Round 8 Preview – State League Men’s


Leading into Round 8 of the State League Men’s competition there are just seven points separating first and tenth positions.

Win this weekend and it could set up your season. Lose and you risk being cut adrift.

On paper it looks the best round of action this season with almost every match looking like it could go either way. So, join me and brave the wintery conditions as we preview a heated round of matches this weekend.

Western Condors v FC Gazy Auburn, Saturday 11th May, 5:30 at Chopin Park.

Things are starting to get tough for the Western Condors, not helped by a heavy schedule they face a in form FC Gazy Auburn outfit to open the round.

Let’s talk about the journalist curse (trust me it’s real, just ask Prospect United), anyway the latest victims… the Western Condors. Or so I fear a surprise result from last weekend indicates. The Condors went down to Nepean FC in a heavy four goal defeat away from home. So, a return to home will be really welcome midweek in a cup game.

But let’s focus on the league and the Condors will have to as a high flying Gazy awaits them on Saturday afternoon. Much like Central Coast last week, the Condors have something to prove in this one.

Three games undefeated, two consecutive wins. FC Gazy Auburn are here to play and underestimate them at your peril. This week’s visitors will come into this one full of confidence having defeated table toppers Fraser Park last weekend in a surprising but not so surprising result when it comes to the 2019 competition.

Team talk writes itself for FC Gazy Auburn this weekend and one more victory puts them suddenly on the brink of the top 5. If they score first, you would back them to pick up at least a point.

Prospect United v Hurstville FC, Saturday 11th May, 7pm at Blacktown Football Park.

Prospect United are just beginning to get going this season. Their next test won’t be easy though as they host Hurstville FC.

There’s no doubt Prospect United are an accomplished side. They come into this as the only side to not lose this season. Sounds good right? The problem is they need to turn draws into more wins. Last weekend was their second win of the season as they took a smash and grab victory over UNSW FC last Saturday.

So, Prospect United have heart, they have the capacity to win football games but can they do it at home against a team sitting equal top of the first-grade standings?

The competition standings say Hurstville FC have only suffered one defeat this season. That doesn’t take into account the various situation of which football throws up though. Last time out they were ambushed by a determined Balmain outfit and as the emotions settle on a late equalizer, you’d suspect it would be looked back upon as two points lost.

Where does that leave them then? Will that result fire them up for this tough contest or has a chink in the armor been exposed

Fraser Park v UNSW FC, Saturday 11th May, 7pm at Fraser Park.

There will be feeling in this one, a few familiar faces will suit up for Fraser Park in a fixture against their former side UNSW FC on Saturday night.

Is reality starting to hit for Fraser Park? After a dream start to life in this competition, suddenly the road has just got a little bit bumpy, losing two of their past three fixtures. Last week they were shocked by FC Gazy Auburn away from home. However, you suspect they won’t be the only team to fall victim to them.

This week it’s all about getting back on the straight and narrow path to success, it won’t be easy though against a desperate opponent who won’t want to be cut adrift.

Last year at this point, UNSW FC were undefeated. This isn’t last year though and UNSW FC find themselves on two wins from six appearances. That leaves them in tenth and really needing a victory. Last weekend they went down to Prospect United in a match which they largely controlled, frustratingly conceding in the last few minutes.

Coming into this one with little preparation due to a midweek cup match, it will be interesting to see how they compare with a team a bit of a UNSW 2018 smell about them.

Balmain Tigers v Central Coast United, Sunday 12th May, 1pm at Ilinden Sports Centre.

A glimmer of hope? Balmain Tigers put in their best shift of the season last week, Will it be enough to test Central Coast United, we shall see Sunday afternoon.

A step in the right direction. That’s how we summarize Balmain Tigers performance last weekend. They were unlucky to come away from last weeks fixture against Hurstville FC with only a point having held the lead twice.

This week it doesn’t get any easier for the Tigers as they face another team who have started the season well in Central Coast United. If they want to compete for a finals position, a win is desperately needed in this one.

Champion teams find a way to win when they really need too. Central Coast United were under a bit of pressure last weekend. Coming into their fixture against the Minotaurs, they had lost two on the trot. But they found a way to win and did it in style showing that at their best, they will be hard to beat again as the season progresses.

They will want to make winning a pattern again as they match up with Balmain Tigers in the early Sunday kick off. One would suggest ruthlessness in front of goal will be the main focus for United in this one.

Hurstville City Minotaurs v South Coast Flame, Sunday 12th May, 7pm at Ilinden Sports Centre

Two sides flirting with a finals position clash Sunday evening, these are the games you want to win if you want September action.

Improvement is a common theme amongst all teams in the State League competition this year. None more so than the Hurstville City Minotaurs who despite going down to Central Coast United last weekend showed some encouraging signs on which they can build on in this forthcoming clash.

And the General will be relying on some returning troops in order for his team to recapture their winning momentum. It won’t come easy though as this South Coast side have a renewed spirit amongst the playing group.

Now let’s tackle the most aesthetically pleasing side of the competition coming into round 8. South Coast Flame come into this fixture having won two, lost two and you guessed it drawn two. Two add to this, their last fixture ended in a two-two draw against Prospect United. They were impressive in that one and will want to build on two impressive performances under Neil Mineef.

It’s an age-old question, does a week off hinder or help a team during the season? So far it seems so with teams picking up four of six teams picking up wins after the bye. Will that trend continue with a South Coast Flame victory?

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)