It’s the NPL 2 NSW Men’s very own Game of Thrones.
With Mt Druitt having occupied the throne for so long, two new challenges to their kingdom have arisen with the Central Coast and the North Shore Mariners forming a dual assault on their crown.
Can the Rangers withstand the challenge or will we have a new king on the throne as we enter Round 19 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s?
Match of the Round
Rydalmere Lions vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Poppondetta Park
Except for charcoal chicken and garlic sauce, there are few things the Rydalmere faithful love more than a challenge.
And the challenge to overthrow the team that has led the competition from week one, is a challenge Tony Basha and his lion cubs will not want to miss.
After two defeats in a row, Aidan Desmond and his Rangers bounce back to winning ways against Hills last week.
But they look far from the impregnable force that struck fear into the heart of the competition for the first 10 rounds.
However when Aidan Desmond is still able to submit a team sheet that includes the names of Emmanuel Gonzalez, Hiten Satoh and Alexander Vlismas, the Rangers will still be a force to be reckoned with.
Is this the week Mt Druitt lose their grip on the Premiership crown?
Or can the Rangers lock Rydalmere’s finals’ chances up for good?
Find out in another fascinating match of the round in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Hills United FC vs North Shore Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Lily Homes Stadium
If either club is looking for some half-time entertainment during this game on Saturday night, bring out Daniel Fogarty, Joshua Mbakwe and Frederick Ankumah-Sey for a 100m sprint race. These lads are truly electric.
Just as the AFL do at their Grand Final, a sprint race of the fastest players from each team in the NPL 2 would be a sight to see.
And surely, the aforementioned names would feature amongst the podium finishers that day.
North Shore Mariners are arguably THE form team in the competition.
During their match against St George last weekend, the Mariners produced a 10-minute spell of relentless attacking prowess.
It’s no coincidence that period coincided with the reintroduction of Lee Jones and Quinny Smith into the team. Jones might not be able to produce the km’s in the legs anymore but he covers more ground with his mouth than anyone can with their legs. His experience and organisation are an invaluable asset to Joe Haywood.
Quinny Smith, boasting the brawn of an Andrew Nabbout but the skill of a Tom Rogic, is the perfect link between Mitchell Smith and the rest of the Mariners’ side.
Hills United have an equal measure of fire power up front, but their recent dip in form has been largely due to lapses in concentration at the back.
Both goals conceded against Mt Druitt last weekend revealed a lack of structural organisation at the back – particularly the second goal – as Emmanuel Gonzalez almost walked his way through to goal.
With pace to burn and points up for grabs, this shapes as an unmissable game on Saturday night.
Blacktown Spartans vs Western Sydney Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Blacktown Football Park
Blacktown Football Park.
It’s where the Western Sydney Wanderers’ players want to be.
Except the jerseys they dream of wearing are adorned with the words ‘Hyundai A-League’.
But it’s impossible to be what you can’t see, and for many of these Wanderers players, the opportunity to play well at Blacktown Football Park is just another step towards achieving their dream.
Whilst it’s nice to dream, the Spartans will be grounded in the reality that they need to keep winning football matches or risk playing with an NPL 3 badge upon their sleeve next season.
With neither side short of motivation, this game promises to be an enthralling encounter on Saturday night.
Central Coast Mariners vs GHFA Spirit FC – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Pluim Park
So far, Spirit FC’s season has been defined by streaks.
Thankfully the type of streak where your clothes stay on.
But, unhelpfully, the type of streak that saw them go 8 games without winning a match.
They rectified that by going 5 games undefeated.
So last week’s heavy defeat against the Northern Tigers will have David Perkovic hoping it won’t be another 8 games before they taste three points again.
The Central Coast Mariners always get a vociferous gathering of supporters at Pluim Park and expect this to be no difference as they aim to steal the throne off Mt Druitt in the race for Premiership glory.
Mounties Wanderers vs Canterbury Bankstown – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Cook Park
This is a must-win game for Mounties.
Their position in the competition table has improved drastically after back-to-back wins; and with a superior goal difference, Terry Palapanis’s side could enter the top six if Rydalmere lose against Mt Druitt.
But the reason this game is a must-win, is because of the Mounties’ fixture list.
In their next 5 games, they play Mt Druitt, North Shore, St George, Hills United and Rydalmere Lions – 5 teams directly above them in the table.
These matches will prove how seriously the Mounties should be considered if they are to qualify for this year’s finals.
Canterbury Bankstown continue to defy the odds.
Despite a decimated playing roster, Culina’s men have won their past two games – both against top six opposition.
Can they throw another spanner in the works and upset another team’s finals’ ambitions?
St George FC vs Macarthur Rams – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – Ilinden Sports Centre
Macarthur Rams have been bottom of the league table for a while now.
But it’s the fact they now sit bottom of the Club Championship that will cause great concern within the Rams’ camp.
With 8 games still left to play in the regular season, the Rams’ players need to start collecting points if they are to avoid a dramatic relegation.
The Ilinden Sports Centre is not the most charitable of venues and the Saints will be in no mood to drop points after they squandered a 2-1 lead last week to go down to the North Shore Mariners.
The battle at the top is tighter than ever and St George will see this as the perfect opportunity to reclaim the ground they lost from last weekend.
Northern Tigers vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 7th July – North Turramurra Recreation Area
Parramatta are off the bottom of the Club Championship table.
But don’t get the champagne out yet.
The Eagles’ victory over the Spartans last weekend brought an end to a spell that had seen them lose three of their past four games.
But Leo Carle’s team haven’t found collecting points away from home an easy feat this season.
In the 9 away games the Eagles have played, they’ve only won once.
The Tigers are a proud club who won’t be keen to see that trend change this weekend as they go in search of another three points to keep their faint finals’ chances alive.
Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty