Round 18 of the Women’s State League kicks off this Sunday with all but one team in the running for a spot in the finals. The stakes are high, and the football will have to be of the highest quality.
Bankstown City FC vs. Southern Districts SFA - Sunday 9 August, 3PM at Jensen Park
Bankstown City FC sit in second place, trailing Western NSW by a massive seven points despite having played an extra game. Last Sunday’s loss to the Gladesville Ravens was a significant blow to their minor premiership challenge, and will have dented morale leading in to this week’s match.
Southern Districts have had a rough season, to say the least, but continue to show strong signs of improvement in the past month.
Though they fell to Mt. Druitt on the weekend, in-form striker Sheree Bryant continues to prove a menace in front of goal - scoring twice. They will be confident of their ability to find the net against a Bankstown City squad low in confidence.
The decisive factor will be whether they can withstand Bankstown City’s firing power, headlined by the likes of Samantha Muscat and Melissah Parlato. Key to this will be starving the supply chain, hassling Micheals and Babic in midfield.
Western NSW Mariners FC vs. Mt. Druitt Town Rangers FC - Sunday 9 August, 3PM at Proctor Park
The Mariners maintain a dominant lead at the top of the table, and have showed no signs of slowing down in the last month, despite being challenged by disruptive weather. That being said, they will have to overcome a determined and in-form Mt. Druitt this Sunday, if they are to maintain their strong run.
Round 17 saw the Mariners sweep aside third-placed St. George FC; an important result, that will only inflate the squad’s confidence. They will have to avoid becoming complacent this weekend, as Mt. Druitt will look to take advantage of any lapse in concentration.
Mt. Druitt collected all three points in Round 17, though will be disappointed to have conceded two goals. Conceding twice against the league’s last placed team is hardly the most promising precursor to facing the league’s first placed team.
The experienced Taryn Rockall will be key to these hopes, with the commanding centre-back leading from behind.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC vs. Gladesville Ravens - Sunday 9 August, 7PM at Lambert Park
While Mt. Druitt currently occupy fourth spot on twenty two points, both Gladesville and APIA Leichhardt are in hot pursuit, only two points behind.
With knowledge that Mt. Druiit Town face a near impossible challenge in Western NSW this weekend, the Ravens and Tigers will see this Round 18 fixture as a huge opportunity to push into the top four.
Gladesville are in their best form all season, having won their last three outtings. In this run, they have scored fifteen goals, including the incredible scalp of Bankstown City FC in Round 17.
For this reason, the Ravens will be very confident of their chances this Sunday. The Gladesville side have also scored more goals and conceded less than APIA Leichhardt throughout the year.
The Tigers, however, have beaten the Ravens in their last two encounters and maintain home field advantage. As the cliche goes, this could be anyone’s game.
St. George FC vs. Parramatta FC - Sunday 9 August, 7PM at St. George Soccer Stadium
St. George will be frustrated with their loss to the Mariners in Round 17, where a win would have elevated them into second place.
Their focus at this point in the season will likely be directed on building form into the finals series, and Parramatta FC provide a huge opportunity to improve morale with a big victory; they have conceded twenty goals in their past three matches.
Nevertheless, despite being in their worst form all season, and having had their Round 17 match abandoned, Parramatta still sit within reach of the top four. A win against St. George could prove a vital turning point in their season; potential which Parramatta will be determined to realise.
Source FNSW Website -by Daniel Palmer, Women’s State League Reporter