Round 2 of the National Premier Leagues NSW competition has arrived an it will be another huge week of action around the grounds.
Marconi Stallions finished week one as the ladder leaders but a lot can change in the early rounds as teams try to find their groove.
This week’s action will get underway on Saturday as Sutherland Sharks take on Rockdale and Manly United play Blacktown City FC.
Four games will take place on Sunday with Mt Druitt taking on Sydney United 58, Wollongong will play North Shore Mariners, APIA will clash with local rivals Sydney Olympic and Sydney FC will close out the round with their match against Marconi.
Sutherland Sharks v Rockdale Ilinden FC, 4.30pm Saturday at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks will be desperate to bounce back after their big loss in round one when they take on local rivals Rockdale Ilinden FC on Saturday.
It will be a battle of the new coaches as Nick Dimovski takes on Steve Zoric.
A return home might be the perfect formula for Dimovski’s side as they were humbled 4-1 by Marconi in their opening match of the season.
It was the worst possible start for the revamped Sutherland side, but a victory on Saturday would be enough to get their campaign back on track.
Lachlan Everett was one of few standouts last week for the Sharks as new signings Blake Powell, Peter Simonoski and Joey Groenbast failed to hit the ground running
Against Rockdale, Dimovski will be hoping for all three to much improved because he will need his side firing if they are to take the three points.
Ilinden come into the match after a hard-fought 2-1 win against Manly United with new coach Steve Zoric buoyed by his team’s strong start.
However, Rockdale paid the price for their win with new goalkeeper Tomislav Arcaba and midfielder Michael Neill set for a stint on the sideline after suffering injuries against Manly.
Japanese imports Banri Kanaizumi and Tomoki Wada were impressive in their first outings for Ilinden and are sure to be key contributors all season long.
This South Sydney derby will be an early test for both side’s and could set the tone for their form through the first half of the season.
Prediction: Sutherland Sharks 1 – Rockdale Ilinden FC 1
Manly United v Blacktown City FC, 7pm Saturday at Cromer Park
Manly United FC will be looking for a bounce back win when they host Blacktown City at Cromer Park on Saturday night.
The Paul Dee coached United side were unlucky losers in the opening round as they went down 2-1 to Rockdale despite a strong performance.
There wee plenty of positives to take out of the game and Dee will be hoping to get the most out of his side in front of their home fans on ‘Back to Manly’ day.
Just as he has been for past few seasons, Brendan Cholakian remains the spark plug of this Manly team and his ability to open up opposition teams will have a big say in his side’s results.
Dejan Pandurevic also showed flashes of brilliance despite the loss.
Looking to stop Manly will be a Blacktown City team which earned a hard fought 1-0 win against Sydney United 58.
Mark Crittenden has built a team which never gives in and that was on show in the win against United 58.
Matt Lewis has been a model of consistency for Blacktown and his goal last round is proof of what can be expected each week from the club captain.
The question of where the goals will come from remains after the departure of Joey Gibbs, but Blacktown will be one of the toughest teams to break down.
Expect this to be a low scoring contest.
Prediction: Manly United 1 – Blacktown City 1
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Sydney United 58 FC, 2pm Sunday at Popondetta Park
A shock defeat to Sydney FC will have Mt Druitt Town Rangers fired up to make it right when they take on Sydney United 58 this Sunday.
Mt Druitt were stunned by the Young Sky Blues in round one conceding two goals in as many minutes in the opening stages of the match before losing 2-1.
It was not the result coach Aidan Desmond would’ve had in mind and he will be pushing his players to step up in a big way this week.
New centre back Travis Oughtred will be tasked with getting the Rangers defence into shape while winger Toufic Alameddine, one of the few standouts for Mt Druitt, will be one of the main contributors going forward.
They take on a Sydney United 58 team which was unlucky not to get more than defeat in a narrow 1-0 loss to Blacktown City.
New boss Zeljko Kalac delivered on his promise of attacking football but poor finishing in front of goal proved costly.
