We’ve reached the halfway mark of the National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s competition. At this point of the season it’s hard to rule anyone out, teams around NPL 4 are looking different with the opening of the transfer window as the sides begin to make their move towards a finals spot.
Round 11 gifts us with arguably the match of the season, as our Match of the Round takes us back to Fraser Park in a top of the table clash as the reigning Premiers prepare to host the Newcastle Jets.
Elsewhere, Parramatta host the in-form UNSW FC, Hawkesbury face off with Hurstville, Western NSW travel south to take on the Flame, Western Rage battle Prospect, whilst Camden host Nepean in the final game of Round 11.
Match of the Round
Fraser Park FC vs Newcastle Jets FC, 7pm @ Fraser Park
They don’t come much bigger than this in NPL 4, two heavyweights doing battle in a game with huge implications. The Jets sit six points behind Fraser Park with a game in hand, with a Fraser Park win on Saturday they’ll open up a nine point lead, giving them a golden shot at back to back premierships.
Fraser Park were dealt a huge blow after Matteo Pandolfo signed for NPL 2 side Hills Brumbies. Pandolfo was a key to the sides impressive start to the season, his presence may be missed for the remainder of the season. The Jets saw their impressive goal scoring form return last week and will hope for more of the same from their star men Blake Archbold and William Ingram as they look to improve on their tallies for the year. This game is sure to be one of the best of the year and could be a grand final preview.
Previous Matchup: N/A
Parramatta FC vs UNSW FC, 5pm @ Melita Stadium
Parramatta return to their beloved Melita Stadium as they host a resurgent UNSW side. UNSW have found their mojo in the past couple weeks and will want to continue their winning ways as they look to leap the packed midfield of the table. UNSW will look for Gabrielle Trinco and Dylan Walz to continue their notable goal-scoring form as they both bagged braces last week and have contributed to five of their last eight goals scored.
The Eagles will hope to bounce back from a slight dip in form which has seen them gain four points from their last five outings. Parramatta will need to be back their best when they face UNSW, they sit just two points ahead of Nepean and are at risk of falling to fifth with a loss on Saturday. Parramatta will welcome back some crucial first-team members this weekend which will be a huge boost going forward.
Previous Matchup: Parramatta FC 0-1 UNSW FC
Hawkesbury City FC vs Hurstville FC, 5:30pm @ David Bertenshaw Field
Hawkesbury are scheduled to return to their home at Bensons Lane for the first time since Round 2. The Hawks have been on the road since the floods and will have to turn their attention to the dangerous Hurstville outfit before concentrating on a homecoming. Hurstville may be down in numbers at the back with Jacob Ritchie and Stephan Perak out due to suspension, additionally Michael Rutherford is expected to miss Saturday’s clash with the birth of his child imminent.
Hawkesbury are on the heels of two consecutive defeats and will need to turn around the results soon as they continue to battle with a congested schedule. The one glowing positive for Hawkesbury throughout this tough period has been Marco Turpeinen who’s found his goal-scoring form netting eight in seven. This’ll be an intriguing matchup as both sides will expect to walk away from this with a positive result.
Previous Matchup: Hawkesbury City FC 2-1 Hurstville FC
South Coast Flame FC vs Western NSW FC, 6:30pm @ Ian McLennan Park
Western NSW make the long three hour journey down South to face the Flame. South Coast have shown on their day they’re capable of giving anyone in NPL 4 a real battle but still have mixed results to show for it. Beating Hawkesbury mid-week was a huge boost for the Flame and captain Matt Mazevski has lead his side impressively. The Flame will be disappointed to not have had a point from their game last week but will need to focusing on containing Western NSW.
The Bathurst based-side suffered another defeat to Fraser Park last time out, but with a squad of returning first-team members they’ve shown their potential in attack. Western NSW will look to this game as a huge opportunity to secure their first win of the season as they desperately need a result going forward.
Previous Matchup: South Coast Flame FC 2-0 Western NSW FC
Western Rage vs Prospect United SC, 7pm @ Ray Marshall Reserve
Western Rage head to their temporary home at Ray Marshall Reserve as their esteemed Garside Park remains closed. This game couldn’t of come at a more interesting time as former Rage man Kurdvan Abduljabbar could make his debut for his new side Prospect on Saturday.
Prospect remain firmly in the hunt for a finals spot holding Hurstville and Parramatta to draws. Being one of the more active sides to begin the window it’ll be interesting to see how the new players can shake the squad up and if any players will debut this Saturday. For the Rage their searching for their first win since Round 1, with the added component of going against a former player it could prove to be the main motivating factor for a second win of the season.
Previous Matchup: Western Rage 2-2 Prospect United SC
Camden Tigers FC vs Nepean FC, 7pm @ Ron Dine Stadium
Our Final game of the round sees Nepean travel to the daunting depths of Camden at the Ron Dine Stadium. Nepean have seen a mass resurgence in form with the welcomed return of many first-team members. Joe D’Ermilio’s side are enjoying a purple-patch in front of goals with Mitchell Mclintock and Ben Welch proving to be one of the best duos going forward.
For Camden they sit firmly in the middle of the pack in NPL 4 and will need to be at their best to contain Nepean. The Tigers have shown flashes of their brilliance this year and will want to stamp their mark on the game early and put Nepean under some early pressure, giving them their best chance at a positive result.
Previous Matchup: Camden Tigers FC 1-1 Nepean FC
By NPL 4 NSW Men’s Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti