You really felt like the cold comforts of the State League Men’s competition had arrived last weekend as a couple of fixtures were washed out thanks to Mother Nature.
Let’s kick on and hopefully get a full lot of fixtures in Round 3.
This weekend sees a double header in Sydney’s South with Balmain and UNSW both looking to notch their first wins of the season at home.
Whilst elsewhere FC Gazy have something to prove and Hurstville City Minotaurs will be looking for their first point.
South Coast Flame v Nepean FC – Saturday 6th April, 7pm at Ian Mclennan Park
South Coast Flame have improved on week one, enough to give Nepean FC a run for it? We shall see.
Much like you the viewing public, there are some sides that we’re still trying to get a handle on. One of those sides is South Coast Flame.
The hosts showed resilience to win in both the FFA Cup and league last week. This week marks a sterner test though as they host a rested competition heavyweight.
If you’re looking for key acquisitions in this outfit, look no further than Hiroaki Ushijima and Yuki Mandai in attacking midfield.
That heavyweight? Nepean FC.
Last week their fixture against Hurstville City Minotaurs was washed out so not much has changed since the last preview.
They did however win a cup game against Kellyville Kolts last week.
In terms of players to watch, the attacking duo of Farres Aoun and Kuag Reec are going to reec some havoc on opposition defences this season.
Balmain Tigers v Fraser Park – Sunday 7th April, 1pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
The battle of the rebuilds, the two most recent relegated sides clash too open a stellar Sunday of action.
Last week in the preview, we said that we would learn a lot about Balmain Tigers in their round two fixture.
Yeah, unfortunately the rain came along and destroyed any hope of that but this shapes as a tough early season test as they host an in-form Fraser Park side.
Luckily this game can’t really be washed out and the Tigers will be keen to put an FFA Cup loss last Thursday behind them.
If they play as good as they talk, Fraser Park are going to be a serious contender this season.
Last week was a frustrating one as they struggled to break down a determined Prospect United side and had to settle for a draw.
If they are to challenge, you suspect it will be on the back of greatest name in the state league Luiz Lobo who just continuously impresses in this league.
Momentum. if they pick it up this year, they’ll be hard to stop.
FC Gazy Auburn v Central Coast United – Sunday 7th April, 3pm at Progress Park
Will the real improved FC Gazy Auburn that we’ve heard about show up? They host Central Coast United this Sunday afternoon in what could be an early season definer for the home team.
This is not the start FC Gazy Auburn had in mind when the season was approaching.
FC Gazy come into this one having lost their opening two fixtures to Hurstville FC and South Coast Flame as well as losing in the cup.
Early season indeed, but such form cannot go any longer if they want to challenge in 2019 and what better place to make a statement then against Central Coast United at home this Sunday.
Did we see the real, all to familiar Central Coast United step up last week? Their opening round loss to Nepean FC turned a few heads.
Those heads weren’t turned too long though as they returned home and to the winner’s circle with a win over UNSW FC last week.
You’d suspect central to their hopes this campaign will be midfielder Yuki Morikawa who was voted man of the match in that contest.
UNSW FC v Hurstville FC -Sunday 7th April, 7pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
It’s a home opener for UNSW FC as they host Hurstville FC in one of the late Sunday kick offs.
The home side will be looking to bounce back after a tough season opener up at Pluim Park.
Nevertheless, there was enough in the student’s performance to suggest they will be up there come the end of the season.
In that performance, Aaron Richmond particularly stood out as a quality acquisition winning a penalty and we be an ever-present threat to opposition defences.
Hurstville FC were definitely the unlucky ones when it came to their early season draw.
They opened the season with a victory away at FC Gazy in round one but then had to deal with a week off. In many ways it will feel like starting the season again.
In terms of their threats this year, the Gagro brothers certainly stick out but this squad has plenty of midfield and attacking depth.
Hurstville City Minotaurs v Western Condors – Sunday 7th April, 7pm at Valentine Sports Park 3
Hurstville City Minotaurs host Western Condors to conclude the round at Valentine Sports Park.
The Minotaurs will be keen to get back on the back after going down to Fraser Park in the first round.
Their draw couldn’t have been much tougher as a game against Nepean was washed out and now, they face an impressive Condors side if round one is anything to go by.
Their squad is a mix of familiar faces as well as new ones and they will be looking to grab some points before their campaign gets away from them.
Western Condors were clearly the stand out side from the opening round thrashing South Coast away.
What you don’t want after that is a break of fourteen days in between league matches. As with others, a cup match has been played in between where they racked up another impressive seven goals against Norwest FC.
They look a massively improved prospect this campaign and will be looking to continue on some hot form.
Prospect United have the bye.
By State League Men’s chief writer Justin Smith