NSW Premier League Round 16 Preview


The Stallions returned to the winner?s list last weekend with an emphatic 4-0 defeat of A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers, signaling their intentions of returning to top-spot on the League ladder.
Their opponents this weekend were dealt a blow by Bonnyrigg at Seymour Shaw last weekend, momentarily stalling the side?s positive run towards a top-four placing. Robbie Stanton?s Sutherland has remained solid after a slow start to the season, and will certainly provide the Stallions with a stern test on Saturday.
On Sunday afternoon, both Sydney Olympic and Manly United FC need points when the two teams lock horns at Belmore Sports Ground. The Blues occupy bottom-spot on the League ladder ? equal points with West Sydney Berries ? though will be expected to get points on the board against a Manly United FC side that has had a disrupted fortnight with two league matches washed out.
Sydney Olympic has played some good football in recent weeks, though the side?s inability to maintain a high level of play over the 90? minutes has been their downfall.
The Cromer Park side will hope to have their McDonald?s Cup quarter-final against Marconi Stallions go ahead this Wednesday evening, following the big wet that has seen their last two matches at their home venue washed out. The clash will be of vital importance for Craig Midgley?s men, in anticipation of the road trip to Sydney Olympic.
Rockdale City returns to Bicentennial Park following their weekend off ? after the clash at Manly United was cancelled due to the weather, last weekend. The Suns have surpassed expectations since their promotion from the NSW Super League, and the side is in a good position to add the scalp of A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers following their heavy loss at the hands of Marconi Stallions.
The Suns exceptional organisation across the park, starting with a well-marshalled backline by Askin Oygur, and strong work ethic have been key to Mile Todorovski?s success thus far. Sam Awad will again carry the weight of expectation in the front-line, with the likes of Stefan Donevski and Marino Musumeci to support the burly striker.
The Tigers approach to this clash will be very interesting, following their tremendous two-month run in the competition. Last weekend?s loss against the Stallions at home came as a surprise, though the recent run of victories should see the side draw on enough confidence to immediately bounce back.
West Sydney Berries face a tough test when Blacktown City FC visit the Sydney Olympic Athletic Centre on Sunday afternoon. The Berries? luckless run sees the side sit in bottom-spot on the League ladder, with a long list of injuries ? and a suspension to Stefan De Jesus ? not helping the cause. The Berries were second best against Bankstown City last weekend, and will need an improved performance in-front of their home supporters this weekend if the side is to make a run away from the bottom of the table.
Blacktown City FC secured the three-points against Sydney Olympic in Round 15, bringing their win-less run to an end. Aytek Genc will again look at gun striker Tolgay Ozbey to lead the attack. Ozbey was in sensational form last weekend with a brace to his name illustrating his confident run. A win for Blacktown City FC will keep the pressure on the three teams above them on the League ladder, making for an interesting final run home towards the end of the regular season.
At WIN Stadium in Wollongong, the South Coast Wolves will be out to repeat their Round of 16 triumph in the McDonald?s Cup against Bankstown City. The Wolves were well-organised on that evening, and managed to frustrate the Lions, though will need to raise the bar again if a repeat result id to eventuate.
Bankstown City sent a warning to all adversaries with the 5-0 thumping handed out to the Berries last weekend. Tallan Martin was the hero with a double strike against the Berries, and more of the same will be expected of him against the Wolves.
Mark Picciolini will be the ?go to? man in attack for the Wolves, though the creativity of Jason Trifiro and Tayfun Buyukkopru in the middle of the park will extremely important for the home-side?s chances of success.
Finally, Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Sydney United meet in a top-of the table clash featuring first and third, respectively. A win for the White Eagles will keep the team in top-spot, though the Reds could join Bonnyrigg in case they manage to pick up the points. With both sides collecting narrow victories on the road last weekend, the stakes will be very high when these two sides take to the field this weekend.
-By Joseph Carlucci