After every round of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Men’s season Team of the Week brings to focus the best players from that weekend.
A sublime double from Panni Nikas was not enough for Sydney United 58 to maintain a month-long winning streak, as they were held to a 2-2 draw with Sutherland Sharks. Tomohiro Kajiyama was mesmerising up front for the Sharks, his agility and touches troubling the stoic defence. Called upon to take a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, Kajiyama delivered faultlessly and gave Sutherland a one-goal lead. Undeterred, Nikas was at his attacking best but was denied an assist after the final touch off his excellent free kick was deemed offside. However United 58 soon clawed their way into the contest when a 25-yard rocket from Nikas shot past the keeper. Nikas soon had his second thanks to another of his wonder strikes. Kajiyama pushed hard to find an equaliser but it was teammate Stephen Kayes who found the net in the dying minutes to force a draw.
A goal-fest at Bonnyrigg saw the home side fall to APIA with a frantic finish ensuring an action-packed match. Japanese import Tasuku Sekiya was dynamic up front, his flawless passing game sending the Bonnyrigg defence scrambling. Some clever touches around the 18-yard box between Sekiya and Nathan Elasi paved the way for Nicholas Olsen to finish clinically in the 5th minute. But after storming out to a two-goal lead, Bonnyrigg rallied to tie the scores up before Sekiya stepped up in the 90th minute. The Japanese striker beautifully rounded the keeper to snare a deserved goal, before Olsen iced the game and secured a brace with a dazzling curling shot to give his side an epic 5-3 win.
After a tough a defensive display from both sides, Sydney Olympic and Blacktown City had to settle for a scoreless draw. While the chances flowed throughout the game, both backlines refused to yield and ultimately got the better of the strikers. Olympic keeper Paul Henderson was kept busy in the first half, as City’s elite attack pressed heavily. The veteran shot stopper was like a brick wall and inspired his teammates to continue their fight. Mitchell Stamatellis was a rock in the Olympic backline and ran himself ragged to shutdown City’s strikers. For City, Giorgio Speranza constantly pushed forward down the left wing and created some good chances, whilst defending well on the counter to deny Olympic any chance of a sniff.
Rockdale’s 10-man outfit recorded a stunning 3-0 win over Wollongong to give their title hopes a boost. Playing three at the back for an hour of the match, Rockdale were indebted to their backline, led superbly by Trent McClenahan. The former West Ham defender marshalled his players brilliantly as they consistently repelled the Wolves attack. McClenahan showed his class and experience with some energetic and desperate tackles. Hristijan Tanoski was everywhere for Rockdale, dropping back in defence before charging forward in attack. After having his superb free-kick snatched by the keeper, Tanoski eventually found the net on the stroke of half-time, cleaning up a loose ball in the 6 yard box to hand his side a crucial lead that provided the foundations for a second half blitz.
A barnstorming performance from Manly United saw them nail five goals against an outclassed Parramatta side. English import Luke Giverin was outstanding with some strong runs down the right edge setting up his strikers. The defender showed off his attacking skills as well, unleashing some powerful shots. With the game in the balance just after the hour mark, United’s Brendan Cholakian loomed dangerously in the box and was brought down in a clumsy tackle. The striker hit the penalty sweetly to break the 1-1 deadlock and went on to spark a goal spree for his side as they shot out to a 5-2 victory.
GK – Paul Henderson – Sydney Olympic
LB – Giorgio Speranza – Blacktown City
CB – Trent McClenahan – Rockdale City Suns
CB – Mitchell Stamatellis – Sydney Olympic
RB – Luke Giverin – Manly United
LM – Hristijan Tanoski – Rockdale City Suns
CM – Panni Nikas – Sydney United 58
RM – Nick Olsen – APIA Leichhardt Tigers
ST – Brendan Cholakian – Manly United
ST – Tomohiro Kajiyama – Sutherland Sharks
ST – Tasuku Sekiya – APIA Leichhardt Tigers