First up this week, my apologies. No, I?m not sorry about my lousy tipping in the Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Super League games this season. Rather I apologise for the fact that my review of this weekend?s round will be somewhat less informative due to not receiving any information about goal scorers for all but one of the Round 16 matches. My thanks to Rob McKie of Illawarra Stingrays for his summary of The Stingrays game; this at least means I have a little ?colour? to add to an otherwise bland report.
The teams went into this round with the Minor Premiership, Club Championship and the fourth semi final spot up for grabs. Well, the first two are still teasingly close but the top four now seems to be settled.
Southern NSW FC played St George FC at Ison Park in a game that looked sure to decide whether or not the top four race went down to the wire. Unfortunately for St George their hosts were less than hospitable, handing out a 7-1 thrashing. This puts Southern NSW six points ahead of St George as well as leaving them with a 26 goal difference on for and against. Bad luck to St George who?ve done well to keep up the pressure but today they were outplayed. Southern NSW can now start planning for the big games ahead.
Southern NSW FC 7
St George FC 0
Bankstown Wildcats and UNSW played out an exciting 2-2 draw in their encounter. Congratulations to UNSW for getting themselves another hard earned competition point. Bankstown would have come along expecting a win but the UNSW girls have big hearts. Think positive Wildcats; one point is better than none!
Bankstown Wildcats 2
Western NSW Panthers, who?d regained the outright lead in the competition on Saturday night with a scrambling 1-0 win over Gladesville Ravens, travelled home to come up against a Northern Tigers outfit that had decided to make life difficult for their country cousins.
The competition table said that this was going to be a comfortable win for The Panthers but a combination of tired legs, jet lag (okay, call it highway lag then!) and a determined opposition nearly brought disaster. However, the Panthers prevailed to score a 1-0 win that leaves them three points clear atop the ladder.
Well done Tigers on a very competitive effort!
The Club Championship looks like coming down to that final round encounter in Wollongong though as The Stingrays hold a 12 point lead two rounds of competition remaining. The Panthers will be primed for that winner take all match on August 10th.
Western NSW Panthers 1
Northern Tigers 0
The Gladesville Ravens v Inter Lions game was washed out by today?s freak storm. The ravens may have been happy with that in some respects, having to back up less than 24 hours after their match with Western NSW Panthers. The Ravens girls put up another Herculean effort in that game, going down 1-0 to a 77th minute goal by Panthers star Gillian Rosconi. Great stuff Gladesville.
Finally, Illawarra Stingrays took on Blacktown Spartan in Wollongong. The match was a tight one for the first 20 minutes before Illawarra?s goal scoring wizard Michelle Carney put her side in front with a customary flourish.
Not to be outdone that ?other Michelle?, Michelle Heyman added two goals of her own before half time to have the locals celebrating a 3-0 lead at half time. Blacktown kept The Stingrays at bay for the first 25 minutes of the second stanza before Carney added her second (do the two Michelles have a goal scoring bet going on between themselves?).
Just 10 minutes from time Courtney Danyi made it 5-0, bringing up Illawarra?s 99th goal of the season. Who was going to get number 100? Heyman? Carney? Keep guessing?.how about Caitlyn Danyi, the other ?Twinnie??
Now girls, I hate to be a spoilsport about this but the Danyi twins? birthday was LAST week! You?re supposed to get your presents on your birthday, not a week late. Anyway, congratulations to The Stingrays on another milestone for season 2008.
I can?t wait for that final round battle with Western NSW Panthers. It should be an epic.
Illawarra Stingrays 6 (M.Carney 2, M.Heyman 2, C.Danyi, the other C.Danyi)
Blacktown Spartans 0
So, will next weekend?s round be an anti climax? Is all that?s left the final round shoot out between the competition?s top two teams? Will someone manage to upset the apple cart next weekend?
Stay tuned for the answers to these and all your other questions.
-By Ross Anderson