Super League Round 20 Preview
posted by Artie on July 29, 2010
Three rounds to go and all to play for. It is only Central Coast Lightning who could be said to have effectively finished their season, the rest of the Super League clubs have everything to give as the season draws towards its dramatic conclusion.
Where best to start than at the top. Parramatta Eagles are itching to take the title, and were disappointed last week not to have done so. They face a tricky excursion to Sydney University on Saturday night, one of the clubs who upset the Eagles last season on their run in. Uni are confident that they have the ability to make the semis and a win here, not out of the question, will be paramount. Uni were fortunate that some other results went their way last weekend and the two dropped points against Fraser Park won’t necessarily prevent Uni from forcing their way into the five.
Parramatta will be hoping that the nerves don’t start to give way, so close again.
Another club who will want to steer clear of any nerves is Dulwich Hill. They face Spirit FC but recent good results by both Fraser Park and Mount Druitt have drawn Dully into the relegation mire and a further loss here could be disastrous, especially as Dulwich Hill travel to Fraser Park next week. A win though could be enough to ease their worries.
Spirit returned to form last weekend and will look to advance on that. Like Uni, they are just out of the top five but with a game in hand, have the opportunity to make great strides over the next week. With a home match against Northern Tigers scheduled for next Tuesday night, the chance is there for Spirit to climb the table and improve their standing quite markedly.
All four matches on Sunday have a bearing on the top five and relegation. Finals contenders St George and Macarthur Rams face off at St George Stadium with both sides looking to overcome last round losses against lower placed teams. The Saints were two up against Central Coast but succumbed 3-2 while the Rams surprised in going down at home to Mount Druitt. This will be close as neither side can really afford two losses in a row when they are so many other teams ready to pounce.
Third placed Northern Tigers will meet Central Coast at Mills Park. While the Coast don’t really have anything to play for, Peter Preston indicated last week that they intend to finish as high as possible. The team showed against St George that they won’t lie down so the Tigers shouldn’t expect an easy ride. The Premiership could be all over by Sunday afternoon should Parramatta win on Saturday, but a top three finish and a home semi if second, is reason enough for Northern Tigers to continue their great run.
The two other matches on Sunday sees teams battling for the top five meeting the bottom two, in a fight of their own to avoid relegation.
Granville Rage, without Nathan Rivera and keeper Jason Holmes who were both sent off last week, meet an improved Fraser Park. If Fraser can beat Northern Tigers away they can beat anybody, so Granville will have to be on guard this weekend.
Both sides are desperate for points, for differing reasons, but the Rage, after such a good season so far, would be exceedingly disappointed if they were to miss the semis in the final month. A tight one here too.
Finally, at Popondetta Park, Mount Druitt meet the visiting FC Bossy. This is another difficult one which could really go either way. The Rangers have put in some good performances in the last couple of weeks, not least at Macarthur last weekend. Bossy need to maintain the finals push especially as they face two tough matches against other contenders for the finals in their last two games.
So, plenty of action and plenty of great football to look forward to…the season may just become a little clearer come Sunday afternoon.
-By Peter Rowney