Round 2 Preview – League Two Men’s

League TWO Men's Round Preview 2

Round Two of the 2024 Football NSW League Two Men’s season promises to deliver more unpredictability as the teams continue to learn what will be needed for success.

The Match of the Round this week sees Hurstville FC look to bounce back from a tough away loss, at home to the entertaining Fraser Park FC.

Elsewhere, Central Coast United look to open their home account against Bankstown United FC, Sydney University SFC look to make their back-to-back home matches count as they host Inner West Hawks FC, while Gladesville Ryde Magic and Granville Rage hope to respond from opening-round losses.

Meanwhile, South Coast Flame FC will hunt back-to-back home wins when Parramatta FC visit, Prospect United SC look to stop the formidable Mounties Wanderers FC, before Camden Tigers FC play their first match of the season when they travel to face the Newcastle Jets.

Hawkesbury City FC have a bye in Round Two.


Friday, 23rd February 2024

Match of the Round: Hurstville FC vs Fraser Park FC, 8pm @ Penshurst Park

Last season: Fraser Park FC 1-2 Hurstville FC, Hurstville FC 1-1 Fraser Park FC

Hurstville FC will hope their first home match of the 2024 season will bring good fortune as they host the entertaining Fraser Park FC in Round Two.

These two teams were locked in close encounters last season, where Fraser Park picked up a draw in their previous encounter thanks to a 94th minute equaliser from Marcus Mallard; expect this contest to be just as tight as both teams hunt their first win of the season.

Hurstville fought valiantly but let their lead slip in their 3-1 away loss to the Newcastle Jets last week and will be confident of their resolute defence and ability to create chances from different situations to help them against Fraser Park.

The hosts will be prepared for the fight in this contest and are aware of how tight the battle between these two sides has been in the past; they will be expecting a clash which is toe-to-toe.

Look for Hurstville to hold the ball well and not settle for anything less than a win – expect Hurstville to come out firing and try to outplay Fraser Park as they look to defend their home ground to start the season.

Fraser Park let a 3-0 lead slip as they were held to a 3-3 draw away to Parramatta FC last week and will hope to respond with another clash on the road in Round Two.

Alexander Nicolosi started the season on fire with a hat-trick and will look to be the main man for Fraser Park in attack again – look for him to run hard, intercept the ball when Hurstville have possession, as well as create and put away chances for the visitors.

Fraser Park will look to work hard and put in a 90-minute performance to respond – look for them to work hard and make it difficult for Hurstville to play their style of football.

With two sides confident in how they want to play this season, with and without the ball, expect this clash to provide plenty of hard running, big chances and quality play as both sides hunt their first victory of the season.


Saturday, 24th February 2024

Central Coast United FC vs Bankstown United FC, 5pm @ Pluim Park

These two teams did not meet last season.

Central Coast United will hope to pick up all three points in their first home match of the season as they host an old rival in Bankstown United FC.

These two teams did not meet last season but used to have good encounters in the now-defunct NPL NSW Men’s 3 competition, such as in their most recent encounter in 2021 where Bankstown United picked up a 3-2 home win.

Central Coast United displayed plenty of team spirit and courage in their 3-2 win over Inner West Hawks FC last week and will hope to keep building their combinations as they play at home for the first time in the 2024 season.

The Pirates will hope to play with enthusiasm and hold the ball well, especially at home, as they look to break down a Bankstown United side which took 83 minutes to be breached last week.

Look for some of the fresh players, like Ben Flakus, who picked up his first goal for the club last week, as well as a strong core, including Cade Mapu, who also scored against the Hawks, to continue to want to build the culture at the club as they look to start their home record with a win.

Bankstown United will be fired up for the contest against a side they look to bring more fighting spirit when they travel up north.

After coming away with a draw despite playing for 68 minutes with ten men, the resilience in Bankstown will not be underestimated as they look to continue building their attacking prowess and confidence this season.

Expect a solid start from the visitors in a clash which brings out the best in both sides – defence will be key early for Bankstown.

