Round 18 Preview - PS4 NPL NSW Men's U20

12.07.2017

With only five rounds of the regular season remaining leaders Sutherland Sharks can see the finish line ahead in the premiership race but face one of their biggest contests of the year when Bonnyrigg arrive at Seymour Shaw on Saturday afternoon.

Any slip up by the Sharks could see the side relinquish their lead for the first time this season with Blacktown City and Sydney FC in second and third poised to take advantage.

It could also be a key weekend for the rest of the chasing pack with Hakoah Sydney City East, Sydney Olympic and Sydney United 58 all searching for wins to maintain pace with the top five.

Match of the Round

Sutherland Sharks v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Saturday 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw

An exciting game between competition leaders Sutherland and in-form Bonnyrigg has been brewing over the Waratah Cup final weekend break and the two sides meet on Saturday afternoon in a clash that could prove decisive in the premiership race.

The Sharks enter the contest with a two point advantage over second-placed Blacktown City and having had their lead trimmed down of late a victory over Bonnyrigg might reaffirm their status as team to beat.

Bonnyrigg could also lay claim for that label, with the White Eagles on a remarkable seven game winning run that started following a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Sydney FC in round 10.

Hamish Brown’s side broke into the top five for the first time this campaign last weekend and although Bonnyrigg are still nine points behind the leaders they will no doubt be eyeing finals football.

With a fair few of these recent match ups offering entertaining attacking football and Bonnyrigg’s excellent form, the round eighteen fixture looks likely to be a high-quality one and a match that the rest of the competition will have a keen eye on.

Saturday

Hakoah Sydney City East v Wollongong Wolves, 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field

Hakoah Sydney City East are eyeing a win to maintain their finals hopes when they host Wollongong Wolves at Hensley Athletic Field on Saturday evening.

One of several sides baying for a position in the top five, Hakoah have enjoyed some good results of late with wins over Sutherland and APIA Leichhardt but lost 2-0 to Bonnyrigg in round seventeen to slip into eighth.

Opponents Wollongong have endured a rocky season so far and are running out of results in which to keep their campaign alive. First-team hopeful Jack Lombo has been a constant danger throughout the year but the Wolves have been handicapped by poor lapses in defence and enter the clash eight points away from fifth position.

Hakoah youngster Michael Kouta completed ninety minutes for the first team in their 3-1 Waratah Cup final win over APIA Leichhardt last Sunday while defender Connor Shaddock and leading goal scorer Connor Eldridge have been impressing the Hensley Athletic Field faithful.

Sunday

Rockdale City Suns v Manly United, 1.00pm at Ilinden Sports Centre

Rockdale City Suns have turned their season around in recent weeks and can give themselves a real chance at chasing down a finals spot with a win over Manly United at home on Sunday.

Although the ninth-placed Suns were edged 2-1 by Sutherland in round seventeen the side had previously won three on the bounce to join a cluster of sides posturing for a late dash at the top five.

Rockdale are the league’s second lowest scorers with forward James Temelkovksi (five goals in 15 appearances) representing the main threat for tenth-placed opponents Manly, who fought to a credible 2-2 draw with Sydney Olympic a fortnight ago.

The under performing 2016 premiers have conceded far too many goals to be among the serious title contenders this season but can leapfrog the Suns in the table with a win – one that would keep their campaign alive.

Blacktown City v Sydney Olympic, 1.00pm at Lily's Football Centre

Blacktown City will be looking to keep the heat on Sutherland when they welcome Sydney Olympic to Seven Hills on Sunday afternoon.

John Carnevale’s outfit arrive into the fixture on the back of an 8-0 hammering of Parramatta a fortnight ago, a result that kept the distance between the first-placed Sharks and City to two points.

City will be eyeing all three against the travelling Blues who slipped out of the top five in round 17 after dropping points at home to Manly United. Olympic were beaten 6-1 by Blacktown in round seven and with difficult fixtures to come in the remaining four matches the reigning champions will need a confidence-building result.

Blacktown’s Mason Ireland netted a double in their round 17 clash with Parramatta to bring his tally for the season to 11 – the form of the ever-present midfielder alongside the goals of recent Sydney FC arrival Samuel Hamilton presents a difficult assignment for Olympic.

Sydney United 58 v Sydney FC, 2.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre

Sydney United 58 entertain Sydney FC on Sunday with the visiting Sky Blues aiming to continue their premiership assault.

Sydney enjoyed a dominant 4-0 win over APIA Leichhardt a fortnight ago to cement their credentials as premiership contenders and have been playing some of the finest football in the competition over the past month.

Opponents Sydney United 58 are back in contention for a top five spot.after a 4-1 victory over Wollongong Wolves in round seventeen but will need to recapture the form shown earlier in the season to match the Sky Blues on Sunday.

The visitors will have first grade coach Rob Stanton at the helm following David Zdrilic’s departure to German outfit RB Leipzig.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Parramatta, 2.45pm at Lambert Park

APIA Leichhardt Tigers are searching for a strong response when they host struggling Parramatta at Lambert Park in the final match of round eighteen following both a heavy loss to Sydney FC a fortnight ago and the club’s recent Waratah Cup Grand Final defeat.

The 4-0 defeat at the hands of Sydney was one of the poorest APIA displays this campaign but fortunately for the Tigers they have a good chance to get their season back on track against a Parramatta side residing on the bottom of the ladder.

The Eagles slumped to a miserable 8-0 defeat to Blacktown City in round seventeen in what was the team’s eleventh consecutive defeat, and Parramatta will surely need a result on Sunday to avoid finishing last at the end of the season.