Super League takes a round six turn
The NSW Super League took a twist following round six results. Liverpool still lead Bonnyrigg by a point at the top after they beat winless Mount Druitt and Fairfield respectively, but the Northern Tigers fell off the pace after a midweek draw to St George and shock loss to Uni. This allowed the Saints to creep ahead of the Tigers on goal difference after a tight win against Parramatta, while Rockdale and Fraser Park closed in with wins over Granville and Central Coast. Liverpool ace Alex Canak also bolted to the top of the goalscorers list with a hat-trick taking him to eight goals from six matches.
Bonnyrigg thump Fairfield
A switched-on Bonnyrigg White Eagles tore apart Fairfield City Lions 4-1 at Norford Park on Saturday night. The three-goal victory cemented Bonnyrigg in second place at the top of the NSW Super League table as the only undefeated team, at the same time consigning a winless Fairfield to a miserable position near the bottom.
It was total domination from the opening whistle as White Eagles defender Mark D?Alessandro bobbed up for a goal on 17 minutes and the visitors maintained their lead to the main break. A few words from Bonnyrigg coach Blagoja Kulevski had the desired effect and whiz kid Goran Subara doubled his side?s lead 10 minutes after the restart with his third goal of the season.
Super League veteran Gary Dal Broi made the score 3-0 when he added another goal in the 62nd minute but Fairfield were not done with yet and Nabil Codmani surprised Bonnyrigg with a strike inside the final quarter-hour to bring the scores back to 1-3. Any hopes of a comeback were dashed, however, when former Lions midfielder Musti Akca scored against his old team with a fourth White Eagles goal less than a minute later.
Bonnyrigg are certainly liking their match-ups with Fairfield, having scored 14 goals against them in the past three encounters. But, with Bonnyrigg scoring 15 goals during a four-game winning streak in this year?s Super League campaign, Kulevski was more pleased with the focus from his players.
?It was a very, very good win ? total domination. The boys took the game seriously, as it is always difficult playing against the bottom teams. [Fairfield] are very desperate for the win, and the cross-town game is always dangerous. So, t maximum result was important to us, especially with the Tigers draw midweek. At the moment, we are in the good form.?
Park better than Coast
Fraser Park Dragons returned to the winners-circle with a 3-0 shut-out of Central Coast Lightning at Fraser Park on Saturday night. It was the Dragons? first win since round one, but it was a different story for the Lightning, who sit alone at the bottom of the Super League table with zero points after four straight losses.
Supreme striker Tony Faria wasted no time in asserting Fraser Park?s dominance with a well-taken chance in the fifth minute of the game and Alex Leris made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark. Central Coast regrouped but the game was lost when Greg Collins added a third goal for the Dragons five minutes from fulltime.
Fraser Park coach Alex Augusto could finally afford a smile after a month of agonising draws and close losses. ?It was a good win, I?m very happy to win the game. Central Coast tried hard, but we were very oraganised at the back. It?s taken a few games, but we got good goals and we are all happy to come up with the win. The players have responded very well after a frustrating few weeks.?
Central Coast mentor John McLafferty said his team was a week away from winning. ?It will change, we?re very close [to a win],? he said. ?We have attacking formations, we?ve been playing good football, and can match it with other teams. I just have to try and get young boys to play like men. At the same time, it?s a good stepping stone for them into a more competitive league.?
St George slay Parramatta
A clever St George Saints put PCYC Parramatta Eagles to the sword at Melita Stadium on Sunday afternoon, prevailing 2-1 in a slugfest. Parramatta had a couple of goal disallowed and nipped at the heels of St George throughout the match, the Saints holding on after a scoreless second half to skip into the top-three following their 0-0 midweek draw with the Northern Tigers.
