In an interesting round of football, Western Sydney Wanderers are the new leaders of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues' 2 NSW Men's competition after defeating Hills Brumbies 3-1 on Sunday night.
Blacktown Spartans and Marconi share second spot after a 5-1 win over Mt Druitt and one-all draw with North Shore Mariners respectively.
In other matches, Bankstown City Lions and Macarthur Rams caused the upsets of the round. The Lions gained their first win of the season with a 2-0 victory over Spirit FC, while the Rams also broke through for their maiden victory of 2017, with a 3-1 defeat of St George. Central Coast Mariners travelled to Valentine Sports Park and beat Mounties Wanderers 2-1, while Northern Tigers stole a point in a one-all draw at Bankstown Berries.
Match of the Round
Hills Brumbies v Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney Wanderers have replaced Blacktown Spartans on top of the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Men's competition after a 3-1 victory over Hills Brumbies at Lilys Football Centre on Sunday night.
Keanu Baccus, Kosta Grozos and Matthew Lecce scored for the Wanderers, while Greg Giovenali pulled one back for the Brumbies.
The Wanderers dominated the early stages of the match with their slick passing, accuracy and mobility around the field, but their finishing didn't match the excellence of their creativity. Given the amount of possession and opportunities created, the Red and Black should have had a bagful of goals within the first quarter of an hour.
The Brumbies meanwhile, gradually played their way into the game and their first shot on goal arrived in the 11th minute when Nathan Rayner hit the target, only to see Wanderers goalkeeper Daniel Axford pull off a decent save.
In the 22nd minute Matias Toro Suazo went close, his rasping shot beating Axford, only to flash wide.
A minute later, the Wanderers opened the scoring when playmaker Keanu Baccus beat impressive Brumbies goalkeeper Joshua Stancic with a delightful shot from inside the box. The Wanderers then settled into a rhythm and while Hills enjoyed some good moments, it seemed like only a matter of time before Western Sydney would extend their lead.
But football being football, it turned out to be the Brumbies who scored next when Western Sydney conceded an unnecessary free kick a few metres outside the penalty area. Futsalroo skipper Greg Giovenali stepped up and unleashed a rasping shot into the back of the net to equalise on 36 minutes, a brilliant effort that caused the small crowd to celebrate with glee. The Brumbies' confidence rose and with that confidence, they enjoyed some excellent passages of play.
But less than 10 minutes later, Hills conceded a penalty, much to the dismay of the locals, and 16-year-old Kosta Grozos beat Stancic from the spot to put the Wanderers in front yet again.
Western Sydney led 2-1 at the break and given the run of the play and opportunities created, probably should have had a far greater advantage leading into the second half.
With players on cautions, Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard warned his men at halftime to be cautious in the tackle and not to concede more cards. But the coach's words fell on deaf ears as goal-scoring ace Greg Giovenali turned from hero to villain when a mere minute into the second half he received a second yellow for a heavy tackle on Wanderers striker Abraham Majok. If the penalty late in the first half was a disappointment, Giovenali's sending off took the wind out of the Brumbies, who faced an uphill battle and were always going to struggle against a class outfit like the Wanderers with 10 men.
To their credit, Hills continued to play with courage and tenacity but the result was never in doubt as the Wanderers created one chance after another, slicing through the tiring Brumbies defence only to be denied by poor finishing and on occasion, some superb goalkeeping by Stancic.
Striker Matthew Lecce sealed the contest when in the 74th minute he fired a rocket past Stancic to give his side an unassailable 3-1 lead. Given the volume of chances they created, Western Sydney should have put the game to bed way before Lecce's goal, but credit to the Brumbies, who, despite having to toil with 10 men, showed tremendous character and intestinal fortitude throughout.
Wanderers coach Trevor Morgan was proud of his young side but conceded that given their opportunities, they probably should have put the game away a lot sooner than they did.
