Does that mean that the last two rounds of football in the Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Super League lack a bit of purpose? Don?t kid yourself! The Minor Premiership and Club Championship are still in full battle mode though the fate of neither is likely to be resolved prior to next weekend?s blockbuster between the Western NSW Panthers and Illawarra Stingrays. I don?t know about you but I?m already planning my weekend?s stay at the Novotel North Beach in preparation for THAT game!
As far as everyone else is concerned, well, there?s a thing called pride that will have every side in the competition revving up their engines for the remaining games. Despite what some people will tell you passion, pride and a will to win is not something that?s unique to the male side of the game. In fact a few men?s teams I know could take some lessons from the girls on what being a footballer is all about. Oops, that may get me into trouble somewhere along the line! Who cares?
The Illawarra Stingrays continue their Minor Premiership quest with a trip to Parklands Oval. Awaiting them will be a Northern Tigers side who sit eighth on the ladder.
The Stingrays hammered Blacktown Spartans last weekend, racking up their 100th goal for 2008 in the process. Unless The Tigers find a way to harness the danger duo, Michelle Carney and Michelle Heyman, this game has the potential to get ugly. Employing Tanya Harding and her baseball bat to form a welcoming committee at the front gate is one alternative but I think The Tigers will need to come up with something more subtle.
The Stingrays have too much firepower. We all keep talking about it. Many coaches have tried to come up with a solution to lessen The Stingrays attacking flair but few have had any success. The Tigers will give their usual whole-hearted display but I doubt that it will be enough to stop an Illawarra side that has some major ambitions to fulfil in the coming weeks.
The Stingrays to win by a big margin.
The competition leaders, Western NSW Panthers, must have had a pretty light time at training this week. Surely, after their heavy schedule last weekend, Coach Paul Waine went easy on them?
The Panthers meet bottom placed UNSW in a game that they?ll obviously be hot favourites to win. Coach Waine will be hoping that his team can do the job effectively, get through the match injury free and then start planning for next weekend?s season defining game with The Stingrays. The Panthers have made a very positive impression on many people this season. Some WPL teams are death riding them in the Club Championship though as they?re not looking forward to a Bathurst trip in 2009! If The Panthers do win through they?ll have deserved their success. They have a talented squad who?ll make life difficult for UNSW this Sunday.
UNSW are a team who deserve some admiration. It?s tough to be the ?whipping girls? of the competition but the UNSW team has handled it all with good grace. They?ve done their best against formidable odds. What does 2009 hold for them?
Western NSW Panthers by four goals in this one.
Southern NSW FC, comfortable now in fourth place on the ladder, hosts the Bankstown Wildcats at Ison Park. Last weekend Southern NSW left St George FC somewhat red faced, handing out a pretty comprehensive 7-1 thrashing in their crucial game in Nowra.
Bankstown come into this match after a 2-2 draw with UNSW last week; hardly convincing form for a match with one of the competition?s stronger sides. Bankstown haven?t won for some weeks. They?d not be confident coming into this one.
Southern NSW are building towards a strong showing in the finals series. They?ll be looking for a solid win here to help build momentum. I believe they?ll win by a good margin.
Gladesville Ravens and St George FC meet at Peel Park in what should be an entertaining match.
The Ravens girls have really shown their true mettle in the last few weeks with excellent performances against both Illawarra Stingrays and Western NSW Panthers. The positives from those two games should give the Gladesville team plenty of confidence going into the semi final series. Maybe this team is about to achieve their true potential?
St George failed to deliver last weekend in their crucial game against Southern NSW FC. With their semi finals hopes dashed the St George side will be keen to end the season on a high by denting Gladesville?s reputation. St George are the sort of side that the ?old? Gladesville always had trouble lifting themselves against. Will the ?new? Ravens side keep the motor humming by sending St George home bruised and battered?
Ravens to win.
Blacktown Spartans and Inter Lions meet at Francis Park with both sides looking towards 2009. These teams, despite their positions on the table, have come up with some very strong performances during the season. Blacktown are capable of being seven goal winners one week, then seven goal losers the next. Inter?s consistency is a little easier to track. Their Achilles heel has been an inability to score goals. Like a number of teams The Lions have been battling to get a fit team on the park in recent weeks.
I keep coming back to the Blacktown Spartans side I saw play Gladesville Ravens at Peel Park. They lost that day but it wasn?t the performance of a side sitting second last on the ladder.
Sorry Joe but I?m going to tip against you here. Don?t know if I?d call it going for the upset but Blacktown to win for mine.
A strong round of football but most people who follow the Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Super League are looking forward to next weekend. No, not so they can hang up their boots and enjoy the off season! It?s more about what will be happening when the competition?s big guns meet up in their final round shoot out in Wollongong. A bit like the gunfight at the OK Corral. Bring on the gunslingers!
-By Ross Anderson