Super League Round 11 Review


St George beat Granville 1-0 and Fairfield and Parramatta played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Sunday to generate some life from a damp round of football.
Bonnyrigg hold a six-point lead over Parramatta on the leaderboard with Liverpool, St George, Northern, Fraser Park and Granville separated by two points behind them.
Saints deny Rage
St George were one of the teams to take advantage of Bonnyrigg?s wet holiday with the Saints holding out a frustrated Granville Rage outfit 1-0 at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday night.
A Nick Polimenakos goal on the half-hour mark was enough to give St George the upper hand, and they withheld a second-half Granville barrage to register their third successive Super League win over the Rage.
The result returned the Saints to the top-five mix and gave coach John Calleja a good confidence booster ahead of this Saturday night?s blockbuster against Bonnyrigg (at Belmore). Granville mentor, Lee Sterrey, wasn?t so happy. He said a crucial defensive error and a string of squandered scoring opportunities saw the game slip away from the Rage.
?It was disappointing. We made one crucial error in the first half and got punished by them, and then we had two or three good chances ourselves that went unrewarded,? he said. ?Honestly, we were camped in their half for the whole second half, we just weren?t sharp at the sharp end of the park. St George is one of a number of sides battling to get into the playoffs, but I didn?t feel a loss was a fair result.?
?I was very happy with the Central Coast result (a 2-1 win to Granville last week). The week before we poured our heart and soul into the Bonnyrigg game and got nothing out of it, and it?s very hard to back up and get a result when the players a feeling down. But they performed very well against Central Coast and got the result we needed. St George made it hard for us and we just took a lot of wrong options and didn?t get ourselves out of trouble.?
The game was decided when an errant pass into the middle of the park from the defensive back for Granville was intercepted by a St George player and forwarded to Polimenakos, who finished the job and put the Saints 1-0 up. Granville countered swiftly and repetitively, Dave Hardy fluffing two scoring attempts, skying a shot from in front of goal and then kicking to the keeper in a one-on-one situation. The Rage will look to regroup ahead of their midweek Cup knockout game with APIA Leichhardt Tigers before facing the Northern Tigers next weekend.
Calleja agreed the Saints rode a little luck in getting away with all three points. ?Granville were pretty good and had a lot of possession. We did very well in defence, which was good because our defence has been shaky of late. I knew that if the Rage got one, they would?ve shut up shop, so I was pretty pleased when we scored first. We just scrambled hard after that.?
?But we?ve talked about these sorts of games, where we have played well and drawn games and lost them when we probably should?ve won them. Against Granville, we didn?t play all that well but we were determined and dogged and, in those conditions, you don?t have to be so flamboyant to get the result. We now need to look for consistency and, if we can string 2-3 results in a row, we can get their heads up in that dog pack.?
Fairfield and Parramatta draw
PCYC Parramatta Eagles found a last gasp goal to save face against a stubborn Fairfield City Lions at Melita Stadium on Sunday, the tit-for-tat affair ending 2-2. It was the only game played on a wet day, but that didn?t stop the goals from coming, and it was masterminded substitutions from both coaches that provided all the end-of-game drama.
Parramatta started brightly and Andy Amegashie headed the home side in front on 26-minutes, with more goals going begging for the Eagles before halftime. It was a more committed Fairfield to take the field in the second half and, on 60-minutes, a clever chip from Yavuz Ekinci set Peter Bouzanis up for a one-on-one with Parramatta goalkeeper Stacey Alogdellis, with the Lions player making no mistake in levelling up the scores.
A genius substitution from Fairfield coach Aydin Cetinay straight after the goal brought lively forward Jarred Aligiannis into the affray, and he finished off a terrific through-ball from Ekinci on 65 minutes to put the visitors in front 2-1. Aligiannis had a chance to extend the Lions lead only for an athletic save from Alogdellis to keep the scores unchanged.
With the game heading for fulltime, it took a late surge from Parramatta to steal back a point from the game, with Eagles substitute Michael Fallah providing all the heroics when he met an Achilles cross on the penalty spot and smashed a header into goal. The ball had barely been plucked out of the net when the referee blew his whistle with the scores locked at 2-2. 
