Super League Round 12 Preview


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.
The second half of the season kicks off this weekend with a tantalising mix of matches. Round one results will carry little weight as most of the competition?s slow-starters have broken free from their early-season shackles and will provide sterner tests this time around. Not even a new-look Bonnyrigg will be safe from the hungry pack of prowlers lurking behind them.
Round 12 kicks off with a Saturday night screamer at Belmore Sports Ground as fourth-placed St George Saints prepare to knock high-flyers Bonnyrigg White Eagles from their lofty perch (7.30pm start). The two sides drew 1-1 at Bonnyrigg in round one and the Saints will be keen to show up last year?s grand final winners on home turf. There?s also the added incentive of payback after Bonnyrigg knocked St George out of last year?s title race with a 2-1 preliminary final win at the Sports Club. The Saints are capable of big scores having beaten the White Eagles 3-0 and 4-0 in the past two years.
On Sunday afternoon, a struggling Bossy Liverpool host a resurgent Central Coast Lightning at Ernie Smith Reserve (3pm kick-off). After starting the season with four straight victories, Liverpool has gone backwards, mainly due to the fact they haven?t scored a league goal in the past five weeks. Central Coast won?t be happy with their lowly position on the table, but they have shown signs of improvement and will be confident of upsetting Liverpool this weekend. The sides share two one-goal Super League victories each, the most recent going to Bossy 2-1.
PCYC Parramatta Eagles face Rockdale City Suns at Melita Stadium on Sunday afternoon (3pm) in what?s sure to be a defining clash for the visitors. Rockdale started season 2008 strongly before a run of inconsistency cost them momentum. They also won?t like the fact they haven?t beaten Parramatta in three Super League starts, losing 3-1 twice last year to go with a 1-0 loss in round one. The Eagles ? held to a 2-2 draw by Fairfield last week – are in second position and can?t afford to let leaders Bonnyrigg skip further ahead with a poor showing this weekend.
Fraser Park Dragons welcome a rejuvenated Fairfield City Lions outfit to Fraser Park on Sunday afternoon (3pm). The Dragons? form has been up and down of late, while the Lions have really found their feet with a win and draw from their last two outings. But even Fairfield would concede their 5-0 drubbing in round one was a dreadful display and they will have to be on their game to defeat Fraser Park at their home ground (despite the Lions winning 2-1 there late last year). The Dragons hold an edge over three years, having bagged three wins from their five Super League encounters.
Northern Tigers tackle Granville Rage in an interesting match-up at Mills Park on Sunday afternoon (3pm). The Tigers are fifth and Granville sit a point behind them, and their Super League history is long. In 2005, the then-named Western Rage enjoyed a 4-2 away win and 0-0 draw at home. But the action heated up in 2006 with traded blow-outs (4-0 to Northern and 4-1 to Granville), before the Tigers buried the Rage in an enthralling semi-final win (on penalties). Northern won both 2007 encounters, a 5-4 thriller and tense 2-1 win, and made it four successive wins with a 3-1 victory in round one this year.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers visit Sydney University at the Oval on Sunday afternoon with both teams having plenty to play for. The top-five teams are not that far ahead of them and a win for either side this weekend will put them right back in the playoff mix. Mount Druitt is yet to taste success against Uni, losing 3-1 and 1-0 in 2007 before a dour 0-0 round one draw ? the first of five Rangers stalemates. Both teams boast low goal-scoring records this year, averaging around a goal a game, but with more to play for, it may open up the game as well.
-By Daniel De Nardi