Now that the dust has settled after round one of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition, a number of headlines occupied the top tier competition, none more so then what transpired at Belmore Sports Ground on ‘Super Sunday’.
The 2018 Premiers and Champions Sydney Olympic were brought back down to earth by the Sutherland Sharks, a team no longer flying under the radar, after Jeremy Cox rocked the Belmore faithful with a well taken goal thanks to a wonderful assist by Spaniard Juan Carlos Romero.
A number of juicy clashes take place across Sydney with three games hitting the pitches on Saturday and the final three on Sunday.
Here’s the low down of how round 2 will shape up.
Saturday 16th March
Sutherland Sharks v Hakoah Sydney City East @ Seymour Shaw 6:30pm
Fresh from their memorable round 1 victory over Sydney Olympic in round one, Terry Palapanis’ Sutherland Sharks kick off their home campaign at Seymour Shaw against Hakoah Sydney City East in front of what should be a bumper crowd.
It was an aggressive first round display by the hungry Sharks who fought tooth and nail in getting the three points from Belmore thanks also to the goalkeeping heroics of Anthony Bouzanis while skipper Marc Warren marshalled his troops well in the backline. The Spanish duo of Juan and Raul Romero did their bit and will be once again the players to watch out for against Hakoah while last weekend’s goalscorer Jeremy Cox is hoping that he can rattle the net a few more times.
The visitors come into this match after suffering a disappointing 2-1 loss to a spirited Sydney FC side.
Amaury Gauthier scored the club’s only goal and he will be the main target for Gavin Rae’s men in getting the ball rolling.
Keeper Ryan Norval returns to Seymour Shaw with the Hakoah kit and will be looking at putting in a good display while defender James Coombes will need to be at his very best in shutting out the Sharks’ dangerous attack.
The Japanese duo of Taka Noji and Shohei Okuno will also be a main feature to look out for but whatever the case may be, this is sure to be an entertaining match.
Marconi Stallions v Rockdale City Suns @ Marconi Stadium 7pm
The talent on show at Marconi will need to lift up a gear on Saturday after the historic club suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to APIA Leichhardt Tigers in their opening round fixture.
Peter Tsekenis wasn’t a happy camper seeing his troops fail to hit their straps and will be hoping his chargers will be more than up for the task against a gritty Rockdale City Suns outfit.
Blessed with an arsenal of attacking weapons in the shape of Mirjan Pavlovic, Mitchell Mallia, Richie Cardozo, Marko Jesic, Anthony Frangie and James Andrew, you’d like to think that the Stallions will open up their goalscoring account at home.
It won’t come easy though as they face a team in the Suns who pride themselves in these tough matches.
Paul Reid’s men held strong in their scoreless draw against Sydney United 58 at Edensor Park albeit with ten men for the majority of the match after new recruit Sasa Macura was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Down on troops, Reid is hoping to get back a couple of faces but is hoping their prized star signing in Panny Nikas shines after a quiet first game.
Jonathan Grozdanovski, although not scoring, did trouble the United 58 defence with some brilliant hold up play, could get another run from the start while Alec Urosevski, coming back from injury, is hoping that he can get more game time in assisting with the club’s attack.
One shining light in Rockdale’s match last week was that of Matthew Lecce. The former Wanderer youth player was everywhere but unfortunately came off injured and looks highly unlikely to line up against the Stallions.
A big clash with both teams hoping to get their first taste of a victory in season 2019.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Sydney Olympic @ Popondetta Park 7pm
You wouldn’t have thought Mt Druitt Town Rangers looked out of place in NSW’s top tier competition after Aidan Desmond’s team went down 1-0 via an own goal at the hands of rivals Blacktown City.
The Rangers were hard done by and could have gotten more out of their first match with a number of promising signs coming out from the squad. None more so than keeper Carlos Saliadarre who has not lost his touch under the sticks pulling off a few great saves that kept his team in the hunt.
A good home crowd is expected to watch the Rangers take on a formidable outfit in Sydney Olympic who no doubt will be hurting after their shock opening round loss to the Sutherland Sharks.
Abbas Saad’s men had their chances, but it was a case of what could’ve have been as the Blues were thwarted in the final third of the park.
