It is round two of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition with another six blockbuster fixtures set to take to the fields across Sydney.
The weekend’s matches kick-off on Friday with APIA Leichhardt hosting Wollongong Wolves as the reigning champions and reigning premiers face off.
Manly United are also in action on Friday night as they look for their first win of the season against Western Sydney Wanderers, while Saturday night will feature Mt Druitt hosting Blacktown City.
Three games will take place on Sunday, Sydney United 58 against North Shore Mariners, Sydney Olympic facing off against Sydney FC and Rockdale hosting Marconi in the final match of the weekend.
APIA Leichhardt FC v Wollongong Wolves FC, 7:30pm Friday at Lambert Park
The reigning Premiers will take on the reigning league champions will do battle on Friday night as APIA Leichhardt FC host Wollongong Wolves at Lambert Park.
APIA will be desperate to return to the winner’s circle after suffering defeat at the hands of rivals Marconi last week in the opening fixture of the rebooted NPL NSW Men’s season.
If anyone thought teams were set to take this make shift competition lightly, they were wrong – the match against the Stallions saw how much playing the game again means to them.
Wollongong, on the other hand, will be pushing for their second win in as many games after they dispatched Mt Druitt 1-0 last round.
APIA will be without defender Paul Galimi for the clash after he was sent off against the Stallions which will force coach John Calleja into a reshuffle of his backline.
This will more than likely see the introduction of one of the club’s standout defenders during the start of the NPL season before COVID-19 hit, Josh Symons return to the starting eleven.
Attack will be another major concern for Calleja after his side’s attack was largely nullified but the club hope to call back Corey Biczo to assist in that department.
Jeremy Cox scored their only goal with a stunning volley deep into injury time and he will be needed to maintain that touch in front of goal if APIA is to take home the three points.
The Luke Wilkshire coached Wolves will be also working on their finishing in front of goal ahead of this weekend’s clash.
Wollongong struggled to make the most of their litany of chances against an underdone Rangers outfit.
They won’t have the luxury of letting opportunities go to waste this week.
Japanese import Takeru Okada will be one to watch as well as well as frontman Bul Juach and the attacking talents of Marcus Beattie.
After such a long break both teams are still finding their feet but with the shortened season APIA and Wollongong will be desperate to take home all three points.
Manly United FC v Western Sydney Wanderers, 7.30pm Friday at Cromer Park
Manly United and Western Sydney Wanderers will be fighting for their first win of the season when the two sides go head to head at Cromer Park on Friday night.
The boys from the Northern Beaches will be hoping to get the better of the Wanderers in what is the first time the two sides have met in the NPL NSW Men’s competition.
Manly were held to a scoreless draw against Rockdale City Suns in week one while the Wanderers suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of fierce rivals Sydney FC.
Both teams showed plenty of flair going forward in their opening round matches, but Manly were unable to find the back of the net – something coach Paul Dee won’t want a repeat of this time.
Defender Kieran Paull and striker Marley Peterson were United’s best against Rockdale with both testing Suns keeper Tomislav Arcaba.
The Wanderers showed plenty of heart despite defeat in round one with the way they fought back from 3-0 down at half time.
Coach Arthur Diles really knows how to bring the best out of his young upcoming stars as he has vowed not to change the team’s style for the entire rebooted season.
Ali Auglah and Stefan Nikolic both found the back of the net as the visitors dominated the second 45 minutes with a showing which is sure to fill the young side with plenty of confidence – look for the talents of Dean Pelekanos in midfield to also play a telling role in the Wanderers attack.
Thomas Aquilina was also dangerous in the club’s first game so expect him to be in and around the action.
Manly will need to call on all their experience to get the win against a Western Sydney team with the ability to take over a match.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Blacktown City FC, 7pm Saturday at Popondetta Park
Western Sydney bragging rights will go on the line as Mt Druitt Town Rangers host Blacktown City at Popondetta Park on Saturday night.
Rangers coach Franco Cosentino will be desperate for his first win in charge and to get the scalp of local rival Blacktown would be a huge confidence booster for him and his team.
In round one, Mt Druitt suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to Wollongong Wolves with their scrambling defence going a long way to keeping the reigning league champions at bay for most of the match.
The Rangers were pushed all the way by Wollongong with captain and shot-stopper Carlos Saliadarre making several key saves against a dangerous Wolves attack.
They were able to hold their heads high in what was a gritty performance as Solomon Monahan-Vaiika and Jake Mamone battled for the full ninety minutes.
A lot of pressure will be put in the hands of their ace marksman John Roberts who is set to take on his former club he had so much success at as a junior.
Blacktown, on the other hand, were unlucky not to have taken home three competition points as they were held to a 0-0 draw against North Shore Mariners.
Mark Crittenden’s side spurned a handful of scoring chances and nearly paid the price when North Shore had a goal disallowed.