"Again another very testing challenge from our opponents who played with great passion and had some good passages in their play," Morgan told Football NSW. "They scored a great goal against us. From our point of view some of the things we're happy with include dealing better with physical challenges, creating many chances and if we were better with our finishing I think it's a game we should've finished off a bit earlier."
When asked to name his standouts, Morgan replied: "I wouldn't like to single any players out but some of the young boys promoted from the under 20s put in good performances and that's always good for them and shows we've got some depth coming through. A couple of players coming back from injury and starting to get more game time was also very pleasing to see. Overall, I think the players were actually disappointed after the game. The things I asked them to execute after halftime they didn't do with composure and left the game quite open, which is a lesson for us today. Again, we need to keep maturing, and they need to become smarter with their decision making."
Meanwhile, Brumbies coach Dan Sheppard was relatively pleased with his side's efforts, especially in the second half, but rued the missed opportunity caused by playing with a man short for the majority of the second 45.
"It's always difficult to take a loss but the Wanderers are a good side and if you give them time and space, they can pick you off," Sheppard told Football NSW.
"Keeping the scoreline down considering we had ten men for so long was a great effort and a few individuals put in some good performances.
"Josh Stancic in goal was very good; Glenn Kelshaw was impressive, Matias Toro worked really hard as well. I think if the red card (to Giovenali) didn't happen we would have made a really interesting game of it."
Hills Brumbies 1 (Greg Giovenali 36')
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Keanu Baccus 24', Kosta Grozos 44' Matthew Lecce 74')
Lilys Football Centre,
Sunday 9 April 2017
Hills Brumbies: 1. Josh Stancic, 3. Nicholas Pradenas Meza, 9. Sean Mitchell, 11. Daine Merrin (C), 12. Matthew Viera, 15. Matias Toro Suazo, 16 Greg Giovenali, 17. Brendan Hoyer (33. Benjamin Rodriguez), 19. Glenn Kelshaw, 24. Nathan Rayner (14. Victor Anyimba), 21. Nikolas Dimitriadis (35. Michael Glenfield)
Unused Subs: 45. Jacob Basden, 69. Alastair Bruce
Yellow Cards: Nikolas Dimitriadis 14', Sean Mitchell 36' , Greg Giovenali 44', 46', Daine Merrin 83'
Red Cards: Greg Giovenali 46'
Coach: Dan Sheppard
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Daniel Axford (GK), 42. Keanu Baccus, 26. Jackson Bandiera, 2. Lachlan Campbell, 4. Henry Davies, 11. Kosta Grozos (50. Tariq Maia), 22. Matthew Lecce, 49. Abraham Majok, 18. Oliver Puflett (9. Kyle Cimenti), 21. Mario Shabow, 16. Jerry Skotadis (6. Cameron Devlin)
Unused Subs: 40. Mackenzie Syron, 15. Blake Currey,
Yellow Cards: Mario Shabow 4', Lachlan Campbell 35', Jackson Bandiera 60'
Coach: Trevor Morgan
Marconi Stallions 5 Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1, Marconi Stadium
In a tale of two halves, Marconi Stallions got their premiership aspirations back on track with a stunning 5-1 victory over Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night.
The Stallions sought to exorcise the demons of last week's 4-0 embarrassment at North Shore Mariners and while they ultimately achieved their objective, their intentions suffered an early setback when Mt Druitt's Alexander Vlismas gave the visitor's a 1-0 lead.
Surprisingly, Rangers went to the break 1-0 up but against a side laden with as much individual talent as the Stallions, a one-goal advantage just wasn't enough.
While the Rangers dominated the first half and held possession, they struggled to hold possession in the second half, with a few errant passes and mistakes creeping in and allowing the Stallions back into the game. Marconi took full advantage of the Rangers' indecision and with goals to Judah Cleur (2), Brandon Vella, Marko Jesic and Mohamed Adam, the Sky Blues raced away to steal the spoils of victory.
