Super League Round 11 Preview


Five points separates seven teams ? Liverpool, Northern Tigers, Fraser Park, Granville, St George, Mount Druitt and Rockdale ? behind the competition frontrunners, and this weekend?s results are sure to impact on the current standings. Last weekend?s 21 goal-a-thon also boosted the competition average to a healthy three goals per game.
St George Saints hosts Granville Rage in a Saturday night match at Belmore Sports Ground (7.30pm kick-off), with both teams looking to break back into the top-five. There is a point between them, with Granville slightly ahead, and St George will certainly be smarting from their surprise 3-2 loss to Mount Druitt last weekend.
Granville are in form with a solid 2-1 win over Central Coast last week, but the Saints hold onto a tender historical advantage, with two wins from two games last year (2-1 and 1-0), following a dour 0-0 draw and 2-1 loss to the Rage in 2006.
With Bonnyrigg White Eagles skipping seven points clear at the top of the leaderboard, could a trip to Pluim Park to take on Central Coast Lightning this Saturday night (7.30pm) prove their fallibility. Central Coast is currently glued to the league bottom but boast an impressive record against champions Bonnyrigg.
The Lightning belted the White Eagles twice in their opening clashes, both at Pluim, winning 6-1 in 2006 and 4-0 in 2007. Throw in a 3-2 win at Bonnyrigg in late-2006 and it wasn?t until their most recent encounter, ironically on the June long weekend last year, that the White Eagles finally claimed a positive Super League result (2-0) over the Coasters.
On Sunday afternoon (3pm kick-off), Bossy Liverpool welcome Fraser Park Dragons to Ernie Smith Reserve. After bright starts, both top-five teams have hit the wall, Liverpool most dramatically with no goals scored from their last four rounds. In fact, they have only scored in half their matches despite playing the league?s leading goalscorer Alex Canak (eight goals).
There is quite a bit of rivalry between the sides with a win each in 2005 followed by two Bossy victories in 2006 (3-1 and 4-2). Two draws (1-1 and 0-0) marked last year?s meetings.
A rejuvenated Fairfield City Lions travel to Melita Stadium to tackle the red-hot PCYC Parramatta Eagles on Sunday afternoon (3pm). Dead last and without a win, Fairfield beat a plucky Sydney Uni side 2-1 last week.
But the Lions will need to lift their game even further to match it with the Eagles, who have soared into second spot behind their 3-0 shutout of Fraser Park in round nine. Parramatta enjoyed two wins from their only Super League encounters, taking out their 2007 fixtures 2-0 (at Melita) and 2-1.
Fourth-placed Northern Tigers welcome danger side Mount Druitt Town Rangers to Mills Park on Sunday afternoon (3pm). Mount Druitt has been the most unpredictable side of the competition with two wins and five draws from their 10 games played. A shock 3-2 win over St George showed off the Rangers mettle, and they probably won?t be daunted by a Tigers team desperate to regain their 2007 form.
Last year, Northern beat Mount Druitt 1-0 at Mills before a 1-1 battle royale at Popondetta.
The Rockdale City Suns versus Sydney University contest at the Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon (3pm) promises to be an enthralling match. Both teams need the points to stay in touch with the top half of the competition, but neither side has shown any sort of consistency over the opening 10 rounds.
Both coaches freely admit they are rebuilding, and building towards a strong finish to the year. History also depicts a closeness between the clubs with Rockdale winning 1-0 at home in 2006, followed by a 0-0 draw at Uni early in 2007, before the last meeting finished in a gritty 1-0 win to Uni at Ilinden.
-By Daniel De Nardi