New Blacktown recruit Mario Shabow was a handful for defenders but he will need to work on his finishing to make the most of his skilful dribbling and chance creation.
We will be also watching to see if skipper Matty Lewis can replicate his goalscoring form that hit home pre-COVID to lift his side while it was a good debut for keeper Shaun Catlin who kept his first clean sheet for the club in round 1.
It is set to be an exciting match and with local bragging rights on the line, it is sure to go down to the wire.
Sydney United 58 v North Shore Mariners, 3pm Sunday at Sydney United Sports Centre
A big bounce-back performance will be on the agenda for Sydney United 58 as they host North Shore Mariners at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
United 58 slumped to a 2-0 loss against traditional rivals Sydney Olympic in the opening week of fixtures and coach Zeljko Kalac will be driving his side for a much-improved showing this week around.
The Reds were stunned by a rapid Olympic attack and had little answers to stop the early onslaught as their defensive unit were really put to the test by the Blues.
United 58 have yet to adapt to the departure of key players Yianni Perkatis and Patrick Antelmi but with such a short season it is imperative to their finals chances they fill the gap as quickly as possible.
It will be up to experienced campaigners Matt Sim, Thomas Manos and Yianni Fragogiannis to help their younger teammates find their rhythm while we may see the introduction of new recruits Jacob Poscoliero and Mirjan Pavlovic thrown into the mix.
North Shore showed against Blacktown that they are not to be underestimated and were a disallowed goal away from snatching a shock win.
Manny Peters is a handful for any defence and could be the key to a Mariners win while look out for Charles William who had a good opening match against Blacktown City.
United 58 will be favourites at home but if they’re not at their best it could easily be the Mariners for the taking.
Sydney Olympic FC v Sydney FC, 5 pm Sunday at Lambert Park
Sydney Olympic and Sydney FC will be both fighting for back-to-back wins when they face off at Lambert Park on Sunday.
Olympic and the Young Sky Blues were very impressive in the first week of fixtures but will have plenty of work to do if they are to add another three competition points to their tally.
A brilliant attacking display from Olympic helped them to a 2-0 win against Sydney United 58 while an early three-goal flurry lifted Sydney FC to a 3-2 victory against Western Sydney Wanderers.
For Olympic, their result last week was the perfect start for new coach Ante Juric who would’ve been very happy with what he saw on the pitch.
The frontline of former A-League players Charles Lokolingoy, Adam Parkhouse and Fabio Ferreira is the most fearsome attacking trio in the competition and will strike fear into every defence they face.
It was also great to see a good debut from young promising goalkeeper Nicholas Sorras, son of former Olympic NSL defender George, the tall custodian held his own against United 58.
Looking to stop them will be a Sydney FC team which showed they to know their way onto the scoresheet.
The Young Sky Blues raced out of the block with a huge first half in a dominant display of attacking football.
However, gaffer Jim van Weeran will be concerned with the way they let Western Sydney back into the contest after the break.
The young Sky Blues have talent oozing in all departments but Jake Hollman is one name to pen for years to come – he is something special.
Patrick Wood also had a great first up match against the Wanderers as did Thomas Fay and Benjamin Koop.
Sydney Olympic will surely look to target any drops in concentration from Sydney FC so they pressure will be on the Sky Blues to keep their composure in what is sure to be an intense clash.
Olympic will be the favourites for this match but Sydney FC shouldn’t be underestimated.
Rockdale City Suns v Marconi Stallions, 6.30 pm Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Sun’s will be fighting for their first win of the rebooted NPL NSW Men’s season when they host Marconi Stallions on Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre.
Rockdale were held to a scoreless draw in their first outing last round but Steven Zoric’s side will be pushing for three competition points against a talented Marconi outfit this week.
The Stallions come into the game with winning form after defeating APIA 2-1 last week.
Nikola Taneski will be a player to watch for Rockdale with the talented striker proving to be a dangerous option going forward.
The former Sydney United and Manly frontman should play a big role again this week while Amaury Gauthier always provides that spark for Zoric’s men.
Two players that will sure to keep the Stallions side on their toes will the Japanese duo of Tomoki Wada and Banri Kanaizumi.
Marconi was in brilliant touch against APIA with mercurial striker Anthony Frangie in fine fettle.
While the club also had impressive debuts for its young guns in Mark Rodic and Lachlan Sepping who both showed they belong in the first team.
Marko Jesic was his usual pest self always throwing himself in and around the action and his experience will be one to watch come match day along with the Speranza brothers Roberto and Giorgio.
Liam Youlley bossed the midfield against APIA and his menacing tackles will be on show against a tough Rockdale outfit.
We also may see the return of both Anthony Costa and Martin Fernandez who both missed the club’s opening match.
The Stallions will be tough to beat and will be favourites despite being the away side.
Matches between these sides are always action-packed and this one is sure to be no different.