When asked what was said at halftime, Marconi coach Tony Candy told Football NSW that despite being a goal in arrears, there was no panic and the mood was very upbeat and positive in the dressing room.
"We were confident that it was just a matter of time before we scored a goal and got on top of them," Candy said. "We just needed to keep possession and move the ball around a lot quicker and play with more patience. We knew that opportunities would come."
And come they did. Five goals, one after the other in a performance that not only put to rest the road bump at North Shore Mariners, but which also re-established the Stallions' credentials as a genuine premiership contender.
Meanwhile, Mt Druitt coach Aidan Desmond was disappointed with his side's second half performance but he didn't believe the four goal margin was a true indication of the game.
"It was a game of two halves," Desmond said. "We did well in the first half and it all went pear shaped in the second half. We couldn't hold possession (in the second half), sat a bit deeper and invited them back into the game. And once they got their tails up we couldn't pull it back and they were very hard to stop. I know what the scoreline says but I don't believe they were four goals better than us last night."
Marconi Stallions 5 (Judah Cleur, 2, Brandon Vella, Marko Jesic, Mohamed Adam) Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Alexander Vlismas)
Saturday 8 April 2017
Marconi Stallions: 1. Nenad Vekic, 4. Dhari Alsaad, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Raimond Coletta, 7. Mirjan Pavlovic, 8. Sean Rooney, 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Sam Perre, 12. Judah Cleur, 14. Peter Pelekanos, 17. Theo Kofinas, 18. Peter Triantis, 19. Eros Bergamin, 21. Kristian Sekutkoski, 22. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes, 24. Richard Darko, 25. Sam Burfoot, 26. Fabian Monge, 41. Adrian Valenti, 48. Mohamed Adam
Coach: Tony Candy
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 1. Carlos Saliadarre (GK), 2. Hiten Satoh, 3. Brian Griffin-Colls, 5. David Mavisa, 6. Alexander Vlismas, 7. Luke Clifford, 8. Matthew Clowes, 9. Mitchell Mclintock, 10. Nathan Ralph, 12. Nicholas Trimble, 13. Darkoh Lord, 14. Daniel Mccann, 15. Andre Guzman, 16. Scott Goodwin, 18. Jamie Dib, 21. Joel Tinker, 23. Lachlan Roberts
Yellow Cards: Mitchell Mclintock
Coach: Aidan Desmond
Bankstown Berries 1 Northern Tigers 1, The Crest Athletic Centre
Bankstown Berries and Northern Tigers shared the spoils one-all in a vigorous battle at The Crest Athletic Centre on Saturday night.
After a scoreless first half, Tigers' Liam Mcconaghy gave his side the lead early in the second half before teammate Ryan Peterson received a red card for kicking the ball away, his second bookable offence. That incident changed the complexion of the game, but to their credit, the young Tigers showed plenty of spirit and character against a tenacious Berries outfit desperate to equalise.
Bankstown pressed hard and veteran striker Gavin Forbes eventually struck gold in injury time to give the locals a share of the spoils.
"It was disappointing to end the game like that," Tigers' coach Mark McCormick told Football NSW. "But it was a learning opportunity for Ryan (Peterson), he's a young player and he's got a good future in the game. He apologised to his teammates for the amount of pressure that he put them under (after being sent off) but it was a good learning opportunity for him."
McCormick added that he knew the Berries would come out hard and fast but his side adapted to the tempo of the game and gained control for periods of time.
"We looked good after we took the lead but after the red card it became a battle," McCormick said. "The guys were fantastic and the courage and character they showed was incredible."
Meanwhile, Berries player coach Perry Moustakas said he had mixed feelings about the game.
"We haven't played anywhere near our full potential but at the same time I've got to be really proud of the boys because for five weeks now we've been training on minimal facilities because grounds have been closed. It’s been really hard.
"Everything's against us but we're getting results and there's a lot of potential in this team. Hopefully we can eventually get it right."
Moustakas added that while he was proud of his boys' efforts to come from behind to snatch a draw, he expects them to be better.
