The glitz and glamour of the World Cup is over.
Tired eyes and bodies from being glued to the great show, can now get some much needed rest and return focus to the football at our own feet.
It is the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s, a competition that may not have such a presence on the world stage, but definitely just as unpredictable and exciting as we creep closer to the finals.
Match of the Round: Blacktown Spartans FC vs. Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC – 7pm Saturday 21st July, Blacktown Football Park
The last time these two teams met, Mt Druitt easily dispatched the Spartans and sat pretty atop the ladder unbeaten after 8 rounds.
Flash forward to Round 21 and both teams occupy the exact same spots on the ladder…do we hear cries of déjà vu?
Over the last two weeks, the Spartans have learned two things; they have the firepower to score goals aplenty, and that a game is never over until the final whistle blows. Valuable lessons indeed.
That said, Mt Druitt seem to have found the ideal balance of patience and attack. What is certain is come this Saturday, the Rangers will march in with the same intensity and mentality that has defined their season.
Don’t write this game off yet. The league leaders will want to stamp their authority whilst the Spartans will be shaping up with lessons learned and aiming to strike at the Premiership hopes of Mt Druitt, gaining a slice of revenge in the process.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Western Sydney Wanderers – 4pm Saturday 21st July, Pluim Park
The Mariners have displayed over the course of the season, immense consistency and composure for such a young squad. The Wanderers on the other hand have been almost the complete mirror image.
Will young navy and yellow eyes grow too wide at the possibility of snatching the Premiership, or will the Red and Black return to basics and fight back to claim bragging rights?
Regardless of the result, this fixture is sure to be a fiercely competitive encounter and likely reveal the best of both teams.
GHFA Spirit FC vs. Parramatta FC – 7pm Saturday 21st July, Christie Park
At the stage in the competition where home games are so valuable, both these teams couldn’t find the winning answer last week despite the home support.
If it is almost blasphemy to hear Parramatta FC in the third tier of NPL football in NSW, then the whole church, better yet, City of Parramatta better show up at every game left and support the club, it is time for a miracle.
The glimmer from the reopening of Christie Park must surely have settled. For Spirit, it is a great place for them to start the final 6 rounds aiming for the last finals spot as the bare minimum.
Mounties Wanderers vs. North Shore Mariners – 7pm Saturday 21st July, Cook Park
The last few rounds has seen both these teams halt their ascent up the table.
That’s not to say this game is going to be a stalemate, if anything it will only spur both teams to life.
6 rounds left and so much is left at stake for both clubs, competitiveness and purpose will be on full display in this fixture, it is time to define boys becoming men.
In their previous encounter we witnessed a 9 goal thriller, will this game be another goal-fest? Or will each team batten down the hatches and hope a tactical masterstroke that can lead them to a much needed victory?
Macarthur Rams vs. Hills United – 7pm Saturday 21st July, Lynwood Park
There must be echoes of “better late than never” heard around Macarthur over the past few weeks.
For those who have been following the NPL 2 NSW Men’s this season, you must be scratching head and wondering how the team that has sat at the bottom of the ladder all year is gunning for 3 wins in a row!
After the results from last week, Hills will need to pull up their socks and prove why they have held a spot in the top 6 all season.
United will no doubt show up at Lynwood Park with a no-nonsense performance driven attitude, whereas the Rams, backed by a new lease on life, will be out to verify that 2 on the trot is no fluke.
Northern Tigers vs. Canterbury Bankstown – 7pm Saturday 21st July, North Turramurra Recreation Area
A clinical display by the Tigers last week enhanced their chances of securing a finals berth. After seeing the Berries ship 3 goals in their match, they will be lining up to pounce on another piece of prey.
3 goals though, was clearly not enough to put away the resilient Berries. Determination and grit has been on display and if anything, forcing their way back into the game will give Canterbury Bankstown a boost of confidence and proof that they deserve a place in the NPL 2.
Rydalmere Lions vs. St George – 7pm Saturday 21st July, Valentine Sports Park
Goals, goals and more goals, that has been St George all season. With the highest scoring record in the league, the Saints will be continuing their attacking mindset and looking to put pressure and space between themselves and the Lions.
Rydalmere have been a surprise package in some respects but perhaps it is due time that they are no longer seen as “cubs”, rather adults, and backed by the roar of the pride, hunting to firmly secure their place for finals contention.
Source FNSW website By Marcus Flottmann