GRAND FINAL QUALIFYING FINAL
Sutherland Sharks v Manly United, Saturday 4.30pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
The top two teams in the competition face off on Saturday afternoon for the chance to be the first side through to the Grand Final.
Sutherland Sharks finished five points clear of Manly United at the top of the table after 22 rounds and as a result, had the first week of the semi -finals to rest and recover from the exertions of the season.
Sutherland coaches Jim McMillan and Rod Eames will be sure to have their side in great shape for Saturday?s match, which will be played at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre.
In their ranks, they possess two A-League youth products in Western Sydney Wanderers? Nick Olsen and Sydney FC?s Christopher Naumoff, the latter who was named joint NSW Premier League Grade 20s Player of the Year at the Gold Medal dinner last weekend.
Both carry a significant goal threat and Manly United will have to be very wary of their presence.
Nigel Mahoney?s Northern Beaches side defeated Blacktown Spartans 1-0 last weekend to book their place in this Grand Final Qualifier.
The solitary goal was scored in the first half by the prolific Michael McGinley, who has now netted thirteen times this season, a total which saw him come second in the Grade 20s Golden Boot standings.
Manly United were rescued late on by their goalkeeper Tonu Liiband, who saved an 87th minute penalty from Spartans Andre Carle to preserve his side?s lead and thus close out victory.
United looked very dangerous on the counter attack, particularly down their left hand side where Aidan D?Arcy and Jordon Edwards looked threatening.
Manly Untied will certainly be worth opponents for Sutherland Sharks and if both teams are at their best, it should be a fluent, open match.
Blacktown Spartans v Rockdale City Suns, 12.30pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Blacktown Spartans defeat last week means that they face Rockdale City Suns in a do-or-die Elimination Final on Sunday afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground.
Spartans will be returning to the scene of their defeat, whilst Rockdale City will be revelling in their upset victory over Blacktown City at John Crehan Park last weekend.
Their victory knocked out one of the competition favourites, leaving four teams to contest for the Championship.
Spartans were curiously flat in the match against Manly United, only really coming to life in the final ten minutes when United sat deep and invited Mark Zecchin?s side to chase the game.
They were awarded a late penalty, won and taken by Andre Carle, but his spot kick was poor and Tonu Liiband saved to prevent the match going to extra time.
Rockdale City?s experienced looking side travelled south last weekend knowing that they had to win to avoid their season ending and an early goal from Anthony Perri set them on their way.
Blacktown City?s goalkeeper Luke Turnbull had an outstanding game, preventing the scoreline from being more, though Blacktown City did have chances of their own in the second half, but they couldn?t find their shooting boots when presented with opportunities.
With the experience of Tommy Cirjak, Joshua Lawson and the prolific Alec Urocevski likely to be called upon again this weekend, Spartans will have to lift their game to compete with Justin Bucciarelli?s side.
Their win last weekend was certainly a signal of intent and they will prove to be more than a match for Spartans. The winner of this match will play the loser of the Grand Final Qualfier next weekend, the loser will be resigned to a long off season, contemplating what might have been.