Despite the disparity in places on the ladder there are a number of games that promise to be close tussles. Upsets are certainly not out of the question.
The Football NSW Match of the Day coverage is from Peel Park where third placed Gladesville Ravens meet fifth on the table Inter Lions. Gladesville were undefeated before last weekend when they run up against the rampaging Illawarra Stingrays. The Ravens well drilled defence struggled to close down Illawarra?s many attacking options but will fancy their chances against an injury ravaged Lions side. The Gladesville girls have been well served in past weeks by Captain Ashley Hume, Hannah Vousden and Courtenay Parrott. They?ll be looking to bounce back quickly from last week?s loss.
Inter Lions had started to really gather some momentum before last week?s unlucky loss to Southern NSW. Injuries to experienced players including striker Catherine Cannuli has made life difficult for the Lions in the last few weeks. The replacements have shown plenty of determination however but will need to lift against a talented Ravens side. Hayley Macbeth has been in good goal scoring form for Inter and Coach Joe Baldacci will be looking to Macbeth to contribute on the scoresheet again this weekend.
This promises to be a close one. If Inter are anywhere near full strength they?ll test Gladesville. A draw looks likely to me.
Southern NSW host St George FC at Ison Park. Southern broke through for their first win of the season against Inter Lions last weekend. This game shapes as a similar clash; St George, like Inter before last week, are on something of a role having pulled themselves up to fourth spot on the ladder. The home town venue seems to suit Southern who?ve played some of their best football in their home games this season. St George are looking for a hat trick of wins though and their form overall this season has been good.
Call me chicken but I?m going for another draw here.
UNSW meet Bankstown Wildcats at David Phillips Field. UNSW have one point from 5 games. Bankstown sits on five points but have lost four games in a row. It?s significant though that three of the teams they?ve lost to are sitting in the top four. Bankstown must fancy their chances of breaking their run of outs against a UNSW side that?s been very disappointing so far in 2008. The Wildcats will be hoping that Olympia Avramidis can add a few more goals to her tally here. These two sides have the worst defensive records in the competition. What that means coming into this game is anyone?s guess but it may signal a lot of excitement for the fans.
Bankstown look too good for mine.
Blacktown Spartans welcome Illawarra Stingrays to Francis Park; well, considering what?s happened every time Illawarra have gone visiting elsewhere maybe the Spartans won?t be too welcoming! Illawarra have certainly looked the goods so far this season. They boast goal scoring options around the park with their strike force the hottest in the league. Carney, Heyman, Akid, Halloway; the list goes on and on. The competition leaders managed to put away the previously undefeated Ravens last weekend despite playing the majority of the match one player short. Those facts don?t read well for a Spartans side that has struggled to make its mark in 2008.
The Stingrays by a comfortable margin.
Our final game sees second placed Western NSW Panthers meeting Northern Tigers in Bathurst. The Panthers finally conceded a goal last weekend; their first of the season. Their miserly defence won?t be keen on allowing any more slip ups. Gillian Rosconi has been in great form for The Panthers. The Tigers will need to be on their guard or the Panthers star will surely add to her goal tally.
The Tigers have impressed in the last few weeks with a couple of good wins plus a credible performance against Gladesville Ravens. Georgie Eastoe has looked a good for The Tigers along with Rachael Lewis and Captain Rosemary Toner. A difficult task awaits the girls next week when they run into Illawarra; teams one and two in a fortnight is a tough call but Tigers have shown improvement as the season has worn on. Who?s to say they won?t rise to the occasion here.
I think this one may be closer than it looks on paper but I can?t tip against The Panthers.
A good weekend?s football looms. Can any of the top four be toppled? Will Illawarra and Western NSW continue on their winning way towards a mega clash on the 1st June? Get out to a game this weekend and see the questions answered in person!
-By Ross Anderson