Below is a brief analysis of the twelve TeleChoice Premier League sides following the first four round of competition.
1) Sutherland Sharks
Analysis: Sutherland Sharks have proved to be the team to beat in 2008 after stringing together some tremendous results so far that have seen them perched in equal top spot with Sydney United.
New coach Brian Brown has peppered his troops alongside Assistant Cliff Pointer which has seen the Sharks display a very fast pressing pace game that has troubled a couple of the TeleChoice Premier League clubs so far.
The question is how far can the Sharks maintain this consistency?
Victories over A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers, Penrith Nepean United and Manly United have given the Sharks a lot of confidence especially after recently securing a draw at the Belmore Sports Ground against Sydney Olympic.
With striker Brad Boardman banging in the goals with five to his name while veteran stars David Huxley and George Souris providing the backbone to the squad, a lot more can now be expected by the Sharks side.
Shane Lyons has had a great start to the year after 2007 was riddled with injury, while A-League target and defender Pedj Bojic has been one of the main players that many spectators have stood up and taken notice of.
Stand-out Players: Pedj Bojic, Shane Lyons, Brad Boardman
Report Card Rating: A+
2) Sydney United
Analysis: Sydney United have once again risen to the top of the pops in the TeleChoice Premier League after they experienced their worst finish ever in 2007.
Flying under the radar for the majority of the season so far, the Reds have gone about their business in quiet fashion but have performed admirably under new coach Ivan Petkovic.
With big wins over Blacktown City and staunch rivals Marconi Stallions, compiled with a recent victory over the West Sydney Berries, the Reds have so far played their cards right as they keep one eye on final football.
Star striker Luka Glavas has found his goal scoring boots and has hit three goals so far while the classy distribution of midfielder Petar Markovic and consistent performances by Todd Brodie and Ivo Bosnar have put the club in good stead for a great season amongst the headlines.
Stand-out Players: Todd Brodie, Luka Glavas, Petar Markovic
Report Card Rating: A
3) Manly United
Analysis: Phil Moss? men, who were crippled with injuries at the start of the TeleChoice Premier League season, have performed rather well considering the early handicap they experienced.
Crushing victories over Bankstown City, Blacktown City and the Marconi Stallions has really seen Moss? men into the top-four.
Manly United?s compact defensive unit, along with a formidable strike-force, comprising Football NSW Gold Medal winner 2007 ? Robbie Cattanach and the skillful Dusan Mihajlovic have paved the way thus far for the team from Cromer Park.
With a solid finish last season, the club expects another strong finale to the current campaign ? and with players more than capable of turning it on, Manly United is certainly a dark horse for the title this season.
Stand-out Players: Robbie Cattanach, Ashley Ryan, Dusan Mihajlovic
Report Card Rating: B+
4) Sydney Olympic
Analysis: The pre-season Johnny Warren Cup winners seem to have overcome the TeleChoice Premier League Round 1 hiccup ? where Milan Blagojevic?s side lost against ?new boys? West Sydney Berries.
A flawless display in the pre-season pitted the Blues as the outright favourites for the title this season ? a sentiment shared by each of the remaining eleven TeleChoice Premier League clubs.
Despite the set-back against the Berries, Blagojevic?s side has managed to get their football back on track with impressive wins against Wollongong FC and Marconi Stallions.
Flank-man Shannon Cole has been terrific for Sydney Olympic ? the youngster already being touted as the TeleChoice Premier League?s ?David Beckham? following a series of exceptional free-kicks ?a la? Beckham.
Olympic has enjoyed the great form of striker Matthew Mayora, though the youngster got himself into trouble against Marconi (a straight red card) after having found the back of the net three times.
A team with a lot of potential, expectations will certainly be high on the agenda at the Blues as supporters are hoping that this could be their year for an elusive Championship.
Stand-out Players: Shannon Cole, Matthew Mayora, Michael Cindric.
