It couldn’t be much tighter in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20’s competition with three matches remaining as leaders Manly United enter the weekend two points clear of Sutherland Sharks.
Meanwhile, there are do or die battles for the likes of Sydney Olympic and Hakoah Sydney City East as the top five edges closer towards formation.
Match of the Round
Rockdale City Suns v Sutherland Sharks, Sunday 3.00pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Sutherland Sharks know a slip up will likely prove terminal to their premiership chances when the travel to Ilinden Sports Centre to take on bottom-placed Rockdale City Suns.
Having dropped points at home to finals-chasing Wollongong last weekend, second-placed Sutherland now trail leaders Manly United by two points with three rounds remaining and another failure to take all three points at Illinden Sports Centre would potentially open the door for their Shire rivals to seal the premiership next weekend.
With Sutherland’s leading marksman Jeremy Cox drawing a blank last weekend after five goals in his previous two matches, it could be an opportunity for lowly Rockdale to claim a rare win as they look to move off the bottom of the competition ladder.
Rockdale were consigned to their fourth consecutive loss with a 3-0 defeat to Blacktown City in Round 19 and unless they can muster a mammoth response at home to the competition heavyweights the City Suns will be on course to end what has been a frustrating campaign with the wooden spoon.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Sydney United 58, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg host Sydney United 58 at Bonnyrigg Sports Club with the White Eagles keen to maintain their outside chance at the premiership.
With wet weather postponing last Saturday’s fixture at eleventh-placed Parramatta, Stephen Sigmund’s side can bolster their odds tremendously by claiming an important victory over a Sydney United side with very little to play for.
But Bonnyrigg will be wary of a fixture that looks like a home banker on paper – the fourth-placed outfit were shocked 3-1 by cellar dwellers Rockdale City Suns in Round 12 and only narrowly edged Davor Bajsic’s Reds when the two sides met in Round Nine.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Parramatta, 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East face a must win encounter when Parramatta come calling at Hensley Athletic Field on Saturday afternoon.
The league newcomers picked the worst possible time to lose two consecutive matches after breaking into the top five on the back of a 5-2 triumph over Blacktown City in Round 17. Back to back defeats against Sydney Olympic and Sutherland Sharks now see Hakoah six points off fifth spot.
And although Hakoah still have a game in hand in the form of an away venture to Rockdale City Suns, the Donato D’Agrosa and Patrick Darvill-coached side are in danger of slipping further away from the pecking order should they falter at home to a Parramatta side who have failed to register a win since Round 11.
Blacktown Spartans v Blacktown City, 1.00pm at Blacktown Football Park
Blacktown Spartans may have seen their finals hopes fade away with a 2-1 defeat to Manly United last weekend but they will relish jeopardizing the chances of their rivals Blacktown City when the two rivals clash at Blacktown Football Park on Sunday.
The reigning champions notched their first win in eight games when they beat Rockdale City Suns 3-0 at Lilys Football Centre last Sunday and with the likes of Wollongong, Sydney Olympic and Hakoah Sydney City East breathing down their necks, Ben Wright’s men face a crucial match in their championship defence.
The Spartans won’t make it easy for their neighbours however – Samuel Jacob’s side have been valiant in defeat against competition heavyweights Manly United and APIA Leichhardt Tigers for the past fortnight and are sure to seek revenge for their 4-1 defeat in this season’s earlier Blacktown derby.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Manly United, 2.15pm at Lambert Park
Manly United face the sternest examination of their championship credentials yet when they take on APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Lambert Park on Sunday.
Andrew Christiansen’s league leaders kept their title tilt rolling with a 2-1 grind over Blacktown Spartans last weekend, Manly’s fourth consecutive win and one that opened up a two point gap over second-placed Sutherland.
And while APIA Leichhardt Tigers are still yet to concede defeat in the premiership race, George Sidis’ side know only a win will keep them in contention with Sunday’s opponents as the Lambert Park outfit also cast a glance at their position on the club championship ladder.
Wollongong Wolves v Sydney Olympic, 3.00pm at WIN Stadium
It will be a top five playoff of sorts for both Wollongong Wolves and Sydney Olympic when the two sides do battle at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Wollongong collected a crucial point away at Sutherland last weekend but it wasn’t enough for Alfredo Esteves’ side to maintain their position in the top five after Blacktown City beat Rockdale 3-0 the following day.
The South Coast outfit are now two points away from fifth-placed Blacktown with three matches remaining, while Sunday’s opponents Olympic are hunting a victory that would keep their hopes of a top five finish alive.
–By Jacob Windon