The Maitland Magpies move into one of the most important phases of their season this weekend.
In the space of eight days the second-placed Magpies have three matches against opponents below them on the First Division ladder and during that period can move to the top of the table following a slip up from league leaders Lambton last week.
The previously undefeated Jaffas (25 points) were upset 2-1 by third-placed Adamstown (17) on Saturday, giving the Magpies (22), if successful in their upcoming treble of games, a chance to draw equal with Lambton once more.
“The next three games are very important for us,” Magpies coach Anthony Richards said.
“We need to beat the sides that we are above on the table and make sure we stay in contact with the Jaffas.”
The Magpies host a local derby with the last-placed Thornton Redbacks at Cooks Square Park on Sunday in round 11 of the Northern NSW Football competition.
Round 12 has the Magpies pitted against the Cessnock Hornets at Turner Park the following Sunday. But in between the Magpies have a catch-up match with Belmont Swansea at Blacksmiths Oval on Wednesday night.
The opponents were 15 minutes into their match at the same venue on Sunday before the referee abandoned the fixture. Constant heavy rain made the pitch unplayable and unsafe according to the official so the clubs agreed to meet next week.
In the same week-long period Lambton heads to Blacksmiths Oval in round 12 for an encounter with Belmont Swansea after hosting Singleton at Arthur Edden Oval on Saturday.
Across the rest of the First Division competition, Cessnock goes to Adamstown on Sunday to tackle the Rosebuds while Toronto Awaba and Belmont Swansea go head-to-head on Sunday in the battle for Lake Macquarie supremacy. All matches this weekend kick off at 2.30pm.