The ?big four?; NWS Koalas, Macarthur Rams, Manly United and Marconi Stallions look the likely semi finalists. However, Penrith United continue to cling to their feint hope of overtaking either Manly or Marconi. This weekend?s clash with Manly United at Cromer Park certainly looks to be crucial.
Penrith sit just five points behind Manly with two games in hand. They are four points in arrears of Marconi who also have two extra matches to play. Penrith have taken points of the top two clubs in recent weeks; grabbing a 1-1 draw with Rams and a scoreless draw with NWS Koalas. That reads as very good form for this weekend?s encounter. Penrith aren?t necessarily a brilliant side but, with ex Matlida Taryn Rockall steering the ship, the girls from the foot of the mountains are damn competitive!
Manly United, on the other hand, have endured a season where they look like title contenders one week, also rans the next. There?s no doubt that the Manly side have the personnel in their squad to have every opposing team looking for somewhere to hide. They can handle the physical side of the game just as well as the skilful football. A win in this weekend?s game would take a fair degree of pressure off the Manly team, with two relatively ?weaker? games coming up against Central Coast Lightning and Sutherland Sharks. Any points dropped in the coming weeks will leave Manly vulnerable as their final two games of the season see them come up against the Minor Premiership contenders NWS Koalas and Macarthur Rams. Not a good duo if you?re hunting for points!
This match up should provide exciting fare for those looking for a Sunday afternoon football fix. I suspect Manly, at home, may just get home but I have a lot of respect for the Penrith side.
Macarthur Rams host Central Coast Lightning at Lynwood Park. The Rams will be looking for a convincing win to keep their Minor Premiership hopes alive. Macarthur have looked pretty awesome in most of their home matches in 2008; not a good sign for the struggling Lightning side.
With Haim, Ledbrook, Cartwright, and ?The Enforcer?, Danielle Brogan all in top form the Central Coast girls may end up wishing they?d never taken the drive down the coast to play. If nothing else Macarthur?s Scottish contingent of supporters will keep the visitors amused. I don?t always understand a lot of what this lot are saying but I wouldn?t want to cross them. I saw what the Scots did to the English in Braveheart!
I believe Macarthur will win this one comfortably.
NWS Koalas will clash with Sutherland Sharks at ELS Hall Park. The Koalas continue to lead the way in the competition, having opened up a four point break on The Rams. The Club Championship has developed into a battle between The Koalas and Marconi. Obviously there?s much to play for in coming weeks.
This is a game that you?d expect The Koalas to win. Whilst The Sharks have been competitive in both previous encounters they now appear to have little to play for. The Koalas, on the other hand, have it ALL to play for. Sutherland have picked up four points from a possible six in the last two weeks though, something that must give the team a more positive outlook. Everyone knows that I always tip The Sharks but, this week, even I?m deserting the girls. Sorry ladies!
Koalas by two goals for mine.
The final game of the round sees Sydney University rolling out the welcome mat for the visiting Marconi Stallions.
Last weekend The Stallions thumped Manly United 4-0 in an impressive performance. Two weeks ago Sydney University were thrashed 7-0 by Manly. By my reckoning that means that The Stallions deserve favouritism for this game. Sydney University managed a 1-1 draw with Marconi earlier in the season. Their second round encounter with The Stallions was not quite so pretty though.
Sydney University are a team capable of causing the odd upset. However, I doubt that Marconi will be in the mood to take any chances here. Trudy Camilleri and Ash Cooper are a difficult pair for any side to subdue. Fab Perfilio has also been in fine form for Marconi in recent weeks.
Marconi to win in this one.
Now this appears to be a round with a number of clear cut winners. However, having coached 16 year old girls for nine seasons now myself, I know that the supposedly ?weaker sex? don?t take kindly to being sold short. I can?t see where the upsets will be coming from myself but, hey, I?m just a dumb male!
Go for it girls and show us all what you can do. There are only four more rounds to go after Sunday so let?s dent some egos!
-By Ross Anderson