Report Card Rating: B+
5) Penrith-Nepean United
Analysis: What a tremendous turn-around it has been for Abbas Saad?s men!
The ?wooden spooners? last season, Penrith-Nepean has turned its fortunes around with some great football in this campaign.
Saad has added the likes of Nick Tsattalios and Nathan Ralph ? two players with enormous futures ahead of them along with the talented Tayfun Buyukkopru.
With two wins, one draw and a loss to show for before the Easter Break, Penrith-Nepean United is one-win away from top-spot.
One additional ingredient that has been drilled into the group of players this season has been belief, something that has been extremely evident in the side?s matches to-date ? especially at Penrith?s CUA Stadium.
CUA Stadium will definitely be one stadium that few teams will travel to and collect maximum points this season.
Stand-out Players: Nathan Ralph, Erick Anabalon, Luke Boyd
Report Card Rating: A-
6) Wollongong FC
Analysis: Notorious slow-starter, Wollongong FC has certainly kicked-off the 2008 campaign in positive style. John Turner?s side has been punished in recent campaigns ? only just missing out on finals football ? due largely to the slow starts the team has made.
This time around, Wollongong sit in equal fourth-spot with much promise for the remainder of the season.
Osagie Ederaro will again carry the hopes of supporters this season, with the striker making a huge impact during his time at the club.
Wollongong?s hard-fought win against Macarthur Rams last weekend, typified how far the side has come since the pre-season campaign. The Rams applied immense pressure in the closing stages of that match, and Wollongong proved they will go the distance once more.
The arrival of Justin Pasfield in goal adds a stronger back-bone to the side, along with the big work-rate of the likes of Danial Cummins and Mitchell Long.
Steve Hayes has also been a menace in midfield and has pulled the strings for the Wollongong side hoping to crack a finals spot for 2008.
Up-front, Turner will have the luxury (or selection headache) of fielding renowned goal scorers Daniel Aliffi, Ballamadou Conde and Ilija Prenzoski alongside Ederaro.
Stand-out Players: Osagie Ederaro, Steven Hayes, Justin Pasfield
Report Card Rating: B
7) West Sydney Berries
Analysis: What a turn-around it has been for ?new boys? West Sydney Berries.
The side?s displays in the Johnny Warren Cup in pre-season did raise concern around the team?s prospects for this season, though the experience and belief of player/coach Scott Baillie and his Assistant Ramsin Shamon, have certainly laid some strong foundations for the current campaign.
Baillie & Co. have ?knocked-off? Title favourites Sydney Olympic and Macarthur Rams to-date, with two losses arriving against Penrith (away) and a heart-breaking loss at Sydney United.
The Berries were extremely unlucky not to take ? at least ? a draw against Sydney United, despite playing for 50? minutes with only 10-men.
Kosta Lagoudakis and Sash Tirovski have put their hands up and led this side bravely into battle, meanwhile the experienced heads of Angelo Petratos, Jack Sobczyk, Micahel Cunico have marshalled the defence to perfection.
Ryan Jones has also come out from nowhere and has made an instant impact in the TeleChoice Premier League in midfield.
Stand-out Players: Sash Tirovski, Kosta Lagoudakis, Michael Cunico.
Report Card Rating: B+
8) A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers
Analysis: Despite a slow start to the season, A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers will enter the Easter Break satisfied with their improvements made in Round 4.
Coach John Romeo ? despite the precarious position on the ladder ? finally had a full selection of players to choose from against Blacktown City Demons in Round 4.
The Tigers welcomed back Robbie Younis and Franco Parisi onto the scorer?s sheet, meanwhile David D?Apuzzo, the brother of Newcastle Jets? star Adam, has been a huge find for the first-team coach.
D?Apuzzo?s flair and accuracy on the left-side of the park stand him in good stead for future A-League selection.
