Round 9 – National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 2 Preview

Super Saturday makes its way to the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition this weekend.

With all fixtures kicking-off on the same day, Round 9 promises to be another fantastic feast of football action.

Match of the Round:

Mounties Wanderers vs St George FC – Saturday 28th April – 7pm – Cook Park (Mt Pritchard)

In every incredible game, there is a loser.

You cannot have triumph unless someone tastes tragedy.

Liverpool’s ‘Istanbul’ moment doesn’t happen unless AC Milan play their part.

Nor does the ‘Aguerooooo’ moment resound so strongly unless Manchester United run a race so close.

Similarly last week, both Mounties Wanderers and St George FC played their part in two of the greatest games the NPL 2 NSW Men’s has ever seen.

The Mounties conceded a 93rd minute goal, after having equalised through two late goals of their own, in their dramatic defeat against the North Shore Mariners.

For St George, their first match without Terry Palapanis ended in an astonishing 4-0 defeat to Rydalmere Lions.

Having suffered the sting of defeat last round, both sides will be eager to respond strongly this weekend.

But their desire to win will be boosted by the fact that former St George FC manager Terry Palapanis has now taken the reigns at Mounties Wanderers.

The script could not have been set any sweeter.

This shapes as one unmissable matches in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s – aren’t you glad we’re covering it for you in our match of the round?!

Central Coast Mariners vs Canterbury Bankstown – Saturday 28th April – 4pm – Pluim Park

Despite winning just three of their opening eight games, the Central Coast Mariners find themselves undefeated and in third place on the competition table.

This is largely due to their ability to steal points from matches they arguably deserve to lose.

Last week’s match against the Wanderers demonstrated this perfectly.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time and fending off determined Wanderers attacks in the second half, the Mariners found a way to equalise and hold on for a draw.

But if they want to keep pace with Mt Druitt and St George at the top, these draws have to be translated into wins.

If you offered it to them, I’m sure the Berries would take a point on Saturday night.

Pluim Park is a tricky task for teams to navigate and for a team aiming to steer clear of relegation trouble, a point on the road to a top 3 side is a satisfying night’s work.

And, after surging up the form guide and, consequently, the competition table, the Berries will feel confident they have what it takes to grab not just one point but all three.

Blacktown Spartans vs North Shore Mariners – Saturday 28th April – 7pm – Blacktown Football Park

If you’re struggling for form and languishing down the bottom of the league, travelling to Popondetta Park – home of the league leaders – is not what your idea of a good time.

Thankfully the fixtures paint a more appealing picture for the Spartans in Round 9, handing them a home match against the North Shore Mariners.

The Mariners will be buoyed by their incredible victory over the Mounties in Round 8, but the Spartans at Blacktown Football Park are a different beast.

All 5 of the Spartans’ competition points have come at the foot of the Rooty Hill.

An opening day win over Macarthur Rams, a draw to high-flying Central Coast, and a resolute point against Parramatta FC have all been examples of the Spartans’ ability to lift their performances – and results – at home.

Can they rise to the North Shore challenge on Saturday night?

If they want to remain in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s for 2019, they’ll have to.

GHFA Spirit FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers – Saturday 28th April – 7pm – Christie Park

Mid-table is where neither of these sides want to be.

The Wanderers slow start to the season applied serious brakes to any momentum the side tried to generate in their efforts to climb the competition table; whereas Spirit FC have seen their ambitions hampered by inconsistency.

With the sides above still within reach, three points in this match could see one of these teams join those currently in finals’ reckoning.

But just as Spirit FC and the Wanderers sit on the verge of the top 6 places, they also teeter perilously close to those at the bottom.

Just 4 points separates them from Parramatta in 11th and defeat in this fixture could see them slip further down the table.

With both occupying a mid-table spot, this match will prove where each of these sides truly belong this season.

Are they destined for the finals?

Are they bound for mid-table mediocrity?

Or are they doomed for the drop?

Macarthur Rams vs Parramatta FC – Saturday 28th April – 7pm – Lynwood Park

Fans have been saying that Parramatta FC’s performances haven’t warranted the results they’ve been achieving so far in season 2018.

And whilst that might be true, the competition table – ultimately – never lies.

If you put the ball in the net more times than the opposition does to you, you’ll win.

A win equals three points and that’s how you move up the standings.

There is no column on the table for ‘points we could’ve/should’ve/would’ve won if ‘this’ happened’.

And the hard truth is that Parramatta FC are where they are because they aren’t scoring enough goals.

Just 10 in 8 games, it’s the fourth worst in the league.

Like a child whom you love and therefore expect a lot from, football fans want to see Parramatta FC succeed.

And if they want to prove they are better than the 11th place they currently occupy, they have the chance to show us in this match against Macarthur on Saturday night.

The Rams desperately lacked the quality needed to upset a below-par Hills United team last week. The Brumbies looked a shadow of their former self, inviting the Rams into the game with a catalogue of errors.

However Macarthur lacked the necessary quality to capitalise.

The Rams can’t afford to waste chances such as these or they will soon begin to see the small cluster of teams above them vanish out of sight.

It’s a lonely place, the bottom of the table. The Rams cannot afford to take up residency there for long.

Northern Tigers vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers – Saturday 28th April – 7pm – North Turramurra Recreation Area

Is there anyone who can stop the Rangers?

8 games, 7 wins, 22 points.

Not even Marconi had as many points after as many games last season.

And as every week passes by, whispers of an invincible year grow stronger.

But, as countless seasons in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s have come to prove, the Northern Tigers away is a fixture to strike fear into the heart of any team.

After a recent blip in form, the Tigers look to be back to their best after a convincing 1-0 win over in-form Canterbury Bankstown last weekend.

Rory Spiers has been a key player for Jason Eagar’s men this season and he’ll be hoping to get the better of Carlos Saliadarre and a defence that has only conceded 5 goals so far this season.

Expect a tight affair between two aggressive and competitive teams.

If the Northern Tigers can hold firm against a lethal Mt Druitt attack, the home fans may just provide the boost needed for an unlikely upset.

Rydalmere Lions vs Hills United – Saturday 28th April – 7pm – Valentine Sports Park No. 2

Rydalmere last week proved to everyone that they have the quality to beat any team in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

But the challenge for the Lions is repeating that performance consistently.

So far their campaign has been highlighted by two emphatic victories over both St George and Parramatta FC.

But a heavy defeat to Spirit FC in Round 2 also highlighted their occasional mental fragility.

Because Rydalmere’s blessing is also their greatest curse.

Their ability to generate momentum, positivity, emotion and enthusiasm all combines to allow them to perform when it matters most.

But throughout a season, teams need to rely on their ability to win when times are difficult or when you’re not playing well.

For Rydalmere, it’s times like this that they struggle to perform.

Hills United, thanks to Luke Turnbull, held on for an important, but arguably undeserved three points last week against Macarthur.

Can they withstand the tidal wave of the Rydalmere momentum?

Because after every Rydalmere storm there’s a gentle rainbow, waiting to be exposed by any team that endures the tempest.

Source FNSW website -By Ryan Latty