The match wasn?t 10 minutes old when a the drama started, with Saints keeper Trinity Allen yellow-carded for a clumsy challenge just outside the box as he was closing in on Eagles forward Andy Amegashie. Had the referee played advantage for five more seconds, he may have allowed 18-year-old Kyle Romero to score his first goal for Parramatta. Instead, Trinity was yellow carded and the free kick proved fruitless.
St George then started to turn their own screws and they bit the Parramatta defence hard with goals to Nick Polimenakos and Matt Demetriou, before Eagles midfielder Mathew Clowes made the most of a set piece to head home and bring the scores back to 2-1 at halftime. Michael Fallah thought he had equalized for Parramatta in the second half, slotting in a rebound off the cross bar only for the referee to cancel the strike for offside.
St George coach John Calleja was very pleased. ?It was a tough game, Parramatta played well,? he said. ?The second half was a dogged performance. But, to pick up seven out of the last nine points available is very pleasing. It was an aim of the coaching staff, and the players have performed really well over the three games. We?re taking it little-by-little, and aim to get bits of improvement out of the team every week. If we can keep going this way, I hope we can be there at the end of the season.?
Parramatta coach Jason Falzon remained upbeat despite the loss. ?It was a tough match, to lose 2-1 and have two goals disallowed. I really thought the referee blew his whistle too early on that incident in the first 10 minutes. The ball went in the goal, so he should have either played the advantage and yellow-carded the keeper or maybe taken more action against the keeper.?
?It was a bit of a disappointment, we certainly put some pressure on them but, when you have seven main players out, that?s a lot,? he said. ?It?s a depleted squad but you just have to battle on. It?s a young team, and I?m sure we?ll get back on track over the next few games. I can?t fault the players, the guys that are out there are putting in 100 per cent.?
Rockdale down Granville
A methodical Rockdale City Suns called on all their patience to dispatch Granville Rage 2-0 at the Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon. After both sides traded blows for 70 minutes, Rockdale came alive and scored two quick goals to collect all three points from the fixture and jump into a top-five position.
Granville had plenty of chances early on only to find a rock solid Rockdale defence thwart their many attacks. With 20 minutes left, Baturay Akin made a sideline burst and cut the ball back into Nick Bosevski, who finished well to give the Suns a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes later, Akin again won the ball in midfield and passed ahead to Dominic Hudap. He laid it on to a running Danny Wilson, who veered around the Rage keeper for a second score.
Rockdale coach Michael Grbevski was delighted with the result, and the effort. He said he learned plenty from the Suns 2007 season, when his team had quality but were not prepared for the full season. ?It was a workmanlike performance,? he said. ?A very tough game where they had plenty of opportunities in the first half but our fitness showed in last 20 minutes.
?We played very solidly and had to be patient. I know that if we can stay with it for most of the game, we?ll outrun most of our opposition. I knew from last year that the most important thing in this league is fitness. I know I have the ball players to win the game, and this year we?re fit and ready for it.?
Liverpool climb Mount Druitt
Liverpool Bossy kept their noses in front of the NSW Super League pack with a crushing 3-1 win over Mount Druitt Town Rangers at Popondetta Park on Sunday afternoon. And it was that man again, Alex Canak, who rounded off a terrific team display from Liverpool, with the lively striker netting all three goals for the visitors. Mount Druitt have failed to beat Liverpool in five tries and remain winless in 2008.
Bossy came out with all guns blazing, Canak capitalising from some enterprising play to score inside the first minute of the game, but the home side hit back on the half-hour mark with a Rangers player left alone in the middle of the box to edge it past helpless Liverpool custodian Ivan Kovacevic. The two sides entered halftime locked at 1-1.
Bossy coach Mile Todorovski had seen Mount Druitt play recently and noticed their flat formation at the back, trying to spring the offside trap. He told his players to increase the number of through-balls to his potent attack force, and they responded almost immediately with Canak set free to face the Rangers keeper on his own. He calmly slotted it home for a 2-1 lead.