Cetinay was getting excited about his team?s improvements, but lamented on conceding a last-minute goal. ?Our second half was good and it was a good finish to game. I think the only difference is we?re finishing better, we?re giving ourselves more chances, and that lifts the morale. It is starting to come together, and we?re working hard for each other.?
?At the moment our confidence is high and we are starting to talk about the possibility of making the playoffs, which is making for a positive feeling at the club. We?ve still got a chance if we keep going the way we?re going. We must be doing something right. The signs are there, it just took a long time to get to where we are now.?
Parramatta coach Jason Falzon wasn?t surprised Fairfield would be hard to knock over, and acknowledged the Eagles were lucky to get something from the match in the end. “I knew it would be tough in those conditions but, with the amount of chances we had in that first half, we should have wrapped the game up by the break. Then we lost our concentration and let them back into the game.?
?We should have been smart enough to win the game, and it?s disappointing to have dropped two points at home. We?ve played some good football of late, but that was not the best we have been. Well done to Fairfield for making the most of their chances.?
Rain drowns out key matches
Pluim Park was declared sunken and the scheduled meeting between Central Coast Lightning and competition frontrunners Bonnyrigg White Eagles postponed on Saturday night, leaving the door open for rival teams to bridge the gap on Sunday and apply some pressure to the runaway leaders. Bonnyrigg coach Blagoja Kulevski certainly wasn?t feeling the pinch.
?I don?t think we will feel the pressure if we just do our job. The pressure is more on the other teams, not me,? he said. ?We have some points at the front and can look at doing different things over the next few games, especially with some players out suspended, and some new players coming to Bonnyrigg from Premier League. I think the team will be better for it, but it might take some games for it all to come together.?
The Bossy Liverpool versus Fraser Park Dragons fixture was also called off due to a waterlogged Ernie Smith Reserve on Sunday. The rain hit the Moorebank club the hardest as the postponement extends Liverpool?s competition goal-scoring drought to five weeks and Bossy coach Mile Todorosvki is at a loss to explain why.
?It is very difficult to explain. The problem is not just at the front, it is something that has to be fixed from all over the park. We need our midfielders to help out and show that they can score some goals for us,? he said. ?It seems the players have to find their passion again, while we try and fix the problem. But, if you not score the goal, you have no hope for any points, this is for true.?
Rockdale City Suns and Sydney University will have to wait to play their round 11 match-up after extra rain on Sunday morning forced officials to call the game off. Uni coach Bruce Tilt said he tried hard to keep the match on but the pitch was just too wet to play on.
?It?s a shame because the boys trained well during the week and were very keen to keep it going against Rockdale,? he said. ?We?re doing okay at the moment, maybe just a bit behind par of where we thought we would be at this stage. But, with all the teams bunched up at the moment, it?s a pretty open competition and a few good results in a row will put us right in the mix.?
Another game affected by the weather was the Mount Druitt Town Rangers clash against Northern Tigers at Mills Park on Sunday, with the match added to the catch-up list. Tigers coach Hugh McCrory had mixed feelings about the rain. The break provides an extra week of recovery for Stephen Chipps (broken foot) and his rebuilding band of charges.
?We?re nearly back to full strength, but I?d rather play,? he said. ?I?d rather try and get the points on the board rather than play catch up games. We?ve got some big games coming up and it?s going to be difficult to fit all the missed games in.?
Next week?s games
There are some cracker games in round 12 of the NSW Super League next weekend with St George taking on Bonnyrigg in a Saturday night screamer at Belmore Sports Ground. On Sunday afternoon, Liverpool host Central Coast at Moorebank, Fraser Park welcome Fairfield, Parramatta face Rockdale at Melita Stadium, Northern Tigers tackle Granville at Mills Park, and Mount Druitt visit Sydney Uni Oval.
 St George Saints 1 (Nick Polimenakos 33m) Granville Rage 0
PCYC Parramatta Eagles 2 (Andy Amegashie 26m, Michael Fallah 89m) Fairfield City Lions 2 (Peter Bouzanis 60m, Jarred Aligiannis 65)
Rockdale City Suns vs Sydney University washed out
Bossy Liverpool vs Fraser Park Dragons washed out
Central Coast Lightning vs Bonnyrigg White Eagles washed out
Mount Druitt Town Rangers vs Northern Tigers washed out
-By Daniel De Nardi