There are three more rounds of Women’s State League football to play this season, with everything still on the line. Round 19 is headlined by blockbuster fixtures between Gladesville and St. George, as well as Bankstown and Mt. Druitt. Meanwhile, the Western NSW Mariners FC can win the Premiership if results go their way.
Southern Districts SFA vs. APIA Leichhardt Tigers - Sunday 16 August, 3PM at Ernie Smith Reserve
Southern Districts are mathematically out of contention for the Finals Series, but still have plenty to prove as they close out their season. They will have been slightly disappointed with their massive loss to Bankstown City in Round 18, where they conceded six goals.
Nevertheless, there is a huge opportunity for them to claim their second win of the season this weekend, against the only team they’ve beaten all year.
APIA Leichhardt will be crestfallen after their narrow defeat to midtable competitors, the Gladesville Ravens at Lambert Park. A win would have put them in the top four, where a loss has left them in sixth.
Nevertheless, they remain only three points behind the Ravens and a big win against the league’s bottom side could be the revitalisation they need to finish the season strongly.
Their major challenge will be containing Southern District’s seemingly unstoppable striker, Sheree Bryant, who continues to score freely regardless of her team’s overall performance.
Parramatta FC vs. Western NSW Mariners FC - Sunday 16 August, 3PM at Melita Stadium
Parramatta have a lot of work to do if they are to catch up with the Ravens in fourth spot, trailing the Gladesville side by seven points. Their task is not made any easier by this weekend’s fixture, an imposing match against the Western NSW Mariners.
While Parramatta managed to tighten their defence against St. George, only conceding two goals in contrast to the five conceded in the game prior, they still lost 2-1.
This result is nothing to be ashamed about, as St. George have been one of the league’s best performers all season. However, first placed Western NSW will not be any easier.
The Mariners have all but claimed the Premiership, and have showed no signs of slowing down in the final run home. Their win against a determined Mt. Druitt on the weekend wasn’t pretty, but demonstrated all the characteristics of a title winning side.
If Western NSW win this weekend and Bankstown City lose, the Premiership will be heading deservedly over the Mountains.
Gladesville Ravens vs. St. George FC - Sunday 16 August, 3PM at Peel Park
Gladesville Ravens have been the success story of the past month, where they have found their stride in devastatingly effective manner. Surging into the top four, their win against APIA Leichhardt on the weekend represented their fourth in a row.
Key to their revival has been the development of midfield trio Loyzaga, Butler-Howell and Osmond. A mixture of composure, flair and leadership within the core of their team has seen them out-do Bankstown City and APIA Leichhardt in their last two fixtures, where many expected them to lose.
St. George, in third place, lead the Ravens by ten points this season and have occupied the top three comfortably for the majority of the year alongside Bankstown and Western NSW. With the Finals Series in sight, they will be looking to make a statement this weekend, establishing themselves as a class above the “rabble” below.
Mt. Druitt Town Rangers FC vs. Bankstown City FC - Sunday 16 August, 3PM at Popondetta Park
Mt. Druitt lost fourth spot in Round 18, after a narrow defeat to the Mariners allowed Gladesville to leapfrog. With only one point separating them from the top four, the Rangers will be fired up this weekend and ready to topple Bankstown City’s fading Premiership hopes.
Despite losing on Sunday against the Western NSW Mariners FC, the Rangers demonstrated that they can compete with the very best. This weekend, however, they will feel that losing gracefully is not good enough.
Bankstown City know that if they lose this weekend, any hopes they still hold of a Premiership will be almost certainly over. But this thought won’t be their main motivation, as building momentum into the Finals Series will be their most important task over the next few weeks.
After an upsetting loss to Gladesville in Round 17, Bankstown bounced back quickly with a massive 6-1 victory over Southern Districts on Sunday. With star attackers Samantha Muscat and Melissah Parlato firing on all cylinders, Bankstown will look to put many goals past Mt. Druitt Town this weekend.
Source FNSW -by Daniel Palmer, Women’s State League Reporter