Super League Round 3 Review


Rocky round three results as Liverpool lead NSW Super League

It was the usual thrills and spills in the NSW Super League as round three played out some enthralling encounters, none more so than the 3-1 effort from Liverpool over St George that put Bossy in clear first place. The Northern Tigers edged into second with a lucky 3-1 win against Central Coast, while Bonnyrigg remained the only other unbeaten team following their testing 4-3 defeat of Sydney Uni.
Granville upset Parramatta 2-0 in a cross-town classic to join the Eagles in the top-five, Rockdale also jumped into the top-end of the field with a 3-0 thumping of struggling Fairfield, while Mount Druitt and Fraser Park played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Popondetta.
Bonnyrigg bag Uni
The way Bonnyrigg White Eagles coach Blagoja Kulevski sang the praises of Goran Subara, after Saturday night?s 4-3 win over Sydney University at Bonnyrigg Sports Club, you?d think he?d be happy for scientists to clone 10 replicas of the stopper-come-striker for him.
Subara was the notable difference between a Bonnyrigg side celebrating their first win of the season and a Uni side floundering near the bottom of the table after coming so close yet again.
Uni have a draw and two one-goal losses to account for their three rounds, and they surely face a tough season ahead with a squad many depicted as a bit down from last year when they finished just outside the finals.
The visitors did get off to a dream start at Bonnyrigg when A Kidd scored the first of two goals for Uni in the fifth minute of the game, only for White Eagles defender Mark D?Alessandro to restore parity on the half-hour before Kulevski?s clever switch, to bring Subara up from stopper to striker, paid off handsomely.
Subara?s solid leap above the pack minutes short of halftime saw him head home a brilliant goal to put Bonnyrigg 2-1 in front. However, a pep talk from Uni coach Bruce Tilt at the break had the desired effect when Kidd scored his second five minutes from the restart and the visitors had leveled at 2-2.
But it was Subara again, in the 65th minute, when he outjumped the Uni defenders to bump another cross into goal and restore Bonnyrigg?s lead. Daniel Willoughby gave the White Eagles some breathing space with a fourth goal inside the final 20 minutes of play, and the home side held on despite Uni pulling one back in the dying minutes through James Alcorn.
Tilt was full of admiration for the way his motley crew took to the match saying, ?What [the players] lacked in experience they certainly made up for in determination and passion. I think the final whistle could not have come early enough for them, but the spectators wanted more. Any team that goes to the cauldron of Bonnyrigg’s home ground and scores three goals is doing something right.?
?Uni may not be getting the wins at the moment but the signs are very positive, and I believe we are still underdone after a disruptive pre-season that had as many as 13 senior players out of action. There is a real buzz around the place that we have some great young players coming through.?
Kulevski was delighted to get Bonnyrigg?s first win of the season in the bag and he knew who he had to thank for it.
?Goran Subara was easily out best player. He did the job up front beautifully, but the gap behind him wasn?t closed properly and this made space for Sydney Uni to score three goals,? he said. ?I had no choice. The strikers I have available are too small and Goran was the best chance to get to the crosses.?
While joking it?d be lovely to have 11 ?Gorans? in the side, Kulevski said he?d be happier to see the 20 year old?s talents picked up by an A-League club. He has even called on old teammate, Alex Tobin from their Marconi playing days, to include Subara in the Central Coast Mariners train-on squad for next year.
?If he goes to A-League, good luck to him. Goran?s young and a good chance to play at that level soon. That?s football,? Kulevski said. ?I don?t want to hold players back at Bonnyrigg. We have got good young players at the club who will also want to go up a level, and that is a good thing for us, and the game.?
Kulevski eyed next week?s blockbuster with Parramatta as a crucial game for Bonnyrigg.
Tigers miss Lightning strike
There was nothing left in the house for Central Coast Lightning to throw at the visiting Northern Tigers at Pluim Park on Saturday night, but the courageous Coasters trudged off with little to show for their relentless effort, losing 3-1.
It was the fourth successive occasion the Tigers have beaten the Lightning away from home and plenty of credit should go to an amazing goalkeeping display from Stuart Page. His antics in denying wave after wave of Central Coast attacks gave the Tigers the chance to make their few chances in front of goal at the other end count for lots.
The Lightning conceded a 13th minute penalty when two defenders brought Tigers ace Tim Gledhill to earth and the 1-0 lead stood until halftime. Central Coast coach John McLafferty fired up his troops at the break and they came out with all guns blazing, Neil Woodcock equalising four minutes into the second half, scrambling in his third goal of the season.
It was all Central Coast for the next 20 minutes and if not for the acrobatic Page, the Lightning might have ran away with the game. But they were to pay dearly for their missed chances with Gledhill finishing of a neat through ball with a powerful volley into goal to take the Tigers back in front 2-1, and substitute Don Nash netting in the final quarter-hour to seal a two-goal win.
Tigers coach Hugh McCrory paid tribute to the tenacity of Central Coast and said he felt like a thief in the night.
?We were lucky, Central Coast outplayed us, and the difference was we finished our chances and they didn?t,? he said. ?I really do feel like a burglar, we stole that result. They had plenty of chances to put us away and bury us. Basically, Stewey Page kept us in it with some great saves. They just kept coming and coming, for the full 90 minutes. The Lightning were terrific, they really took it up to us.?