With plenty of passion involved in clashes between these two sides, expect there to be chances and a desire to claim victory, no matter the score late.


Sydney University SFC vs Inner West Hawks FC, 5pm @ Sydney University Football Ground

Last season: Inner West Hawks FC 1-1 Sydney University SFC, Sydney University SFC 0-0 Inner West Hawks

Sydney University SFC will hope to win back-to-back home matches as they host an Inner West Hawks side which fought valiantly in defeat last week.

These two sides could not be separated last season, with both clashes ending in draws; however, they also met in pre-season at Arlington Oval, where the students took the lead through Jesse Hirschowitz, before goals from Stavro Palapanis and Peter Kontis either side of half-time led the Hawks to a 2-1 victory.

The students held off a strong Hawkesbury City FC side last week for a 2-1 victory and will be hopeful of using the lessons learned from that and the pre-season clash with the Hawks to build for success.

They are looking to build from the back with a strong defensive shape and will look to use that to their advantage playing at home.

If they can hold that defensive shape, especially early, and build into the match, keeping the Hawks’ pacey attackers at bay, they will set themselves up for a real chance at gaining all three points from this contest.

Inner West Hawks FC almost mounted a late comeback in a 3-2 home loss to Central Coast United last week but have belief of being better defensively this week.

They will look to limit errors in possession to avoid the students from hitting them on the counter, while they will also look to focus on attack first as they look to start on the front foot.

With a fit squad and plenty of firepower throughout, expect the Hawks to create plenty of chances away from home.

Early in the season, a tight contest between these two sides could be the type of match both sides need to be even more prepared for the long season ahead – one moment could decide this contest.


Gladesville Ryde Magic vs Granville Rage, 5pm @ Christie Park

Last season: Gladesville Ryde Magic 2-1 Granville Rage, Granville Rage 3-3 Gladesville Ryde Magic

Gladesville Ryde Magic will look to respond from their 3-0 opening round loss to South Coast Flame FC when they host Granville Rage, who will look to respond following their 8-2 loss to Mounties Wanderers FC in last week’s Match of the Round.

Late goals were the theme of the matches between these two sides last season and with both sides coming off defeats, expect there to be plenty of fighting spirit until the final whistle this time, too.

The Magic were the only side unable to find a goal last week despite some good chances and will be hoping to rectify that at home against the Rage.

The youth within the side will hope to further cement or fight for their place in the side; their play will develop as the season progresses, but they will be hopeful of using their young stars to good use against the Rage.

Look for the Magic to start well defensively and build into the match, avoiding mistakes as they look to break down the Rage for the three points at home.

Granville Rage found themselves on the end of a hefty scoreline last week but will be hopeful of turning it around against the Magic with a good performance.

They will hope to reset and go again in Round Two; with plenty of quality players across the park, the Rage will hope their combinations will be worked on and their tactical soundness will lead them forward.

With plenty of lessons learned from Round One, look for the Rage to play to their strengths, with the likes of Nikola Todoroski firing up front, to have a successful match away to the Magic.

With both sides coming off defeats, expect a clash where plenty of learnings will be put into practice as both sides hunt an important three points early in the season in a match which promises goals and excitement.


South Coast Flame FC vs Parramatta FC, 7pm @ Sir Ian McLennan Oval

Last season: South Coast Flame FC 0-2 Parramatta FC, Parramatta FC 2-4 South Coast Flame FC

South Coat Flame FC and Parramatta FC meet in Round Two in a clash which should bring plenty of excitement as both teams look to build consistency this season.

Goals were in order between these two sides last season, with both teams picking up wins amid eight goals being scored in two matches – expect this clash to carry just as much excitement as the two teams look to continue their hot scoring start to the season.

The Flame ran out 3-0 winners at home over Gladesville Ryde Magic last week and will hope their firepower will continue to shine through as they look to make the most of back-to-back home matches to start the season.

