TeleChoice Premier League Round 9 Preview


The Sharks home draw against an improving Blacktown City Demons last Saturday presented Manly United with a huge chance to surpass the still unbeaten Sharks ? an opportunity Phil Moss? side did not pass up on.
Round 9 presents the new League leader with a stern test on Sunday evening, as the trip to Belmore Sports Ground to face Sydney Olympic is certainly a difficult assignment ? let alone following two consecutive weeks where the Blues have gone winless.
Manly United proved last weekend that even without the attacking fire-power of ?bomber? Robbie Cattanach, and the skill of Dusan Mihajlovic, Manly still managed to put four past a Penrith-Nepean side that knew no such a heavy defeat on their home turf ? for season 2008.
Sydney Olympic on the other hand will require a home win following the loss at Belmore a fortnight ago, and a draw at Macarthur Rams last weekend.
Milan Blagojevic?s side has been the overwhelming favourite for the title this season, though a couple of hiccups ? culminating the loss of Shannon Cole and Matthew Mayora through injury ? have certainly penalised the Johnny Warren Cup winner.
On Friday afternoon, a special Anzac Day fixture at Jensen Park, Bankstown City will attempt to iron out the mishaps surrounding the side?s fortunes to-date.
Bankstown City has arguably played some of the best football in the competition this season, though the League ladder tells a much different story as the Peter Tsekenis/Peter Papoythis coached side sit in 9th spot ? eight points outside the top-four with one match in hand.
Bankstown City face a troubled West Sydney Berries line-up that has also gone off the boil in recent weeks.
The Berries could have snatched the points against the Stallions last weekend, though should be given the thumbs up for their incredible comeback from two-goals down.
With two-points separating the two sides, a win at Jensen Park would certainly give either of these sides the push they require to challenge for the top-four.
On Saturday evening Blacktown City Demons will hope to maintain their newly found confidence as they play host to a red-hot Wollongong FC.
Wollongong has certainly lifted the bar with their recent performances, and the arsenal possessed by John Turner?s side ? in an attacking sense ? is certainly frightening, as Osagie Ederaro, Ilija Prenzoski and Ballamadou Conde have really hit their straps.
Blacktown City was good value away against the Sharks last weekend, and if not for the fine performance of the Sharks? shot-stopper Phillip Zabaks, the Demons could well have taken the points.
Sydney United will be a difficult obstacle for Penrith-Nepean United if the Reds? Round 8 performance against A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers is anything to go by.
Coach Ivan Petkovic found the answers to the poor return on goals in recent weeks with the fine form of midfield wide-men Petar Markovic and Chris Boyle. The two flank-men were instrumental against the Tigers, and Sydney United chances will certainly surround the supply the wide men can deliver to Luka Glavas and Ben Vidaic up-front.
Penrith-Nepean has enjoyed a great start to the season, comprising some big scalps to-date. Abbas Saad?s men were brought back down to earth against Manly United last Sunday, a result the boys from Penrith will be hoping to overturn at Sydney United Sports Centre this Saturday.
At Seymour Shaw, Sutherland Sharks will need three-points, in the hope Manly United will fail to secure a win on Sunday against Sydney Olympic, against a troubled Marconi Stallions.
The Stallions scuffed an immense chance against the Berries last weekend to get their season on track, despite an all-round disappointing display, squandering a two-goal lead and two last minute chances to secure only one-point at home.
Sutherland?s hunger to-date, mixed with the disappointment of dropping points at home last weekend, should see the Brad Boardman-led strike-force hungry for goals.
On Sunday at Campbelltown Sports Ground Macarthur Rams face A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers ? the Rams still searching for their first win.
The Paul Carter coached side has given their much fancied opponents a tough time in recent weeks, though the side has failed to score goals despite the efforts of Hugo Coronel and Renato Jelen.
The Tigers on the other hand have big issues to visit following the soft performance against Sydney United last weekend.
The Tigers failed to get the ball rolling on home soil against the Reds, creating very little in-terms of clear goal scoring chances throughout the encounter.
Much of the Tigers? chances revolve around the service provided to the front pairing of Robert Younis and Franco Parisi, something that was certainly lacking last weekend.
Coach John Romeo will be looking for an improvement, as the Tigers? certainly did lift the bar previously, after a very slow start to the season.
 -By Joseph Carlucci