Alejandro Sanchez will hope to be his menacing self up-front while the return to full fitness of Hagi Gligor in the centre of the pitch will certainly help the Blues’ plight in getting a positive result on Saturday.
Will the new boys give Olympic yet another shock loss or will the Blues settle their nerves with a victory? All will be revealed on Saturday.
Sunday 17th March
Blacktown City v Sydney United 58 @ Lily Homes Stadium 3pm
The Blacktown boys will again seek home comfort as they entertain Sydney United 58 in a hotly contested battle at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
Mark Crittenden’s men celebrated its opening win of the NPL NSW Men’s season over rivals Mt Druitt Town Rangers courtesy of an own goal, but their performance wasn’t their best.
Healthy performances from new recruit Leroy Jennings and midfield maestro Devante Clut rallied Critto’s troops in their round one victory, and the pairing should again be involved in all the action against a tough United 58 squad.
Miro Vlastelica’s men should have capitalised on a ten-man Rockdale City Suns outfit in their round one clash, but poor finishing let the Reds down.
Glenn Trifiro especially bore the brunt of the club’s major chances United 58 had in their opener, with the attacker missing two guilt edge opportunities that should have sent the three points to the home side.
Lacking in an out and out striker, United 58 is set to welcome back Patrick Antelmi from suspension while former Central Coast Mariners attacker Josh Macdonald is set to make his debut for the side after finalising his contract in the A-Legaue.
Veteran midfielder and skipper Nick Stavroulakis did his very best in keeping his former teammate Panny Nikas quiet during their round 1 clash, and his services will be needed once more when he takes on a midfield outfit full of energy and running.
Traditionally, this match has had a fair bit of fireworks surrounding it and Sunday will be no different as the two go toe to toe in a must watch match.
Manly United v Sydney FC @ Cromer Park 3:30pm
Cromer Park will see its first NPL NSW Men’s clash of the season as the hosts Manly United entertain Sydney FC.
The Northern Beaches side are hoping that Paul Dee’s return to the club will spark finals series talk and why not with the likes of Adam Parkhouse, Dejan Pandurevic, Brendan Cholakian and Sam Gallagher on their roster. The latter would be brimming with confidence after scoring a belter of a goal in the club’s 2-1 loss to the Wollongong Wolves, but the signs are there that Dylan Mitchell and co will be up for the task against a hungry Sydney FC outfit.
Jimmy Van Weeren’s boys sent out an early message to the rest of the NPL NSW Men’s competition that they won’t be no pushovers after a 2-1 victory over Hakoah Sydney City East.
The talk of the weekend was the performance of striker Marco Tilio.
He was too hot to handle for the Hakoah squad and is hoping he can continue his good form against Manly United.
Another shining light for the Sky Blues was the performance of defender Harry Van Der Saag while Jordi Swibel showed his class in front of goal with the striker wanting to add to his goal scoring tally on Sunday. Van Der Saag in particular will be pumped for this match as the promising youngster hails from the Northern Beaches and is hoping that he can pull out a good performance in front of his friends and family as well as the FC faithful.
A quality match will be on display at Cromer Park with two energetic teams ready for battle.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Wollongong Wolves @ Lambert Park 5:30pm
The final match of round 1 sees the APIA Leichhardt Tigers host the Wollongong Wolves at Lambert Park.
The Tigers were in dreamland after claiming the scalp of the league’s early title contenders Marconi Stallions last Sunday in a 1-0 victory thanks to a wonder goal from Corey Biczo.
Former NPL NSW Men’s Player of the Year Sean Symons was at his very best and showed everyone why he still is regarded as one of the best in the business with a flawless display from the skipper.
The club battled well after going down to ten men after the dismissal of defender Paul Galimi and could have won by a two goal margin if it weren’t for club stalwart Franco Parisi missing from the spot in the dying stages of the match.
It will be an intriguing battle against a Wolves outfit ready to give this league a shake-up.
Former Socceroo Luke Wilkshire was bossing the technical area last Sunday in his side’s 2-1 victory and he was buoyed by a number of good performances from his players such as Japanese import Takeru Okada, Englishman Thomas James and Harry Callahan all standing out.
It will be a fitting way to end what will be an entertaining round 2 full of NPL NSW Men’s clashes.