There is only three weeks to go in the National Premier Leagues NSW competition and the finish line is in site.
Wollongong Wolves can clinch the premiership title this weekend when they take on third placed Blacktown City on Sunday.
The battle for the top five is set to go down to the wire with eight teams still in with a shot of qualifying for finals football.
Sutherland Sharks kick off the week’s action when they host Mt Druitt on Saturday night followed bye second placed APIA Leichhardt taking on Sydney FC.
Sunday features four games with Hakoah Sydney City East’s home clash against Sydney United 58 on Sunday night wrapping up the week’s action.
Sutherland Sharks FC v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 6.30pm Saturday at Seymour Shaw Park
Sutherland Sharks will be driven to keep their slim finals hopes alive when they host Mt Druitt Town Rangers on Saturday.
The Sharks have hit the skids in the past few weeks after their 10 game unbeaten streak came to an end in round 18.
The Terry Palapanis coached side will need to win all three of their final games if they are to have any chance of finishing in the top five.
The biggest concern for Palapanis will be finding a way to stop the goals after the Sharks conceded seven in their past two games.
The departure of Liam McGing has come at the worst time for Sutherland but they will need to make do against a Mt Druitt attack which has found success this season.
The Rangers come into the contest without a win in their last three matches.
Defence will be again the big question mark surrounding Aidan Desmond’s side who have conceded eight goals in two of their past three contests.
Mirjan Pavlovic and Fabricio Fernandez are a dangerous combination with the Uruguayan winning a place in the round 19 team of the week despite being in a losing side.
Fernandez’s trickery and distribution is a real weapon for Mt Druitt and with experienced striker Pavlovic up top they will be a good chance of scoring if given an opportunity.
Expect a high octane encounter which could easily go either way.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Sydney FC, 7pm Saturday at Lambert Park
Second placed APIA Leichhardt Tigers will need nothing less than all three points when they host Sydney FC on Saturday if they are to keep any hope of Premiership glory.
Last season’s grand finalists have gone from strength to strength this season and are hitting top form when it matters most.
The John Calleja coached side has gone unbeaten in their past six games winning four and drawing two.
Their veteran stars have played a big role in their success with Chris Payne and Franco Parisi in fine fettle for the Tigers.
APIA will be without midfielder Nick Stavroulakis who is currently overseas for the match leaving them short of depth in the midfield.
They take on a Sydney FC team flying high after a morale boosting 2-0 win against Sydney United 58.
The Young Sky Blues have done it tough this season but proved last round they can match it with anyone.
Striker Jordan Swibel and midfielder Harry van der Saag were star performers in the win and coach Jim van Weeren will be banking on them again this week.
APIA will go into the match as heavy favourites but if they drop their intensity against an enthusiastic Sydney FC team anything cold happen.
Manly United v Rockdale City Suns, 3pm Sunday at Cromer Park
Manly United will be looking to heap more woe on a struggling Rockdale City Suns outfit when they face off at Cromer Park on Sunday.
Manly ended a three game losing streak last round with a 2-1 win against Hakoah Sydney City East.
The Paul Dee coached side go into this match in seventh position on 26 points, only behind fifth placed Marconi on goal difference.
They will need a win if they are to keep their finals hopes alive.
Looking to stop them is a Rockdale team struggling to end a horror run which has included five straight defeats from their past five matches.
Panny Nikas had a solid return to action last week and will be required to help carry the load and re-ignite his teammates.
Rockdale’s defence has conceded 15 goals in the past five matches and will be without captain and centre back Daniel Petkovski who is suspended after he was sent off against Blacktown last week.
Both teams have plenty to play for in what is sure to be a cracking contest.
Blacktown City v Wollongong Wolves, 3pm Sunday at Lily Homes Stadium
Third placed Blacktown City will be out to ruin Wollongong’s potential premiership party when the two sides meet at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
The Mark Crittenden coached outfit have proven their doubters wrong this season after a major player exodus at the end of last campaign forced a rebuild at the Seven Hills based club.
While the team may look different, the characteristics of successful Blacktown City teams remain and have been on show as they go from strength to strength.
Blacktown City posses one fo the league’s best defensive units but they will be in for an almighty test against a Wollongong Wolves team who have been scoring goals for fun in 2019.
The Wolves have massive motivation to take away all three points with the premiership title potentially 90 minutes away.
Lachlan Scott and Thomas James were impressive again last round against Sutherland Sharks but it was Takeru Okada and goal keeper Justin Pasfield who stole the show.
Can Wollongong make history on Sunday or will it be a resilient Blacktown team going home with all three points?
Sydney Olympic v Marconi Stallions, 4pm Sunday at Belmore Sports Ground
There will be many finals implications riding on the result of Sydney Olympic’s clash with Marconi Stallions on Sunday afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground.
Olympic have been inconsistent this season but two wins from their past three games has them in sixth place only one spot out of potential finals football.
Last round they were easily beaten by APIA Leichhardt Tigers but a big bounce back performance will be in order.
They will be without Zach Mackenzie and Will Angel (who is overseas) who are unavailable for the match which is sure to force a reshuffle from coach Abbas Saad.
They will up against a Marconi Stallions team in arguably their best form of the season.
Riding high after clinching the Waratah Cup only two weeks ago, Marconi are finally starting to deliver on the promise too heir star studded lineup.
Youngster Martin Fernandez earned a spot on the team of the week last round and has impressed in place of suspended star Mitch Mallia.
The pressure is on both team with the result changing the race for the top five and finals football.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Sydney United 58, 5pm Sunday at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East will be out to force Sydney United 58 to succumb to their second shock defeat in as many weeks.
Bottom side Hakoah have done it tough this year but could still change the playoff equation if they win on Sunday at Hensley Athletic Field.
Both teams have struggled to score goals over the past few round so the match could be a defensive battle.
Ryan Norval has been in good form at Hakoah despite a season the club would rather forget. They will be hoping he can be a shining light against United.
United are battling their way through one of their worst slumps of the campaign and were stunned at home by 11th placed Sydney United.
The Reds will be hoping for a return for Glen Trifiro who missed the match against Sydney FC.
United has not scored a solitary goal in three league matches despite dominating in attack. They have just lacked the clinical touch required to score during this time.
Pressure is mounting on coach Miro Vlastelica to produce positive results and will be hoping the likes of Matt Sim, Peter Simonoski and Patrick Antelmi fire against the league cellar dwellers.
This game is sure to be a hard nosed battle and with so much riding on it then it really could be set for a few more twists and turns