Arrive Alive NSW Womens Super League Round 8 Preview


The top three continue to dominate but the crowd hovering around fourth place appears to be getting more clustered. This round doesn?t pit many of the top sides against each other but does offer a number of the top four contenders a chance to strengthen their claims.
Premiership favourites the Illawarra Stingrays continue to power along atop the ladder. Having scored almost three times as many goals as their nearest challengers The Stingrays are an awesome attacking outfit. There are times the girls seem to be just going through the motions but, when they unleash, Illawarra are shredding defences. These reports keep mentioning Michelle Carney and Michelle Heyman, and it?s difficult not to. The ?Michelles? seem to take it in turns to score hat tricks, braces and generally torment the opposing defensive line. There?s plenty of great work being done elsewhere on the park but these two are doing the job all strikers are born to do; score goals. Illawarra have looked a class above every side in the competition so far.
Northern Tigers are a gritty side. They don?t necessarily ?play pretty? but they work hard. Though beaten in two of their last three matches by top four sides The Tigers have put in creditable performances. Players like Georgie Eastoe, Gabriella Del Pozza, Racheal Lewis and Rosemary Toner have been in good form and should relish the challenge that this match offers.
How can anyone tip against The Stingrays in this one? They just have too much talent, too much firepower, too much class.
Bottom ranked UNSW meet the Western NSW Panthers at David Phillips Field. UNSW haven?t had much to crow about this season. They?ve struggled to compete and can?t be eyeing this match too optimistically. Two goals for the season and one point from six matches doesn?t read as the sort of form that will brings shivers to the spines of The Panthers or their supporters.
Western NSW have been keen in their chase of the table topping Stingrays having only dropped points to Gladesville so far this season. The Panthers defence has been almost faultless, having conceded only one goal in 2008. The girls will also be looking at this match as a warm up for the blockbuster clash with Illawarra in Bathurst the following Sunday. Gillian Rosconi would be shining her goal scoring boots for that one.
I can?t see anything but a convincing Panthers win.
The Bankstown Wildcats host Southern NSW FC. The Wildcats bounced back into the winner?s list last weekend after a long run of outs. Whilst Southern are sure to provide stiffer opposition than last week?s foes, UNSW, The Wildcats will be heartened by that effort. Despite their poor run of form they sit only one point outside the top four; a fact that should offer plenty of incentive for this weekend?s match.
Southern NSW have found their form at home in the last few weeks managing to stop the climb up the ladder by both Inter Lions and St George. The pressure is now on to produce that sort of effort away from home; something Southern haven?t been able to do so far in 2008. Possibly the run of six points in two weeks may have the Nowra girls believing a little more in their ability though. Can they keep the momentum going?
This game?s a toss up. Southern appear to be on the move however. I see them winning narrowly.
The match of the round in the Arrive Alive NSW Womens Super League this week appears to be the fourth placed St George FC versus third placed Gladesville Ravens clash at Peakhurst. St George had been steadily working their way up the ladder until last week?s stutter against Southern NSW. They?ll be keen to put the lie to that form by stunning The Ravens here.
Gladesville would have pleased their fans last week with the manner of their comeback against Inter Lions. After going two goals down early The Ravens dug deep to score an emphatic victory. It was the sort of win seasons are made on. Coach Paul Wade will be trying to repeat his half time pep talk of last week to rally his troops to a 90 minute effort. Courtenay Parrott, Melissa Fornito, Ashleigh Smith and Fatma Ager all played big parts in last week?s win and will be looking for a repeat performance here.
Gladesville really impressed me last week. I have to tip them on the strength of that effort. Sorry Paul!
After ten minutes of last weekend?s Inter Lions v Gladesville Ravens match I?m sure I saw Inter Coach Joe Baldacci leaning back on the bench smoking a large Cuban cigar. At 2-0 up and his girls appearing to dominate Joe would have felt that his girls were on the way to an important win. Unfortunately something happened, I?m not sure that neither Coach Joe nor this writer are sure what, and the complexion of the game changed. That?s two gut wrenching defeats in a row for the Inter girls. They had claims to being unlucky in Nowra against Southern NSW but last week Ravens came home over the top of them. That said The Lions have been in good form recently. Their top four aspirations are still alive but games like this Sunday?s need to be won if that?s to remain the case.
Blacktown have had a disappointing season thus far. They were on the end of a comprehensive loss to Illawarra Stingrays last week; their third loss in succession. Inter sit only two points above them on the table though so The Spartans would certainly look to this match as a game they can win. Their diminishing hopes of a top four spot hinge on an improved performance here. Can they find some spark for this one?
Inter Lions for mine. Not by a lot but a one goal margin is more than enough.
Looks like an interesting Sunday of football looming. For those with a passion for women?s football you could do much worse than a trip to the SFS tonight to catch The Matildas in action against Canada in an international friendly. This match kicks off at 5.15pm and is the preliminary game to the Socceroos v Ghana match. A tremendous night of football ahead for all Aussie supporters.
-By Ross Anderson