Round 16 Preview – League Two Men’s

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With the halfway point of the 2024 Football NSW League Two Men’s season crossed, the second round of fixtures will bring with it plenty of interesting stories with the league and promotion up for grabs for many teams this season.

The Match of the Round this week sees a rematch of the Round One Match of the Round when Granville Rage look to take revenge against Mounties Wanderers FC.


Friday, 24th May 2024

Match of the Round: Granville Rage vs Mounties Wanderers FC, 8pm at Rydalmere Park

Previous Meeting: Mounties Wanderers FC 8-2 Granville Rage

10th-placed Granville Rage will be out to make amends for their Round One result against 4th-placed Mounties Wanderers FC, who will be hoping to repeat it, as the two sides meet in what should be an entertaining Match of the Round.

When these sides met in the Round One Match of the Round, Mounties signalled their intent in the league early with what is still the second-biggest win of the season by any team so far – an 8-2 success – at Cook Park; expect this clash to be filled with plenty of attacking threat, too.

The Rage have fallen to back-to-back losses in recent weeks, conceding nine goals and only scoring one goal in them, and will hope to return to the form that saw them pick up a 5-3 home win over the formidable South Coast Flame FC only four weeks ago.

After starting the season on fire, Nikola Todoroski only has one goal from his past four matches – the Rage will need to get him more involved again to bring success, with the forward on 11 goals so far this season, the fifth-best tally in the league.

Given recent results and their biggest loss of the season coming against Mounties in the first round of this season, expect a fired-up Rage side to take the match to Mounties at home.

Mounties, meanwhile, have gone unbeaten in their past four matches and have picked up big wins in their last two after their 4-1 home win over Parramatta FC last weekend.

They scored both inside and outside the 18-yard-box last week in a show of their strengths in the final third and the league’s equal-best attacking side this season will hope to add more goals to their tally this week.

A win could move them up to 2nd-place on the ladder and potentially within four points of the league-leading Newcastle Jets – expect Mounties to be fired up to complete a league double over the Rage this week.

With the Rage looking to show their improvement this season and Mounties hoping to get back towards the top two, expect neither side to hold back in a clash which could provide a contrast of styles.


Central Coast United FC vs Inner West Hawks FC, 8:15pm at Pluim Park

Previous Meeting: Inner West Hawks FC 2-3 Central Coast United FC

A big 5th vs 6th clash sees Central Coast United FC host Inner West Hawks FC in a match which could have big consequences on the fight for places in the top five this season.

Earlier in the year, the Pirates held off a spirited comeback from the Hawks in a 3-2 away win and will hope to complete a league double over Inner West to strengthen their resurgence up the ladder this week.

The Pirates have won three of their past five matches, including two in a row, and will hope for another win this week which could take them within one point of the top four.

They have kept clean sheets in each of their past three victories, while they have failed to score in their losses in what has been a bit of a pattern for the hosts lately.

With Ben Flakus on the scoresheet for the eighth time this season and Alex Arbelo contributing with a goal and an assist last week, expect that pair to combine well again as the Pirates chase a third-straight win for the first time this season and chase the league double over the Hawks.

The Hawks, meanwhile, have had a rough run of form lately with only two wins from their past six matches but after their 1-0 loss to Hurstville FC in last week’s Match of the Round, will hope to fire up to avoid dropping further into the mid-pack and instead challenge in the top five.

After being held scoreless last week for the first time since Round Nine, expect the Hawks to come out with an intent to make amends for that early as they hunt a win which could move them back into 5th place, potentially just three points behind 4th.

A loss, however, could see them drop as low as 8th – expect the Hawks to stand up to the occasion as the second half of the season gets underway.

With the two sides separated by just two points on the ladder with 23 and 21, respectively, this matchup could prove pivotal for positions on the final ladder of the season.


Saturday, 25th May 2024

Gladesville Ryde Magic vs South Coast Flame FC, 5pm at Christie Park

Previous Meeting: South Coast Flame FC 3-0 Gladesville Ryde Magic

Two teams who have had contrasting seasons meet when last-placed Gladesville Ryde Magic hopes to cause an upset when they host 3rd-placed South Coast Flame FC.

The Flame started the year as they meant to go on in their Round One reverse fixture against the Magic with a strong 3-0 home win – expect them to want to fight to complete the league double over the Magic as they chase down the top two.

The Magic were the final team to have their bye last week and will hope that week off will help them reset ahead of the second half of the season.