"To come from behind to get a point was a positive," Moustakas said. "But I put a lot of extra pressure on the boys because I think they have so much potential. I expect more and I'm always going to expect better. Good on them for showing character again but we've got to do better."
Bankstown Berries 1 (Gavin Forbes) Northern Tigers 1 (Liam Mcconaghy)
The Crest Athletic Centre,
Saturday 8 April 2017
Bankstown Berries: 1. Chad Taylor (GK), 2. Dominic Tripodi, 3. D. Di Ruocco, 5. J. Combes, 6. M. Farmer, 7. Kyle Ewart, 8. Domenic Hudap, 9. Gavin Forbes, 10. V. Giannini, 11. A. Vais, 12. Jake Bradshaw, 15. P. Moustakas, 17. D. Fornito, 19. H. Tomohiro, 20. N. Mouzourakis, 21. J. Dimitrakas.
Yellow Cards: Dominic Tripodi
Coach: Perry Moustakas
Northern Tigers: 1. Harrison Devenish-Meares, 2. Josh Ward, 3. Jamie Craig, 4. Michael Rolston, 6. Jordan Ferrier, 7. Joel Hardwick, 8. Max Glanville, 9. Liam Mcconaghy, 10. Lucas Dawson, 11. Lachlan Hughes, 13. Paul Turrin, 17. Kyohei Kimura, 18. Joshua Tanner, 19. Ryan Peterson, 20. Elliott Carwardine, 27. Karim Moursi.
Yellow Cards: Lachlan Hughes, Ryan Peterson
Red Cards: Ryan Peterson
Coach: Mark McCormick
Spirit FC 0 Bankstown City Lions 2, Valentine Sports Park
Bankstown City Lions continued their mini-resurgence with an upset 2-0 victory over Spirit FC at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.
Vice-captain Huseyin Jasli and Nikola Todoroski scored for the Lions, who last week gathered their first points of the season with a one-all draw against Mounties Wanderers.
In the leadup to the game, Spirit coach David Perkovic said that despite the Lions' poor start to the season and their place at the bottom of the table, he expected them to be a dangerous opponent.
"We have to be very wary," Perkovic told Football NSW. "I'll be making sure my players don't take Bankstown lightly. All teams win games at some point so we've got to make sure that we're geared up for what I believe will be a very competitive match."
Perkovic got more than he bargained for as the Lions shrugged aside a midweek FFA Cup setback against third tier Dunbar Rovers to cause one of the upsets of the round.
"Bankstown played with a lot of intent and were desperate for points," Perkovic said of the Lions. "And they showed that in their commitment with winning first and second balls and being very compact and defending very well.
"We had 16 shots and to get no reward for that is obviously not good enough. We also had 62 per cent possession as well, so the quality of our finishing in the front third was quite disappointing. It was one of those games I suppose."
Jasli scored from a free kick at the tail end of the first half and from that point, the Lions defended aggressively, while Todoroski secured the points with a second goal with around 10 minutes remaining.
When asked if there were any positives to come out of the game for his side, Perkovic replied: "No, there weren't many positives for us to be honest. We had more of the ball and the game was in our control but we just didn't make the most of it. We had 16 shots on goal but it's disappointing we weren't effective enough to capitalise on those opportunities."
Meanwhile, under intense pressure to keep the proud old club away from the relegation zone, new Lions' coach Mile Todoroski continues to take things one game at a time and so far, with a win and a draw from their last two outings, the strategy is working well.
"We are last team (and) you have to perform very well every single game to try to avoid the last position if you can," Todoroski told Football NSW. "It's not easy to be last, but we will try our best every week."
