FIRST plays third in the biggest of this week’s clashes in round six of the PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1.
The action will be at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon, as the Bonnyrigg White Eagles host Sydney United 58 FC in the Match of the Round.
Elsewhere, APIA Leichhardt will want to bounce back from their loss to Blacktown City when they host Sutherland Sharks, while both Rockdale City Suns and South Coast Wolves are looking for their first wins of the season.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Sydney United 58 FC, 2pm SUNDAY at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
Bonnyrigg is lurking in third place, with a game in hand, ahead of this clash against their great foes, Sydney United 58 FC.
Bonnyrigg, with new keeper James Chronopoulos between the sticks, have proven a tough nut to crack and have only conceded three goals this season, two of them in the 2-2 draw with Sydney Olympic.
United’s attack, meanwhile, has plundered 15 goals in their opening five games this season and they carry a goal threat all over the park, whether it be from Robbie Mileski up top, or from Ante Tomelic, Anthony Tomelic or Matthew Bilic further back.
Panny Nikas’ gradual return from injury has added more spark to Mark Rudan’s side, and he is the game changer that could break this game open for the Reds.
For Bonnyrigg, the partnership of Robbie Younis and Aaron Peterson will ensure Reds defender Ibrahim Haydar has his hands full in central defence, and goalkeeper Justin Pasfield will be on red alert whenever one of them has the ball.
*You must purchase a ticket through the Bonnyrigg Social Club to gain access to this match
Round 6 Preview
Marconi Stallions v Blacktown Spartans, 7.30pm SATURDAY at Marconi Stadium
Marconi have won only once this season, against Rockdale City Suns, and are coming off a 2-0 loss at home to Manly United.
The Stallions’ indifferent start to the season can be attributed to a loss of important players James Chronopoulos and Shu Sasaki, but with the competition entering its sixth week, those that remain need to start showing their quality.
Milorad Simonovic is always good for a goal and the midfield has occasionally been bright, but others need to stand up to be counted this weekend.
Blacktown Spartans’ 1-1 draw with South Coast Wolves last weekend was a marvellous cure for insomnia, as the two sides got carried away with playing long passes as they tried to turn each other around.
It worked for neither, although Brendan Griffin’s goal of the week was a fleeting spark on this damp squib. They will need to improve against a Marconi side with much to play for.
Manly United v Sydney Olympic, 3pm SUNDAY at Cromer Park
Manly United are on a roll after back-to-back wins against Spartans last week, and Marconi a fortnight ago.
Those six points have Manly in a lofty sixth position, and will have coach Paul Dee optimistic ahead of the visit to Cromer of Sydney Olympic.
Olympic’s match against Rockdale City was washed out last weekend, and so they will be fresh as daises for the long trip to the Northern Beaches.
Manly will need to shackle Dimitri Hatzimouratis and Go Shirai in this one, which also has the smaller sub-plot of coach Grant Lee, plus Leigh Egger and Scott Balderson, returning to Manly.
Rockdale City Suns v Blacktown City, 3pm SUNDAY at Ilinden Sports Centre
Is it too early to call this a "must-win" match for Rockdale City Suns?
The Suns are winless in 2015 and suddenly find themselves bottom of the table with a weekend visit by competition heavyweights Blacktown City.
Rockdale have had a fortnight to work on their structures after the washout last weekend, and they will need to show they can apply themselves for 90 minutes to get a result here.
Blacktown City picked off a lacklustre APIA Leichhardt last weekend, winning 3-1 at home.
Their four wins from four have them second on the table, with a game in hand, and there is no doubt they will be one of the contenders come September.
Parramatta FC v South Coast Wolves, 3pm SUNDAY at Melita Stadium
Parramatta have one win, South Coast have none.
The Eagles are still finding their feet in the Men’s 1 competition, although they gave a reasonable account of themselves at Sydney United Sports Centre last weekend in their 1-0 defeat.
Their win came in round one against Marconi Stallions though, so they are three games without a win.
South Coast took a point from Spartans last weekend and to be fair they were probably the better side, hitting the woodwork twice as well as scoring the goal of the week through Brendan Griffin.
They knocked the ball around tidily and Nahuel Arrarte will hope they can take that football into the attacking third and really cause problems for Parramatta’s defence.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Sutherland Sharks, 4.15pm SUNDAY at Lambert Park
It was the defeat APIA had to have, as they went down to Blacktown City at Lilys last weekend.
Although they were shorn of midfield fulcrums Adrian Ucchino and Adam Griffiths, and indeed Sean Symons and David D’Apuzzo filled in admirably, they were let down by too many on the day. Marc Warren was very poor at left back, and Andrew Bazi should have done better between the sticks.
What is without doubt though is the influence of Blake Powell and Franco Parisi. The latter set up the former for yet another goal and with support from the rest, the two are capable of firing APIA to big things.
Sutherland played most of the match against Bonnyrigg last week with 10 men, and in that respect they gave a good showing.
If they have all 11 on the field for 90 minutes, they will not roll over against this APIA side who need to bounce back strongly.
– By Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor