Round 29 Preview – League One Men’s


Two points separate the top two sides with two games remaining in the FNSW League One Men’s season. It’s been a race with a few twists and turns in recent weeks, will we see another one this weekend?

Our match of the round sees us take a breath from that though as St George FC host Dulwich Hill. While Mounties Wanderers will be looking to mount an unlikely escape elsewhere against Bonnyrigg. That and more in our round 29 preview.

Match of the round: St George FC v Dulwich Hill FC; Saturday 19 August, 7pm, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre

Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre hosts our round 29 match of the round as St George FC take on Dulwich Hill, Saturday evening.

The hosts St George FC have been in some scintillating form of late finding the net for fun in recent times. Indeed, if not for a tough mid-season period, they would find themselves in one of the top two positions. Let’s not focus on the negatives though as we can expect entertainment in this one.

In a shocking development last weekend, captain Troy Danaskos scored a hat-trick which has us wondering if there’s a case for playing him further forward this weekend. Joking apart, it was a confident performance from a side who have found the net the most this season. Look out for Jesse Spang up front as well here.

In saying that, Dulwich Hill are not a side to be underestimated. They have already done enough to secure their place in the division this season which would’ve been their primary target for 2023. And with some youth emerging to compliment their stocks, they are heading in the right direction.

Five points in their last four including a victory over Macarthur Rams a fortnight ago, they’ll be there to compete this weekend. Last weekend however, luck wasn’t on their side in defeat to SD Raiders despite an Emmanuel Zervas goal which put them ahead.

You can catch this one on NPL.TV this Saturday night.

Hakoah FC v Hills United FC; Saturday 19 August, 5pm, Hensley Athletic Field

Hakoah FC host Hills United in a game which could well have top two ramifications ahead of the final round.

Securing their safety with a victory last weekend, Hakoah FC have the chance to send a tremor through Hills United this weekend. At home this season, they have secured five victories this season and they’ll be looking for a sixth here.

Nicholas Drummond has been a bright spark for them this season scoring nine goals in the campaign including one last week in their 1-0 victory over Mounties Wanderers.

It will be a temptation to look past this one from a Hills United perspective with Bonnyrigg awaiting them in round 30. However, you would still fancy them to get past their opponents this weekend which could decide whether they need a playoff or not in a fortnight.

Ryan Wood, Jamal Belkadi and Thomas Makko all impressed last weekend across the park against Canterbury Bankstown. And with Glen Kelshaw and Nicolai Muller returning to the bench, it will be a boost to a side with an important two weeks ahead of them.

Central Coast United FC v Rydalmere Lions FC; Saturday 19 August, 5pm, Pluim Park

Pride at stake? Central Coast United host Rydalmere Lions Saturday night as both sides look to finish the season well.

You suspect the Pirates just want to get out of the stormy waters of 2023 and start again next season. A rough campaign with just 11 points gained this season, it’s bleak reading for Central Coast United and their fans.

Last weekend was no easier conceding six at home against St George FC with an Adam Woodbine goal in the first half a rare highlight. They did gain a point in the last meeting between the two.

Their opponents Rydalmere Lions will be desperate for three points as well. Yes, their last victory came on the 1st of July against Macarthur Rams so they’ll feel they’re due.

To do so however, they’ll need to focus on limiting their errors. They love to hold possession but with that comes risk of turning the ball over.

Dunbar Rovers FC v Inter Lions FC; Saturday 19 August, 7pm, Fraser Park

Dunbar Rovers will want to rubber stamp their position in the league when they host Inter Lions at Fraser Park.

The Rovers have had a couple of chances to do so in as many weeks but have narrowly missed out. However, a result here and/or Mounties Wanderers failing to beat Bonnyrigg will cement their position in the league.

Last weekend was frustrating mind you, creating a few chances against Bankstown City without reward with a last-minute goal a bitter blow to them. Bounce back here though?

It will be tough though, Inter Lions are riding the crest of a wave in recent weeks. Booking a round of 16 spot last weekend where they will meet Metrostars from the South Australian NPL competition, they backed it up with a thumping win over Bonnyrigg, Tuesday night.