Michael Trajkovski picked up his first goal for his new side last week and the former Canterbury-Bankstown striker will hope to keep delivering for his new club in Round Two.

Expect the flame to look to hold the ball well, be solid defensively early and break down Parramatta in hopes of recording another strong victory to start their season with promise.

Parramatta FC showed plenty of fight, coming from three goals down to grab a 3-3 draw in the 91st minute at home to Fraser Park FC last week.

With the experience of Tarek Elrich in defence and a fit and firing captain in Marco Sama up front, who bagged two goals last week, expect the Eagles to give their share of quality to a match which promises to ignite.

With belief in their squad after that stirring comeback last week, Parramatta will hope to start strongly to set up victory against a side just eager to impress across the pitch.

If recent matches and previous encounters between these two sides are anything to go by, this match will provide goals and plenty of chances for either team to grab an important three points early in the season.


Prospect United SC vs Mounties Wanderers FC, 7pm @ Blacktown Exercise Sports and Technology Hub

These two sides did not meet last season.

There will be plenty of unknown when Prospect United SC host Mounties Wanderers FC in Round Two.

These two teams did not meet last season but will have had plenty to ponder following the opening round of fixtures, both looking at their own matches and how their opponent this week fared.

Prospect thought they had a late 83rd minute winner last week against Bankstown United before they were held to a 1-1 draw at home and will hope to use that experience to build their play for a successful match.

The hosts will hope to have good ball security against a side which has shown their attacking ability just one round into the season and will hope to learn their lessons from last week following good moments in their build-up.

If they can keep up with the pace of the match, hold on to the ball and take their chances as they come, they will hope to be a real fight against Mounties.

For the Wanderers, they put the competition on a bit of notice after their 8-2 victory over Granville Rage in last week’s Match of the Round and they will hope to be ready for a tough away match.

Despite their eight-goal haul last week, they belief they can be even more clinical with the chances they create and will hope to use that drive for more to push them towards being ruthless across the pitch.

Look for Mounties to utilise their speed up front in the counter, as well as progress the ball to mix up their play – look for the likes of Kuot Maliet, Marko Filipovic and Brima Kamara to light up in attack for Mounties as they look to win back-to-back matches.

With one team hoping to build on lessons learned and the other looking to develop their play and be even more clinical in the final third, this encounter promises to provide plenty of unpredictability as both sides look to focus on their own goals.


Sunday, 25th February 2024

Newcastle Jets vs Camden Tigers FC, 5pm @ Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility

Last season: Newcastle Jets 3-2 Camden Tigers FC, Camden Tigers FC 4-2 Newcastle Jets

The final match of Round Two sees two teams who love a goal-fest against each other as the Newcastle Jets host a team playing their first match of the season in Camden Tigers FC.

The Jets were victorious at home over the Tigers last season, but in the reverse fixture it was Camden who came out victorious with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory; this clash promises to provide just as much entertainment as the two sides look to start the season strongly.

The Newcastle Jets came from behind in a 3-1 home victory over Hurstville FC to kick off their season last week and will be hopeful of recording back-to-back home wins to start their season.

They will be wary of Camden given the matches they play against them last season but will utilise their high tempo play with crosses and runs in behind to disrupt the Tigers’ defence and create avenues for victory.

Expect the Jets to start the match with high energy as they look to take down an unpredictable opponent in the Tigers in Round Two.

Camden Tigers FC had the first week of the competition off and will be ready to take on a tough side in the Jets in their opening match of the season.

With more defined player roles, they will hope to push the Jets and maintain an elevated level of play throughout the match; last season, they posed a high attacking threat and will hope to carry that into 2024.

With a tough away trip first up, expect the Tigers to come out with nothing to lose as they look for a big victory early in the season.

Entertaining matches are always in store when the Jets and the Tigers meet; with plenty to learn and gain from these early season matches, both Newcastle and Camden will want to prove their worth and come out on top.

By Football NSW League Two Men’s Reporter, Dylan Costa @_dylancosta