Hopefully the weather has finished disturbing the football, as we have six exciting match-ups lined up for Round 17, as the race for the top five continues to heat up with the competition heading into the final bend. Let’s get onto the preview!
Match of the Round: Nepean FC vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 30 June, 6:30pm, Cook Park
Nepean FC have reached the end of their gauntlet of tough contests, as they welcome ladder leaders Sutherland Shire FA to Cook Park on Sunday night.
This contest has the potential to be a classic, as both teams come into the game in blistering form. Nepean FC put in a shift to snatch a 1-1 draw against APIA Leichhardt Tigers whilst Sutherland Shire FA continued their winning ways with a 3-nil success against Southern Branch.
Sutherland Shire FA ride into the west on a three-game winning streak, and a renewed purpose with the shire side perched at the top of the tree. Much of their success has come through the combination between Morgan Maxwell and Jordan Baker, which will keep the home side on their toes all night.
Alan Tasses young side have shown they match any opposition, and when they stick to the game plan, Nepean FC are a tough side to get points off. Stefanie Trovato also has a sense for the occasion with her stunning equaliser last weekend and Nepean’s leading scorer is the talisman for the home side trying to claim another big scalp.
Western NSW Mariners vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 30 June, 1:05pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park
The two furthest points in the competition do battle in Orange! Western NSW Mariners host Southern Branch FC in the opening contest of Round 17.
Both sides come into this contest off losses – Western NSW Mariners were one-goal losers to St George FC to break their one-game win streak. For Southern Branch, they put a valiant fight but were downed 3-nil against ladder leaders Sutherland Shire FA.
Whilst both sides have fallen out of the finals running, there are points to be collected. Western NSW Mariners are eighth, led by the dual threat of Teegan Courtney and Anna Hunt will head into the contest as favourites especially with much of their run home played in the Central West.
Southern Branch FC sit in eleventh but have provided some resistance in their contests. Last week, keeper Jamie Griffin was outstanding to keep Sutherland Shire FA at bay but they’ll need their experienced leaders to help out if the Nowra side want to register their third victory of the season.
Inter Lions vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 30 June, 3pm, Concord Oval
It’s the return of the Battle of the Jungle as APIA Leichhardt Tigers travel to Concord Oval to take on Inter Lions on Sunday afternoon.
APIA Leichhardt were pegged back late by Nepean to drop two precious points in a 1-1 draw for last weekend’s Match of the Round. Inter Lions were on the wrong side of a 9-nil result against competition heavyweight Gladesville Ravens.
Inter Lions will be looking to equal the ledger in the ‘battle of the jungle cats’ after APIA took the spoils at Lambert Park 7-nil earlier this season. The Lions are playing spoiler for the rest of the season, but it is a monumental task to try and curtail the attacking threat of APIA – led by the twin towers of Georgia Bridges and Ash Palombi – in an intriguing contest.
Central Coast Mariners vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 30 June, 3pm, Pluim Park
Second takes on fifth as both Central Coast Mariners and Gladesville Ravens aim to consolidate their position in the top five on Sunday afternoon at Pluim Park.
Coming into the weekend, Gladesville are soaring after they piled on nine goals against a hapless Inter Lions at fortress Christie Park. The Mariners were behind 3-2 when their game was abandoned last weekend against Marconi Stallions.
Currently, the Mariners sit in the hot seat – fifth spot. Dan Barrett’s side showed in their previous game against the Ravens where they held out for a 0-0 draw, they can frustrate the top sides. Back at Pluim, they plunder goals – 20 scored in the last five home contests, so it should be an open contest.
They will need them because Gladesville with the pair of hat-tricks for Kasia Wojtowicz and Amelia Vitek from the Inter Lions thrashing showed they are in form. Add to that the guile of their midfield and custodian Eri Arikawa then Sunday is set up for a massive three points.
UNSW FC vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 30 June, 3pm, Seymour Shaw
Marconi Stallions aim to move back into the top five as they travel to Seymour Shaw to take on UNSW FC down at Seymour Shaw.
The Stallions were in firm control of their contest 3-2 against Central Coast Mariners before a deluge forced the abandonment at half-time. The students also fell afoul of the weather when their contest against SD Raiders was washed out Sunday morning.
After an up-and-down first half of the season, UNSW FC Alex Nolan has found the right mix for his team and their results have improved. The students have moved into ninth, and if they can create an upset on the weekend can leapfrog Western NSW Mariners, as they try to finish the season on a high note.
Marconi have their fate in their own hands to play finals football in the next few months. The Stallions have scored for fun with Jasmin Courtenay still topped the goal charts. Both Ceyda Cambaz and Jessica Beale are in the top ten as well, so Marconi might score their way to the finals.
SD Raiders FC vs St George FC, Sunday 30 June, 5pm, Ernie Smith Reserve
Back at home, hoping the rain holds out. SD Raiders stride out onto Ernie Smith Reserve against a tough St George FC side under lights on Sunday night.
The Saints ride high on confident into Sunday night off their tense 1-nil result against Western NSW Mariners at St George Stadium. SD Raiders might have to make a deal with the weather to make sure it isn’t three straight weeks without a game.
In the past fortnight, St George FC have found themselves another striking in Ana Araujo. She has found the back of the net against Mariners and Sutherland Shire FA and provides another option for Carlo Tini up top against a tough SD Raiders side.
SD Raiders remain within earshot of the top five. The two washouts have left them six points out of fifth with games in hand but games like Sunday are important to keep touch. Coach Terry Gray’s side have enough talent to make it a season sweep against the Saints.
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)