Spirit FC 0 Bankstown City Lions 2 (Huseyin Jasli, Nikola Todoroski)
Valentine Sports Park,
Saturday 8 April 2017
Spirit FC: 1. Murray Nelson (GK), 3. Jack Musgrave, 4. Michael Streeter, 5. Andy Robertson, 6. A. Doyle, 7. Jake Harris, 8. Grant Cornwell (C), 9. Chris Godoy Bascur, 10. Christopher Gomez, 11. D. Whitlock, 12. Louis Bozanic, 14. Andre Carle, 15. Adrian Epifanino, 17. Yuya Samba, 18. Bradley Gibson, 19. T. Lovell, 21. Zoran Kolundzic, 22. D. Von Dinklage, 26. James Webb
Yellow Cards: Grant Cornwell, Bradley Gibson, Andy Robertson, Yuya Samba
Coach: David Perkovic
Bankstown City: S. Tarazona, 1. Dion Shaw (GK), 3. Alexander Becerra, 4. Billy Darwich, 5. Jeffrey Issa, 6. Aaron D'Mello, 7. Bruno Pivato, 8. David Mcmurray, 9. Nikola Todoroski, 11. Huseyin Jasli, 12. Steven Veleski, 14. Mate Lucic, 15. A. Tolomeo, 17. Adem Kir, 21. H. Timms (GK), 27. A. Gauci.
Yellow Cards: Mate Lucic
Coach: Mile Todoroski
Mounties Wanderers 1 Central Coast Mariners 2, Valentine Sports Park
Central Coast Mariners grabbed their second win of the season when they came from behind to defeat Mounties Wanderers 2-1 at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.
Neftali Gonzalez opened the scoring for Mounties in the 20th minute, while for the Mariners, Yerasimakis Petratos equalised just shy of the hour, before Brenton Fox grabbed the winner on 72 minutes.
"It was a difficult game, Mounties are a good side," Mariners coach Ben Cahn told Football NSW. "I respect (Mounties coach) Lee Sterrey as a coach, he's clever and his teams are always difficult to play against. But it was a gritty, determined win by us.
"It was probably less aesthetically pleasing than some of our other games this season but we were more mature in how we managed the game; we managed the heat, we managed the opposition and it was a good, mature performance."
Meanwhile, Mounties coach Lee Sterrey was again left disappointed with his side's inability to capitalise on opportunities.
'We hit the front after 20 minutes and early in the second half our Japanese player Hiro had a one on one with their goalkeeper. He chipped the keeper but the ball was cleared off the line and onto the post. We couldn't score from the rebound and the chance went begging. The bottom line is that was a turning point for us. Two-nil 10 to 15 minutes into the second half and it's a different ball-game."
Mounties then gave the ball away at the back and Petratos took full advantage to level the scores.
At 1-1, Mounties had an opportunity to regain the lead but with only the keeper to beat, Noah Chianese hit the post, causing even more frustration for Sterrey.
"Again that was a gilt-edged chance for us to go up 2-1 and still be dominant," Sterrey said. "The game was even but the gilt-edged goal-scoring chances were all ours. You don't need 10 chances to win a match, you need to take the crucial ones that you get. It's just disappointing."
Despite Sterrey's frustration, there were some positives to emerge from the match.
"We played some good football and it was great to have our Japanese boy Hiro return from a wrist operation. He's a sensational central midfield player. He keeps possession and he knows how to dispossess people, and reads the game very good. He's got pace, power, passing, he's a complete player. We played a 3-5-2 which worked a treat 90 per cent of the time but our execution at times could've been better and in my opinion we should have won the game."
For the Mariners Brenton Fox and Shelford Dais were outstanding in what was essentially a good collective team performance; while for Mounties, Hiro and Neftali Gonzalez showed some nice touches.
Mounties Wanderers 1 (Neftali Gonzalez 20') Central Coast Mariners 2 (Yerasimakis Petratos 58', Brenton Fox 78')
Valentine Sports Park,
Sunday 9 April 2017
Mounties Wanderers: 1. Jair Fernandez, 4. Todd Halloran, 6. Anthony Schmidt, 7. Neftali Gonzalez, 9. Michael Gaitatzis, 11. Mitchell Davidson, 13. Pasqualino Cappuccio, 14. Noah Chianese, 15. Taewoo Jung, 18. Michael Cklamovski, 20. Reid Taylor, 21. Alexander Josipovic, 22. Mitchell Walker, 23. Abanoub Mickael, 29. Jake Ingle, 33. Zac Zfiligoi.
