were unbeaten this year until going down to Edgeworth 3-1 in round 12. They finished third as the Eagles powered to the minor premiership, three points clear of Jaffas and four ahead of Olympic.
Ireland indicated Hamilton were enjoying the underdog tag heading into the decider.
“The boys are feeling pretty relaxed,” Ireland said. “If anything the pressure is on Edgy. They won the comp and everyone is expecting them to win, so we go in there with no pressure.
“They’ve been great all season, but they are not unbeatable,” he said.
“We beat them during the season and they beat us, so I think we’re in there with a good chance.”
Hamilton are buoyant after coming back from 2-0 down 77 minutes into the second-leg semi-final against the Jaffas last week to progress to the decider 3-2 on aggregate.
The success came despite an uncharacteristic display from Ireland against the Jaffas.
The former Australian under-20 and Coventry City shot-stopper twice failed to clear the ball before Riley McNaughton scored Lambton’s second and Luke Remington beat him from an acute angle for the opener. The 24-year-old, though, was unfazed heading into the grand final.
“Over the course of the season, you get games where sometimes you’re not playing your best, but it’s just as long as the team pulls through, that’s all that matters,” he said.
“I’ve just got to train like I have, and prepare like I usually do.”
Renee Pountney, Hannah Bourke and Abbey Taylor scored for Hunter Sports. Westfields Sports High won the final 7-0 over Holy Spirit, Bellambi.
Westfields won the Bill Turner Cup boys’ final 3-1 over Ipswich Grammar. St Peters, Maitland, drew 2-2 with Maribyrnong College in the third-place playoff.
JACOB Bailey admits he had plenty of nerves when he ran out for his first top-grade grand final in 2012.
In his first year with heavyweight club Hamilton, Bailey was part of their maiden minor premiership but felt the pain of grand final defeat when Broadmeadow downed a 10-man Olympic 4-1.
Three years on, the 26-year-old has gone from nervous youngster to the midfield enforcer and mentor for Olympic as they look to erase the memory of that defeat against Edgeworth in the Northern NSW National Premier League decider on Sunday at Magic Park.
Bailey was a standout for Hamilton across their nerve-racking 3-2 semi-final win on aggregate over Lambton Jaffas. Last Sunday, he played 120 minutes in the middle of the park as Hamilton fought back from two goals down in the second-leg qualifier to draw 2-2 and progress to the decider.
Hamilton coach Michael Bolch said the performance was typical of Bailey’s effort this campaign, in which he has been part of the senior players’ group along with Kyle Hodges and Andrew and Matt Swan.
‘‘He’s been a leader out on the park this season and been one of our best all year along with Kyle,’’ Bolch said.
‘‘He’s been very good at winning those 50-50 balls and he just loves the battle.
‘‘He epitomises everything we have tried to do this year.
‘‘He always seems to be in the right place at the right time, he does a lot of the dog work in the middle of the park, but he never complains.
‘‘He’s good with the young kids as well. He’s been a really great mentor for guys like Tom Davies, Rhys Cooper and Pat Brown.’’
Brown, Bailey and Ben Koina are the only survivors of Olympic’s 2012 grand final side.
Bailey believes Olympic’s even balance of youth and experience, and added mobility up front with the likes of Simon Mooney, can get them over the line this time around.
‘‘I think we’re a lot more attacking and from our results this year, our for and against, we’re right up there with the best. There’s obviously something there that’s working for us and it keeps us in good stead for the game on the weekend.’’
Regardless of the challenge come Sunday, Edgeworth will know Bailey is in the contest.
One of the hardest competitors in the league, Bailey has a reputation for his physical style but also his cheeky smile and on-field banter with opponents.
‘‘It’s all part of the game, the battle, and it’s a part I really enjoy,’’ he said.
‘‘This year, out of most years gone by, I’ve enjoyed it a lot, probably because of the playing group we’ve got.
‘‘We’ve gelled really well with that good mix of young and old, and that’s led to some good results for us. I’m hoping it’s going to take us one further.’’
Broadmeadow win race to sign up demoted Gunners skipper
BROADMEADOW have moved quickly to secure the signing of long-time South Cardiff captain Jarryd Johnson as they attempt to get back to the top of the league.
Magic co-coach Bob Naumov announced on Tuesday that the midfielder had agreed to join the club for next year after the Gunners’ last-place finish and demotion.
Several clubs were chasing the signature of the 28-year-old and Naumov was excited about securing his services as Magic look to improve on their fourth-place finish and loss in the semi-finals to Edgeworth on away goals last week.
Naumov and Robert Virgili returned to coach Broadmeadow this season after the side were second-last as the three-time defending major premiers last year.
‘‘We’re disappointed with where we finished this year and we as coaches are disappointed with what we achieved, so we’ve decided to stay on for another year,’’ Naumov said.
He believed Johnson could be the missing piece to the puzzle in 2016.
‘‘He’s always been seen as one of the best midfielders in the comp but I don’t think he’s really reached his full potential,’’ he said.
‘‘Hopefully with him coming out of his comfort zone next year, he will excel, and I believe he will.’’
■ Edgeworth will break a 20-year record if they complete a clean sweep of the Northern NSW NPL grand finals on Sunday.
Weston were the last club, in 1995, to win all senior deciders in the top NNSW division and Edgeworth assistant coach Tony Lyons, who was part of the sweep, has enjoyed 20-year anniversary celebrations this year. The Eagles were minor premiers in first grade and under 22s but have come from fourth place in under19s to meet runners-up Magic in the grand final.
■ Hunter Sports High School’s girls team and ASC, St Peter’s, Maitland’s boys side will play off for third in the 15years schools Bill Turner knockout on Wednesday after losses on Tuesday.
The St Peter’s boys lost 8-0 to Westfields Sports High at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility and on Wednesday will meet Maribyrnong College, Victoria, who went down 2-1 to Ipswich Grammar in their semi-final.
Hunter Sports High’s girls side also lost to Westfields Sports, going down 2-1 a golden goal scored in extra time.
Renee Pountney scored in the 44th minute for Hunter Sports to cancel out Princess Ibini-Isei’s goal, but Rosaria Galea netted the winner.
Westfields play Holy Spirit, Bellambi, who beat Cavendish Road High in the other semi, for the title.
NPL GRAND FINALS
SUNDAY, MAGIC PARK
1ST GRADE (3pm)
Eagles (1) v Olympic (3)
UNDER 22s (1pm)
Eagles (1) v Emerging
Jets U18s (2)
UNDER 19s (11am)
Magic (2) v Eagles (4)
The 2015 NPL Grand Final between Edgeworth Eagles vs Hamilton Olympic on Sunday 6th September at 3.00, will be live streamed by NBN for anyone who is unable to attend.