Round 5 Super League Review


Round 5 Super League Review
The 2008 NSW Super League took on an extra dynamic with five fixtures now stacked in the ?unfinished business? tray courtesy of a damp weekend. Three round-five games were washed out (two on Saturday and one on Sunday before the morning had broken), but there were some noticeable results in the matches that did manage to get out on the park.
A slip-up from Liverpool, falling 0-1 to the Northern Tigers at home has cut Bossy?s competition lead to one-point over Bonnyrigg, who ground their way to a dogged 2-0 victory over Fraser Park. The Tigers are now in third spot, a point behind the White Eagles, but with a game-in-hand on the top-two. In the only other match played, St George flew past Sydney Uni 3-0 to reclaim a top-five position alongside Granville.
White Eagles snuff out Dragons
Bonnyrigg White Eagles are starting to add more timber to the NSW Super League bonfire with a methodical 2-0 win over Fraser Park Dragons at Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Saturday night. The White Eagles dominated the first half and claimed two decisive strikes before a rampant Dragons stormed home in the last half-hour, without being able to make a dent in the scoreboard.
Pride was always going to add some spice to the affair ? Fraser Park are yet to beat Bonnyrigg in three matches over two years, but they held the White Eagles to a 0-0 draw late last year which cost them the minor premiership. It was the home side that came out firing, passing crisply and using their speed to put the Dragons defence under pressure.
Bonnyrigg?s opening goal came on 25-minutes with a Goran Subara cross from the left finding the head of White Eagles team-mate Steven Bozinovski, although the ball may have taken a final touch off a Dragons defender. The home side thought more goals would come with Bonnyrigg dictating the tempo, although Fraser Park striker Tony Fariah had a shot cannon off the crossbar, but the score stayed 1-0 at halftime.
The White Eagles continued their attacks in the second half and, 20 minutes later, a clever one-two between Bozinovski and Daniel Willoughby saw the midfield general stroll in for Bonnyrigg?s second goal. This sparked Fraser Park into action and the Dragons looked likely of making inroads into the White Eagles lead, but the fulltime whistle was blown with a 2-0 scoreline.
Bonnyrigg coach Blagoja Kulevski was full of admiration for his players and acknowledged the good football played by Fraser Park, particularly perennial striker Fariah. ?He is a beautiful player and made many chances for himself, including one that hit the post. But I am very pleased with the performance from my players. I think it was their best performance of the year,? he said.
?It was a beautiful game at both ends. We applied the pressure that led to two goals, and we held them out when they were on the attack at the end. The boys did a fantastic job and I think Steven [Bozinovski] could be a key player for us this season.? Kulevski was mindful of a positive result, with other games being postponed, saying, ?We had to put pressure on the other teams who have catch up games.?
Fraser Park coach Alex Augusto wished his team could have played the whole game like they did in the last half-hour, where they created plenty of chances. He always knew Bonnyrigg would be a tough prospect on their home turf, but believed the Dragons held their own against the defending champions.
?The only difference between the two sides was that Bonnyrigg used their speed more than us,? he said. ?They went over us in the first half, and two silly mistakes from our wingers led to their goals. We were in the game and I?m very happy for last half-hour. It is early in the season, and there is lots of work to do, but we are still aiming to finish in the top-half of the season.?
Dominant Saints slay Uni
St George Saints defeated Sydney University 3-0 at Belmore Sportsground on Saturday night, but the scoreline could have been much different if Uni had capitalised on more of their chances. The game was evenly keeled in the first half with opportunities presenting themselves at both ends, the Saints hitting the crossbar and Uni forward Aaron Kidd pushing another attempt narrowly wide.
Uni coach Bruce Tilt told his players at halftime to make the most of what was an open game but St George were the ones who executed in the second half with Goran Popovski scoring seven minutes after the restart before a disastrous 60th minute own goal from Uni made the score 2-0 in the blink of an eye. Uni tried hard to come back but former player Matthew Demetriou sealed the win with a third goal for St George inside the final 10 minutes.
Saints coach John Calleja was a satisfied coach at fulltime after St George broke back into the top-five. ?The boys turned up to play ? our defence did well, we had good possession, and our passing game was good. Uni are a very good defensive team, a tough nut to crack, and it took some time to break them down. We did it in the end, and seven points out of a possible 12 is a reasonable start to the season. We want to continue going this way.?
While not happy with the result, Tilt was confident Uni?s first win of the season wasn?t far away. ?We were quite happy with ourselves. No-one likes to lose games. We didn?t find the back of net with the chances we had, but there were chances at both ends. They took theirs, we didn?t take ours,? he said.
?Both sides put together good options to open the game up and the score could have ended up anything. I feel we?re developing slowly and getting players in scoring positions. I?m happy we?re moving along, I?m just not happy with the results. Our position doesn?t worry me. St George were bottom of the table after three rounds last year and they made the semi-finals.?
Bossy headline here
The Northern Tigers dished out Bossy Liverpool?s first loss of the season, winning 1-0 at Ernie Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon. Liverpool kept first spot on the table but the Tigers were now just two points behind them, with their nemesis Bonnyrigg in between. They could go top following a catch-up game against St George at Fairfax Community Stadium, Seven Hills, on Wednesday (8pm kick-off).
Bossy started strongly but it was a deep cross from Anthony Mittiga on the right that led to the first score, Thomas Spencer?s header putting the Tigers ahead 1-0 inside the opening 20 minutes. Liverpool had several opportunities to draw even but their run of luck seemed to have deserted them and the Tigers finished the game full of running, missing a couple of guilt-edged chances that could have extended the winning margin.
Northern coach Hugh McCrory was pleased to come up trumps against such formidable competition, away from home and with little preparation due to flooded training grounds. He hopes his defence, which has conceded just two goals in four games, can hold up for an entire campaign.
?We battled away all game and were right on top in that last 20 minutes,? he said. ?It was physical, but a good game. I can see we still have a lot of hard work to do but the good thing is now we get everyone back [from injury and suspension], and that can only help us out.?
While McCrory spoke highly of several players ? including Simon Bell, Brendan Salameh and elevated under-20 defender Josh Yeates, who held Liverpool?s league high goalscorer Alex Canak scoreless ? he held special praise for goalkeeper Stuart Page, who kept a second clean sheet of the season. McCrory said a healthy spirit had developed at the club and that had helped generate early stability.
?I really have to take my hat off to Stuey [Page], he pulled off a couple of crucial saves, and half-parried, half-held another dangerous one, and any one of those moments could have been turning points. He?s been in fantastic form, which is good ?cause last year we conceded a s***load of goals in the first round. I just hope the defence can hold together for the entire season.?
Liverpool mentor Mile Todorovski said it was good to see his team match an experienced outfit like the Tigers. ?Oh yes, it was a tough game,? he said. ?We played well against one of two best teams in the competition. Surprisingly, for me, we competed from the first to the last minute, and had control of the game for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the Tigers had control of the result.?
?It was a good game for the fans. We created three, maybe four beautiful chances but, then, they had two excellent opportunities at the end and could have finished the game with more goals. Maybe we were lucky not to lose by more. Today wasn?t our day, and it?s very hard to hope for a different result if you don?t score a goal.?

