The National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition continues to unravel like an unpredictable and exciting movie thriller as we welcome Round Sixteen this weekend.
Six matches on Saturday across four different timeslots allows the most fervent fan – or the most curious coach – to travel the countryside, and overdose on this beautiful sport of ours.
The Saturday 3pm timeslot has become synonymous with success for Dunbar Rovers, and they welcome Gladesville Ryde Magic to Hensley Athletic Field for what promises to be a real ‘six pointer’.
With only two points separating the sides, Dunbar will be desperate for a win to catapult Magic on the ladder, who incidentally have a game in hand on the Rovers, as well as other sides around them.
Dunbar Rovers have won four and drawn two of their last six matches, a rich vein of form indeed which has seen them force their way into the top half. Remarkably, each of their four wins have been at Hensley Athletic Field, so is it the pitch, is it the unorthodox 3pm kick off time, or is it a renewed focus on the task at hand that has seen Dunbar seemingly look unbeatable at home?
Sitting in 4th position on 29 points, Magic are poised to give the leadership a real shake, especially if they can pick up an additional three points from their game in hand against Camden Tigers. Gladesville will no doubt look to the inform Michael Gaitatzis to steer them to victory, with the striker netting all four of his team’s goals last weekend in their 4-0 win over Rage.
Back in Round 3 when the sides first met, Magic prevailed 2-1, but Dunbar had two players sent off – they will need all hands on deck this time if they are to continue their excellent home ground form.
Western NSW Mariners will have all their fingers and toes crossed as they hope for a maiden victory against Granville Rage on Saturday, the match kicking off at 4pm in Mudgee.
Both sides are coming off heavy losses where they both conceded 4 goals, with the Mariners doing so in one half of football after leading 1-0 at the break against Camden Tigers last Saturday.
Granville Rage won the corresponding first round fixture between the two clubs. Tim Green and Robert Morsello netted for Rage in a 2-0 win at Garside Park, and they will hope for a similar result this time to give them some valuable competition and club championship points.
Inter Lions face the tough trip west to Richmond on Saturday, hoping they won’t face a Hawkesbury City on the rebound after their humiliating loss in last weekend’s top of the table clash vs St George City FA.
The Hawks came a cropper versus St George City FA, losing 0-6, and will look to take their anger out on a plucky Inter side at 5-30pm at David Bertenshaw Field.
It was just one of those days for Hawkesbury, and they’ll write that off as a one-off when nothing went right on the day. The Hawks have been there and thereabouts all year for a reason, and will return to their usual solid structure on familiar home ground surroundings as they look to keep up the pressure on the top.
The first round encounter ended with a 2-0 win for Hawkesbury at Fraser Park, with Bradley Gibson and Daniel Morsillo finding the net for the Hawks, and similar outcome this time around will do very nicely indeed for the home fans.
On paper, the outcome at Arlington Oval looks a foregone conclusion, with Dulwich Hill needing to reverse a recent form slump if they are to gain anything from their battle against league leaders, St George City FA, the game kicking off at 7pm on Saturday.
Four losses in their past five games have seen Dully plummet to 7th position, and they are in danger of dropping further into the bottom half of the ladder if they lose again, with Camden Tigers and Sydney Uni closing in quickly.
Whichever way you look at St George City FA, the numbers look ominous. The most wins, the least defeats, the best attack (57 goals at almost 4 per game) and the best defence (15 goals) reflect a side who is focussed and determined each and every week. A particularly scary statistic is that the team have scored 6 goals or more on 6 occasions this season, so Dully will do well to avoid going behind early and encouraging another onslaught.
Fraser Park have their work cut out trying to stop the Sydney University juggernaut when the two sides go head to head at Marrickville at 7pm on Saturday night.
Still propping up the ladder on 3 draws, Fraser Park can take some hope from the fact that each week they must be moving closer to that elusive first win.
But they couldn’t have picked a worse time to be playing Sydney University, who are on the back of a six match unbeaten run which has seen them pick up 14 points on their way to 9th position on the ladder, just one victory from the top half of the ladder.
Scott Tonkin (10 goals) and Michael Loupis (5) have scored 15 goals between them at almost a goal per match, given Loupis’ mid season transfer, and in fact, Tonkin managed a hatrick in the corresponding first round fixture when the ‘students’ beat Fraser 4-1 – no doubt the two attackers will be hovering for more of the same come Saturday night.
Camden Tigers face a stern test at Ron Dine Stadium on Saturday when they entertain the visit of SD Raiders at 7pm.
The Raiders are holding down that coveted 5th spot on the ladder on 27 points, and are backing up from a 7-0 demolition of Fraser Park last weekend, a real confidence boost going in to this match.
But Camden Tigers are in 8th spot on 22 points, with a game in hand, and know that winning this encounter will put them within reach of a top five spot. Oh, and there is that little added factor that Camden Tigers have won all seven of their seven games this season at Ron Dine Stadium!
The Round Three fixture earlier in the season had everything – eight goals, six yellow cards and even a sending off – with Ben Welch helping himself to a hatrick in the Raiders’ 5-3 win, so expect more fireworks on Saturday night.
Bankstown City will be out to continue to snap at the heels of St George City FA at the top of the competition ladder when they face off against Stanmore Hawks at 7pm at Potts Park.
Bankstown City are five points adrift of the leaders, and will not want that extending any bigger as they begin the chase to bridge that gap. Bankstown City have been a tad inconsistent over the past month, with a loss-win-loss-win record, so back to back wins will stop that rut and help them build some momentum before they face St George City FA the week after in a block buster.
Stanmore can take confidence from the fact they took a point off Bankstown City the first time these two clubs met. Back in Round Three at Arlington Oval, the two sides produced a 1-1 draw with Neil Jablonski scoring for Stanmore, whilst Ante Tomic netted for Bankstown City. It would take a huge effort from the Hawks this time around if they are to repeat a similar outcome.