Round 22 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Women’s

Round 22 of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens closes out the regular season where we bid adieu to seven teams while the other five head into the crucible of the finals series.

To send off an exciting regular season we have six exciting contests which will take place at the same time. Let’s get onto the preview.

Match of the Round: Gladesville Ravens vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Christie Park

In the battle for second spot, Gladesville Ravens host Sutherland Shire FA at Christie Park for a dress rehearsal of a possible finals match up on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams are ready to rumble in the north west after convincing victories. Gladesville Ravens were comfortable in their 4-nil result against Western NSW while Sutherland Shire FA beat SD Raiders FC 3-1 at Ernie Smith Reserve.

Last time these two sides met – both were undefeated. Sutherland Shire FA claimed the spoils with a two-goal victory in the shire but eleven weeks later, Gladesville have a chance to extract some revenge headed into the finals.

Unless APIA slip up in Orange, these two sides will meet again next weekend in a Preliminary Semi-Final which makes for an interesting sidenote. Also, there is the battle of the sharpshooters – Jordan Baker (29) looking to claim the Golden Boot against Ravens poacher Emily Diaz (22).

Sunday’s Match of the Round shapes up as an exciting end to the regular season for both as they gear up for the post-season and take an early advantage for a possible rematch next weekend.

Western NSW Mariners vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park

The equation is simple for APIA Leichhardt Tigers – they head to Sir Jack Brabham Park needing a single point against Western NSW Mariners to secure the Premiership.

APIA are full of confidence headed to the central west after the Tigers swept aside Marconi Stallions 4-nil on a bumper night at Lambert Park. For Western NSW, they lost to Gladesville Ravens 4-nil in a tough contest.

Sunday is the final game this season for Western NSW Mariners. Coming to Orange is never an easy task so if there are any nerves within the APIA ranks, the Mariners might take advantage and give their fans something to celebrate.

It might be a depleted APIA squad but the competition leaders showed on last Sunday night that there is a ruthless streak in them. One final big haul of goals from striker Ash Palombi might give the Tigers some additional silverware in the Golden Boot to go with the Premiership.

SD Raiders FC vs Nepean FC, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

Locked into the fourth spot, Nepean FC use Sunday afternoon against SD Raiders FC at Ernie Smith Reserve as a tune up for their second consecutive finals appearance.

That fourth spot was locked up with their 3-1 success against a spirited UNSW FC side as Nepean FC head back to an elimination final. SD Raiders FC remain positive despite their 3-1 loss to one of the top sides in Sutherland Shire FA.

SD Raiders FC had a rollercoaster season but coach Terry Gray has always remained positive about the attitude and application of his side. The late season form of Kristi Pavlicevic and Sarah Mandile has given them options alongside striker Samantha Muscat. If they can click the Raiders can give the faithful a final moment to enjoy before the long off season.

Preparation will be the key word for Alan Tasses in the build-up for the weekend. Taking on SD Raiders FC and UNSW FC in the last two weeks is a good test for his side. Imogen Lane has broken through her early season slump and is ready to partner Stefanie Trovato up top for their tilt at the post-season.

Central Coast Mariners vs UNSW FC, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Pluim Park

UNSW FC look to upset the applecart taking on finals bound Central Coast Mariners in an intriguing clash at Pluim Park on the final day of the regular season.

The Mariners confirmed back-to-back finals appearances with their 9-nil drubbing of Inter Lions. UNSW FC held a 1-nil advantage at half-time but were pegged back by the second half blitz of Nepean FC 3-1 at Wentworth Park on Sunday afternoon.

For the traveling UNSW FC side, Alex Nolan has considered the second half of the season a success as they have picked up 11 of their 16 points in this period. If the students can take the points on Sunday afternoon, they can move into the eighth position and finish with some joy to take into next season.

Central Coast Mariners have quietly gone about their work this season. The coastal club racked up 13 victories this term led by the 28-goal return from Danielle Wise. Her work alongside Gabrielle Blanch and Jade Mcatemney has helped the yellow-and-navy to back-to-back post-seasons and the chance to go one better.

Southern Branch FC vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex

Cut from the finals race in the final furlong, Marconi Stallions head to South Nowra Football Complex to finish the season on a high against Southern Branch FC.

Marconi’s finals hopes were extinguished last Sunday night in a 4-nil defeat to APIA Leichhardt Tigers while Southern Branch added another point to the bank in a wild first half which saw four goals and ended 2-2 in Nowra against St George FC.

Compared to last season, Southern Branch has improved their results. The south coast side has picked up an extra two victories and won’t finish with back-to-back wooden spoons. Much of this has been down to the goals from Shaylee Meehan and Jessica Muir as they aim to finish the season with the big scalp of the Stallions.

The Stallions are a proud club, whilst the sting of missing finals again will linger with them coach Matt Turvey can take plenty from the season. He will also want to finish on a positive note and pick up their 13th win of the season.

St George FC vs Inter Lions, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, St George Stadium

St George FC are set for one final hurrah taking on wooden spooners Inter Lions at historic St George Stadium as part of the blockbuster final round.

The Saints are coming into the game off a well won point against Southern Branch in their 2-2 draw between the two southern sides. Inter Lions lost their twelfth game of the season in a 9-nil thumping from Central Coast Mariners.

Inter Lions might have confirmed the wooden spoon weeks ago but the Lions can end the season on a high note with a result against their fellow strugglers. In their previous clash, Inter lost by a single goal so there will be belief for the visitors to even the season ledger and grab their second win of the season.

The home side have shown flashes of brilliance this season – defeating UNSW FC and Western NSW Mariners – now for them it will be building on that for the next campaign. In Marissa Nicopoulous, Yadira Renfigo and Amy Bennett there is a solid core alongside custodian Lani Dodd to make strides and finish 2019 with a result.

By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)

Source FNSW website