NSW Super League Round 9 Preview


Parramatta suffered only their second loss of the season last weekend and were clearly disappointed in doing so. They dropped to within two points of second and a further loss this Saturday will see Uni draw level. It is bound to be very close indeed but Uni will be confident that they have the Eagles? measure, remembering well their 2-0 victory at Melita last season, a result which effectively cost Parramatta the title.
Uni had a good win in the McDonald?s Cup on Tuesday, advancing to the final 16, although Parramatta were eliminated by first division Fairfield City Lions. Uni were particularly impressive, despite fielding a majority of fringe players, whitewashing Mounties Wanderers by 7-1.
Second placed Granville Rage travel to Fraser Park. Granville also had a Cup encounter, on Wednesday, and came out winners over the Premier League?s Sydney Olympic, in an extremely impressive effort. They will still need to be wary of Fraser Park though, who ran Uni very close last weekend only to succumb to a penalty. They won?t be easy to beat despite their lowly position.
Macarthur Rams meet the travelling St George at Lynwood Park. While Macarthur were not involved in the Cup midweek, St George met the Premier League?s Sutherland Sharks and, despite going down 1-0, put up a very good show against the full strength Cup holders, including the recently signed Paul Kohler. They will need to manage without keeper Daniel Nash on Saturday, following Nash?s late send off against the Sharks.
The Rams have won their past two on the trot after a slow start and the confidence gained will help against a St George side who dominated last week but just got the point in the end against Central Coast. The Saints will need to keep an eye on Sam Messam, the tall Rams striker, who has been on target for the past three weeks.
It has not been a good period for Spirit FC who have gained only one point in Super League from the past nine. They will look to get back on the winning trail when they clash with Dulwich Hill at Christie Park. Spirit had a comfortable win in the Cup against Camden Tigers on Tuesday, even if Camden finished the game with only eight players due to three red cards. Spirit will just need to bring their recent good Cup form into the League. Dulwich Hill are confident of brighter times ahead as their senior players return to the field and this week?s fixture will be an important one as they look to drag themselves away from the lower reaches.
Another club who see brighter times ahead are Central Coast Lightning. They face Northern Tigers in the first of four consecutive home games this Saturday and points are needed to climb off the bottom. The Coast worked very hard in their draw with St George and almost took all three points except for a goal in the last few seconds of the game. Their work rate is high and it is only a matter of time before the ball starts to drop in their favour.
But Northern Tigers won?t be easy. The Tigers came from behind to overcome Parramatta Eagles last Sunday and that boost which lifted them to sixth spot won?t want to be wasted. The pacy Max Glanville impressed on his debut, and with the likes of Michael Simmonds and Paul Davies getting amongst the goals this season, the Coast will have to keep a close watch on all of them. The Tigers also had a healthy 4-0 win in the Cup on Wednesday which augers well.
The only match on Sunday sees FC Bossy Liverpool take on Mount Druitt. The Rangers are struggling with three losses in a row, and a heavy cup defeat to association side, Mosman, in round two, only added to their woes. Times are tough and they will be tougher still if they don?t pick up something on Sunday.
But Bossy are in a bit of a slide themselves, two losses and a draw from their last three games, and a Cup exit last round to Hills Brumbies, so the opportunity is there for the Rangers. Bossy will need to pick up the three points to remain in the five with three sides ready to pounce should they slip up.
As always, it is an intriguing competition, with any side being able to beat any other. The results could be anything come Sunday evening.
Super League Top Goalscorers
6 –        Pat Capuccio (Granville Rage), Ryo Maekawa (St George), Michael Simmonds (Northern Tigers), Christian Soares (Sydney Uni)
5 –        Shayne Ardel (Parramatta Eagles), Daniel Fogarty (Parramatta Eagles), Ben Gough (Spirit FC), Sam Messam (Macarthur Rams)
4 –        Nenos Bobo (Granville Rage), Paul Davies (Northern Tigers), Jay Lucas (Dulwich Hill)
-By Peter Rowney