NPL and State League Round Preview

NPL 1 – Round 21

Manly United v Sydney United 58 – Sunday 6th August – 3pm – Cromer Park

One of the most important matches of the round, as it has huge finals implications. With two rounds left, Manly sit 4th and Sydney United are 7th, with only three points separating the two sides.

Sydney United have a superior goal difference, meaning that a win on Sunday will see them leapfrog Manly with one round left. It is a crucial game for both teams as a win for Manly would all but seal a finals position for themselves. Manly will be hoping to overcome their 5-0 loss last week to APIA whilst Sydney United will be looking to bounce back from their 2-1 loss to Sydney Olympic.

Panny Nikas also has a bit of ground to make up if he is of any hope to capture the golden boot, currently behind by two goals.

Rockdale City Suns v Wollongong Wolves – Sunday 6th August – 3pm, – Ilinden Sports Centre

Another game this round with huge finals implications on the line. Wollongong Wolves will be looking to make another finals appearance currently sitting 6th on the table whilst Rockdale will be out to cement 3rd place which depending on the result Manly get, can be wrapped up on Sunday.

It won’t be an easy task for Wollongong though, as their stars Tashiro and Montgomery will need to find a way past ACL winner Ante Covic, as well as dealing with golden boot contender Jordan Figon who is currently on 12 goals.

With the Wolves on 34 points tied with Sydney Olympic, and only one point ahead of Sydney United, all three points are a must if they hope to play finals football this season.

Blacktown City v APIA Leichhardt Tigers – Sunday 6th August – 3pm – Lilys Football Centre

The entire season comes down to this game for these two sides. Blacktown lead the premiership race by a solo point heading into these last two rounds.

Two weeks ago it appeared that Blacktown were going to win the competition a few rounds early, however a 2-1 loss to Manly United stopped the celebrations before a 1-1 draw with Rockdale last week brought the team crashing back down to Earth.

Blacktown have had an outstanding season, leading almost the entire way and have only suffered two losses. The question is, can they hold their nerve against a strong APIA side?

APIA have made a lot of ground in recent weeks with a 2-1 win over Sydney Olympic followed by a strong 5-0 win over Manly United. However many will be questioning their fitness coming into this match after travelling to Tasmania mid week, where they made easy work of their opponents in the FFA Cup. Blacktown on the other hand had no travel commitments as they hosted Central Coast at home.

Both sides are deserving premiers, and this is shaping up to be a great match with everything on the line.

 

NPL 2 – Round 23

There are many key games this weekend, with everyone except Bankstown City in the hunt for a finals place.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers v St George FC – Saturday 5th August – 7pm – Popondetta Park

4th places Mt Druitt Town host 2nd placed St George FC tonight, with the three points a must for both sides with the race for the finals so tight.

The Rangers are unbeaten in their last three games, whilst St George have lost their last two, and could be on track to lose three on the trot if the Rangers have it their way.

St George however only need seven points from the remaining four games to clinch a finals appearance, and as such will be looking to come our fighting.

Bankstown City v Northern Tigers – Sunday 6th August – 3pm – Jensen Park

Bankstown City are the only team that cannot qualify for the finals, however that doesn’t mean that they can’t cause a few disruptions against their last four opponents.

Northern Tigers will be looking to pick up the form that they have lost over the last seven weeks, where they have won one game, against Western Sydney. Out of running for the premiership they still have the potential to finish in the top two.

Bankstown City are fighting to keep their slim hopes of survival alive, desperate to avoid relegation. A loss in this game and a win to the Berries will confirm what we’ve known for most of the season however, that they will be heading down a division.

 

NPL 3 – Round 22

The battle for the premiership is coming down to the final few rounds as both Rydalmere and Fraser Park will be looking to put the pressure on each other, whilst Granville and Balmain continue their battle for survival.

Fraser Park v Dulwich Hill – Saturday 5th August – 7pm – Fraser Park

The Portuguese derby with so much on the line for both sides. Fraser Park are sitting second on the ladder, 5 points behind Rydalmere with a game in hand with a win absolutely crucial to keep the pressure on for the premiership and club championship for promotion.

