TeleChoice Premier League Round 8 Preview


With League leader Sydney United leading the pack with an exquisite brand of football, the chasers must keep pace with the Reds in-order to avoid losing sight of the Edensor Park outfit. At the other end of the table, Wollongong Community FC and West Sydney Berries are in desperate need of points to make a move away from the foot of the table.
On Saturday evening, at Cromer Park, Manly United FC will be wary against a Wollongong Community FC side infuriated with their profound defeat at the hands of Marconi Stallions last weekend. Phil Moss? side has looked strong in the defensive third, though a less than inspiring showing against Penrith-Nepean last weekend will require Spencer Prior & Co. to lift against a side in much need of a change in fortune.
West Sydney Berries too face their moment of truth when Marconi Stallions visit Lidcombe Oval. The Berries languish in second-last spot on the ladder, a far cry from the opening Round win against Sydney Olympic. John Calleja?s side has lacked the cohesion required across the park in recent weeks resulting in the slump, a scenario now created for the side?s more experienced players to step-up and lead the line.
Marconi Stallions were in ?seventh heaven? following their 7-0 annihilation of Wollongong Community FC. Lee Sterrey?s pupils shook off the nerves piled up following successive losses as new recruits Alex Canak, Ali Al-Hilfi and Ousmane Toure demonstrated their true worth. A win at Lidcombe Oval will consolidate the Stallions push for a Top-Four spot at this early stage of the season.
On Sunday afternoon most attentions will turn to the showdown between Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Sydney United at Bonnyrigg Sports Club. The home-side will be hoping to have the ?new coach? factor play in their favour as Brian Brown takes charge of his first match as White Eagles boss in a home fixture. The strong defensive showing at Bankstown City in Round 7 proves the side has the potential to ?match it up? against an experience front-line, though Fredrick Graham?s silky skills will need to be a touch more consistent to assist Almir Dizdaric in the attacking third.
The Reds are currently oozing in confidence following their strong start to the season, summed-up in the Round 7 shellacking handed out to Sydney Tigers. Ante Milicic?s run as player/manager has commenced in sensational style, and with the assistance of fellow striker and long-time teammate David Zdrilic, only a brave man will bet against the Reds in their current state of form.
Over at Belmore Sports Ground, another mouth-watering tie awaits the TeleChoice Premier League as Sydney Olympic plays host to Bankstown City Lions. Both sides have been struggling for consistency in the first part of the season and, from recent campaigns, no better fixture better underlies a sterner rivalry in this competition. A win for either side will be a big statement to the rest of the competition as a spot in the Top-Four beckons for the victor.
At Cook Park, St Mary?s, Penrith-Nepean United will be out to ?bounce back? from their heart-breaking loss at Manly United FC. Ian Gillan?s men fought bravely at Cromer Park, and only a late Bradley Groves strike denied Penrith-Nepean points in a match where victory would certainly not have been unwarranted. Blacktown City Demons, also coming off a loss, have an immense chance to catch their adversaries on the League ladder. The Demons too fought gallantly against Sydney Olympic though a lack of experience perhaps was the side?s undoing.
In the final fixture of the Round, Sydney Tigers return to Leichhardt Oval for their clash against Sutherland Sharks. The Tigers promising return to the winners list in Round 6 following the arrival of Luke McGuire to the bench was completely forgotten about after the heavy defeat at Sydney United. A disastrous opening half was corrected with a more spirited showing in the second period, one that McGuire and Tigers supporters alike will hope to see improved on against the Sharks on Sunday.
Sutherland?s three wins on the trot has seen last season?s Grand-Finalist surge to third-spot on the ladder. Most pleasing to coach Robbie Stanton will be the return to the scorer?s sheet of striker Brad Boardman. The burly striker?s season was disrupted by injury, though recent performances should have adversaries on alert, starting with Phillip Zabaks and the Sydney Tigers rearguard this weekend.
-By Joseph Carlucci