Round 18 Preview – League Two Men’s

a person holding a football ball

A midweek round of action will test teams’ stamina when Round 18 of the 2024 Football NSW League Two Men’s season kicks off.

The Match of the Round this week sees Fraser Park FC look to continue their strong run of form when they host a Bankstown United FC team which is fighting for a top-two finish this season.


Tuesday, 4th June 2024

Match of the Round: Fraser Park FC vs Bankstown United FC, 8pm at Fraser Park

Previous Meeting: Bankstown United FC 3-1 Fraser Park FC

A big mid-week Match of the Round sees 13th-placed Fraser Park FC, who are on a good run of form, host 3rd-placed Bankstown United FC, who will hope to keep up with the teams at the top with the second half of the season well underway.

Last time these two sides met in Round 3, Bankstown picked up the three points thanks to a strong 3-1 home win over Fraser Park and will hope to complete the league double away from home to strengthen their charge near the top of the table.

Fraser Park picked up their equal-biggest win of the season when they last played with a big 5-1 home win over Parramatta FC and will hope to continue their good form which has seen them also beat Central Coast United FC 4-0 and draw 1-1 with the league-leading Newcastle Jets in recent weeks.

Fraser Park have had urgency in attack in recent weeks, with a desire to win the ball in midfield and attack quickly – Shu Toriharaa and Hayato Sadamori have led the charge in that regard and will hope to cause problems for the Bankstown defence in this mid-week match.

Expect Fraser Park to make the most of their home advantage and their extra few days rest after their washed-out match from last week as they chase down a win which could see them rise to as high as 11th place with a match in hand on the teams around them.

Bankstown United, meanwhile, put together back-to-back wins after their 2-0 home win over Central Coast United FC and will hope to win a third match in a row this week.

Mitchell Cross scored his 19th goal of the season last week and after scoring 21 goals last season, looks well on track to break that record as he hunts down the Golden Boot in 2024 – expect him to be a constant threat in attack for the visitors.

Bankstown will hope to be compact defensively and press to win the ball to counter effectively, where the likes of Marie Gauthier, Jovan Blagojevic and Corey Freeman will cause problems.

With Fraser Park in form and in the mood to cause a stir for those at the top of the league and Bankstown looking for a win which see them rise into 2nd, expect both sides to want to start fast where the first goal could bring with it confidence.


Camden Tigers FC vs Hawkesbury City FC, 8pm at Ron Dine Memorial Reserve

Previous Meeting: Hawkesbury City FC 0-4 Camden Tigers FC

7th-placed Camden Tigers FC will hope to gain confidence from a big performance last week as they host 12th-placed Hawkesbury City FC in a mid-week matchup.

When these two sides clashed in Round 3, a second-half blitz from Camden saw them run out 4-0 winners away from home – Expect to see plenty of positive attacking play from both sides in what will be a chilly night in south-west Sydney.

Camden picked up a big result after they came away with a 1-1 draw at home to the unbeaten, league-leading Newcastle Jets last week and will hope to put in another big effort this week as they look to take charge of the midfield pack in the league.

Only four teams have scored more than Camden this season so far and only four teams have conceded less – expect the Tigers to be solid on both fronts at home as they look for their seventh win of the season.

Dean Mugridge picked up doubles when Camden last played Hawkesbury – look for him to add to his goal tally for the season, along with the Tigers’ leading scorer for the season in Bailey Simpson, as Camden look for a win which could see them rise into 6th, while a loss could see them drop to 8th.

Hawkesbury, meanwhile, had a bye last week but following their tight 1-0 win against Sydney University SFC from the week before, will hope to utilise their refreshed squad to pick up their sixth win of the season.

With four away matches coming up from their next five fixtures, the Hawks will hope to start that run of away matches in positive fashion with positive attacking play against the Tigers.

A win for Hawkesbury could see them rise to as high as 9th on the ladder and would put them well in the mix with the other teams in the mid-table – expect them to start with energy as they hunt for back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

With Camden hoping to build confidence after a big result last week and Hawkesbury looking to take on a tough run of fixtures with renewed energy, expect both sides to play true to their brand of football as they both chase the three points.


Sydney University SFC vs Granville Rage, 8pm at Sydney University Football Ground

Previous Meeting: Granville Rage 0-2 Sydney University SFC

Two teams hoping to end their respective losing streaks will meet in a big mid-week clash when 11th-placed Granville Rage host last-placed Sydney University SFC.

The last time these two teams met, University came away with a big 2-0 away win and will hope to channel the memories from that match when they host the Rage this week.

University lost an 11th-straight match after their fell 4-0 away to Inner West Hawks FC last week and will hope to pick up their first win since Round 3 to potentially lift them off the bottom of the ladder.

Their last win was against the Rage back in Round 3, where a goal each in each half from Jesse Hirschowitz and Joshua Maharaj, respectively, led the students to a 2-0 away win – they will hope to complete the league double to end their run of losses this season.

Expect plenty of intensity from University which would give them a fast start at home as they hunt down just their third win of the season and look to score for the first time in four matches.

Granville Rage, meanwhile, fell to a fourth-straight loss after their 2-1 home defeat to Gladesville Ryde Magic last week and will hope to end that losing streak to avoid falling further down the ladder.

Despite their hard efforts, they have failed to keep a clean sheet this season and have fallen from 8th-place at the end of Round 12 to 11th-place at the end of Round 17 – they will hope to pick up a win which could see them rise back up as high as 9th.

Look for a spirited and fired-up Rage side to want to pile more pain on University and pick up a big win, which would be their first from the second half of the season.

With University and the Rage both looking to end rough losing streaks, expect both sides to start fast in a match which could have plenty of chances.