There’s a lot to like about how they are going about things, Tuesday night showing the depth they have in the squad. Look out for Fikret Berisha and Patrick Scibilio who both impressed Tuesday night.

Blacktown Spartans FC v Macarthur Rams FC; Saturday 19 August, 7pm, Blacktown Football Park

Blacktown Spartans and Macarthur Rams will meet for the second time this season at Blacktown Football Park.

The Spartans returned to winning ways Tuesday night with a victory over Rydalmere Lions, while Macarthur Rams went down to Northern Tigers on the same night.

Holding onto 8th position on the table, the victory over Rydalmere Lions took the Spartans past the 40-point mark in season 2023. Ben Rollison’s team have a platform to build off going forward after eight victories away from home this season.

In that victory over the Lions, Jordan Metcalfe once again played a decisive role with a first half goal, joined by Sallu Kamara on the scoresheet. The challenge this week being adapting that transition game to home comforts.

Eleven points behind them on the table are Macarthur Rams. They have done just about enough to ensure their place in the division though they’ll want to end the season on a high with a victory here or next weekend.

On Tuesday night, they were valiant against one of the better sides in the competition in Northern Tigers. Fighting for every inch of the field, they nearly came away with a reward for their efforts. They will look to turn around a 2-0 defeat in their first meeting.

Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v Mounties Wanderers FC; Saturday 19 August, 7pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club

Both sides need a win here for different reasons as Bonnyrigg White Eagles host Mounties Wanderers at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.

Tuesday night was a tough one for Bonnyrigg White Eagles and their supporters. A night where they could have moved a step closer to a premiership and promotion went wrong with the scoreline ballooning out to a 4-0 defeat.

As such, the return of Emmanuel Gonzalez will be a crucial one to their hopes here. Their home has been a fortress this season and they will be relying on that to turn things around heading into a clash with Hills United next weekend.

Mounties Wanderers on the other hand will need nothing short of a miracle to avoid the relegation playoff with the second placed side in league two. To do so, they’ll have to overturn a poor run of form with just one win in their last six.

Last weekend, they went down narrowly to Hakoah FC at home, a result and performance they’ll need to improve on to get anything here.

Northern Tigers FC v SD Raiders FC; Saturday 19 August, 7pm, North Turramurra Recreation Area

Fourth plays fifth as Northern Tigers host SD Raiders at North Turramurra Recreation Area, Saturday night. With just a point separating the sides in 2023, we can expect a close game here.

Let’s start with Northern Tigers who kept their run of form going with a victory on Tuesday night. It’s been a remarkable second half of the season for this week’s hosts winning ten games since the turn of the season.

Most recently it was Macarthur Rams who they got the better of with a first half Luca Kmet goal proving the difference between the two sides. They are running low on players though with injuries to four key starters.

SD Raiders have put together a run of their own in recent times with three victories in a row. Sitting just a point below the Tigers, they have scored the exact number of goals as their hosts coming into this one (60).

Last weekend they triumphed over Dulwich Hill at home with Mihael Marcic and Charlie Ragg cancelling out an early second half goal. They have good memories of their first meeting this season with a 3-1 victory on that occasion.

Canterbury Bankstown FC v Bankstown City; Saturday 19 August, 7pm, Jensen Park

Home away from home? Canterbury Bankstown host Bankstown City in a local derby at Jensen Park this weekend.

It’s an unfortunate reality that injuries play a part in football, you just hope they all don’t come at once… Which unfortunately has happened at Canterbury Bankstown in the last month of action. Three losses in their last four, it’s been a tough run of results for the Berries.

Last weekend, they did put in a brave effort against Hills United away from home having a few moments of promise before eventually succumbing to a 1-0 defeat. Look out for Gabriel Lopez who will want to respond here after a penalty miss last weekend.

Does good home form carry into an away game at the same venue? We’ll leave that for the NPL show guys to discuss but it will be interesting if it does translate for Bankstown City. Yes, they have made it a tough place to come in recent times winning four of their last five at Jensen Park.

Central to that has been the form of Jonathan Grozdanovski, who scored once again last weekend in a game where they edged past Dunbar Rovers, look out for him here.

By Justin Smith