Round 17 Preview – State League Women’s

Round 17 Women’s State League games kick-off 3pm on Sunday when University of NSW face SD Raiders at David Phillips Complex, Mount Druitt Town Rangers host leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Popondetta Park, St George welcome Parramatta FC to St George Stadium; Western NSW Mariners have the bye.

University of NSW vs SD Raiders, Sunday 30 July 3pm, David Phillips Complex

University of NSW tackle SD Raiders in a top-three tussle at David Phillips Complex – the winner set for second place heading into the last month of matches.

Uni suffered a comprehensive 5-0 loss to leaders APIA on the weekend to end a 10-match unbeaten run (seven wins, three draws).

The ‘Students’ still boast the competition’s third-lowest defensive concession (28 goals) but have leaked eight in their last two outings, and three of their last four home games have ended in draws to cast a shadow on their form.

On the flipside, Southern Districts have won three of their last four (after pushing the top-two sides in two tight losses) and claim an even better defensive output conceding 20 goals in total (a quarter of them in one match against APIA) and only two in their last four matches.

But Raiders also have the second-lowest goal-return (34 – a third of them coming in a 12-0 win over Parramatta) and are commonly embroiled in dramatic scorelines with half their 14 matches ending in one-goal differences (for four wins and three losses).

Following Districts’ 3-1 round-three win at David Phillips Complex, Uni returned serve with a 2-1 win at Ernie Smith Reserve to set-up an enticing challenge this weekend.

Mount Druitt Town Rangers vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 30 July 3pm, Popondetta Park

Mount Druitt Town Rangers face an uphill battle when they host leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Popondetta Park.

Second-from-bottom Mount Druitt know how to score with a 53-goal output only surpassed by opponents APIA (63), but it’s 48 goals leaked that’ll most concern Rangers who’ll need to plug the gaps against a rampant Tigers.

APIA are eight points clear at the top, boast the league’s best offence (63 goals), best defence (11 goals conceded), and have been toppled just once all season (St George three weeks ago) – they’ll definitely be favourites having accounted for Mount Druitt 7-1 at Popondetta Park and 6-1 Lambert Park in their previous meetings.

St George vs Parramatta FC, Sunday 30 July 3pm, St George Stadium

St George FC welcome lowly Parramatta FC to St George Stadium with the opportunity to open up a six-point gap over top-four chaser Western NSW Mariners.

St George are certainly on a roll having won six of their last seven matches, including a 2-1 stunner against leaders APIA, to sit three points off second despite playing one less match than the teams above them.

Parramatta will have to produce something special to trouble the Saints after conceding a mammoth 131 goals this winter and conjuring three goals in return (two of them in the opening round).

St George were comfortable in beating Parramatta 9-0 at St George Stadium and 8-0 at Melita Stadium earlier in the season.

Next week’s games

Women’s State League round-18 games kick-off 3pm on Sunday: SD Raiders host APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Ernie Smith Reserve, Western NSW Mariners play Parramatta FC at Proctor Park, St George FC face Mount Druitt Town Rangers, and University of NSW have the bye.

-By Dan De Nardi