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 tight affair at Hensley Athletic Field has seen Parramatta FC scrape to a 2-1 win to keep their finals hopes alive. Ravaged by injury, Parramatta was backpedaling during the opening exchanges as the Hakoah attack pressed forward aggressively. Leading the attack through midfield, Hakoah’s Deklan Gilmartin impressed with his vision and ball movement, sparking his side to an early one-goal lead. But a Parramatta resurgence caught Hakoah off-guard as the visitors grabbed two quick goals. Gilmartin attempted to lift his side in the second half, having a hand in a flurry of chances that came close to leveling the scores. Ultimately, Hakaoh were left to rue two disallowed goals as they fell to another defeat.
Manly continued their march towards the finals after comfortably beating APIA on Saturday. Following the lead of two of their star veterans, Manly again showed why they’re the dark horse of this year’s competition. Both Shane Cansdell-Sheriff and Richie Cardozo had the ball on a string, as the two ran riot over APIA’s defence. Cardozo opened his account with a superb strike that sent the ball into the top corner, whilst Cansdell-Sheriff proved to be a handful to contain. Cardozo scored his second after pouncing on a deflected shot and almost had a hat trick, with a free-kick flying just wide. Cansdell-Sheriff iced the game in style, the striker heading home off a corner to make the final score 4-1.
A hard-fought Blacktown derby fell the way of City, as they snuck home against their Spartan rivals. The two sides may have been at opposite ends of the ladder, but the Spartan outfit played out of their skins as City struggled to cement their authority. Young midfielder Connor Evans shone on the right wing for City, some blistering runs keeping the Spartan defense on their toes. An unfortunate own-goal gave City the half-time lead, but both sides had failed to impress. Evans continued to play with skill and poise in attack in the second term, but his team couldn’t crack a resilient Spartan defense, the final score finishing at 1-0.
After establishing themselves as potential title contenders earlier in the year, Rockdale looked out of sorts as they battled their way to a 0-0 stalemate with Sutherland. Jack Press was electric in midfield for the Sharks, his energy and determination lighting up the field. The dynamic midfielder set up countless chances, whilst Rockdale’s attack lacked cohesion thanks to a solid defensive display from the visitors. Nick Littler was outstanding in the backline, marshaling his teammates and pressuring the Rockdale strikers into costly errors, that now raise questions over the Suns finals hopes.
Sydney Olympic continued their late season charge up the ladder with a strong 2-1 win over Wollongong. Former Leicester City goalkeeper Paul Henderson showed off his wealth of experience at the top level with some fantastic saves. Henderson had an on-going battle with Wolves striker Nico Bernal, who was everywhere in attack for the home side. Having kept the Wolves attack at bay during the first half, Henderson soon found himself under fire from a rampant Bernal, who kick up a gear in the second half. In the 48th minute, Bernal maneuvered dangerously into the penalty box only to be brought down in a clumsy tackle and converted from the spot. Despite a standout attacking display, Bernal couldn’t muster another goal as Henderson’s side held on for victory.
The round finished with the crowning of the 2016 PlayStation 4 NSW NPL Men’s Premiers, with Sydney United 58 storming to a 4-1 win to claim the trophy. Panni Nikas showcased his boundless skill with a dominant display to keep his Bonnyrigg opponents scrambling in defense. Nikas opened the scoring with a 25th minute bullet that proved too hot for the keeper to handle. Former Sydney FC player Jacob Tratt showed off his class and speed in defense with some great runs up the right wing, starving Bonnyrigg of the ball. Yianni Fragogiannis was equally impressive on the other side of the field, controlling the left edge with ease and setting up chances with some accurate crosses. The defender, who started brilliantly year in the year, suffered an injury setback that sidelined him for a number of matches but his performance on Sunday night showed that he is slowly getting back to his best. A late second half burst from United 58 sealed the match, and with it the Premiership crown.
GK – Paul Henderson Sydney Olympic
LB – Yianni Fragogiannis Sydney United 58
CB – Nick Littler Sutherland Sharks
CB – Shane Cansdell-Sheriff Manly United
RB – Jacob Tratt – Sydney United 58
LM – Jack Press Sutherland Sharks
CM – Deklan Gilmartin Hakoah
CM – Panni Nikas Sydney United 58
RM – Conor Evans Blacktown City
ST – Nico Bernal Wollongong Wolves
ST – Richie Cardozo Manly United