NSW Premier League Round 5 Preview


Both sides have been tipped for big things in 2010, and despite a recent slip up following successive wins in the opening two rounds of the season ? both sides collected draws in rounds 3 and 4 ? are both expected to be around and challenging for the title come August.
David Zdrilic will need to re-group his troops following two very dominant displays against West Sydney Berries and South Coast Wolves, with the side failing to collect maximum points from both encounters. The Reds have proven strong across the park, especially out of midfield with the experience of Peter Zorbas, Ivo Bosnar and Steve Hayes, though finishing off opponents in the final third has proven the side?s undoing.
Zdrilic?s opposite number Brian Brown too has seen his side encounter a dry spell of sorts in-front of goal over the past fortnight with the side failing to find goals against Marconi Stallions and only a last gasp equaliser to defender Vuko Tomasevic against the Sharks last weekend. With Brad Boardman still to explode in his new colours, a match-up against Sydney United could be the perfect opportunity for the new White Eagles striker.
On Saturday evening at Seymour Shaw, Sutherland Sharks face the high-flying Marconi Stallions. Coming off a heart-breaking draw against Bonnyrigg, where Sutherland conceded a disputed goal in injury-time, the Sharks will need to draw confidence from the all-round performance at Bonnyrigg. Coach Robbie Stanton gave new signing Steven McConologue his first start, meanwhile Jimmy Bakis has made a strong return to the side following injury. Sharks defenders George Souris and Michael Robinson as well as the consistent performances by midfielder Nick Stavroulakis will need to all be at their best against the Stallions on their home turf.
The Stallions have been rock-solid in their performances to-date, a very pleasing note for coach Lee Sterrey who has been thrown a number of obstacles in this early part of the season. The Marconi boss has worked wonders in assembling a very well organised side comprising a number of young boys including Giorgio Speranza and last weekend?s match-winning debutant Mitchell Malia. With the Stallions leading the way on the League ladder, alongside Blacktown City FC, a win at Seymour Shaw will certainly send the side?s confidence sky-rocketing as we roll into April.
A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers are in desperate need of points when Rockdale City Suns visit Leichhardt Oval on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers are routed to the bottom of the League ladder on zero points, the only side to-date still to collect a point.
Signs are promising following the recent display at Marconi where the Tigers made the Stallions sweat on the result until the final whistle, though luck hasn?t shone through for Luke McGuire?s men to-date who recruited the services of former NSL marksman Pablo Cardozo last week.
The Suns have five-points from their first four matches and will be confident in their ability to overcome the Tigers following their recent run which has included draws against Blacktown City FC and Manly United FC, along with a memorable victory against Bankstown City. Leading the charge for the Suns will be former Tigers? midfielder Marino Musumeci. The midfielder has been very impressive to-date for the newly promoted NSW Super League side, and will be an important outlet out of the Suns midfield on Sunday.
At Cromer Park, Manly United FC will be out to inflict more pain on a battered Sydney Olympic following a heavy defeat at the hands of Blacktown City FC at Belmore last weekend. The Blues struggled in the attacking third against a well-organised Blacktown City side, meanwhile defensively were given a real hard time by Tolgay Ozbey & Co.
Manly United?s run has been a work in progress to-date, with coach Phil Moss starting to assemble his squad with a number of experienced campaigners returning from injury. Promising signs ahead for Manly United with the likes of Robbie Cattanach, Craig Midgely and Justin Hayward expected to return to their best form after stints away from the playing field due to injury. Only a point separates the two sides on the League ladder, though a win for either will be a massive boost in their respective bids to mount a challenge in the top-half of the ladder.
Bankstown City will be full of confidence following the shellacking handed out to West Sydney Berries. Most importantly for the Lions would be the return to form of Robbie Mileski following his confidence building hat-trick. Defensively, the Lions displayed improvements following some shaky performances in the opening rounds, signs that the side?s objectives are back on track.
The visiting South Coast Wolves will also carry some additional confidence into the encounter following their first point of the competition against high-flying Sydney United in round 3. The Wolves were outplayed for large spells, and overturned a 2-0 deficit, to scrape home for a share of the points. Tayfun Buyukkopru?s stunning drive in the closing stages of the match was true testament of the fighting spirit the Wolves possess in their squad.
In the final match of the round, Blacktown City FC look to keep their hold on top-spot as West Sydney Berries visit Lily Homes Stadium. Blacktown City were flawless against Sydney Olympic, signs that the side possess the ability to challenge for silverware this season. Once more, Tolgay Ozbey will carry the weight of expectation in the attacking third, though the efforts of Mitchell Long, Ante Deur and Kain Rastall out of midfield must also be noted.
The Berries need to bounce back quickly after the heavy defeat against Bankstown City. John Calleja will be without David Gardiner for the match, meanwhile his ?go to? men in Sash Tirovski, Dimitri Zakilas and John Tsironis will need to lift for the encounter if the Berries are to have any chance of pulling off what would be seen as huge scalp in case of victory.
-By Joseph Carlucci