Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League Round 3 Preview


Round 2 of the Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League suffered some disruption due to wet weather with the Macarthur Rams v Marconi Stallions game having to be postponed. Easter has now come and gone so it?s time to play football again. I?m sure that all of our Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League teams are chomping at the bit to get on the field once more. This weekend provides some battles between some of the league?s leading clubs in what should be a feast of classy football.
Undefeated Manly United FC host the defending Premiers, Macarthur Rams, at Cromer Park.
The Rams welcome back a number of stars who were missing from their Round 1 clash with Illawarra Stingrays. The form surrounding their narrow defeat that day probably says plenty of positive things about what The Rams have to offer in 2009. With little change to a team that has been so dominant over the past two seasons one would think that Macarthur would be looking to prove their worth in a big game like this one.
Manly United have started 2009 with a rush. Two solid wins over Sydney University and Penrith Nepean United see them perched atop the competition table. There?s already talk around the traps that this could be Manly?s year.  There would be no better way to herald their arrival as a competition threat than by the Manly girls knocking over the 2007/2008 Champions.
This should be a fine display of the world?s number one game. This one could go either way but I?m tipping a narrow Manly United win.
The other weekend blockbuster is at Marconi Stadium where the Marconi Stallions throw out the welcome mat for the undefeated NWS Koalas. These two sides last met in last season?s Preliminary Final at Christie Park. What an exciting match that was with The Stallions looking to have a Grand Final berth in their grasp until the dying moments of the game.
The Stallions started the season with a narrow win over Penrith Nepean United. Their Round 2 game against Macarthur Rams was washed out. Marconi have lost some of their more experienced players this season. The depth of the 2008 Club Champions is sure to be tested in the coming weeks. Rebuilding phase is certainly not a nice time to be running into a team like The Koalas.
NWS Koalas have scored two strong wins in their two games so far. In Round 1 they put the hapless Sutherland Sharks to the sword before fighting off a determined Illawarra Stingrays at home in Round 2. The 4-2 scoreline in the latter match probably flattered The Koalas somewhat but they certainly showed enough to signal they?ll be amongst the contenders again in 2009.
Both sides will give it their all but I think that Koalas will continue on their winning way here.
The Illawarra Stingrays play bottom of the table Sutherland Sharks at Macedonia Park in what looks a difficult assignment for the Shire girls.
Illawarra followed their Round 1 win over Macarthur Rams with a solid performance against NWS Koalas in Round 2. The Stingrays dominated large periods of the latter match but failed to grasp their opportunities. Their big guns all displayed their best at various stages of the match with newcomers Ash Connor and Trudy Camilleri complimenting the talented squad The Stingrays already had to offer. I like the look of what I saw from Illawarra last week. They will be a tough nut for any other Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League side to crack this season.
Whilst my soft spot for The Sharks still exists I?m getting a terrible feeling that the girls are in for a long season of misery. Their efforts in their opening two matches have been disappointing having conceded eight goals without reply. Coach Michael Michaels has quite a job on his hands to lift his team from the doldrums. Hopefully his side will show signs of life in this match.
I can?t tip anything but a comfortable Illawarra Stingrays win in this match.
The final match of the round has Penrith Nepean United travelling to Hensley Athletic Field to meet Sydney University.
The University girls have started the season well with a narrow loss the strong Manly United outfit before scoring a crushing win over Sutherland Sharks in Round 2. This side appears to be carrying over their strong end of season form from 2008 into the new year. Early indications are that they could well be finals contenders, but if that?s to be the case these types of games are ones they must win.
Penrith Nepean United will not be happy with their start to 2009. Whilst the side put up a good performance in a narrow loss to Marconi Stallions in Round 1 they suffered quite a mauling when going down 6-0 to Manly United FC in Round 2. It will be a real test of the side?s character to bounce back from their last start disaster.
On what they?ve shown so far Sydney University look the goods in this match.
This weekend of football may answer a few questions about the credentials of a number of sides in 2009. The ?big four? clash but will they actually be the ?big four? this season? The fans of the Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League will be awaiting the weekend?s results with plenty of anticipation.  
-By Ross Anderson