Coach: Lee Sterrey
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Adam Pearce, 2. Shelford Dais, 5. Charles William, 6. James Enticknap, 7. Lachlan Wales, 8. Thomas Lyons, 9. Brenton Fox, 10. Duncan Stewart, 11. Peter Kekeris, 14. Sean Pratt, 15. Yerasimakis Petratos, 16. Gianni Stensness, 18. Steve Whyte, 19. Jordan Lane
Yellow Cards: S. Dais, J. Enticknap, S. Kamara, J. Lane, S. Pratt
Coach: Ben Cahn
North Shore Mariners v Blacktown Spartans, Northbridge Oval, 3pm, Sunday 9 April
North Shore Mariners and Blacktown Spartans shared the spoils in a one-all draw at Northbridge Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Mohamed Rahimi opened the scoring for the Spartans after four minutes while Michael Stojanovski equalised for the Mariners just shy of the hour.
The Mariners last week pulled off the upset of the season with a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of competition favourites Marconi Stallions, and their subsequent tie with the Spartans proves that coach Joe Haywood's side will be a dangerous opponent for anyone.
In what was their first home match at Northbridge this season, North Shore played a direct and robust game in an attempt to unsettle the league leaders, who responded well to the home side's onslaught.
"I thought we controlled big parts of the game tonight but I was overall disappointed that we didn't get more out of the game," Haywood told Football NSW. "We created lots of opportunities and hit the post twice. Overall we did well but could have come away with a win."
So, what impressed Haywood about his side's performance?
"Today was about how we controlled the game of football," Haywood said. "It's the one thing we've been lacking and we actually did that at home for the first time. We controlled the game, the tempo of the game They tried to hit us on the counter attack, but our shape was good and our ball movement was good. We created a lot of chances but the quality wasn't quite right. Overall we're happy. We actually went down early after falling asleep from a free kick but eventually we got the goal that we deserved.
"We're trying to take each game as it comes. I think we're just competitive, and we're going to cause teams problems whether it's through our football, our discipline or our structure, or whether it's set pieces. We're always going to be a threat, we're always going to be a danger. That's something I'm working on and will continue to do so.
"I wasn't sure what we'd get from the Spartans but I thought they'd come at us more than they did. They tried to sit back and see what we were going to do before hitting us on the counter attack. They're top of the table but they had their game plan and stuck to it and got a draw."
Meanwhile, Spartans coach Luis Contigiani was pleased with his side's effort and, despite losing top spot to Western Sydney Wanderers, was happy to return home with a point.
"It wasn't our best performance and we lost key players during the game in Emmanuel Elali and Michael Konestabo," Constigiani told Football NSW. "And because we were short on numbers we had to play a few players who had already played in the 20s, which is hard for them to double up.
"One thing that gave me pleasure was that the boys never stopped fighting. They gave 100 per cent. The Mariners are very hard to play against. They play very direct. They hustle and every they're dangerous at every set piece. Even their throw-ins are like corners. They send their tall timber up into the front third and bombard you with aerial balls from corners, free kicks and throw ins. And while we're not the tallest team, we stopped them. I was happy to come away with a point."