Eagles felled in Rage
Granville Rage upset neighbours Parramatta Eagles in a ripper of a game at Garside Park on Saturday night, the 2-0 scoreline weighting the result to Granville but also reflecting the terrific rivalry developed between the cross-town clubs. A goal in both halves was a good reward for Granville?s patience and coach Lee Sterrey can applaud his players? endeavours ? Parramatta hasn?t beaten Granville in two years.
Liverpool boss of St George
Liverpool Bossy lifted to the top of the Super League table with a classy 3-1 victory over St George Saints at Ernie Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon. The two opponents have played out some great games of football from their recent meetings and this one proved no different with spectators riding along a knife-edge throughout. In the end, a solid display from Bossy was enough to make it three consecutives wins to start the season, the only Super League outfit to do so this year.
A 0-0 halftime scoreline reflected an arm wrestle of a match and it took the man with the golden touch, Alex Canak to break the game open. The Bossy striker ? fresh from his two goal effort last week ? scored the opener 10 minutes into the second term, only for his Saints counterpart, sharpshooter Nick Polimenakos, to level three minutes later.
But Canak had the last laugh when he netted a second inside the final quarter-hour with team-mate Stan Phrajac added another within a minute to send the home crowd into raptures with Liverpool in front 3-1.
Bossy held on for a memorable win between to close competitors. Canak and Polimenakos have both notched up four goals in the opening three rounds to lead the goalscorer?s tally.
Lively draw for Rangers-Dragons
It?s a shame the entertaining 2-2 draw between Mount Druitt Town Rangers and Fraser Park Dragons at Popondetta Park on Sunday afternoon didn?t account for more. Both sides are lingering near the bottom of the ladder after three rounds and a win would have helped their causes better than the solitary point, but the even scoreline was probably a fair resulting the end.
Mount Druitt started briskly and went 1-0 up via a short-range shot from Matthew Prentice after 10 minutes, but the Rangers appeared to switch off after scoring and Fraser Park began asserting their authority. The Dragons attacks were finally rewarded with a goal to Greg Collins with 12 minutes left on the clock, but a defensive lapse allowed Mount Druitt to sneak in a second goal almost straight away.
With the Rangers headed towards an unlikely victory, Fraser Park surged again and Shivan Swarmy latched onto one to level the scores inside the final minute. Rangers coach Phil Pavela was disappointed his players weren?t able to build on their good start but admitted that Fraser Park deserved something from the match. Little has separated the two clubs over the past two years.
?I was really looking for a win today and we started well,? Pavela said. ?In the end, I?m happy we got a draw out of it. We scored but relaxed a bit too much after that and lost the midfield to Fraser Park. It was a real struggle from there, although I thought we might?ve hung on when we went 2-1 up late in the game. I?m still quite happy with our defence, it was the pressure that got to them in the end. To be honest, Fraser Park did deserve something from the game.?
Suns set on Lions
A late flurry, with three goals scored in the final 10 minutes of play, saw Rockdale City Suns romp home to a 3-0 drubbing of hapless Fairfield City Lions on Sunday afternoon. Danny Wilson got the ball rolling for Rockdale with goals in the 81st and 90th minutes, with Daniel Nastoski adding one more for good measure. Suns coach Michael Grbevski wasn?t getting carried away with the outcome. He saw plenty of room for improvement in his side.
?I am happy with the result, but there are many things we can do better,? he said. ?We can take a lot out of the game and work on some of things we need to like giving possession away and not taking our chances. But we?ll take the wins when we can. [Competition leaders] Liverpool will be a much bigger test next week, we?ll know where we stand after that one.?
This week?s games
Fairfield welcome Mount Druitt to Norford Park in the only Saturday night game (7.30pm kick-off), with the five Sunday fixtures (all with 3pm kick-offs) featuring two blockbusters: Parramatta hosting Bonnyrigg at Melita Stadium, while Northern Tigers tackle St George at Mills Park. The Rockdale versus Liverpool encounter at the Ilinden Sports Centre and Uni-Central Coast clash at Uni Oval no.1 should also be entertaining battles based on recent results, and Granville Rage play the Dragons at Fraser Park.
Round three results
First Grade:
Central Coast Lightning 1 (Neil Woodcock 49m) Northern Tigers 3 (Tim Gledhill 13 pen/77m Don Nash 81m)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 4 (Mark D?Alessandro 30m Goran Subara 38/65m Daniel Willoughby 70m) Sydney University 3 (A Kidd 5/50m James Alcorn 85m)
Granville Rage 2 (Fred Umlil 32m David Harding 80m) PCYC Parramatta Eagles 0
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 2 (Matthew Prentice 10m Adam Roscoe 80m) Fraser Park Dragons 2 (Greg Collins 78m Shivan Swamy 89m)
Rockdale City Suns 3 (Danny Wilson 81/90m Daniel Nastoski 92m) Fairfield City Lions 0
Bossy Liverpool 3 (Alex Canak 56/73m Stanislav Pkrajac 73m) St George Saints 1 (Nick Polimenakos 59m)
Central Coast Lightning 0 Northern Tigers 4
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0 Sydney University 0
Granville Rage 0 PCYC Parramatta Eagles 1
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 2 Fraser Park Dragons 2
Rockdale City Suns 2 Fairfield City Lions 2
Bossy Liverpool 0 St George Saints 0
-By Daniel De Nardi