Mat Sim and Jordan Roberts were dangerous in week one creating chance after chance.
Midfield maestro Glen Trifiro could find himself in the starting line-up to inject some service to his front-men.
If United find a way to make the most of these opportunities then they will be a tough team to beat.
Both side’s will be desperate to collect their first win of the season and won’t likely take a conservative approach.
Prediction Mt Duitt Town Rangers 1 – Sydney United 58 3
Wollongong Wolves v North Shore Mariners, 2.30pm Sunday at Albert Butler Memorial Park
Wollongong Wolves will be out to make it two from two to start the season when they host competition new boys North Shore Mariners at Albert Butler Memorial Park on Sunday.
The Wolves scored in the final minute of regulation to snatch a 2-1 win against Sydney Olympic last round and will be full of confidence going into this week’s fixture.
Coach Luke WIlkshire would’ve been impressed with their first round performance but will know his team have much more to offer.
Lachlan Scott and Bul Jauch found the back of the net for the Wolves but it was central defender Nick Littler who was the real standout performer.
He will be needed to keep Wollongong’s backline secure against a North Shore team determined to make it’s mark.
The Mariners started their time in the NPL NSW with a brilliant performance against APIA Leichhardt FC to snatch a 1-1 draw.
Emmanuel Peters scored a brilliant goal with ten minutes left on the clock to stun the reigning NPL NSW Champions.
Peter’s performance was more than just the goal with the midfielder looking to deliver with another big showing.
North Shore have the benefit of being an unknown quantity and will need to use that to their advantage as much as they can until opposition sides find them out.
Wollongong at home will be very hard to beat but if North Shore have proven anything from their first game it’s that they are not going to go down easily.
Prediction: Wollongong Wolves 3 – North Shore Mariners 0
APIA Leichhardt v Sydney Olympic, 5.30pm Sunday at Lambert Park
Old rivalries will be renewed when APIA Leichhardt FC host Sydney Olympic FC at Lambert Park on Sunday.
APIA dropped points last week as North Shore snatched a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with the reigning Champions.
It was a solid showing from APIA in the draw but there is plenty of room for improvement in the John Calleja coached outfit.
Defender Josh Symons started the season on a strong note as did star striker Chris Payne who started his tally in round one with a goal.
Corey Biczo could find himself in the starting line-up while Nick Stavroulakis may play a role as he returns from suspension.
Their rivals Olympic also paid the price for conceding a late goal as they went down 2-1 to Wollongong in round 1.
New signing Raul Beneit Romero didn’t take long to find his place as a key playmaker in the Olympic midfield and will be looking to break through APIA’s defence.
Olympic skipper Jason Madonis is another player who starred in week one and will be full of confidence.
This game is best described as a heavyweight fight and both teams are capable of delivering a knockout blow.
It will go down to the wire.
Prediction: APIA Leichhardt FC 2 – Sydney Olympic 2
Sydney FC v Marconi Stallions, 6.30pm Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre
Sydney FC will be looking to maintain their perfect record when they take on Marconi Stallions on Sunday.
The Young Sky Blues claimed a brilliant upset win in round one shocking Mt Druitt in a 2-1 win.
The Jim van Weeren coached outfit raced out of the block to score two goals in the opening nine minutes to leave Mt Druitt completely stunned.
Expect a similar approach against Marconi with striker Jordi Swibel looking to add to his tally.
The Stallions come into the contest flying high at the top of the table after claiming a dominant 4-1 win against Sutherland Sharks.
It was an impressive statement of intent from the Peter Tsekenis coached side who will be a tough team to beat if they can maintain this form.
Connor Evans struggled with injury in 2019, but he has made a brilliant start to 2020 and will be looking to keep his top form in round two.
Sydney FC caught Mt Druitt napping last week but they will need to step things up if they are to knock Marconi off their perch.
Prediction: Sydney FC 0 – Marconi Stallions 3