And, with less than two months to go to the finals, every point is critical, at both ends of the table. As well as the minor premiership and top-five being far from finalised, there?s also a huge tussle looming at the bottom of the ladder as Fairfield and Sydney Uni fight each other for survival.
Top-two sides Bonnyrigg White Eagles and PCYC Parramatta Eagles go head-to-head at Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Saturday night (7.30pm kick-off) with the minor premiership, momentum and a psychological advantage up for grabs. The White Eagles smashed Parramatta 5-0 ? behind a Goran Subara hat-trick ? at Melita in round four and wield the wood over their former Premier League opponents. The Eagles have not beaten last year?s champions in four Super League fixtures between them.
Equal-fourth placed Fraser Park Dragons and Granville Rage meet at Garside Park on Saturday night (7.30pm) knowing a positive result will keep them ahead of a large chasing pack. The two sides have produced 18 goals in four Super League encounters, with a 2-2 result at Fraser Park the last time they met. Ironically, both sides have set ?consistency? as their goal for the second half of the season, and this match should show who has the greater aptitude towards fulfilling this task.
Top-five chasers Northern Tigers and St George Saints clash in a beauty at Belmore Sportsground on Saturday night (7.30pm). The Tigers, minor premiers last year, are in real trouble and coach Hugh McCrory has implored his players to lift themselves or continue their slide. Incredibly, Northern has been held to nil six times in 13 games, including a 0-0 draw at Mills Park the last time they met the Saints. St George will hope to emulate their 6-1 drubbing from the corresponding fixture in 2007.
A resurgent Central Coast Lightning welcome a struggling Sydney University outfit to Pluim Park on Saturday night (7.30pm). Uni are in real dire straits with just two wins from the season to date, and bottom-placed Fairfield breathing down their necks. They also sacked their coach last week. At the other end, Central Coast are starting to find their feet after a slow start to the season and will be keen to extend their three-match winning sequence over Uni, which included a 2-0 win in Sydney in late June.
Third-placed Bossy Liverpool host Rockdale City Suns at Ernie Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon (3pm kick-off). The last time the sides met, Alex Canak scored three minutes into injury time to snare a 2-1 win for Liverpool, their first victory over Rockdale in two years. The Suns, Super League champions in 2006, have plenty of talent and will look to build on their great run in the Tiger Turf Cup, which culminated in a 3-1 quarter-final loss to Premier League club Bankstown on Tuesday.
Fairfield City Lions travel to Popondetta Park on Sunday afternoon (3pm) to take on Mount Druitt Town Rangers in a critical match for both teams. The league?s worst offence takes on one of the competition?s best defences when dead-last Fairfield (13 goals scored in 13 games) faces Mount Druitt (14 goals conceded). The Rangers have lost just one more game than second-placed Parramatta, and will make inroads on the top-five with a good showing at home. The sides drew 1-1 at Norford earlier in the year.
-By Daniel De Nardi