Round 2 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

Ready yourselves up, it’s round 2!

Before the action on Sunday, the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s takes centre stage, with teams still shaking off the rust from pre-season, results are as unpredictable as ever.

Here is a taste of what is to come this weekend, which of these teams has broken free of the pre-season shackles and ready to run?

Match of the Round: Canterbury Bankstown vs. GHFA Spirit – 7pm Saturday 9th March, Valentine Sports Park

Off the back of one of the games of the season, Berries showed some early signs that they will be a threat on the attack.

That said, shipping goals late in the fixture is an obvious area in need of improvement. They will be focusing on staying mentally strong against Spirit and if they can keep the back solid, they should have no worries about what happens up the other end.

Spirit’s opening game was a showing of a good all round performance and they were rewarded with a well-earned three points.

They will be cautious of the attacking threats that Berries will bring, looking to close down and nullify them at all costs.

Knowing that their opponents conceded five goals last week will bring solace to the visitors and they will likely keep to their game plan waiting patiently for the opportune moment to exploit any weakness.

It will be an interesting game, with either side more than capable of securing a desirable result, yet another competitive fixture to fill your Saturday night.

Hills United vs. Bonnyrigg White Eagles – 7pm Saturday 9th March, Lily Homes Stadium

Another home game for Hills and this time the obvious task ahead is to get on the scoreboard. After conceding two early goals, they were held at bay in their encounter with Rydalmere last week and will be looking to rectify this by hitting the net at least once to get themselves going.

Bonnyrigg will come into the fixture a little disappointed from last week’s showing, yet you can be sure the side will have put that all behind them in the quest to get their first win of the season. Despite having to chase the game against Spartans, they showed a mental toughness and composure throughout. You would expect that the first competitive game will have kicked them into gear, so expect to see them come out onto the field running.

Macarthur Rams vs. Blacktown Spartans – 7pm Saturday 9th March, Lynwood Park

In 2018, these two sides battled it out at the bottom rung of the ladder, with Macarthur skipping up at the last moment, leaving Spartans in wake of the wooden spoon.

Macarthur yet again find themselves at the bottom of the table whilst Spartans are hovering up near the finals mix. The catch, it is only Round 2.

Last week it was an almost too familiar story for Macarthur, after bring blown away in the second-half by the Tigers. Perhaps it was a little fatigue in the legs caught the Rams out, whatever the case the home-side will need to have recovered well as they come up against a Spartans side high on confidence.

That would be to say it in plain terms, the side that had honours of the worst record in 2018, are hoping that last week’s win will send them in the right direction this year.

They will be required to find another spark to lead the line as striker Christian Eldridge will be sidelined through suspension. The speedster was looking sharp against the White Eagles and was no doubt a big contributor to their victory.

Northern Tigers vs. St George FC – 7pm Saturday 9th March, North Turramurra Recreation Area

It is still very early days in the competition, but as history has shown, these two sides mean business. Could we be seeing a preview of a post-season fixture?

Time will obviously tell, as for now, it’s the all important early three points that is the prize.

The home-side with a string of seven home games in their first nine rounds will be eager to get back out onto the park after their impressive second half performance against the Rams. A simple case of beginning with the way they finished, not looking to make too many adjustments and keep their momentum running.

St George on the other hand were held to stalemate in a tight contest at home against Central Coast last week. Dropping points at home is never the ideal result so the Saints will have to kick themselves right into gear if they are to take down the hot looking Tigers.

The stage is set for another intense match that should provide the goods until the final whistle.

Mounties Wanderers vs. North Shore Mariners – 7pm Saturday 9th March, Sydney United Sports Centre

There are so many talking points from Mounties monumental effort last week when they clinched a point with just about the last kick in the game.

Whatever the focus is over the week at training, there will be a high priority placed on the defensive end, ensuring there is not a repeat of their defensive display last week again this season.

Lock that up and their powerhouse line of attacking threats will be free to let loose at any chance.

One down, four to go. North Shore will have to keep battling on the road before they get their first taste of a home fixture.

Despite conceding late in the match against the Wanderers, they were in the game and just shy of taking their chances and the points with it. The side will be confident they can take it to Mounties for the full fixture and knowing their hosts conceded an array of goals will give them a boost to get on the front foot.

Rydalmere Lions vs. St George City FA – 3pm Sunday 10th March, Valentine Sports Park

They came, they scored, they defended and ultimately earned the victory. Rydalmere started their season on a high with a gutsy win last week.

The early victory will have the young side buzzing with anticipation to get back onto the park and sink their teeth into the next victim. There may be the case they need to be reigned in and not get ahead of themselves, it is a long way to go.

City just want to get back to business. With changes happening around the club, the side that shows up on the park will need to put that all aside and focus on the task at hand.

Their experienced campaigners will be crucial in this fixture to keep their heads on and steady the ship throughout the match.

Expect to see another hot start in this one, it should be an exciting one for the fans.

Central Coast Mariners vs. Western Sydney Wanderers – 4pm Sunday 10th March, Pluim Park

The two A-League sides face one another yet again.

Central Coast have held the Wanderers at bay in this fixture, with it becoming a bit of hoodoo for the travelling lads in red and black.

It is going to be a huge fixture for the home side who need to gain some momentum in the competition. With the chance their squad may face players being called up, they could be depleted to bare minimum before they had the chance to get going.

That said, if there is time to get one over your rivals away, the time is now for the Wanderers.

Hot off the win against a tough North Shore side, the youngest and brightest in the red and black will have their tails up and ready to strike. They will also face the challenge of call-ups during the season, there is just another reason for them to push for the three points.

NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann

Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann

Source FNSW website