IMPACT: Holding midfielder Jane McDonald, right, controls the tempo of the game for United.UnbeatenHeraldWomen’s Premier League leadersMerewether will face a stern test in Port Macquarie on Sunday when they take on Mid North Coast withoutexperienced trio Alison Logue, Jane McDonald and Rhali Dobson.
Logue, United’s goalkeeper, misses the game through suspension after she was red-carded in Merewether’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over defending champions Warners Bay in round five.
McDonald holds the midfield for United and has the ability to control the tempo of the match. She misses the game as she is overseas with the Emerging Jets girls’ teams playing in the Dallas International Cup.
Strike weapon Dobson is also overseas.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve played without Jane and I think it will be a good test for our team,” Merewether coach Cass Koppen said.
“She is a solid midfielder and controls things for us, so if will be interesting to see if we can maintain our composure and discipline without Jane. I still think we have a quality enough side.”
Koppen remained wary of what she described as a tough road trip to Port Macquarie and acknowledged Mid North Coast had been a bit of a bogey side for United in recent seasons.
“Mid North Coast have always been a very athletic and very coachable side and they’ve always been one of our harder rivals,” she said.
“Then add in the experience of Sophie Jones, Shannon Day and Imogene Tomasone this year and we are definitely expecting a tough game.”
South Wallsend coach Gary Wilson expected former W-League player Stacey Day to have more impact when they travel to The Gardens for a local derby with Wallsend.
Day returned to the field in the Wolves’ 5-0 win over Thornton last weekend. She played the final 20 minutes of the match and the appearance was herfirst since having a second knee reconstruction last year.
Wilson said she would continue to be eased back into playing with the focus on having her firing by the end of the season rather than rushing her back too soon.
The match will be the first in four days for South Wallsend, who back up against Warners Bay on Wednesday night.
Adamstown travel to Thornton to take on The Redbacks in the other round-six match.
Adamstown coach Ben Herron said patience would be key to their success and was wary of the winless Redbacks, who defend well then can catch teams out with their pace in transition on the counter attack.
“I’m not entirely sure what to expect; they’ve had a big loss in round one then it sounds like they pushed Warners Bay fairly well, so they seem inconsistent,” Herron said.
“We travelled up there last year and they showed a fair bit of energy and were leading at half-time.
“Our focus will on being patient in what we do. We can’t go gung-ho and rush into everything, so I will be making sure they are all aware and understand that patience is probably going to win it on the weekend, and that we need to be making wise decisions rather than forcing it.”
Warners Bay have the bye.