Super League Round 9 Preview


Early bolters Liverpool have been reigned in as defending champions Bonnyrigg spread their wings with a four point jump on the chasers, which include Fraser Park, St George, Parramatta and Granville. The Northern Tigers, Rockdale, Uni and Central Coast have a bit of work to do to catch up, while Mount Druitt and Fairfield still search for their first win of the campaign.
St George Saints host neighbours Rockdale City Suns in the local derby at Belmore Sportsground on Saturday night (7.30pm kick-off). St George are starting to build some momentum, despite last week?s 2-2 draw with strugglers Fairfield, and will look to continue their surge up the ladder at home against Rockdale. But history isn?t kind to the Saints with the Suns winning all three of their Super League meetings, 2-0 and 1-0 last year, and a 5-4 shootout in 2006.
Competition leaders Bonnyrigg White Eagles will get a stern test of their ability when a much-improved Granville Rage visit Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Saturday night (7.30pm). Bonnyrigg have skipped well clear at the top of the ladder, while Granville are peeping into the top-five, one point off the pace. The two clubs share honours in their four previous clashes, with the White Eagles winning both games at home. The Rage will recall thrashing the former Premier League outfit 5-1 in 2006.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers will strive for their first win of 2008 when they travel up the freeway to tackle Central Coast Lightning at Pluim Park on Saturday night (7.30pm). The Coasters are starting to hit their straps after a slow start to the season and can bridge the gap to the top-five with a strong showing at home. Mount Druitt may be without a win, but a goal difference of just minus-four shows they have gone close in every game. The Rangers do have a mountain to climb, losing twice to the Lightning last year, 3-1 and 2-0.
Bossy Liverpool take on Parramatta Eagles at Ernie Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon (3pm kick-off) in what should be a great game of football. Liverpool were the competition?s early pace-setters, but Parramatta is definitely a side on the move after a slight hiccup in April. Bossy won?t like the fact they are yet to down the Eagles in a Super League match, failing 3-0 and 1-0 (at Moorebank) last year. But coach Mile Todorovski has been around a long time and has plenty of tricks left up his sleeve.
Last year?s beaten grand finalists, the Northern Tigers have endured a tumultuous 2008 to date and would have looked to this Sunday?s clash against winless Fairfield City Lions at Mills Park (3pm) as some sort of reprieve. But, with Fairfield storming home to draw 2-2 with Parramatta last week, Northern won?t be treating the game lightly. The Lions will make history if they do get up on the weekend, having lost all four of their Super League meetings with the Tigers, including a 1-0 semi-final loss in 2006.
Sydney University host high-flyers Fraser Park Dragons at Uni Oval on Sunday afternoon (3pm) in a game sure to generate plenty of excitement for football fans. The Super League history between the two clubs is astounding. In four years, there have been five draws (four of them 2-2), Uni beat Fraser Park 2-0 at the same venue last year, while the Dragons? only win, 3-2, happened almost three years ago to the date this Sunday. The other game, an elimination semi-final in 2004, saw Uni knock Fraser Park out on penalties. What a game this should be.
-By Daniel De Nardi