Premier league teams at home in round 10

Norths United captain Mitch Wilson will depart the side after the match against OVA.
Norths United captain Mitch Wilson will depart the side after the match against OVA.

Norths United have the chance to go clear at the top of the McDonald’s Northern Inland Premier League ladder when they face reigning premiers Oxley Vale Attunga on Saturday. 

The last time the two sides collided in round three on the Mushies’ home turf, points were split in a 1-all draw. 

All four Armidale-based premier league clubs are hosting matches this weekend and Norths co-coach Scott Freeman hopes his team will be able to snag the points on their home turf. 

“It will be nice to come away with a win but if we can't come away with a win, a draw will be just as good,” he said. 

“I know we will be out there to play as hard as we can to walk away with that win. 

I know we will be out there to play as hard as we can to walk away with that win. The boys will be confident.

Scott Freeman

“The boys will be confident.”

The Redmen have strength in both first and reserve grade and will be testing their depth against Oxley Vale on Saturday with a host of players missing. 

Peter Ince and Anthony Holmes will be watching from the sidelines after each received red cards in their previous match against South Armidale. 

“We have got four or five again, two on suspension, one's away and a couple of them have come down with this flu,” Freeman said. 

“We are still confident we will give it our best shot. 

“The best thing is we have great depth. 

“Our reserve grade side is still doing really well. 

“We are having a pretty good season so far but there is a long way to go.” 

The side have an added incentive to earn a victory this weekend to give skipper Mitch Wilson a proper send off in his final game for the club. 

“We will be farewelling a player this weekend,” Freeman said. 

“Our first grade captain will be departing for greener pastures. 

“I know the boys will want to send him out on a winning note so hopefully we can do that for him.”

East Armidale are aiming to get one back on Inverell Joeys when they take them on at home this Saturday. 

Down on players in round three, the Armidale team succumbed to Inverell 5-3. 

The side have since added numbers to their squad and are ready to hit their straps in the final half of the season. 

“I am quietly confident we can get the job done but obviously Joeys aren't to be underestimated,” captain Trent Irwin said. 

“They are in a bit of a rebuilding phase as well, much the same as us so I am sure it will be a good game but I am quietly confident.”

While there is a bit of catching up to do to earn a spot on the top half of the ladder, Irwin is confident his side can pull things together and give the competition a tilt. 

“We have been training really well, getting the boys motivated for the back end of the season. 

“I think the top two or three positions are already solidified so we are just going to try and build on things and hopefully make the top four. 

“We have a couple of new players now, we are getting a bit of depth back which is a nice change. 

“That is all we have been lacking, numbers in two or three key positions so we have just been vulnerable, particularly out wide. 

“I think we can strengthen and tighten that up and go from there.

“Scoring goals is really not our problem, it is really the defending side of things.”

Across town, Demon Knights will aim to be outright winners over North Companions after toughing out a 2-all draw with them in their previous game. 

The hosts have finished on the wrong end of the scoreboard in their last two encounters and coach Evan Quaife hoped they would return to their winning ways. 

“The last few weeks we lost to Oxley Vale there and we lost to Souths the week before, we haven't had a couple of losses on the trot for a while so it will be a good chance to bounce back at home,” he said. 

“[We need] to take a few more chances.

“We seem to attack pretty well but actually finishing and putting the ball in the net seems to be a bit of a problem recently. 

“We seem to build up pretty well but it is just that ball in the back of the net so I might have a couple of changes in store for this weekend.”

South Armidale will also be looking to hit back against their round 10 opponents after falling short in round three. 

James Hough has taken over coaching the team for the remainder of the season and said the side has kept things pretty simple in the lead up to the game. 

“The side is looking pretty strong,” he said. 

“[We have] been doing a lot of possession, looking to hold the ball a bit more and dominate through the midfield. 

“As long as we hold on to the ball and take our chances we should be alright.”