Round two of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 2 sees five Saturday games but our feature match takes us back to Valentine Sports Park on Sunday for Mounties Wanderers and Bankstown Berries.
Mounties Wanderers v Bankstown Berries Sunday 3pm Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood
Mounties head up to Valentine Sports Park for their first home game of the year, coming off the strength of a first round win. It was a great start for Mounties who have put together a strong squad, adding George Codrea on deadline day. Despite the almost complete revamp of the team, they haven’t seemed to take long to settle. More wins won’t surprise.
The Berries came from behind to take a point at Macarthur. They are another club who have the squad to be in the mix, but face four away games before their first at The Crest. Some good results during this first month will be a nice springboard for when those home games roll around.
Marconi v Northern Tigers Saturday 7:00pm Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
This is the only game of the round in which both clubs won last weekend and already it looks set to be a clash between teams likely to be challenging come the later stages of the season, despite the toughness of their respective victories.
The Stallions scraped in by the only goal against Mount Druitt Town while the Tigers were stretched against North Shore, before prevailing. This will be a tough test for both sides, and one which will be well worth watching. It is also a fixture between an ex NSL giant and an association representative club keen on an upward trajectory. In some ways a contest between the traditional and the new. Much of interest then at Bossley Park.
Bankstown City v North Shore Mariners Saturday 7:00pm Jensen Park, Sefton
Bankstown City came away with an impressive victory against Central Coast Mariners and now their attention will turn to the other “Mariners”, this time the North Shore ones. A similar result will no doubt please the Jensen Park faithful who will be hoping for a successful year. Lions defeated North Shore relatively comfortably in a preseason trial and Leo Carle will be expecting more of the same.
North Shore made the Tigers work for their win last weekend and there is no doubting their effort. Perhaps their chances waned as the game wore on but certainly, it was a bright start which showed promise. Taking advantage of those chances will be the key but the strong Lions defence won’t allow for too many of those.
Spirit FC v Sydney FC Saturday 7:00pm Christie Park, Marsfield
While Marconi v Tigers is the only game featuring first round winners, this match is the only one featuring two first round losers. Neither club will want to suffer two losses so early on so there will be plenty riding on this fixture. Spirit, who were understrength last weekend, will see the return from suspension of captain Daniel Cunningham and his central defensive partner Tom Lovell, along with Louis Bozanic while Jake Harris is fit again and available for selection. That should see a stronger defensive outfit than that which conceded six to the Wanderers.
Sydney FC travel to Christie Park looking for that win. A surprise loss perhaps to Mounties would not have been on the agenda and a trip to a wounded Spirit is probably not what is needed. As tough a place as any to get a win, Christie has seen many a club go away empty handed and Spirit’s ten wins from eleven home games last season gives some clue to that advantage. Sydney FC will need to be on their guard.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Western Sydney Wanderers Saturday 7:00pm Popondetta Park, Emerton
Mt Druitt Town Rangers have the unenviable task coming face to face against Western Sydney Wanderers, no doubt ecstatic after their big win last weekend. But what should not be forgotten is the Wanderers were held scoreless for over an hour before that late Spirit collapse. If the experienced Scott Goodwin and Nick Trimble are at the top of their game, the Wanderers will have to work hard to get past that defensive pairing. Marconi’s sole goal last week suggests that they will be a tough nut to crack once more.
Five goals in under half an hour is a brilliant effort by any measure, but the extra focus that will now be placed on Lachlan Scott will make it just that much harder to get amongst the goals. A close game perhaps at a ground not unknown to the Wanderers.
St George v Central Coast Mariners Saturday 7:00pm St George Stadium, Kyeemagh
St George greet Central Coast at the Stadium after a resounding win against Fraser Park kickstarted their year. It was the first time in six years that the Saints has started off the season with a victory, so the win will be most welcomed. They will take on a Central Coast side which defeated St George twice last season, scoring nine times in the process so to turn the tables on that record will be the aim.
The Mariners, with not a lot of changes from last season, will prove as always tough to beat. A loss to the Lions is no shame and the young side will have the confidence to recover from that defeat. As they have been over the past few years, Central Coast are always up there where it matters, so a tight game looks in store.
Macarthur Rams v Fraser Park Saturday 7:00pm, Lynwood Park, St Helens Park
The new look Macarthur Rams will see Fraser Park visit this weekend, both clubs looking to get a win after mixed results last round. The Rams, with only a handful who were at Lynwood Park last season, will still need to bed down their new squad, but a 1-1 draw in their opener against the Berries was a decent start. Elsid Barkhousir is known for goals and his move to the south west should prove profitable. With others such as Mitchell Thompson and Eli Squillacioti complementing returnees such as Craig Cooley, Daniel Carrozza, David McMurray and Eros Bergamin, there is plenty of quality and experience to keep Macarthur moving upwards.
Fraser Park will be disappointed with their 3-0 home defeat in their first game. It was not what would have been planned so a quick turnaround will be needed here. They certainly have stability on their side more than most, so they should be in a position to hit the ground running. Nathan Sansom, suspended for the opener, will be available for his Fraser debut.
Source FNSW Website -by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2