Thornton Redbacks take on Cooks Hill

ATTACKING: Thornton Redbacks meet Cooks Hill in Northern One action on Saturday.
ATTACKING: Thornton Redbacks meet Cooks Hill in Northern One action on Saturday.

Cooks Hill will have to be at their best on Saturday afternoon when they face the free-scoring Thornton at Newcastle Athletics Field.

Round 21 of 2016 was the last time these two sides met and it was Thornton who took the points with a 3-0 win on the day. Cooks Hill have a midweek fixture to overcome in the lead up to this and Thornton’s time off the pitch may give them a slight advantage in this one.  

Round six’s victory over Cessnock was more hard fought than the 3-1 scoreline would suggest, and harder than coach Graham Law would’ve liked.

The Cookers lacked the zip they’d shown in previous outings, and if not for some poor finishing on Cessnock’s behalf may have found themselves fighting for a result rather than defending one.

Cooks Hill have lost only the one match this season and it was last-minute heartbreak against Kahibah in round five.

They’ve scored freely throughout the season – 24 goals in six matches - but they’ll face another big challenge entirely this weekend against the Redbacks, who themselves have scored 11 goals and conceded only two.

Thornton sit sixth on the ladder with only two games under their belt, and every side beneath them has played at least two more matches than them.

They too have scored freely, eleven in their opening two matches is a good return for a side that’ll be hopeful of making their way toward their first top four finish since 2014.

The Redbacks will have to be at their best across the park to take the full three points from this one.

Cooks Hill have set up to play a possession based, expansive style of football this season, and as such positive distribution and rigid organisation defensively from the midfield will be crucial for the Redbacks.

Look to the likes of Josh Benaquista and Pat Wand in the centre of the midfield to put in the hard yards on Saturday afternoon.