Round 15 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men Preview

The teams at the top of the table are having a party. But those at the bottom have come to spoil the fun as Round 15 throws up the potential for some massive upsets in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

 

Match of the Round: Blacktown Spartans vs Northern Tigers – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Blacktown Football Park

Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

No, it’s Alex Boyadjian coming to rescue the Spartans again.

The super star Spartan striker has been a bright light in a dimly lit season thus far, notching 7 goals in 13 games.

His McDouble last week against Macarthur secured a priceless three points for the Spartans and there are signs that ‘the times they are a changing’ for the fortunes of the men in orange and black this season.

After a disastrous opening half to the campaign, the Spartan ship has been sailing through safer waters in recent times, winning two of their past three games.

And the key to those victories is abundantly clear.

Solid defence.

In the three matches in which the Spartans have avoided defeat in the past month, Blacktown have only conceded 1 goal.

This defensive solidarity was highlighted in a superb opening 45 minutes against Macarthur last week where the Spartans denied the Rams even one shot on goal.

Although as different as a ram is to a tiger, so too this week’s opponents pose a totally different challenge.

The Northern Tigers were unlucky to not claim all three points against the Mounties last week and owe their success this season to a healthy balance of attacking flair and defensive steel.

Skipper Michael Rolston marshals his defenders with courageous leadership whilst Oliver Wiggin and Liam Mcconaghy pose a devilish threat up top.

It should be an intriguing battle with two teams trying to win for two very different reasons.

The Tigers need three points to stay in the hunt for a top six finals’ spot, whilst the Spartans just need to keep swimming to keep their head above water.

It shapes as a fascinating Match of the Round with big consequences for either side in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.

 

GHFA Spirit FC vs Rydalmere Lions – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Christie Park

Last week, Rydalmere did what no one else in the competition has managed to do so far this season – beat the Central Coast Mariners.

As logically as 1+1=2, surely if Rydalmere have the capability to beat arguably the top team in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s, then surely they have the ability to beat any other team in the league?

However this is Rydalmere.

Rydalmere’s season has been a mixture of incredible highs – wins over Central Coast Mariners, St George, Mounties and Parramatta FC – followed by devastating defeats against the Spartans, and in the reverse fixture of this match earlier in the season, losing 5-1 to Spirit FC.

So, we wait with bated breath to see which Rydalmere will turn up this week.

After four defeats in a row, Spirit FC’s form is slowly turning around – picking up a win and a draw from their past two games against much fancied opposition.

The ability to steal points from the rich and give them to the poor is earning Spirit the nickname, Robin Hood.

Can they claim another big victim by robbing the high-flying Rydalmere at Christie Park on Saturday night?

 

Mounties Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Cook Park

I smell an upset in the air.

It’s either that or the smell of my newborn son’s nappy that needs changing.

However either way, the tangible taste of explosive drama is wafting through the air as I ponder this exciting clash between two of the competition’s top teams.

After 13 incredible rounds in which the Mariners answered all questions that came their way, the was one question they have yet failed to answer.

How will they respond to a defeat?

Setbacks happen in a season but it’s the way a team bounces back from these setbacks that separate the pretenders from the contenders.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, a long road trip to Cook Park to play the resurgent Mounties is close to the last thing you want to when you’re in need of three points.

Although as every cloud has a silver lining, perhaps this match poses the best opportunity for the Mariners to remind both themselves and the league that they are the real deal this season.

For the Mounties, time is fast running out for them to make their charge towards the finals.

Strong recruitment and bold promises have thus failed to deliver and Terry Palapanis recognises the need for his team to start claiming regular wins to force their way into the top six.

Two teams with significant points to prove go in hunt of three competition points in a titanic battle on Saturday night – you don’t want to miss this!

 

Hills United vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Lily Homes Stadium

With only 1 defeat in their past 5 games, you’d expect Hills to be climbing the ladder.

Their current position of fourth is worthy of respect but their steady drop down the competition standings comes courtesy, not of defeats, but draws.

Draws are a dish that can satisfy no man’s diet and it seems Hills have been starved of a win for four long weeks.

If they are to topple Parramatta at home on Saturday night, the key will be in winning the battle of the wings.

Both sides are blessed with wondrous wingers, Zak Elrich and Matthew Lecce for the Eagles and Daniel Fogarty and Eoin Montford for Hills United.

These players pose the greatest attacking threat for their respective teams and have chipped in with bucket loads of goals and assists this season.

Sit back and get the cameras out, we are set for a blockbuster clash of skill, pace and power on Saturday night, these highlights might make a great YouTube compilation.

 

St George FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Ilinden Sports Centre

Imagine the team you could make with the players who have departed or are no longer available from both of these clubs this season.

A midfield of Abraham Majok, Kosta Grozos and Raul Beneit Romero; with Juan Carlos Romero and Lachlan Scott firing in goals up front.

Although like Leroy Sane, Alexis Sanchez, Buffon, and Arjen Robben at this summer’s World Cup, these players won’t be making an appearance in this clash on Saturday night.

However there is still plenty of talent left on the pitch for this match to truly captivate all football fans this weekend.

The Western Sydney Wanderers are clinging to their top six spot like Mufasa on a rock in Lion King, will St George be the Scar to knock them off?

 

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Macarthur Rams – 7pm, Saturday 9th June – Popondetta Park

The team at the top vs the team at the bottom.

In truth, these two teams seem worlds apart.

However David did beat Goliath and the Rams will be hoping to perform an equally miraculous task when they travel to Poppondetta Park on Saturday night.

Lachlan Roberts scored his first goal since his return to the Rangers last Saturday night in their win over Canterbury Bankstown and the winger will be hoping to make a habit of finding the net as he hopes to ease the goal scoring burden on the shoulders of Emmanuel Gonzalez.

Aidan Desmond’s side will be keeping a close eye on the Mounties and Mariners clash as they seek to extend their lead even further at the top of the table.

The Premiership plate is slowly emerging on the Rangers’ horizon, victory over the Rams on Saturday night will take them one step closer to decorating that trophy in green and gold.

 

North Shore Mariners vs Canterbury Bankstown FC – 3:30pm, Sunday 10th June – Northbridge Oval

The final fixture in Round 15 sees two in-form teams do battle at the ground famous for unbelievable matches.

It’s not quite the Theatre of Dreams but Northbridge Oval has seen some spectacular matches so far this season.

The first was a 9-goal, injury-time classic between North Shore and Mounties, the second an equally breath-taking match between Northern Tigers and the Mariners that finished 3-2.

Will Northbridge Oval conjure up another classic on Sunday afternoon – football fans in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s will certainly be hoping so.

Source FNSW - By Ryan Latty