The final round is finally upon us as we get to sit back and enjoy one last full set of fixtures in the 2019 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW competition.
In keeping with tradition, all this weekend’s matches will kick off simultaneously, with all the action set to get underway at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
This weekend will provide us with the last piece of the puzzle as we find out who will be the final side to book their place in the highly anticipated finals.
Dulwich Hill FC host Hawkesbury City FC at Arlington Oval, the home side still have a slim chance of making the finals if they get the win and Inter Lions and Camden Tigers falter in their respective fixtures.
Unbeaten in their last five matches, Dully have enjoyed a profitable end to the season and will be looking to end it on a high against Hawkesbury.
The Hawks have not had a league victory since their round 22 encounter away to Parramatta and were on the wrong end of a 4-1 score line last time out against the Mariners.
Irrespective of other results, the visitors will finish the season in 10th, however they are one of five sides who have been relegated from the NPL 3 competition and will no doubt be looking to bow out on a positive note.
The two sides played out a 1-1 draw the last time they met at David Bertenshaw Field back in round 13.
Third plays fourth at Christie Park as SD Raiders FC make the trip to Marsfield to take on Gladesville Ryde Magic on Sunday afternoon.
Magic have not been able to string a consecutive run of positive results together for the last month and will be eager to get the three points against Raiders ahead of the finals in a fortnight’s time.
The away side sit on 54 points, nine points above their hosts and on the same amount of points as 2nd placed Bankstown City. Goal differential is the only thing that separates the two sides, however a victory for Raiders coupled with a Bankstown loss against Dunbar will see Nick Carle’s men leapfrog their rivals.
The race for the golden boot will also run into the last weekend of the season proper as Raiders’ Anthony Proia contends with Lions’ Nikola Todoroski, the pair have 27 goals each while Stanmore’s Jovan Blagojevic is hot on their heels with 26 goals to his name.
The corresponding fixture ended in a 1-1 stalemate with Proia getting on the score sheet in the first half before Gladesville’s Chris Triantis converted from the penalty spot midway through the second half.
Dunbar Rovers FC welcome Bankstown City FC to Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
This weekend will mark the end of an era as long term Dunbar servant Andrew Doddy and the evergreen Paul Orgad bow out of NPL football.
The veteran midfield duo will play their last game for Dunbar after a combined 10 years of service to the club.
As captain of the club, Doddy has played close to 200 games for Rovers and will be returning to the UK next year, whilst Orgad has been at the Eastern Suburbs outfit for the past two years and boasts twelve years of NPL football under his belt.
Dunbar will be looking to make it a fitting send off for the pair as they aim to make it three wins on the spin when they come up against Bankstown.
They played one of their best matches of the season last weekend when they smashed Inter 5-1 and will look to carry that kind of performance into this Sunday.
Bankstown know that a win is all they need as they look to tie up 2nd position on the ladder.
They have Todoroski who will be at his best as he looks to pip Proia to the golden boot, whilst Ante Tomic and Marko Filipovic have also been in sparkling form of late.
The reverse fixture at Jensen Park ended in a 5-2 triumph for the Lions with Tomic most notably grabbing a hat trick.
Stanmore Hawks FC will grace the field for the first time since they were confirmed as this season’s Premiers when they face off against Bankstown United FC at Jensen Park.
Last round saw Bankstown secure their position in the top six after they drew 2-2 against Parramatta.
They currently sit in 5th place on 40 points, three points ahead of nearest rivals Inter. However, a defeat against the Hawks along with a victory for Inter against the Mariners could see United drop to 6th due to their inferior goal difference.
Stanmore will need to refocus after last week’s celebrations as they prepare for their last match before the finals.
Blagojevic is still in with a shout for collecting the golden boot, so it is unlikely that they will take their foot off the gas come Sunday.
Both sides took a share of the points the last time they went head to head, with 1-1 the full time score back in June.
Parramatta FC return to Melita Stadium to take on Camden Tigers FC on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles have registered consecutive 2-2 draws over the last fortnight against Granville and United respectively.
Sunday will mark their last game in the NPL3 competition, whilst Camden may live to play another week depending on results from around the grounds.
They will be looking to care of things on their end by beating the Eagles, whilst hoping that the Mariners can get one over Inter to ensure that they leapfrog the men from Concord into 6th position on the ladder.
The corresponding fixture at Ron Dine saw the Tigers claim a 2-1 victory with Bailey Simpson and Dean Mugridge getting on the scoresheet on that occasion.
Inter Lions FC venture out to Orange to take on Western NSW Mariners at Sir Jack Brabham Park, knowing that anything but a win could cost them a place in the finals.
A 4-1 rout of Hawkesbury last time out would have no doubt brought a bit of cheer back to the Mariners’ dressing room.
They will be looking to close out their time in this competition in style as they come up against the league’s out-of-form side in Inter.
The inner west outfit have endured a horrid run of late and if they do make finals, it will be by the narrowest of margins.
For a team that was dominating towards the end of the first round, few would have expected that they would be still looking to tie up a finals spot this late in the campaign.
The last time they faced each other, Inter completed a 5-1 rout with Nico Paras getting a hattrick.
Sydney University SFC will play of out of Sydney University Football Ground for the third week in a row when they meet Granville Rage on Sunday.
The ‘students’ have suffered successive 1-0 defeats at home against highflyers Raiders and Hawks.
They are already guaranteed a 10th placed finish whilst their opponents will end the season in 13th spot regardless of the result.
Rage are another side who will not be a part of next year’s competition, so they too will be playing for pride when they make their final appearance this weekend.
Sydney Uni tore Rage apart in the reverse fixture, winning 6-0 at Garside Park. A repeat result would put a bitter end on what has been a largely disappointing campaign for Granville.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)