The National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition is starting to take some sort of shape following the completion of four rounds – sure, there is plenty of football remaining, however, the teams in the bottom half better get a move along if they are to trouble any of the sides near the summit.
Two sides at opposite ends of the ladder will go head to head on Saturday afternoon at 3pm, with the Western NSW Mariners hosting Hawkesbury City at Sir Jack Brabham Oval in Orange.
The Mariners find themselves in familiar territory after four matches, propping up the ladder without a win. But unlike previous seasons, they have had two draws in amongst those four matches, and a narrow loss, so have proven to be a sterner proposition in 2018. It is so tight that a win and three points could see them climb as many as six positions, so plenty to play for come Saturday.
WNSW will look as usual to Brock Logan in between the sticks to perform some heroics in keeping out the opposition, whilst Adam Scimone and Kenny McCall continue to be threats in the front third.
It’s been a few seasons since Hawkesbury City can say they started the competition on such a bright note. Three wins and a draw have given the Hawks ten points, and see them occupy equal first position. The coming weeks look even better as coach, Dean Bertenshaw, welcomes back some of his troops from the injury table, whilst striker, Daniel Morsillo, continues to lead the way, having scored 5 of his team’s 8 goals this year.
A mouth-watering clash awaits us at Magdala Park on Saturday afternoon at the unorthodox kick off time of 4-30pm, when Gladesville Ryde Magic entertain Dulwich Hill.
After three consecutive wins to kick start the campaign, Magic came a cropper last week, losing 0-3 to Hawkesbury, and losing top spot in the process.
If it wasn’t for their evergreen shot stopper, 46 year old Kyriakos Tohouroglou, the defeat would’ve been a little heavier. Gladesville were without three key defenders for last week’s match in Sergio Tarazona, Aaron Khan and and Johnny Martinez, so the sooner they return to take their place in the backline, the better for Gladesville.
Dulwich Hill snatched their maiden victory for this season in last week’s 2-1 win over Inter, with central defender, Nathan Bowden-Haase, showing the way with both goals. Dully are still far from where they want to be, but another win this week will continue their revival in what promises to be a real six-pointer.
Two sides who are starting to prove to be a menace for any team they come up against will meet at Arlington Oval on Saturday night, with Stanmore Hawks taking on Camden Tigers at 7pm.
The opening day loss has shown to be a mere anomaly for Stanmore, as they have since recovered and gained seven points from their last three games to be sitting in 5th position on the competition ladder.
Camden Tigers on the other hand are starting to earn the tag of the entertainers, with goals aplenty at both ends of the park. A gritty win last weekend against Sydney University means they are 6th on the ladder with 6 points, reflecting the league’s second best attack (14 goals) and equal worst defence (12 goals).
A fierce battle awaits on Saturday as both sides attempt to keep pace with the top half of the ladder.
League leaders, SD Raiders, welcome the visit of Dunbar Rovers to Ernie Smith Reserve on Saturday night, with the match scheduled for a 7pm kick off.
Does Dunbar need to be a little concerned? Well, let’s take a look at the stats – SD Raiders have played two matches at Ernie Smith Reserve so far this season, winning 8-1 and 5-3, and also scored 5 goals away at Granville as well as in Round Three of the FFA Cup. 19 goals in four league matches would give any opposition side a few butterflies.
Dunbar Rovers on the other hand have always proven a tough obstacle for any side, given their effort and application during matches. One win after four matches isn’t the sort of form to be excited about, but toppling the league leaders could be just the tonic the doctor ordered to get their season well and truly back on track.
Fraser Park will host the might of Bankstown City Lions at Marrickville on Saturday night, with the duel due for a 7pm kick off.
After two opening season draws, the youngsters at Fraser Park lost their next two matches, conceding six goals in the process. Goalkeeper, Mark Villaescusa , will need to be at his alert best to repel the Lions attack and keep his side in this match.
Bankstown City sit equal first on the ladder with 10 points from four matches, and ominously, are starting to hit their stride. Jeff Issa was instrumental last week in helping to edge his side in front against St George, and with goals coming from a few regular sources, the Lions will be wanting nothing less than a handsome victory to keep the pressure on at the summit.
Sydney University are after nothing less than three points when they host the visit of Granville Rage on Saturday night, the clash scheduled to start at 7pm at the Sydney University Football Ground.
With new faces both on the coaching staff as well as the playing personnel, it has taken Sydney University longer than they would’ve liked to hit their straps, the club suffering three defeats in the opening four matches of the season.
With plenty of experience across the side, it’ll be only a matter of time before they commence their ascent up the ladder, and three points on Saturday would be a great way to start.
Granville Rage suffered a heavy defeat last week at the hands of SD Raiders, and will be hoping to shore up their defensive line if they are to take anything away from the University Ground this week.
Inter Lions meet St George City FA at Fraser Park on Sunday evening at 5pm in a game which is shaping as very pivotal for both sides.
Both teams grabbed a win on the opening day of the season, but neither have managed to repeat that since, with Inter suffering three losses on the bounce, whilst St George City have drawn two before suffering their first loss last week.
Inter Lions’ results show they are not far from where they need to be, with their losses being very close indeed at 1-2, 0-2 and 1-2. Coach Michael Urukalo will be working feverishly to bridge that final frontier in order to start collecting more points.
St George City FA will be hurting from last week’s reverse at Jensen Park, and will want nothing less than maximum points this Sunday if they are to keep in touch with the top four or five sides. With more injuries to be concerned about, coach Manny Spanoudakis will be looking towards his depth of squad to do the business and earn the spoils.
A little desperation may creep in to this battle, so expect an arm wrestle for the three points on offer.