With two thirds of the season remaining the competition frontrunners are beginning to become clearer as the ladder starts to take shape.
Round nine sees competition leaders Sutherland Sharks looking to bounce back from their shock defeat to Wollongong against the Sky Blues, while fellow high-flyers Blacktown and Sydney United take on Rockdale and Olympic.
Meanwhile at the bottom, Bonnyrigg have eyes on all three points as the cellar dwellers look to reignite their crumbling season against Wollongong.
The Match of the Round is at Melita Stadium where Parramatta host Hakoah Sydney City East.
Match of the Round
Parramatta v Hakoah Sydney City East, 5.00pm at Melita Stadium
Parramatta are hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss when they welcome Hakoah Sydney City East to Melita Stadium for this weekend’s match of the round.
The Eagles have endured a tough run over the last month after coming up against three of the competition’s early frontrunners in Sydney United 58, APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Blacktown City, but performances so far this campaign have been mostly positive.
That will give the hosts belief they can snap their losing streak when Hakoah come calling, although the sixth-placed side have proven themselves tricky customers as we approach a third of the way through the season.
Paul Hubbard’s outfit can be a difficult unit to break down and will be looking to keep pace with the top five, particularly on a weekend that sees most of the teams around them play each other.
Manly United v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 5.00pm at Cromer Park
Reigning premiers Manly United have picked up just two points from an available fifteen in their last five matches and a 1-0 loss against Blacktown City last weekend sees the Cromer Park side enter round nine in ninth position.
It’s a run of form the competition heavyweights will need to overturn sooner rather than later – but they will need to muster their best performance of the season when they go toe to toe with a flying APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Michael Urukalo’s side started the 2017 campaign with three straight losses but since then, APIA have been in sensational goalscoring form, netting a total of twenty one in their last five encounters. Competition golden boot leader Aedon Kyra and former Western Sydney youth Jordan Morfitis have eight and five goals to their name respectively and will be hoping to fill their boots yet again against a struggling Manly side to lift themselves further up the table.
Sydney FC v Sutherland Sharks, 5.45pm at Lambert Park
Competition leaders Sutherland Sharks suffered a shock defeat at home to Wollongong Wolves last weekend and will be looking to bounce back when they travel to Lambert Park to take on Sydney FC at Lambert Park.
The Seymour Shaw outfit have been in sensational nick and are deserved leaders after eight rounds having scored 30 goals and conceded a meagre nine. Nick Dimovski’s men are a well-rounded side who can produce goals from all over the pitch and it will a big test for the Sky Blues to hold them out.
David Zdrillic’s side will come into the affair on the back of three consecutive draws and haven’t won since a 3-1 triumph over Manly United at the beginning of April.
Rockdale City Suns v Blacktown City, 12.00pm at Illinden Sports Centre
Blacktown City will arrive at Illinden Sports Centre full of confidence after a late 1-0 victory over Manly in round eight moved John Carnevale’s side into second position. Blacktown are beginning to hit their stride after an inconsistent start to the season and will fancy their chances at maintaining the heat on Sutherland with three points over a struggling Rockdale side.
Rockdale have steadied the ship impressively following their 7-0 hammering at the hands of Sutherland in round six after collecting four points from fixtures against Manly and Bonnyrigg but will need to step up their efforts again to combat a quietly impressive Blacktown side.
Sydney Olympic v Sydney United 58, 12.45pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic have picked up two points from their last five matches and it won’t get any easier for the reigning champions when rivals United 58 come to Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday lunchtime.
The Blues are shipping goals for fun currently having conceded 14 in their last three against Blacktown City, APIA Leichhardt and Manly United and with third-placed Sydney United 58 going about their business very diligently so far this season Olympic will need to summon a big performance at home.
Antoni Zmire’s side are riding high in third position and have proven themselves a very difficult side to break down, with just eight goals conceded so far – the equal best defensive record in the competition.
Wollongong Wolves v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 1.00pm at WIN Stadium
While it’s not quite time to panic yet for Bonnyrigg White Eagles given the topsy-turvy nature of the 20’s competition, another defeat this weekend to Wollongong Wolves will certainly have the alarm bells ringing a little louder.
Hamish Brown’s side will hope their 2-2 draw with Rockdale last weekend offers a platform to drag themselves off the foot of the ladder, but it won’t be easy against a Wollongong side fresh from a superb 2-0 win away at Sutherland.
It’s now two wins in a row for Julio Miranda’s outfit who can start to sense the possibility of a top five position. Although the Wolves haven’t been prolific scorers this season, they ought to have enough against a Bonnyrigg side who have conceded a massive 27 goals thus far.
-By Jacob Windon