Bankstown Lions v Granville Rage kick starts round seven on Friday night ahead of a busy Saturday schedule, in a week which has seen the first coaching casualty of the season, over at The Crest.
But first to the Lions and they will be pleased with the win over Spirit FC last weekend, and will look to commence a run of results as they seek to climb the ladder. They will need to if Northern Tigers and Bankstown Berries, particularly, are not to gain too much of a foothold at the top. They will face a Rage side which battled away all day against St George before coming away with the win. Granville will be without captain Daniel Carrozza of course, sent off in that game, but the win will instil some confidence in the team after some recent poor results.
A number of clubs had midweek Waratah Cup games heading into this round. Leaders Northern Tigers had to travel to Lynwood Park in the only all Super League pairing and came away with a 1-0 win, courtesy of Tim Simpson, in the match between the two undefeated sides. They face Hills Brumbies on Saturday night and will face a stern test. Hills have picked up four points from six in their last two games but know that a visit to Mills Park won’t be for the fainthearted. A point here, one suspects, will do Hills just fine. The Brumbies had their own Cup game midweek , against Bondi FC, and had a comfortable 5-1 win. Unbeaten now in three games, Hills’ confidence will be on the rise, although Mark Abi-Arrage will make sure that the hard work continues.
Fraser Park, fresh from their 2-0 cup win over Schofields Scorpions on Tuesday, have the visit of Mounties Wanderers to look forward to. Fraser rested a few first teamers in the cup, but still managed a comfortable win. Fifth spot, with a game to play, is a good start for the Sydenham based side, and they will look to build on that.
Macarthur Rams, with two consecutive league wins under the belts, face Dulwich Hill. The Rams are now third after a quick climb up the table, showing what a couple of victories can do to a league position. Despite the loss to the Tigers in the cup, the Rams have impressed and Dully will need to be on their guard. Their own confidence will have risen after their cup visit to San Souci and its picturesque Claydon Reserve ground, defeating the St George Association side 4-1 on Wednesday night, Robbie Shields netting a double.
To the Berries now and their surprising dismissal of coach Nass Martino and his assistant Ivo de Jesus during the week. In second position and one point from top, the Berries have had a superb start to the season, with only the one loss from six. A curious decision indeed and it will interesting to see how the team reacts when fourth placed Spirit FC come visiting. The Berries overcame their poor result against the Brumbies with an impressive display at Mounties and came away with those three points from a difficult venue. The Berries will want another three points here, but will have to do so without their captain David Gardiner.
The third captain to be missing from action this weekend will be St George’s Simon Verrender. The Saints are still looking for their first league victory although they did comfortably beat the undefeated division one leaders, Gladesville Ryde Magic 3-0 in the Cup on Wednesday, in a sign that they have returned to some form. Their second half performance last Sunday almost managed to salvage what had looked a lost cause against Granville, so the results should soon come their way. Sydney University are the visitors this Saturday and have traditionally performed well at St George Stadium.
-By Peter Rowney