Still only one win away from moving off the bottom of the league, the Magic will hope to show progress as they look to move off the foot of the ladder for the first time since Round Five, since which they have lost nine-straight matches.

With a top team in the Flame in their way this week, expect a youthful, exuberant Magic side to take the match to their opponents at home as they look to cause one of the biggest upsets of the season.

The Flame, meanwhile, have gotten back to form lately with two wins from their past three matches and two clean sheets in that time, too, after their crucial 2-1 home win over Bankstown United FC last week.

Genki Iwata, Mitchell Turner, and Michael Trajkovski all scored against the Magic in Round One and will hope to score in consecutive matches against them this week, with Trajkovski also chasing the golden boot this season, currently second in the standings with 16 goals.

A win for the Flame could move them up into 2nd-place and potentially three points behind the 1st-placed Newcastle Jets, while a loss could drop them down to 4th and exposed to the teams below – this match to start the second half of the season will be important for confidence moving forward.

With Gladesville hoping to start fresh in the second half of the season and the Flame looking to continue their challenge near the top of the league, expect a contrast of styles as both teams look for a big victory for their respective seasons.


Hawkesbury City FC vs Sydney University SFC, 5:30pm at David Bertenshaw Field

Previous Meeting: Sydney University SFC 2-1 Hawkesbury City FC

12th-placed Hawkesbury City FC and 14th-placed Sydney University SFC are only two places apart on the ladder but in vastly different form as they battle for an important three points this weekend.

In the Round One reverse fixture, the students claimed a big 2-1 home victory and will hope to complete the league double to reverse their own fortunes this season.

The Hawks lost a tough match away to the Newcastle Jets 6-0 last week and will look to quickly put that result behind them as they hunt for a third win in five matches.

With more injuries at the back for the Hawks, they may take a cautious approach to this match as they look to fill more gaps in the backline.

If the Hawks do fire, the win could see them rise a spot to 11th on the ladder and put even more distance between themselves and the sides near the bottom.

They could even rise further than that, too, because they play their rescheduled Round 13 away match against Parramatta FC on Wednesday, 22nd May at 8pm at Melita Stadium.

Sydney University, meanwhile, ended their eight-match losing streak with a 2-2 draw at home to Fraser Park FC last week and will hope to build on that performance as they hunt for just their third win of the season.

New Head Coach Chris Williams will hope to inspire his team further – they created good opportunities to score more goals last week but missed the finishing touch, so will look to build that confidence throughout the week before the match.

Look for University to hold the ball away on a tough grass surface and hope to avoid falling behind first in this match to potentially come away with their first win since Round Three to avoid potentially dropping to last place.

With Hawkesbury City looking to bounce back from a tough loss last time out and Sydney University looking to complete a league double over the Hawks, expect plenty of effort from both sides to start the second half of the season.


Fraser Park FC vs Parramatta FC, 7pm at Fraser Park

Previous Meeting: Parramatta FC 3-3 Fraser Park FC

Two teams near each other on the ladder but with contrasting results in the past few weeks meet when 13th-placed Fraser Park FC hosts 11th-placed Parramatta FC.

When these two sides met in Round One, a stoppage-time goal from Marco Sama rescued a point for Parramatta at home to stop a hat-trick from Alexander Nicolosi delivering Fraser Park to victory – expect more late drama this time around as both sides hunt big wins for their respective seasons.

Fraser Park have found form lately following a big 4-0 away win over Central Coast United FC, a 1-1 draw away to the Newcastle Jets and a 2-2 draw away to Sydney University – they are now three matches unbeaten after losing eight of their first ten matches.

With clearer skies expected this week, Fraser Park will hope to continue to play on the front foot to force mistakes out of opponents to score.

The battle to watch will be the clash between Fraser Park’s dynamic attack featuring the likes of David Ustimenko and Shu Torihara up against the experience of the Parramatta defence, which includes the likes of Tarek Elrich – a win could take Fraser Park up one spot into 12th.

Parramatta, meanwhile, are winless in three matches after they fell 4-1 away from home to Mounties Wanderers FC last week and will hope to pick up a win to start the second half of the season.

They will hope to find success through pace and power up front with Marco Sama, while their squad is still recovering from injuries ahead of the next round of fixtures.

If they can find some consistency in their play, they will hope to break down a Fraser Park side which has tightened up at the back lately with only three goals conceded from their past three matches.

