Round 2 Preview – PS4 NPL NSW Men’s U20

13.03.2017

Sutherland Sharks will hope to establish their competition lead further when they face Blacktown City, while Bonnyrigg’s trip to Manly United and Sydney Olympic’s clash with Wollongong headlines round two of action in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s U20.

Match of the Round

Blacktown City v Sutherland Sharks, Saturday 5.00pm at Lilys Football Centre

Two of the competition heavyweights face off at Lilys Football Centre on Saturday where second-placed Blacktown hosts leaders Sutherland in what is unquestionably the match of the round.

Nick Dimovski’s Sutherland were the big victors from the opening round after hammering reigning Premiers Manly United 5-2 at Seymour Shaw and they will enter Saturday’s match up full of confidence.

Blacktown City will relish being back at home after easily accounting for Hakoah Sydney City East 3-1 at Hensley Athletic Field in their round one fixture. The 2015 champions have made sweeping changes to their roster with the likes of former Spirit FC attacker Lachlan Rose and talented forward Adolph Koudakpo sure to rest the resolve of the Sutherland defence.

The visitors boasted the steadiest defensive record last season, while Patrick O’Shea and Thomas Papa are consistent standouts in the Sutherland midfield. It’s sure to be an entertaining contest in Saturday’s lone fixture, one that could determine an early competition leader.

Sunday

Sydney Olympic v Wollongong Wolves, 12.45pm at Belmore Sports Ground

Reigning champions Sydney Olympic got their campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 victory at Bonnyrigg Sports Club and the Blues will look to make it two on the bounce when they welcome Wollongong Wolves to Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.

Nikita Andricopoulos netted a brace in Olympic’s triumph in Bonnyrigg and alongside Sebastian Malfara the Blues possess two of the competitions most dangerous attackers.

Wollongong will need to negate the threat of an Olympic frontline that can prove to be destructive on their day, but the South Coast outfit possess significant firepower in the form of young forward Jake Trew who was a perpetual menace in the NPLNSW U18’s competition in 2016.

A canny defensive unit on their day, Wollongong will be looking to take all three points back home after having their opening day fixture with Parramatta abandoned.

Manly United v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 1.00pm at Cromer Park

Premiers Manly United started the 2017 in disastrous fashion with a 5-2 away defeat to Sutherland Sharks and it won’t get much easier for the Cromer Park side when they host Bonnyrigg White Eagles.

The two teams provided some of last campaign’s most entertaining matches and it will undoubtedly be another intriguing encounter when they meet again on Sunday.

The Bonnyrigg defence will need to be wary of Manly United attacker Sipan Berti who got off the mark in last Saturday’s defeat, while Alex Mooy could prove to be the main goal threat for Bonnyrigg after arriving from relegated Blacktown Spartans in pre-season.

Parramatta v Sydney FC, 1.00pm at Melita Stadium

Sydney FC got their start to NPLNSW life off to the perfect start last weekend courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Rockdale and David Zrdlic’s men will look to continue the momentum when they travel to Melita Stadium to take on Parramatta.

John Iredale started the campaign with a brace against Rockdale and will fancy his chances of finding the back of the net again against a Parramatta side who had their fair share of troubles at Melita Stadium in 2016.

However, the Eagles are more than capable of matching it with the best on their day and after seeing their round one clash with Wollongong prematurely abandoned they will be hungry to claim the scalp of the Sky Blues to kickstart their 2017 campaign.

Rockdale City Suns v Sydney United 58, 2.00pm at Illinden Sports Centre

These two sides were consistent cellar dwellers in the 2016 season but if their round one performances are anything to go by both Rockdale City Suns and Sydney United 58 will be presenting a far more convincing case for finals football in the 2017 campaign.

Although Rockdale were defeated 3-1 by Sydney FC at Lambert Park it was by no means a walkover and with former Reds striker James Temelkovski opening his account for the season against the Sky Blues he will be out to repeat the feat against his ex-club. Alongside former Olympic attacker Michael Loupis, Rockdale have enough ammunition to bring Sydney United 58 back down to earth.

But the Reds were impressive in their 2-0 win over APIA Leichhardt in round one with the likes of Jack Stewart and Anthony Vrlic looking dangerous in the final third. If they can make it two wins from two the rest of the competition will surely sit up and take notice.

APIA Leichhardt v Hakoah Sydney City East, 2.30pm at Lambert Park

After suffering defeats in round one both APIA Leichhardt and Hakoah Sydney City East will be searching for their first points of the season when they meet at Lambert Park on Sunday afternoon.

A first half red card to Stephan Adattini saw APIA on the back foot in their 2-0 defeat to Sydney United 58 in round one but the Tigers were generally impressive prior to their captain’s sending off with Samuel Gulisano and Matthew Barko enjoying several fine moments of attacking play in the final third.

Hakoah Sydney City East were comfortably second-best against Blacktown City in their 3-1 defeat with Satche Kolt netting a late consolation. They’ll need a stronger performance against an APIA stocked with attacking potential.

-       Jacob Windon, National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s U20 reporter