Rain adds to catch-up games
The persistent rain also played its hand in round five results with three games postponed due to the wet. Central Coast Lightning sat out its second weekend in a row with its Saturday night clash with Parramatta Eagles at Pluim Park unable to proceed; the Granville Rage versus Fairfield City Lions match at Garside Park on Saturday night was also too waterlogged to play; and Rockdale City Suns had their Sunday afternoon fixture against Mount Druitt Town Rangers at Popondetta Park called off first thing on Sunday morning.
This week?s games
Next week could pave the way for a break between the top and bottom halves of the table. The Northern Tigers play a catch-up game against St George at Fairfax Community Stadium, Seven Hills, on Wednesday (8pm kick-off) night. On Saturday night, Central Coast Lightning play the Dragons at Fraser Park with both teams looking for a way off the bottom rungs of the ladder, and Fairfield City Lions host red-hot cross-town rivals Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Norford Park (both 7.30pm kick-offs).
The remaining four fixtures are on Sunday (all from 3pm) with St George Saints taking on Parramatta Eagles in a prime match at Melita Stadium half and Rockdale City Suns and Granville Rage facing-off at the Ilinden Sports Centre in another tantalising offering. Sunday also sees competition leaders Bossy Liverpool travel to Popondetta Park to tackle Mount Druitt Town Rangers, while a winless Sydney University begins a three-game horror stretch by welcoming the Northern Tigers to Uni Oval before meeting Liverpool and Parramatta away.
First grade:
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Steven Bozinovski 25m Daniel Willoughby 65m) Fraser Park Dragons 0
St George Saints 3 (Goran Popovski 52m own goal 60m Matthew Demetriou 81m) Sydney University 0
Bossy Liverpool 0 Northern Tigers 1 (Thomas Spencer 19m)
Central Coast Lightning vs Parramatta Eagles washed out

Granville Rage Fairfield vs City Lions washed out

Mount Druitt Town Rangers vs Rockdale City Suns washed out

Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 Fraser Park Dragons 2

St George Saints 2 Sydney University 2
Bossy Liverpool 1 Northern Tigers 1
Central Coast Lightning vs Parramatta Eagles washed out
Granville Rage vs Fairfield City Lions washed out
Mount Druitt Town Rangers vs Rockdale City Suns washed out
-By Daniel De Nardi