Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Premier League Round 12 Preview


Their first round clash was a nail biting affair in which no quarter was given. The Koalas ended up on the wrong side of the ledger that day; both in terms of injuries and on the scoreboard. The loss remains the only blot on the Koalas copybook for 2008. They will certainly be looking for revenge on their home turf this Sunday.
The Koalas come into the game after a week off last weekend following Sydney?s wet spell. Their previous two games had resulted in narrow but comfortable wins over the league?s two least successful sides in 2008, Central Coast Lightning and Sutherland Sharks. Koalas don?t seem to be a team that goes out and lays 6 or 7 goals on their opposition. They are a side, however, that always seems to get the job done. Striker Alicia Cavanagh has been in fine goal scoring form, whilst the likes of Rachel Jones, Anna Mclean and Danni Calvi have been making significant contributions to The Koalas cause. This is a seriously good football side with well deserved premiership credentials.
The Rams, on the other hand, have spent the last few weeks battling against injuries. With players like Renee Cartwright and Sigrid Manty spending more time at physio than matches, along with the suspension of Kylie Ledbrook, the fearsome Rams have lost some of their bite in recent matches. However, they?ve lost none of their determination. Games against Penrith Nepean United and Sutherland Sharks proved much tougher than expected with the opposition sides leaving Lynwood Park believing that they each deserved more out of the game than what they got. Stephanie Haim and Danielle Brogan have been two Rams stars who?ve helped keep the ship afloat during this troubled period. Macarthur will certainly miss their inspirational midfield maestro Kylie Ledbrook this week; Ledbrook?s yellow card against The Sharks last weekend putting her back on the suspension list for this important clash on Sunday.
This promises to be a real battle royal. I doubt that there?ll be any prisoners taken. The loss of Kylie Ledbrook though is a big concern for Macarthur and may tip the scales slightly in favour of The Koalas. I?ll risk never being allowed near ELS Hall Park again by tipping the locals for a narrow win.
Another interesting match up this weekend sees tow of the competitions ?improvers?, Penrith Nepean United and Sydney University do battle at Cook Park, St Mary?s. Penrith sit just one point outside the top four. Three points from this game is vitally important to the Penrith girls if they hope to keep pace with the leading group. Their form coming into this game looks excellent; a narrow and some may say unlucky loss to Macarthur Rams followed by a solid win over Manly United. That last performance in particular gives plenty of notice to the top sides of Penrith?s intent for season 2008. I was at the game against Rams and left very impressed by what I saw from Penrith. Captain/Coach Taryn Rockall has them playing a fine brand of football.
Sydney University started the season poorly. They looked destined to be more involved in the battle for the wooden spoon rather than any higher honours. The top four is still a long way in the distance but University are to be congratulated on the manner in which they?ve fought back in the last month. Draws with premiership heavyweights like Manly United and Marconi, as well as wins over Central Coast and Sutherland, show that University may be quite deserving of their place in the upper echelon. Yes, they stumbled in their return bout with The Stallions a fortnight back but they deserve plenty of respect from Penrith in this clash.
At the risk of alienating my Sydney University readers further, I?m going to tip Penrith by a narrow margin! Then again, this may actually alienate my Penrith readers!
The Sutherland Sharks will be hosting the Manly United FC side at Harrie Dening Centre on Sunday. The seaside match up won?t involve surfboards at twenty paces but, given The Sharks effort last weekend against Macarthur, may prove a closer contest than it looks on paper.
Yes, Sutherland were under plenty of pressure for long periods against Rams but seemed to soak it up and bounce back for more. For once they appeared to make the most of their chances. Maggie Elhusseini played a large part in the Sutherland performance with a busy display; something that Coach Michael Michael will be looking for her to repeat against the solid Manly line up. The Sharks also put in a creditable effort against NWS Koalas in their previous game so their supporters will be hoping that these are signs that the team has turned the corner.
Manly United have looked likely to start gathering momentum in recent weeks. Their scintillating performance in beating Marconi 6-3 at Cromer Park showed just what the girls from the Peninsula have to offer. However, that win was followed a narrow loss to Penrith; a loss that kept the pressure on Manly to retain fourth place on the ladder. Manly are certainly contenders in this competition. A quick look at their results over the season shows that there is very little between them and any of the other top four sides. Considering those facts, this should be a game they win handsomely.
I admit to a soft spot for The Sharks, for reasons I?m yet to actually understand, but I can?t see them matching Manly in this one. Manly by three.
The final game of the round sees The Marconi Stallions taking a drive up the coast to take on Central Coast Lightning at Pluim Park.
Central Coast had put in a number of promising performances over the last few rounds but fell back to Earth with a thud against Macarthur Rams in their most recent match.
Marconi aren?t a side who offer much sympathy to their opposition. The Stallions have a mega match looming in a fortnight?s time with the current competition leaders NWS Koalas.
Games against the two premiership stragglers leading up to that match would certainly appear to give Stallions Coach Mauro Tacca every opportunity to iron out any ?kinks? in his side?s machinery. The Lightning girls will give 100% as always but I can?t see them being able to send Marconi home without three points.
A weekend of football with plenty to keep the fans excited. The clash of the top two sides, the battle for fourth spot still well and truly alive; lots to look forward to for all fans of women?s football in this round. Do yourself a favour and get out to a game this weekend.
-By Ross Anderson