North Shore Mariners 1 (Michael Stijanovski 58') Blacktown Spartans 1 (Mohamed Rahimi 4')
Sunday 9 April 2017
North Shore Mariners: 1. James Law, 2. Lewis Miller, 3. Chris Lindsay, 4. James Scott, 6. Ricky Woodward, 8. Mitch Arcosa, 10. Brayden Cheng, 11. Freddy Ankumah-Sey, 13. Marquin Smith, 16. Chris Woo, 18. Mitch Smith, 20. Josh Mbakwe, 21. Aaron Davis, 23. Chris Desa, 26. Hugo Forlico, 27. Robbie Kerr, 28. Michael Stojanovski,
31. Chris Deblaere, 36. Stefan Giglio (GK)
Yellow Cards: M Smith, M Stojanovski
Coach: Joe Haywood
Blacktown Spartans: 1. Domenic Nascimben, 2. Daisan Kim, 4. Tiano Boutoubia, 5. James Letta, 6. Mohamad Rahimi, 7. Michael Konestabo, 8. Aaron White, 9. Garang Awac, 10. Kojiro Hori, 11. Alex Boyadijan, 15. Andre Giolosa, 16. Alessandro Pecora, 20. Mitchell Cross, 23. Ogun Dullak, 42. Jacob Forster, Emmanuel Elali.
Yellow Cards: T Boutoubia, M Cross, E Elali
Coach: Luis Contigiani
St George v Macarthur Rams, St George Stadium
Macarthur Rams upset St George 3-1 at St George Stadium on Sunday night to finally breakthrough for their maiden win of the season.
Going into the game, it seemed that Macarthur couldn't take a trick. Winless in PS4 NPL 2, the Rams were on Wednesday night eliminated from the FFA Cup in a penalty shootout by South Coast outfit Bulli United, a setback that left coach Eddie Briscoe frustrated and despondent.
"It's difficult because the players can see what we're trying to do and what we're trying to achieve but when you haven't got that experience in the team and that leadership, it really affects the team and you can see that," Briscoe told Football NSW. "They just need some guidance and someone to look up to and that's where we're lacking. I can't fault the boys' effort and desire."
Without a win in the first five rounds of the competition, Briscoe said he really could have done with a win against Bulli just to give his side a boost in confidence. But that boost would come in an even more important fixture a few days later.
"We need a big boost and nothing less than a win (against St George) will do that," Briscoe said. "We need to win and we need to start putting some points on the board, and that's not just first grade but the whole club."
Somehow Briscoe's side did just that, sweeping aside a St George outfit that has had an inconsistent start to the season, one that has left coach Terry Palapanis scratching his head for answers.
"I'd like to see some consistency from the boys," Palapanis told Football NSW. "Not win one week and lose the next, which is what we've been doing."
Palapanis added that for some reason, St George have always struggled with Macarthur, a scenario he hoped to address over the weekend.
"I think Macarthur will come out with their backs to the wall and we'll have to be very careful that we're not the ones they beat first. We've got to be very wary of them."
Not wary enough for the Rams to break through for their maiden victory of 2017.
St George 1 Macarthur Rams 3
St George Stadium,
Sunday 9 April 2017
St George: 1. Andrew Depta (GK), 3. Ali Nasreddine, 4. Jonathan Kontalis, 5. Jayden Mcleod, 6. Zac Ribeiro, 7. Robbie Deasy, 8. Tarik Ercan (C), 9. Steven Ilic, 10. Nicholas Paras, 11. Orman Okunaiya, 14. Jacob Bandur, 16. Daniel Loe, 18. David Ilic, 19. Anthony Morabito, 20. Juan Carlos Heras Romero, 34. Daniel Mitwali, 38. M. Kotzambasis, 45. Anthony Barca.
Coach: Terry Palapanis
Macarthur Rams: 1. Nikodin Matic, 2. Craig Cooley, 3. Danny Lazarevski, 4. Simon Valastro, 5. Regan Suters, 7. Frank Martey, 8. Matthew Trotter, 10. Ben Cornish, 13. Ben Aguilar, 14. Kurdy Abduljabbar, 15. Mason Versi, 16. Mitch Di Pietro, 17. Sho Arakawa, 19. J. Ward, 20. B. Needham, 23. George Codrea.
Coach: Eddie Briscoe
-By Derek Royal, Football NSW Reporter