League leader Manly United has confirmed their credentials as a serious title contender in recent weeks, further proof that the Manly side?s tremendous 2007 season was a first step toward joining the list of ?big boys? in the elite NSW competition.
Manly United?s two tough weekends away from home ? both of which produced three-pointers following hard-fought displays ? presents Phil Moss? squad with a home fixture against an unpredictable Sydney United.
Manly has their ?firing? striker Robbie Cattanach in super form, meanwhile Craig Midgley has proven his worth to-date with exceptional performances for the side.
Ivan Petkovic will be eager for his men to quickly overcome the heart-break of failing to secure maximum points against Penrith-Nepean United last weekend ? Penrith equalised in the final minute of regular time to snatch a point from a match dominated by the Reds.
Second-placed Sutherland Sharks need to stop the win-less streak they are currently experiencing ? three scoreless draws from their past three matches.
The Sharks will be without goalkeeper Phillip Zabaks through suspension, though will be more than covered in that department by the ever impressive Michael Brandalise.
Up-front, Brad Boardman will be searching to return to the goal scorer?s list meanwhile Brendan Gan, Pedj Bojic and Jim Bakis will again be the ?go to? men out of the Sharks midfield.
West Sydney Berries will have every chance of causing an upset this round, with their giant-killing form adding to their list of scalps that of Bankstown City in Round 9.
Coach Scott Baillie and his Assistant Shamon Ramsin have mixed together a more than capable outfit, led in the attacking third by the brother partnership of Nicolo and Giosue Sama. The task at hand for the Sharks will certainly be no easy one this Sunday.
One of the great National Soccer League (NSL) rivalries will be rekindled at Belmore Sports Ground as Sydney Olympic and A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers go head-to-head.
For the Blues the encounter is a must win, following the slump in form they have endured. The Blues have struggled without the input of Shannon Cole who has been out through injury, though promising signs did come out of the Blues loss against Manly United last weekend.
The Blues dominated for large spells though luck ? in-front of goal ? was not on their side.
In contrast, the Tigers were very effective in-front of goal against Macarthur Rams in Round 9 ? Robbie Younis the Tigers? hat-trick hero.
John Romeo?s men have enjoyed a roller-coaster ride in this first part of the season, though the order of the day at the Club is for consistency, and there is no better match for the Tigers to start a winning streak than an encounter against rivals Sydney Olympic.
At Penrith?s CUA Stadium, Penrith-Nepean United will be aiming to inflict further pain to the win-less Macarthur Rams.
The Rams performances have certainly risen in recent weeks, though goals have not been forthcoming as Paul Carter?s side has only found the back-of-the-net on three occasions.
Penrith-Nepean?s massive performances thus far have arrived on home soil, though their reputation of ?giant-killers? at the CUA Stadium is under the microscope following the heavy shellacking handed out by Manly United in Round 8.
Bankstown City?s luck ? or lack there of ? must certainly be on the up. The Peter Tsekenis coached side has been in great form, yet goals have been hard to come by.
Still with a match in hand, Bankstown City needs to get a move on if they are to mount a serious push for a finals finish.
Sunday afternoon proposes an intriguing battle as last season?s Grand-Finalists go head-to-head.
Tsekenis will again pin his hopes on James Monie and Robbie Mileski?s creativity for Bankstown, meanwhile rival Coach Ken Schembri will be looking for more of the same from the impressive Ken Chun and Brian Vanega following his side?s clash with Wollongong FC.
The encounter promises to be a physical battle with few goals, as both sides together have only just hit double figures in the ?goals for? tally ? Bankstown City with three goals and Blacktown City with seven ? from the opening nine rounds of the competition.
One Saturday evening match in Round 10 as Marconi Stallions ? who have had a forgettable time to-date ? face an in-form Wollongong FC.
With the pressure on the Stallions coaching staff continually mounting, the Stallions must win this home clash to have any chance of fighting in the second-half of the season for a spot in the finals-series.
Tolgay Ozbey should return to the starting line-up after being dropped to the bench for the Sharks clash last weekend, meanwhile the experience of Nahuel Arrarte should also return after missing the trip to Sutherland through illness.
John Turner?s men had a slip-up in form at Blacktown City last weekend, bringing to a halt an impressive three-match winning streak.
Osagie Ederaro and Ilija Prenzoski will again carry the weight of expectation up-front, meanwhile Steve Hayes and Ben Blake will be leading Wollongong from the backline.
The Wolves have had shot-stopper Justin Pasfield in exceptional form, an additional piece to the Wollongong FC puzzle that seems to have overcome the frailties of recent campaigns. John Turner?s good work to-date stands his side as one of the contenders for the title this season.
-By Joseph Carlucci