There will be no love lost when rivals Kempsey Saints Green and the Macleay Valley Rangers go to battle in the Women’s Northern League preliminary final this Saturday.
Friendships will be put to the side as Rangers coach Heidi Tamblyn and Saints coach Amy O’Brien expect a fiery contest.
“Most of us have mates in the other team but once we step onto the field that will all be forgotten,” Tamblyn said.
“It can get a bit heated during the game but at the end we are all mates again.”
The two sides met only once in the regular season and Saints Green secured a 1-0 victory.
O’Brien predicts a similar tight contest and pinpoints nullifying Rangers’ attack as the key to a Saints win.
“There was nothing in it when we faced them earlier this year and it should be another close one,” O’Brien said.
“Rangers are a really good attacking team while we have a great back line so it shapes up as a great game.
“They move the ball around the pitch really well and are creative so if we can shut down their passing game we will be in a good position to earn the win.”
Meanwhile Tamblyn believes her side needs to play their own game and put in a repeat effort of their 3-0 victory against the defending premiers the Wauchope Waratahs in the elimination final last week.
“We had dropped off at the end of the season but we produced our best game of the year against Wauchope,” Tamblyn said.
“We did everything that I have wanted all year, as a coach it was a proud game to be a part of.
“We controlled possession, were creative in attack and were patient in front of goal – everything just clicked.
“It will be a physical game this Saturday and we need to be at our best again.”
A spot in the grand final against Port United awaits the winner, with the Saints searching for their third consecutive decider.
Saints finished the season as minor premiers but a lack of game time cost them in their major semi-final with Port United.
“We had a bye to end the regular season and a bye in the first week of the finals so it was our first game in three weeks,” O’Brien said.
“We were in control of the game when we took an early lead in the second half but we ran out of energy and were wasteful at times.
“The girls will be better for the run and I am expecting them to be better this Saturday.”
The match kicks off at 12.45pm at Eden St Oval and the two coaches encourage everyone to attend to watch a great spectacle.
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