NPL: Tackling the league leading Lambton

The NPL Northern NSW boys have come close these past two weekends, but without reward.

Early goals to Weston and resilience from Hamilton earned each wins over Labi’s lads, who are on seven points after five games so far this season.

While recent results haven’t got their way, the ladder is still tight enough that a win against Lambton Jaffas on Saturday would push Newcastle back in the top four.

NPL: A defeat at Hamilton

With next weekend aside as a catch-up weekend, it means that the Jets will have two weeks to reflect on this weekend’s result so they’ll be determined to make it a good one.

Their opponents this weekend, Lambton Jaffas, are emerging as early-season favourites to compete for honours come the pointy end of the year.

They’re currently top of the ladder, with four wins and a draw from their five games played so far this season.

Team news

In a boost for Saturday afternoon, Jack Simmons looks likely to return to the fold after he wasn’t named in Ernie Merrick 18-man squad for the Hyundai A-league clash with Sydney.

An instrumental part in the early stages of the NPL season so far, his return to the midfield will add a spark which was perhaps missing against Hamilton.

Kieran Hayes was solid at the back upon his starting return from injury last weekend, while Kent Harrison performed similarly.

Kent Harrison Y-League Canberra United

From the coach

“It hasn’t been a good two weeks in terms of results, but I thought in terms of our performance we did well last weekend against Hamilton,” coach, Labinot Haliti said.

“We’re on the right track, and that’s something you can see in the two boys in Jack [Simmons] and Patty [Langlois] stepping up into the first team.

“Jack, since I’ve known him from day one, nothing phases him. He plays every game like it’s in his backyard, he’s a great kid, very mature, and very professional.

“I don’t think he needs the motivation of cracking back into the first team [to play well], because he’s just enjoying his football… we’ve believed in him from day one.

“Lambton are a good side, they’re the benchmark so far this season and [James] Pascoe’s record speaks for itself. They’ve assembled a good squad, and it’ll be a challenge.”