Before that match, however, they play a Round 13 catch-up match at home to Hawkesbury City FC on Wednesday, 22nd May at 8pm at Melita Stadium.

With Fraser Park finding form and Parramatta hoping for a win which could see them potentially rise into the top half of the ladder, expect another fiery clash filled with plenty of chances.


Hurstville FC vs Newcastle Jets, 7pm at Penshurst Park

Previous Meeting: Newcastle Jets 3-1 Hurstville FC

A big clash between two sides who will be hopeful of getting a good result sees 9th-placed Hurstville FC host the unbeaten, top-of-the-table Newcastle Jets.

When these two sides met in Round One, respective goals from Alex Nunes, Janni Rafty and Xavier Bertoncello cancelled out Conor Earley’s early opener in what was the start of a strong season so far for Newcastle – expect another tight match this time around.

Hurstville bounced back to form last week after a tight 1-0 home win over Inner West Hawks FC in last week’s Match of the Round and will be hopeful of being the first side to defeat the Jets this season this weekend.

Hurstville’s top goal scorer for the season in Earley scored for them the last time they met and will hope to do so again this week, while the hosts will not be afraid to take the match to the Jets and match their energy across the pitch.

Being one of the form sides in the competition the past two months despite having a raft of injuries, Hurstville will hope to welcome a few players back from injury and push the Jets all the way to the final whistle – a win could see them rise to as high as 6th.

The Jets, meanwhile, continued their unbeaten season into a 14th-straight match after their 6-0 home win over Hawkesbury City FC last week and will hope to continue their unprecedented season against Hurstville.

Rafty, Bertoncello and Nunes will hope to score in back-to-back head-to-head matches against Hurstville to add to their eight, seven and six goals for the season, respectively, while their top scorer in Justin Vidic will hope to reach double figures for the season in a dynamic attack.

A win could put them as much as eight points ahead of second place, while a loss could reduce that gap to just two points – it is crucial for the Jets that they start the second half of the season well away from home as they look to continue their unbeaten season into a 15th match.

Both sides will bring a combination of fight and flare to this contest and the result will be important for both sides this season – expect a tight contest which could have a few twists and turns.


Bankstown United FC vs Prospect United SC, 7pm at Padstow Park

Previous Meeting: Prospect United SC 1-1 Bankstown United FC

The final match of Round 15 sees 2nd-placed Bankstown United FC look to close the gap to the top-of-the-table Newcastle Jets when they host 8th-placed Prospect United SC.

When these sides played in the opening round of the season, it was the late show with an 83rd minute goal from Prospect’s Dimos Vlachos cancelled out by an 87th minute goal from a ten-man Bankstown’s Alejandro Salguiera – expect just as much drama in this match as both sides look to help their respective league positions.

Bankstown’s six-match unbeaten run ended after a tight 2-1 away loss to the formidable South Coast Flame FC last week and they will be hoping to regroup to start again in the second half of the season.

They will be without their goalkeeper in Mitchell Evans after his injury last week, which will mean Matthew Massarotto will take over that position, while they will hope the league’s top goal scorer in Mitchell Cross will be able to add to his goal tally of 17 this week in what should be a concentrated Bankstown offence.

A win could take them to within two points of the top-of-the-table Newcastle Jets, while a loss could see them fall as many as eight points behind and also may see them overtaken by both 3rd-placed South Coast Flame FC and 4th-placed Mounties Wanderers FC – a win for Bankstown to start the second half of the season will be crucial for confidence.

Prospect, meanwhile, had their three-match winning streak broken by Central Coast United FC last week in a 3-0 away loss but they will hope to respond quickly given their position in a tight mid-table group.

After a tough week where they struggled to create in one box and stop the Pirates in the other, Prospect will hope for more favourable conditions and will work hard to return to the form that saw them almost double their season’s points tally in the space of the three weeks prior.

Expect the likes of Anthony Idehen, who is on ten goals for the season, to inspire Prospect in attack as they look for a win which could see them rise as many as three spots into 5th place, while a loss could see them drop to 9th place.

With the top of the table and the mid table getting tight at the halfway stage of the season, both Bankstown and Prospect will fight for three crucial points as the two teams look to start the second half of the season positively.


7th-placed Camden Tigers FC have a bye in Round 16.


By Football New South Wales League Two Men’s Reporter, Dylan Costa (@_dylancosta)