Round 14 – National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Preview
Round 14 of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s is a reversal of the opening day fixtures from all the way back in early March.
All 14 teams have come a long way since that weekend. Some for better, some for worse.
And with the second half of the season kicking-off this round, each team has one final opportunity to undo the wrongs that have gone before or build on the promise they have shown in the opening half of the campaign.
Match of the Round:
GHFA Spirit FC vs Hills United – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Christie Park
Spirit FC have finally broken the Christie Park curse and look to have liberated themselves from the shackles of poor form that has weighed them down over the past month.
Just in time for the arrival of their local rivals, Hills United.
Luke McGuire’s men will need no extra motivation for this match as the memories of their Round 1 defeat to Spirit FC still linger uncomfortably in the back of their collective minds.
On the opening day of the season, it was Kevin Lopes’s late strike that gave Spirit a narrow victory after Eoin Montford was sent off on the hour mark.
But since that match, it’s been a tale of two very different cities as Hills United have soared into the top four whilst Spirit have languished down the bottom of the table.
Can Hills United exact revenge or will Spirit claim an impressive double over their local rivals?
Find out in another enthralling match of the round in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
St George FC vs Parramatta FC – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Ilinden Sports Centre
All season long, Parramatta FC fans have been saying, “that game back in Round 1 against St George, we should’ve won that; and if we did, what a different story our season would have been”.
Well, now’s your chance to right one considerable wrong.
St George and Parramatta FC are two very different teams from the ones that took the field in Round 1.
St George, without their Romero Bandidos severely lack the attacking potency they once boasted.
Whilst Parramatta’s attacking arsenal has significantly improved after the signing of Ahmad and Zak Elrich from Rydalmere and the addition of Yahya Elhindi has bolstered their midfield stocks.
This match should serve as a precursor for how these teams will perform in the second half of the season: will Parramatta power and will St George suffer?
Macarthur Rams vs Blacktown Spartans – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Lynwood Park
Macarthur have become the sacrificial Rams of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s this season – offering three precious points to any club in need.
And their generosity began all the way back in Round 1 against the Spartans.
But their generosity cannot continue if they are to survive the dreaded drop this season.
Blacktown Spartans are another team threatened by relegation but have more room to breathe on the Club Championship table than the Rams.
However the Spartans need to keep collecting points in the final 13 rounds if they are to keep their own head above water.
Look out for the battle between Mark Symington and Alex Boyadjian as the two sharp-shooters try to fire their team to victory on Saturday night.
Northern Tigers vs Mounties Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – North Turramurra Recreation Area
The Tigers might not recognise the Wanderers when they meet on Saturday night.
After one of the most transformative transfer windows in NPL 2 history, the Mounties Wanderers are ready for a full-fledged finals assault as Hassan Jalloh has now been added to that list!
But for all their attacking talent, the Wanderers need to address their problems at the other end of the table. Terry Palapanis’s side have conceded 34 goals, the second highest in the league – only beaten by bottom of the table Macarthur.
Will the new-look Wanderers be able to hit the ground running or will the Northern Tigers be able to collect an important three points to sneak their way into the top six?
Western Sydney Wanderers vs North Shore Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – Sydney United Sports Centre
The Round 1 clash between these two was an absolute classic.
Leading 3-1 shortly after half-time, the Wanderers looked to be cruising towards a comfortable opening round victory.
But North Shore had other ideas as three late goals incredibly stole all three points for the Mariners.
That defeat rocked the Western Sydney side as they went on to lose their next two matches.
The Wanderers will be hoping for the opposite this time round as they hope to use the victory as a catalyst to rise further up the competition table.
Canterbury Bankstown vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers – 7pm, Saturday 2nd June – The Crest Athletic Centre
If there was a meme for the season of Canterbury Bankstown it would be, ‘you vs the guy she tells you not to worry about’.
After a shocking start to the season, including a Round 1 humiliation at the hands of Mt Druitt Rangers, the Berries brought in the experienced Branko Culina to turn their fortunes around.
In that time, home side have transformed from competition ‘easy-beats’ to a team that is undefeated in their last 5 games.
But there aren’t many tougher tests in this competition than Mt Druitt Rangers.
This match will serve as a great indication of how far the Culina’s men have come and if they manage to steal a point or three off the Rangers, we could have a new competition leader for the first time this season.
Central Coast Mariners vs Rydalmere Lions – 3pm, Sunday 3rd June – Pluim Park
A lion’s most dangerous when it’s backed into a corner.
And that’s exactly where Rydalmere find themselves after losing three of their best players in the recent transfer window and after two straight defeats in the league.
There’s a famous line in the old-school football film, ‘Green Street Hooligans’ that fits perfectly with the situation Rydalmere find themselves in: the three scariest words in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s this season, ‘Central Coast away’.
Pluim Park has been a fortress for the Mariners this season, and in recent weeks have scored 9 goals in just 2 games there as they maintain their unbeaten streak in 2018.
Can the Lions provide a shock, as they did in Round 1 this season, and derail the efforts of the Mariners to claim top spot in the competition standings? Or will the Mariners continue their recent goal-scoring dominance at home?
-By Ryan Latty