Round 9 is the halfway point for the Women’s Super League as the ladder is still yet to really take shape and create a clear separation between the top clubs and bottom half.
This season we have seen that any club is capable of beating any other club on their day with plenty of shock results to keep us entertained. With Sydney Olympic being the surprise entry in the top four thanks to some strong performances, teams are starting to understand that the key to the Super League is consistency of results.
With Northern Tigers, Eastern UNSW Lions, Southern Branch, St. George FC and Nepean FC all playing at their home grounds this Sunday afternoon, there is sure to be a game near you to get down and cheer on your local side.
MATCH OF THE ROUND: Northern Tigers v Southern Districts
Mills Park, 3pm kick off
This weekend, Mills Park earns the right to host match of the round as two mid-table sides go head to head looking to kick start their season for the second half of the competition.
Northern Tigers have been struggling with confidence in recent weeks after some less than impressive results. Last weekend saw the introduction of the ‘war paint’ make up for the players and it almost paid off with a strong performance against Sydney Olympic despite failing to finish off their many chances in the final third. This week the team is looking fired up and ready to challenge Districts for maximum points whilst playing with a smile on their face.
Southern Districts’ players walked off the field last weekend with not only three points next to their name but also the knowledge that a win against Western NSW Mariners was exactly what the team needed to get their season back on track. The squad are full of spirits and with a solid passing game and centre forward Sheree Bryant in fantastic form, Districts have an opportunity here to climb even higher up the ladder.
Eastern UNSW Lions v Western NSW Mariners
David Phillips Field, 3pm kick off
Consistency. That is the key word that describes the football played by UNSW Lions. They are consistency strong in the final third, in the midfields and in the backs. With no great surprise, the Lions hold a three point buffer at the top of the table. Last weekend was a much needed win in Nowra for the Lions, this weekend will be an equally strong test against the youthful and pacey Mariners. With Ayse Adalis continuing her outstanding form it is hard to see her not getting on the scoresheet at David Phillips Field.
The life of a Mariners’ player has been both success and disappointment in recent weeks, after two strong wins and a draw in the opening eight rounds; the Mariners occupy ninth spot on the ladder. As said in previous weeks, the danger player is the left winger come striker Kelsey Tuttle however after letting four goals slip past her net, the first team goalkeeper will be looking to bounce back and have a stand out performance against the top side in the competition. If Mariners manage to secure at least a point this weekend, expect them to have a solid second half of the season and possibly even make a surprise entry into the top five.
Southern Branch v Parramatta Lady Hawks
Ison Park, 3pm kick off
Lady Luck wasn’t on the side of Southern Branch against UNSW Lions last weekend as they failed to convert their 10 shots on target and only score once. Against the Lady Hawks, the squad from Nowra will be looking to play their pass-and-move game with a higher level of intensity with centre back Chantelle Nahokau being the start of all things good for the club. If Ange Graham and Jo Costanzo has having a good day, there will be plenty of goals scored thanks to their pace and experience in the final third.
Everyone expected the Lady Hawks to be in the top four at the start of the season and with the team sitting third on the ladder, the club are on track to continue pressuring the top clubs for the premiership. Last weekend saw the Lady Hawks narrowly but deservedly win against APIA Tigers at their fortress, Melita Stadium. This weekend the squad will be looking to continue their form in front of goal but close up the gaps in the defensive line. Having scored 21 goals and let 12 through the back of the net, now is the time to fix up any loose ends and work on the basics to guarantee a spot in the finals.
St. George FC v APIA Leichhardt Tigers
St. George Stadium, 3pm kick off
St. George FC in recent weeks have been in great form with Alana Humphries and Jess Carosi being the architects to the club’s climb up to sixth on the ladder. After a disappointing loss to Nepean last weekend and failing to get on the scoresheet, the home side will be looking to turn around their fortunes and claim maximum points against bottom of the ladder side APIA Tigers. With a goal difference of -4, the club need to work on keeping clean sheets and continuing to do more of the shame in front of goal.
The traveling side has had a rough Super League season with just under ten first team players out with long term injuries forcing the club to sit rock bottom of the ladder. Despite this, the Tigers’ squad is still full of spirits and with their mental and physical strength across the field it is somewhat unbelievable that the club are in the position they are. With the striking partnership of Dani Calvi and Danielle Pritchard getting better as the weeks go by, it is tough to think that at least one of them won’t be able to slip past the defence and get their name on the scoresheet this weekend. APIA need to turn their season around starting this weekend at St. George Stadium.
Nepean FC v Sydney Olympic FC
Cook Park, 3pm kick off
Last weekend saw a solid 1-0 win over St. George FC away from home, this weekend Nepean FC are hoping to continue their transition of losses into draws and draws into wins. With quality players across the park and a coach with a clear philosophy of football, Nepean should be able to grab at least a point against Sydney Olympic in front of their home crowd at Cook Park.
Sydney Olympic might be considered a shock inclusion in the top four of the ladder, however their simple football tactic has been working having won half their games so far this season. Despite having only scored 12 goals in eight games, the positive is the strength and stability of the defensive unit who have an average of only letting in one goal a game. If Olympic secure all three points this weekend, expect them to continue to occupy a place in the top half of the ladder through-out the second half of the season.
Source FNSW - By Peter Nowakowski