Captain Michael Galluzzo will be important again at the back for the Tigers, meanwhile shot-stopper Matthew Nash continues to amaze on-lookers with his weekly performances. The talented goal-keeper has yet to be signed-up by an A-League club, though performances over the past 12-months do make an A-League call-up very probable.
Stand-out Players: Matthew Nash, David D?Apuzzo, Franco Parisi
Report Card Rating: B-
9) Macarthur Rams
Analysis: Paul Carter?s ?new boys? have battled well in the early part of the season, though the team do sit one-point off the bottom-sides.
Talented players Sam Mort and Daniel McCann have teamed up well with the likes of Matt Toogood, though the Rams have lacked goals in each of their matches to-date.
The Rams started brilliantly with an away draw against Marconi Stallions, though have lost both home matches ? against West Sydney Berries and Wollongong FC.
Paul Carter and his Assistant Peter Ockers will have their work cut-out with this relatively new group in their first seasons in the senior competition, and will be looking at their Brazilian attacker Renato Jelen for flair up-front.
Stand-out Players: Renato Jelen, Daniel McCann, Matt Toogood
Report Card Rating: C
10) Bankstown City
Analysis: TeleChoice Premier League 2008 has kicked-off in the worst possible way for Bankstown City.
Following a string of poor results, suspensions and injuries have added to the club?s troubles leading into the Easter break.
Peter Tsekenis & Co. sit in 10th spot on the ladder, a far cry from the top-two where the team from Jensen Park has spent most of their time in recent seasons.
Arguably one of the most attractive sides to watch in the competition, Bankstown has failed to score goals, and hence, win games this season.
The introductions of James Monie and Matthew Borg, along with the experience of George Nohra and Robbie Mileski, stand the team amongst the favourites for the title, though confidence is low at present.
Tsekenis and Assistant Peter Papoythis will need to get that confidence back up after the Easter break ? their first test is a home clash against Macarthur Rams, a test last season?s runner-up cannot afford to fail.
Suspensions have cost the Bankstown side dearly however as the likes of Peter Tsekenis, Daniel Slaveski, Steve Liavas and Phillip Makrys are currently on bans for receiving red cards in 2008.
Stand-out Players: Robbie Mileski, George Nohra, James Monie
Report Card Rating: C
11) Blacktown City Demons
Analysis: How the mighty have fallen! The defending TeleChoice Premier League Champions have failed miserably to live up to the enormous expectations set by previous Demons? sides.
New boss Ken Schembri has had to deal with the loss of almost the entire starting squad of last season, including the likes of Luke Roodenburg, Gabriel Mendez and Tolgay Ozbey.
The additions of Paul Karbon and Brian Vanega have failed to set the team?s performances alight, as has the performances of rising star Chris Bedzo and Leo Carle.
Blacktown City?s poor start to the season was never more evident that in the disappointing display against A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers in Round 4.
Schembri echoed the thoughts of ?poor display? following that loss at Lambert Park.
Stand-out Players: Leo Carle, Bruno Salas
Report Card Rating: D
12) Marconi Stallions
Analysis: Unbelievably, one of Australian football?s glamour clubs ? Marconi Stallions ? sit at the foot of the TeleChoice Premier League ladder after four rounds.
The Stallions, who start each season ? at any playing level ? as one of the favourites have been a far shadow of the winning side supporters expect to see.
David Barrett?s tremendous work with the team last season saw the Stallions reach the final-four before losing out to Manly United.
Goals were a problem during the last campaign, though the additions of Tolgay Ozbey and Tallan Martin were made to address that issue despite the pair being yet to ignite the Marconi front-line.
The experience of Nahuel Arrate has been present, though the former Bankstown City and Sydney Olympic man has not had the support around him.
A turn-around in fortune is needed at the Stallions once the Easter Break concludes if they have any chances of playing finals football this season.
Stand-out Players: Ante Deur, Nahuel Arrarte
Report Card Rating: D
-Compiled by Mark Stavroulakis & Joseph Carlucci