To emphasise their point, a beautiful pass along the ground from Liverpool Wyne Gibson a minute later sent Canak on a streak again, and his one-on-one skills were sublime as he extended Bossy?s advantage to 3-1. Unfortunately, over exuberance from Canak inside the final quarter-hour would see him receive a second yellow card, forcing Liverpool to defend their lead with 10-men.
?I thought we controlled the game quite well, only this week we also scored the goals, so it was a much better result for us,? Todorovski said. ?But it is simple for us: if you cant score the goals, you cant win. But I am realistic, Bonnyrigg, the [Northern] Tigers and St George have always been my choices to win it. It?s nice to be up there with them, and we will try everything to stay there.?
Uni tame Tigers
Sydney University jumped off the bottom of the ladder with a shock 2-0 victory over the Northern Tigers at Uni Oval on Sunday afternoon. Promoted under-20 player Aaron Kidd proved the difference as he scored twice, also notching up four goals for the year. But, after coming so close to a win on several occasions this season, Uni coach Bruce Tilt is not overly surprised by the result.
?I told you last week not to write us off too early,? he rightly said. ?We?ve been close to a win most of the year, and really took a lot out of the loss to Bonnyrigg ? and that was our motivation. We thought that if we did so well against Bonnyrigg and got nothing out of it, we could beat the Tigers. We respected that they were a good football side, but we really put them off their game and only gave them two real chances at scoring.?
?I know we have the strike power and we created plenty of havoc with the Tigers defence. This time, we also plugged up our defence and didn?t concede. It was a good all-round display. Look, we?re a little na?ve, a little young, and we?ll have good days and not so good days. People have to understand that the payers are so young. For many of them, this is their first time in first grade and they are still feeling their way.?
?We lost both our strikers in the second half [to injuries] but we still managed to create 11 chances. Aaron Kidd up front is really stepping up and wants the ball, while Ihsan Savran is a young lad who gave everything. He was all over the park today. I?m a bit critical and like them to keep their shape, but he just wanted to be in everything, and that gave us extra spark.?
After a rewardless start to the season, Tilt held special praise for the spirit at the Uni club. ?We were down a few players at the start of this game and had to steal a few players from the under-20?s. The under-20?s were beaten by six goals, but all of those players cheered on their team-mates for the first grade game, and the young boys did the job for us. The quality is not quite there but the spirit is something different. The camaraderie at the club is tremendous.?
?But I don?t want them to get too far away from it. Now we know we can win, the question is can we do it again next week against [leaders] Liverpool. We are taking a lot of confidence into the next match, but we must realise that we built up to this point through hard work, not luck. We?re ready for it and I think it will be quite a good match.?
Fairfield City Lions 1 (Nabil Codmani 74m) Bonnyrigg White Eagles 4 (Mark D?Alessandro 17m Goran Subara 56m Gary Dal Broi 62m Musti Akca 75m)
Fraser Park Dragons 3 (Tony Faria 5m Alex Leris 28m Greg Collins 85m) Central Coast Lightning 0
PCYC Parramatta Eagles 1 (Matt Clowes 42m) St George Saints 2 (Nick Polimenikos 20m Matt Demetriou 30m)
Sydney University 2 (Aaron Kidd 16/45m) Northern Tigers 0
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 1 (P Marosevic 30m) Bossy Liverpool 3 (Alex Canak 1/51/52m)
Rockdale City Suns 2 (Nick Bosevski 70m Danny Wilson 81m) Granville Rage 0
Northern Tigers 0 St George Saints 0 (rescheduled R4)
Fairfield City Lions 0 Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0
Fraser Park Dragons 0 Central Coast Lightning 2
PCYC Parramatta Eagles 3 St George Saints 0
Sydney University 1 Northern Tigers 7
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 5 Bossy Liverpool 1
Rockdale City Suns 1 Granville Rage 0
Northern Tigers 1 St George Saints 0 (rescheduled R4)
-By Daniel De Nardi