NPL and State League Round Preview – Key Matches

NPL 1 – Round 12

APIA Leichardt Tigers v Sydney United 58 – Saturday 27 May – 7.45pm – Lambert Park

The Football NSW live streamed game this round and they couldn’t have picked a better match. An almost top of the table clash 2 weeks back to back now as APIA lead and Sydney United in 3rd spot. A win here could potentially see Sydney United go to the top of the table, depending on how Blacktown City do.

APIA will be keen to keep their spot on top of the table, and back to back wins against Rockdale and Sydney United will definitely mean they are the title favourites.

With no FFA Cup action Sydney United are certainly looking good for this one, especially as APIA is looking towards their FFA Cup game next Tuesday. Expect to see a tight low scoring game from both sides, as they have both only conceded 11 goals.

Wollongong Wolves v Parramatta FC – Sunday 28 May – 3pm – WIN Stadium

Opposite end of the table as we see 8 v 12. With Parramatta’s only “win” coming from the administration error from the Wolves in round 1, they will certainly be looking at getting a win legitimately, and desperately need one to start to turn their season around. Parramatta desperately need as many points from all 3 grades to try and leap over Bonnyrigg in the Championship.

Conversely, Wollongong will be looking to get those 3 points “back” in the reverse fixture, and start to make some progress towards the top end of the table. Mid season recruit Nick Montgomery is certainly the man to help turn the ship around and a win against Parramatta will help their cause. A win from 1st grade will also help Wollongong put some distance between themselves and last placed Melita in the championship.

With Parramatta leaking goals this season already letting in 31, and Wollongong having the worst attack in the league with only 11 goals, this should be an entertaining contest.

 

NPL 2 – Round 13

Marconi Stallions v St George FC – Saturday 27 May – 7pm – Marconi Stadium

Just like the NPL 1, the NPL 2 also features a 1st vs 3rd match. Marconi have had a strong start to the season only dropping points in 4 games so far, and scoring 30 goals along the way, giving them the competitions 2nd best attack. With a 5 points lead over the Wanderers and St George, a win here will give them 2 games breathing room over the Saints and possibly over the Wanderers depending on the results of that game.

St George FC are coming off the back of a strong 3-1 win over Spirit FC and will be looking to make ground on 1st placed Stallions. Sitting way back in the Club Championship due to poor seasons from their 18s and 20s they are unlikely going to be able to push for promotion, but can still look to claim a trophy come seasons end.

This game is set to be a great one, with Marconi reeling from a 5-2 loss to Northern Tigers who are rising up the Championship. Can Marconi bounce back and keep their breathing room at the top? Marconi man Sean Rooney still leads the golden boot with 12 goals, will he continue his scoring ways this week?

Western Sydney Wanderers Youth v North Shore Mariners – Saturday 27 May – 7pm – Sydney United Sports Centre

After a rather disappointing draw with Mounties last week, WSW will be looking to keep their promotion hopes alive against a strong North Shore side. Trailing 5 points behind Marconi on the table, they are only behind by 13 in the championship race. A win from first grade will be vital in maintaining pace with the Stallions and if a bit of luck goes their way they can overtake them and sit 1st.

North Shore have been somewhat of a surprise so far this season, sitting 6th on the table and in the championship. A dominant 5-0 win over Bankstown Berries last week will no doubt boost their confidence, and they should carry the belief that they can beat the Wanderers into this game. Scoring 28 goals so far with 9 of them coming from Mitchell Smith, expect a big game and a big performance from the club and don’t be surprised if they pull off an upset.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Bankstown Berries – Saturday 27 May – 7pm – Popondetta Park

The Rangers aren’t sitting too far back from the league leaders and should be proud of their efforts so far this season. Sitting 5th on the ladder and 8 points from 1st, they have a strong chance in this game to make some ground up. Unfortunately though they are sitting mid table in the clun championship a fair way back from promotion. It would take a big effort from all 3 grades to get promotion, especially when Marconi and Western Sydney have been so dominant this season.

Bankstown Berries on the other hand are struggling down the bottom of the NPL 2 table and championship. Suffering a 5-0 defeat last week, they will be looking for redemption against the Rangers, and they will be full of confidence after making round 7 of the FFA Cup. Being 2nd last in the Championship means they will need a few strong weeks to save themselves from relegation, although they may be saved anyway if Bankstown City don’t lift.

The only question is, did their victory on Wednesday take too much out of the side, and how much will they prioritise their match with Olympic Wednesday night? If they go all in on the cup by resting key players, they may find the game this week a bit of a challenge.

 

NPL 3 – Round 12

Rydalmere Lions v Dulwich Hill – Saturday 27 May – 7pm – Rydalmere Park

The league leaders Rydalmere Lions are set to continue their winning ways this week when they meet Dulwich Hill in round 12. Having scored an outstanding 46 goals whilst only condeding 14, they have the best attack and 2nd best defence in the league. Rydalmere need to continue strong results in all 3 grades to maintain their small lead over Fraser Park in the championship, as well as their 2 point lead on the table. A tight 4-3 win over SD Raiders last weekend however shows signs that Rydalmere are not completely unstoppable, although they have only dropped points in 1 game, being a draw.

Dulwich Hill are sitting mid table at the moment, a surprise to no one really. After dropping low last season and surviving the drop, the club has turned itself around and now sit 6th on the table. Promotion may seem out of reach but they must do everything they can to keep earning points to make the finals, where anything could happen.

Keep an eye on Amaury Gauthier who is racing away with the golden boot currently with 17 goals.

SD Raiders v Hakesbury City – Saturday 27 May – 7pm – Ernie Smith Reserve

SD Raiders have had a fairy-tale run in the FFA Cup this year and thoroughly deserve it with the quality of football they have been playing. In the league, they have been traveling decently enough sitting 5th on the table. A narrow loss to league leaders Rydalmere last week as well as a strong win over Mounties Wanderers in the cup to face APIA Leichardt next week, they should be carrying a lot of confidence into this game and rightly so.

Hawkesbury City sit just behind SD Raiders in 7th and by only 1 point. A 1-1 draw with the current 9th placed and last in the championship Granville Rage, Hawkesbury will want to bounce back and show they have what it takes to claim a finals spot come seasons end. Again though, they are most likely out of the promotion race as Rydalmere and Fraser Park are really the only 2 contenders.

Expect an open, free flowing, high scoring game in this one, especially as Santiago Palomeque from Hawkesbury has netted 14 goals and coming 2nd in the golden boot race.

State League – Round 7

Univerity of NSW v Bankstown United – Saturday 27 May – 3pm – David Phillips Complex

UNSW has been playing some good football lately, and if they can manage to slow down the amount of goals scored against them they would be a real threat to the premiership. Winning 3 games, drawing 1 and losing 2, UNSW sits 4th on the table, but it is that congested they could finish anywhere from 2nd to 7th at the end of the round. If the proposed changes to the NPL go through the club championship may not matter, but they find themselves not far off the pace set by Bankstown United.

Bankstown United will be looking to continue their dominant start to the season where they have only lost 1 game and won 5 whilst netting 19 goals in the process. As well as the best attack they also hold the 2nd best defence, only being beaten by Nepean. Touted as potential automatic promotion candidates thanks to the changes, they will be wanting to show they can earn it legitmately as well. A 1-0 win against Nepean last week will see the side take some confidence into the game which they will need after UNSW scored a 3-2 win last week against Hurstville ZFC.

Image credit: Football NSW

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