Move aside Aaron Mooy and Mile Jedinak.
The Rydalmere Lions and Parramatta FC are in town and are ready to contest the most anticipated Match of the Round of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s on Saturday night.
Match of the Round:
Rydalmere Lions vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – Valentine Sports Park
More like Soccerwho’s.
The Australian football team get their World Cup campaign underway against France this Saturday night at 8pm (AEST).
Although rumours have been flying around all week that Mile Jedinak and co have put in a late request to have their kick-off time delayed, just so they can tune in to watch Rydalmere Lions vs Parramatta FC.
And who can blame them?
This clash has everything; a local derby, the Elrich boys playing for their old, old club against their old club, and revenge on the mind of the Eagles after their 4-1 humiliation earlier in the season.
However whilst this game throws up a thread of exciting plot-lines of its own, it also has wider repercussions for the rest of the league.
Rydalmere sit on the cusp of the top six – just one point adrift of the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Their recent win over the Central Coast Mariners have given them the confidence to take on any team in the league and they go into this match expecting to collect another three points to continue their march towards the finals.
After two wins on the trot at the end of May, the Eagles were suddenly believing they had what it took to make a late-season surge towards the finals.
Altthough a little stumble to start June has hurt those ambitions and have left fans of the historic club looking anxiously at the Club Championship table.
The Eagles currently sit in the relegation hot seat on the overall standings, but have the Macarthur Rams well within their sights.
If Leo Carle’s side are to make a great escape and avoid the dreaded drop this season, wins in matches like this against the Lions, are essential.
With so much at stake for both sides, expect a capacity crowd at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.
How will the Elrich boys play in their return to Rydalmere?
Will the Eagles get revenge for the lesson they were taught earlier in the season?
Or will the Lions continue their climb towards the finals?
Find out in the most anticipated Match of the Round all season.
GHFA Spirit FC vs Mounties Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – Christie Park
This game centres around one man.
The former Mounties striker was without a home following the transfer of the Romero Bandidos to the Wanderers once Terry Palapanis took over.
That was until Spirit FC and coach David Perkovic threw the veteran forward a lifeline.
Although in the four games West has played for Spirit FC, he has failed to find the back of the net once.
It’s a worrying run of form for a man whose team depend upon his goals to fire them to victory.
However there will be no shortage of motivation for West in this game and you can expect him to have a big say over which team takes home the three points on Saturday night.
Macarthur Rams vs Northern Tigers – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – Lynwood Park
The Northern Tigers suffered a shock defeat to the Spartans last round and really had one thing to blame for that defeat.
Poor finishing in front of goal.
Whether it was Liam Mcconaghy missing his 5th headed opportunity of the night or Matthew Stewart blazing over from 12 yards, the Tigers forgot to pack their shooting boots that night at Blacktown Football Park.
Now they’re making the even longer journey to Lynwood Park, and Jason Eagar’s men will be triple-checking their boot bag before they leave home – so they don’t suffer the same fate two weeks in a row.
It’s been a dismal season so far for the Rams.
The 42 goals they have conceded in 15 games is the highest in the competition – by a distance.
The only saving grace is that Parramatta FC sit below them on the Club Championship table. But with 5 defeats in 6 games, it doesn’t look like the Rams will maintain that advantage for much longer.
Will the Tigers slip up again or will they find their roar once more as they continue their hunt for an elusive finals’ place?
Canterbury Bankstown vs St George FC – 7pm, Saturday 16th June – The Crest Athletic Centre
Can you hear that?
It’s the sound of Canterbury Bankstown alarm bells begin to faintly chime in the distance.
After a strong run of form, two defeats in a row has seen Branko Culina’s side slip dangerously down the table.
The currently lie in 12th, ahead of only Parramatta FC and Macarthur Rams.
Although if anyone has the ability to silence the increasing sound the Canterbury Bankstown alarm bells it’s Jake Bradshaw.
The classy forward has notched 7 goals in 15 appearances so far this season and Culina will be hoping Bradshaw can lead his team to victory against a very strong St George side on Saturday night.
St George have re-found their feet after the destabilising transfer window.
However their recent away form will have coach Wally Savor concerned.
Two defeats in their past three away games is not the form of a top 3 side and Savor knows he will need to rectify this if St George are to maintain the frenetic pace at the top of the table.
This match shapes as a potential banana-skin clash for St George as Canterbury Bankstown look to re-find the form that saw them go undefeated for 5 straight games through May.
Central Coast Mariners vs Blacktown Spartans – 3pm, Sunday 17th June – Pluim Park
The last time these two teams met, they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw.
It was just one of 6 draws the Mariners have succumbed to this season, a total of 6 points from a possible 18.
These dropped points would certainly be welcomed now as the Mariners find themselves 8 points behind first placed Mt Druitt and only one point above St George and North Shore who are third and fourth respectively.
This means the Mariners are looking nervously over their shoulder rather than ambitiously up ahead of them.
The Spartans are currently in season-best form.
Two wins from their past two games has seen them shoot right up the table and they are now nipping at the heels of a host of teams trying to squeeze into the top six.
A finals’ place is perhaps too fanciful but their rise has given them welcome breathing space above the teams below them.
The Mariners will need to be wary of Alex Boyadjian whose recent form has been the catalyst behind the Spartan’s impressive run and if the boys in orange and black are to get anything from this match, expect the superhero Spartan to be at the centre of it.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Hills United – 3pm, Sunday 17th June – Sydney United Sports Centre
After 6 yellow cards, 1 red card, and 5 goals in their previous match, this fixture promises to be as feisty as an episode of Love Island.
What makes this clash even spicier is the fact that both these sides’ top six status is on the line.
Hills United currently sit in 5th spot on 24 points whilst the Western Sydney Wanderers are just behind them in 6th on 22 points.
A defeat for the Wanderers could mean that Rydalmere or the Northern Tigers overtake them in the finals’ places; whilst for Hills, their superior goal difference means a defeat won’t see them slip out of the top six but when you consider that just 5 weeks ago they were second – it’s a worrying decline.
The Wanderers know the danger men for Hills – Daniel Fogarty, Pete Cejka and Greg Giovenali. But knowing where the danger lies is not enough. The Wanderers will have to stop them. And few have been able to contain them, especially Fogarty, so far this season.
Take a photo of the top six because after this week and in particular this match, it will look very, very different.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs North Shore Mariners – 5pm, Sunday 17th June – Popondetta Park
Outside the top three of Mt Druitt Rangers, Central Coast Mariners, and St George, very few have looked like mounting a serious challenge this year.
Although in recent weeks the North Shore Mariners have thrown their hat into the mix.
Two wins in a row, including a hammering of Western Sydney Wanderers, has shown the Mariners have the ability to mount a serious challenge this season.
However what is concerning for the North Shore squad is their record against the three big boys.
Three games, three defeats.
13 goals conceded at an average of 4.3 goals per game.
If the North Shore Mariners are going to play finals’ football and do more than simply ‘make up the numbers’ they will have to improve markedly on these results.
And where better to start than with the competition leaders, Mt Druitt Rangers.
It’s a tough assignment but one that should reveal whether North Shore have the capability to go far in the finals’ series this season.
Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty