Just like what we can expect in the final round of the competition proper, all seven matches in Round 11 of the National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition this weekend are scheduled simultaneously – every single fixture due to commence at 7pm on Saturday evening.
Two teams struggling for any kind of consistency lock horns at Arlington Oval as Stanmore Hawks welcome the visit of Inter Lions. Stanmore Hawks are licking their wounds after last week’s drubbing at St George City, and in fact, recent results have seen them plummet down the ladder in to 10th position. Inter Lions grabbed a draw last week versus Sydney Uni on the back of an inspired performance from two goal Domenic Di Mento – but he’ll be missing from the lineup this week.
A stalemate looks likely here, but a win to Inter will see the Lions catapult Stanmore on the ladder, so expect a fierce battle for the spoils at Arlington.
Life doesn’t get any easier for the Western NSW Mariners as they travel to Ernie Smith Reserve to take on SD Raiders. The Mariners have been comprehensively outplayed in their recent outings, and have now been on the receiving end of five consecutive losses. But football is a series or ups and downs, so given recent outcomes, the Mariners have no option but to stay focussed and lift their intensity, and believe they are closer to that elusive win that has so far avoided them.
SD Raiders will be desperate to stay in touch with the top five sides above them, and given their impressive home form, expect a very attack minded approach and nothing less than three points in front of their own fans.
Fraser Park have their work cut out for them when they entertain the competition’s most in form team, St George City FA, at their home ground in Marrickville. Fraser lost out last week in the derby vs Dulwich Hill, but showed enough application and determination to suggest their first win isn’t too far around the corner. Keeper Mark Villaescusa has been performing especially well, keeping his side in many games this season with his reaction saves, but it is in attack that Fraser will have to start to improve if they are to crack it for the three points.
Standing in their way this week is arguably the most in form team in the league in St George City FA, who are now six wins on the bounce and just one point off the summit. St George City’s defence is amongst the best in the competition with just 11 goals conceded, but it is in the front third that they have been partying, with 36 goals at 3.6 per game an ominous sign for any opponent they face.
Granville Rage will look to reverse their poor form of the past fortnight late when they come up against the league leaders, Hawkesbury City, at Garside Park. The Rage copped a hiding last week at Dunbar to go with a similar 0-6 reverse the week before against Bankstown, so will be desperate to regroup and restore pride against a big scalp like the competition frontrunners.
On the other hand, despite continuing personnel restrictions, the Hawks have been plugging away week after week, and are still undefeated. Last week’s draw against Camden has allowed St George City and Bankstown City to creep to within a point of the Hawks, so the added pressure may add to the intensity at Garside come Saturday.
Two teams who had resounding victories last weekend will meet at Jensen Park with Bankstown City Lions up against the Dunbar Rovers. Both sides have been in great form of late, and scoring plenty of goals to boot, with 60 between them this season.
Dunbar have made some great inroads up the ladder, winning four of the last five, and will use this as a real test of their capabilities given the opposition.
The Lions on the other hand are on the prowl for more feeds, having demolished both Granville (6-0) and WNSW Mariners (8-0) in the past fortnight, and will hope for three points yet again to keep Hawkesbury on their toes at the top.
Camden Tigers will hope to stop Dulwich Hill’s winning momentum when the two sides come face to face at Ron Dine Stadium.
Camden picked up their first draw of the campaign last week when they grabbed a point at high flying Hawkesbury, with Jayden Russell again doing the damage, his 2 goals against the Hawks taking him to the impressive tally of 12 goals so far this year.
Dully’s turnaround has been remarkable to say the least. Five weeks ago they were 1-2-2 and struggling for any kind of consistency – now they are at 6-2-2 after five consecutive wins, and sit in 4th spot on 20 points.
Expect an arm wrestle between two sides who won’t be prepared to give an inch come Saturday.
It’s been a long time between wins for Sydney University – you have to go back to Round Five when they overcame Granville Rage – but the ‘students’ will be hoping to sing their victory song this week when Gladesville Ryde Magic visit the Sydney University Football Ground.
Despite sitting in 12th spot on just 7 points, most of Uni’s losses have been by the narrowest of margins – a single goal – which suggests they are not far off hitting the mark.
Magic will struggle to have a full deck of players ready for this clash, evident in their midweek forfeit of the Round Six FFA Cup match. Gladesville are in 5th spot on 20 points, just 4 off the lead, so they will be focussed on yet another three points if they are to stay within reach of the sides above them.