Fraser had a fantastic start to the season going 19 rounds without a loss, however they have lost the last two on the trot.

Dulwich Hill sitting third on the table are desperate for a win after picking up only one point over the last two weeks as the pack of teams behind them are threatening their finals chances.

Gladesville Ryde Magic v Rydalmere Lions – Sunday 6th Agusut – 3pm – Magdala Park

Already sealing up a top two spot, Rydalmere must win on the weekend to keep their promotion hopes alive as Fraser Park will be doing the same on the saturday night. They will be wanting to overcome a shock 3-2 loss to Western NSW Mariners from last week, and build their form back for the finals.

Gladesville Ryde on the other hand are one of the other form teams of the competition, working their way up to 5th on the table and primed ready to play finals football this year. The Magic have lost only one game in their last 11, and will be out to prove they have what it takes to be a championship threat.

Western NSW Mariners v SD Raiders – Sunday 6th August – 3pm – Sir Jack Brabham Park

After producing the upset of the season, the Mariners have all but secured their place in NPL 3 for next season, but will be looking to add to their points tally to guarantee it.

On the other hand, the Raiders are the only team yet to suffer a loss in the second half of the season and sit in 6th spot with 34 points. A win over the Mariners can potentially leapfrog them into 4th on the ladder as they aim for finals football in their first year in the NPL 3.

Let’s hope they can keep proving me wrong, and earn themselves a well deserved finals spot.

 

State League – Round 17

The penultimate round for State League has never had so much riding on the line in every game. Finals spots are up for grabs, and the premiership and promotion are all on the line in these next two weeks.

Wagga City Wanderers v Bankstown United – Saturday 5th August – 3pm – Rawlings Park

First match of the round, and a very important one in terms of the premiership. United hold a one goal advantage over Camden Tigers, with the competition points all squared up. A win today could all but seal up the premiership as well as securing a top 2 finals spot.

Whilst this appears to be a walk over for the Bankstown side, Wagga City will have their supporters out in force for their last home game of the season and what many suspect may be their last home game in the NSW competition.

Prospect United v Camden Tigers – Saturday 5th August – 5pm – William Lawson Park

Two teams, two different reasons to win today. Prospect will be looking to work their way into a finals spot, currently sitting 6th on the table, a win here will mean everything to them. UNSW and Hurstville also have seemingly easier games in their last two rounds, meaning a win is a must to get into the semis.

Camden Tigers on the other hand will be hopeful of working their way into the premiership spot, as well as securing a top two finals position. They will be hopeful of United droping points to Wagga, and will be looking to bounce back from their shock 3-3 to Western Condors last weekend. Any points dropped in this game, and they also risk Nepean catching them in the club championship. High stakes all around for both teams involved.

Hurstville Ctity Minotaurs v Hurstville ZFC – Saturday 5th August – 7pm – St George Stadium

A local derby with everything on line. At least for one team.

Hurstville City have nothing more to play for than bragging rights, after being knocked out of the finals race last weekend whilst Hurstville ZFC are looking to hold onto their top 4 spot and play in the finals this season. With UNSW and Prospect hot on their heels, Zagreb cannot afford to drop any points to their cross town rivals.

Nepean FC v Western Condors – Saturday 5th August – 7pm – Cook Park

With a trip to Camden next week on the cards, Nepean know that their game against the Condors is must win if they have any hope of promotion and to keep their slim hopes at the premiership alive. A win will also cement their top four position, ensuring finals football for the mountain men this year.

Many would have been tipping Nepean FC in a thrashing this week, however with the Condors upset 3-3 draw with Camden last weekend, Nepean won’t be taking this match lightly.

FC Gazy Auburn v UNSW FC – Sunday 6th August – 3pm – Progress Park

The only Sunday game for the State League sees UNSW travel to Auburn in a bid to turn their fortunes around. Without any points in the last three weeks, they face a struggling Auburn side who have won one game all season, before taking on the Condors next week in a bid to make the finals.

Auburn will be thankful the season is coming to an end, with the struggling clubs only ambition now being to spoil the finals hopes of UNSW.

 

Image credit: Football NSW

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