TeleChoice Premier League Round 7 Preview


Sutherland Sharks kick-off proceedings with a home clash against West Sydney Berries at Seymour Shaw Park. The Sharks looked sharp in their 3-0 win against St. George Saints in the Leader/Sharks Charity Cup win last weekend, further confirming the side?s improvements after a slow start to the campaign. Midfielder Panagiotis Nikas was instrumental for the side scoring twice in the win, meanwhile the return of Brad Boardman from injury has supporters? hopes high following a near flawless display by the burly striker; a goal was all that was missing from the striker?s performance.
The Berries on the other-hand are in need of points to avoid losing sight of the Top-Five. John Calleja?s men are win-less since the opening Round defeat of Sydney Olympic, though the signs are positive when facing more fancied opponents.
The Berries have lacked the consistency required to challenge for finals football, though the Easter break possibly arrived at the best time for the side following the 2-0 home loss against Sydney United. Experienced trio of Kosta Lagoudakis, John Tsironis and Aheleas Kotsopoulos will need to be on-song against the Sharks, as will perhaps two of the Berries better performers in recent weeks, Dimitri Zakilas and John Fotiadis.
Elsewhere on Saturday evening, Manly United FC will be all guns blazing as the Cromer Park boys attempt to keep pace with League leader Sydney United. Phil Moss? men sit five-points behind the Reds, though have a match in-hand against Sydney Olympic, and host in-form Penrith-Nepean United in a battle between second and third.
The visitors have certainly been the surprise packet of 2009 with some big scalps thus far ? including Sydney Olympic and Sydney Tigers. Coach Ian Gillan will look to his experienced men to lead the charge – namely Evangelos Petratos and Ante Juric – though attack-minded Tafun Buyukkopru and Mitchell Long have also been a breath of fresh-air for the side.
On Sunday afternoon, Blacktown City Demons play host to Sydney Olympic at Gabbie Stadium. New Blues coach Nick Theodorakopoulos will take charge of the team for the first time after taking over the reigns from Aytek Genc prior to Easter.
Sydney Olympic sits in ninth-spot on the ladder and in much need of points at Gabbie Stadium, though a confident Demons outfit will be an intricate test for the Blues. The Demons have shown much improvement on their 2008 campaign and have been good value for their seventh-spot placing on the League ladder after Round 6.
The side?s defensive third will need to be on their game against one of the competitions most proficient goal scoring sides, though Sydney Olympic?s defensive frailties will be tested by the likes of Chris Bedzo and Joel Chianese who continue to grow in stature; especially at Gabbie Stadium.
Wollongong Community FC and Marconi Stallions face off in an immense clash for both sides. The Wollongong side sits in bottom spot on the League ladder and will need points to avoid losing sight of the teams above them.
The Stallions on the other-hand were again on all pundits? list of favourites for the title, though successive losses against Sydney United and Sutherland Sharks, the latter at Marconi Stadium, have raised question marks over the side?s title ambitions. A win for coach Lee Sterrey?s side will make the Stallions? presence felt in the Top-Five, though a loss could ultimately see the side fall to ninth-spot.
League leader Sydney United play host to Sydney Tigers on Sunday with kick-off set for 4:00 PM. Ante Milicic?s Reds will be keen to maintain their fast-paced start to the season, and extend their lead at the top of the ladder, despite facing a re-energised Tigers outfit.
The Tigers scored a much needed morale boosting win prior to the Easter break, culminating with the arrival of new coach Luke McGuire. Following their substandard start to the season, the Tigers defeat of Bankstown City could be the turning point for their campaign; Sydney United best not underestimate the side on Sunday.
At Jensen Park, Bankstown City host Bonnyrigg White Eagles with kick-off at 6:00 PM. Both sides have failed to meet the expectations of their supporters to-date with Bankstown City again culprit of some poor finishing for their sixth-spot on the ladder. Peter Tsekenis? side has outplayed their opponents for spells in each of their matches this season, though failing to score goals has the Lions? at two wins, two draws and two losses.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles too have had a ?bumpy? start to the season, their first season back in the top-flight after a four-year absence. Bonnyrigg has appointed former Sutherland Sharks boss Brian Brown as coach following the decision to end ties with Blagoja Kuleski; ?Bomber? Brown will take charge of the team for the first time this weekend. These sides met at the same venue in pre-season with the Lions winning 2-1 in a fierce encounter between two stern rivals.
-By Joseph Carlucci