Wednesday, 5th June 2024

Prospect United SC vs Inner West Hawks FC, 7:30pm at Blacktown Exercise Sports and Technology Hub

Previous Meeting: Inner West Hawks FC 3-1 Prospect United SC

A big match for both teams sees 8th-placed Prospect United SC host 5th-placed Inner West Hawks FC where crucial league positions are up for grabs for both sides.

The Hawks came away 3-1 winners when these two sides last met in Round 3’s Match of the Round after a header, free-kick and deflected shot led the Hawks to victory.

Prospect lost a third-straight match after they fell 5-0 away to 2nd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC last week and will hope to end their three-match losing streak when they host the Hawks.

They have only scored one goal from their past three matches and after they were put to the sword by Mounties last week, will hope the quick turnaround in matches will lead to a quick turnaround in form, too.

Expect Prospect to set up solid defensively early and look to build into the match, where they will hope the likes of Anthony Idehen, who is on 11 goals for the season, will be able to hit the Hawks on the counterattack with his presence up front.

Inner West Hawks, meanwhile, came away strong 4-0 winners at home over last-placed Sydney University SFC in last week’s Match of the Round and found real form in the past few months, but especially in their past three matches.

They have kept three-straight clean sheets – only the league-leading Newcastle Jets and 2nd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC have also achieved that feat this season – and they will hope to keep up that defensive resilience to keep building confidence among the squad.

The Hawks are seven points clear of 6th and a win could take them into 4th, and potentially within striking distance of the top two – look for the Hawks to fire up in attack and defend valiantly as they chase a fourth-straight win.

With Prospect looking to end their losing streak and the Hawks looking to extend their winning streak, both sides will put in plenty of effort as they chase down big wins for their respective seasons.


South Coast Flame FC vs Hurstville FC, 8pm at Sir Ian McLennan Oval

Previous Meeting: Hurstville FC 1-2 South Coast Flame FC

Another big match with plenty of consequences for league positions going forward sees 4th-placed South Coast Flame FC host 9th-placed Hurstville FC at Sir Ian McLennan Oval.

The Flame came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory away from home over Hurstville in the two teams’ Round 3 encounter and a similarly close encounter can be expected this time with both sides able to create plenty of momentum in their matches.

South Coast Flame FC won a third match from their past four after their 6-0 win over Gladesville Ryde Magic in Round 16 and after their Round 17 match away to Parramatta FC was washed out, will be well-rested to return home against Hurstville.

The Flame have kept three clean sheets from their past four matches and, if they manage to beat Hurstville and win their catch-up match against Parramatta when that is played, they could rise to as high as 2nd in the league as they continue to hunt in a tight tussle between the top five sides.

Michael Trajkovski is the league’s join-top scorer for the season with 19 goals and will hope to add to that tally and will be confident after his double against Hurstville earlier in the season led his side to victory.

Hurstville, meanwhile, put in a proud effort in their last-gasp 1-0 home loss to the league-leading Newcastle Jets last week and will hope to convert their chances this week as they look to return to the winner’s list.

With the fourth-best defence in the league, despite missing many first-team players through injury, Hurstville will hope to take a chance early and will hope to disrupt the Flame backline early, given the Flame have kept three clean sheets from their past four matches.

Expect Hurstville to create good-quality chances in the match and look to convert one of them early as they look to rely on their positive play and defensive structure to lead them to victory.

With the Flame firing and in form, and Hurstville with the underlying stats to back-up their chances in this match, expect both sides to put in a high-quality performance in this mid-week clash.


Newcastle Jets vs Central Coast United FC, 8pm at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility

Previous Meeting: Central Coast United FC 0-4 Newcastle Jets

The league-leading Newcastle Jets will hope to continue their historic season when they host a 6th-placed Central Coast United FC who would love to spoil the party.

When these sides met in Round 3, a double each from Justin Vidic and Janni Rafty led the Jets to a big 4-0 away win – expect the Jets to use their fluency in attack once again as they chase the perfect league double over the Pirates.

The Jets dropped points for just the fifth time this season but remained undefeated after their 1-1 draw away to 7th-placed Camden Tigers FC last week.

Sitting on 38 points, they dropped to be just two points ahead of 2nd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC, with other teams just behind in what is a high-quality competition at the top of the table.

With both Rafty and Vidic approaching double figures for goals this season, as well as Xavier Bertoncello and Alex Nunes not far behind, the Jets have shown their proficiency not only in attack, but also in their ability to keep the ball to frustrate and break down opponents, – that is shown by 49 goals scored this season, while they hold the best defensive record with just 11 goals conceded.

Central Coast United, meanwhile, fell to back-to-back defeats after their 2-0 away loss to 3rd-placed Bankstown United FC last week and the hard fixtures keep coming with an away trip to Newcastle pending.

Also a side which likes to hold the ball, the Pirates will either need to stick to their gameplan or alter it to combat the explosive nature of the Jets in this match to attempt to be the first side to defeat them this season.

Look for a spirited response from the Pirates, where they will hope to have success if they can win the ball high up the field and hurt the Jets with their pace, but they will also need to be wary of the Jets’ pace in attack.

With Newcastle looking to continue their unbeaten season and the Pirates ready to spoil the party to keep up with the top five and avoid potentially dropping to as low as 7th, expect both sides to play with possession rather than countering as they chase a big win.


Details of the final Round 18 match between 14th-placed Gladesville Ryde Magic and 2nd-placed Mounties Wanderers FC will be given in the Round 19 Review and Round 20 Preview, as they play their match on Tuesday, 11th June 2024.


10th-placed Parramatta FC have a bye in Round 18.


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