TeleChoice Premier League Round 9 Preview


The Sharks have been in great touch over the past four weeks, putting an end to the question marks surrounding the side following their poor start. Coach Robbie Stanton will have his team set for what will be a huge clash against the White Eagles on Saturday with striker Brad Boardman currently hitting his straps in the goalscoring department.
The Sharks had better beware of their opponents as former coach, and Assistant, Brian Brown and Cliff Pointer return to Seymour Shaw. The pair has already worked some magic at Bonnyrigg White Eagles with two draws against arguably two of the toughest opponents in the competition. The White Eagles will be confident following their strong showing against Sydney United last weekend as Milorad Simonovic will again be called upon to carry the fort in the middle of the park. With much to play for, both sides will be ?hell-bent? on getting a win.
Over at Marconi Stadium, the ?Italian? derby between two former NSL sides Marconi Stallions and Sydney Tigers will draw many attentions.
These two sides started the season with much expectation of bringing to an end the ?rotten? run of luck in recent campaigns, though to-date, the Stallions are the only side of the two with anything to smile about.
Lee Sterrey?s men seem to have overcome the ?hiccup? between Rounds 5 and 6 to consolidate a spot in the Top-Five. New recruits Ousmane Toure, Vamara Diarra and Ali Al-Hilfi have gelled exceptionally well with experienced campaigners Vuko Tomasevic and Nahuel Arrarte, meanwhile in goal, James Chronopoulos has shaken off the injuries that affected his 2008 campaign with some exceptional performances in this early part of the season.
The Tigers lie two wins outside the Top-Five, though the time for a change in fortunes is now, as much will be expected from the likes of Robert Younis and experienced Michael Hawrysiuk. Franco Parisi?s performances have been the side?s most positive aspect thus far, and with no bigger match in the Premier League season for the Tigers than a clash against Marconi, the Bossley Park clash would be as good a time as ever for the Tigers to hit their straps..
On Sunday, Blacktown City Demons host Manly United FC with a chance to put pressure on adversaries for a Top-Five spot. The Demons fought valiantly against Penrith-Nepean last weekend for an important away point, though Manly United FC will certainly pose a difficult opponent on Sunday. In favour of the Demons will be the fact that Manly United faces Sydney Olympic on Wednesday evening (29th of April) in the re-scheduled Round 6 match due to poor weather conditions. The Cromer Park boys have  a big job at hand against the Blues, and will need to ?back it up? against a confident Demons outfit with a strong performance on Sunday.
At Hooker Creek Park in Wollongong, West Sydney Berries visit Wollongong Community FC in a must win match for both sides. This pitch looks set to be Wollongong FC?s home ground for the rest of the season on a side note. These two sides occupy the two bottom-positions on the League ladder with the Berries holding a one-point advantage heading into the weekend. Round 8 form suggests Wollongong Community FC holds the upper-hand following a much improved display at Manly United. The Berries were outplayed from start to finish against the Stallions in their Round 8 match and a long trip to the ?gong? will require maximum concentration, and determination, if West Sydney is to take anything from this match.
Bankstown City?s ?start-stop? season continued at Belmore last weekend, though player/coach Peter Tsekenis must be happy that his side returns to Jensen Park in Round 9. The Lions are extremely difficult to beat at home, though maximum points will be a must against Penrith-Nepean United on Sunday. The Lions midfield is still ?hurting? with a list of important absentees, including George Nohra and Phillip Makrys, meanwhile Tsekenis himself looks doubtful after the former Socceroo was forced to leave the field early on in the match against Sydney Olympic through injury.
Ian Gillan?s Penrith-Nepean has been one of the most hard-working sides in the competition to-date, and these matches against ?more fancied? opponents seems to bring the best out of the group. Again, the experienced duo of Ante Juric and Evangelos Petratos will be vital to the side?s chances of success, though Bankstown City would do well to carefully monitor the performances of Dimitrios Petratos and Mitchell Long; both these players could prove key should the match be level heading into the final exchanges.
At Sydney United Sports Centre, Sunday?s pick of the bunch sees another NSL match-up as League leader Sydney United play host to Sydney Olympic. Ante Milicic?s Reds have been in tremendous form thus far, and their recent performances at home pose the Blues with a mammoth task. The Reds rearguard, led by captain Joe Vrkic and Milan Bosnar, has been tough to break down meanwhile the combinations in the attacking third are looking the goods for the remainder of the campaign.
Sydney Olympic?s chances of success will depend largely on the side?s ability to nullify the exploits of Milicic, David Zdrilic and Luka Glavas, something the Blues have struggled to do in the early part of the season. On a positive note for the visitors, their attacking form has been largely impressive with Matthew Mayora leading the line. Sydney Olympic will be hoping to enter this match with only a five-point deficit from top-spot; a huge possibility for Nick Theodorakopoulos? side should they defeat Manly United on Wednesday evening.  
-By Joseph Carlucci