TeleChoice Premier League Round 7 Preview


Both Blacktown City Demons and Marconi Stallions are still searching for their first wins of the season, and what better occasion than this Round 7 encounter to get either one of these sides back in contention for a late push for finals football.
The Demons and the Stallions have dominated the Premier League in recent seasons, though 2008 has been a disaster for both clubs.
Ken Schembri has not come to terms with the loss of so many first-team players from last season, meanwhile his counterpart David Barrett has not yet had return on his off-season acquisitions Tolgay Ozbey and Tallan Martin.
After 90? minutes on Saturday night, the losing side will almost certainly suffer a huge psychological blow in coming to terms with a disastrous first seven rounds of the season.
On Sunday afternoon, the remaining five matches will be played across the State.
Sydney Olympic will be hoping to continue their decent run in recent weeks, despite the weekend off in Round 6 following the postponement of the Blues clash with Bankstown City.
Coach Milan Blagojevic will again turn to the likes of Shannon Cole and Matthew Mayora to lead the Blues cause, meanwhile their opponents Penrith-Nepean United have completely lost their tag of ?easy beats? earned during last season?s campaign.
Coach Abbas Saad ? who spent many playing years at Sydney Olympic ? will be looking for more goals from in-form Eric Anabalon for United, meanwhile at the other end Daniel Schwarzer ? younger brother of Socceroo International Mark Schwarzer – continues to impress on-lookers.
At Cromer Park, Manly United face an A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers outfit that has without a doubt shaken-off the early season cobwebs.
The Tigers have gelled nicely in recent weeks, following a troublesome start to the season with a number of injuries and suspensions.
Coach John Romeo has tinkered less with his starting line-up in recent times, culminating with a return to form for the 2007 Johnny Warren Cup winners.
Manly United on the other-hand trail League leader Sutherland Sharks by a single point heading into the Tigers clash ? a huge opportunity for Phil Moss? side to hunt down the Sharks who have a tricky tie away against Bankstown City.
Brian Brown?s men have been flawless all season to-date ? Pre-Season Cup included ? though regular top-four participant Bankstown City cannot be ruled out for a shot at the title this season.
Despite their indifferent start to the campaign, Bankstown has shown glimpses of the great passing game Peter Tsekenis and Peter Papoythis have been able to instill at the club.
Robert Mileski seems to have shaken off the effect of niggling injuries and George Nohra, who marshals the team?s midfield, has also been strong for Bankstown.
Sutherland Sharks striker Brad Boardman has been immense for the club with six goals to his name, though a huge mention has to be made about the experienced Jim Bakis playing out of midfield.
Bakis was instrumental for the Sharks in the hard-fought defeat of Macarthur Rams last weekend, further testament to the depth across the park that coach Brian Brown has at his disposal.
In-form, yet win-less in recent weeks, West Sydney Berries have a crunch match against Wollongong FC.
The Scott Baillie and Ramsin Shamon coached side have played great football this season, though have lacked luck at times ? along with the ?killer instinct? in recent weeks.
The Berries have been great value with the likes of Kosta Lagoudakis and Giosue Sama playing great football for the side.
The side has ?spooked? all adversaries with a show of belief and confidence amongst the playing group, a characteristic that has perhaps caught the other eleven teams by surprise.
Wollongong FC has enjoyed arguably their best start to a season in recent times.
The John Turner coached side is a notorious ?slow starter? though the team from the ?Gong? has been improving with each performance.
The three points secured away against Sydney United last weekend sit Wollongong in equal third spot on the ladder ? fifth on goal difference.
Ilija Prenzoski is one player in red-hot form at present, and the Wollongong FC striker will be out to add to the double he scored against Sydney United last weekend.
In the final match of the round, Sydney United need to put recent poor form behind them as the early-season high-flyers have certainly gone off the boil.
Luka Glavas and Elsid Barkhousir have been kept quiet recently and the Reds have failed to find the consistency of the opening rounds of the season.
The Rams? difficult first season in the Premier League has been a battle, and coach Paul Carter is aware that his side is slipping down the ladder with each passing week.
The Rams matched the League leaders in Sutherland last weekend, though were ?bitten? by the Sharks in the final 15? minutes of the encounter.
Macarthur sit third-last on goal difference, and will need goals from Brazilian Renato Jelen and Hugo Coronel if the team is to surpass the expectation of TeleChoice Premier League on-lookers this season.
-By Joseph Carlucci