The four-team race for the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Premiership could be whittled down to two as Round 10 action takes place this weekend.
The penultimate round of the regular season features two potential premiership deciders on Sunday as competition leaders Rockdale Ilinden travel to Sydney United 58, while fifth placed Sydney FC play host to second placed Wollongong Wolves.
Nothing less than a win will be an option in what is the closest premiership race in the competition’s recent history with five teams are still in the running to finish the season on top.
The matches get underway with a triple header on Friday as Manly take on Mt Druitt at Cromer Park, Blacktown are at home against APIA Leichhardt and Marconi battles for a place in the finals against North Shore Mariners.
Finally, Sydney Olympic will take on Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night as they look to stay in the premiership race.
You won’t want to miss a moment of the action, with every game streamed live on NPL.TV
Manly United FC v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 7.30pm Friday at Cromer Park
Manly United will be determined to claim a win in their last home game of the season when they host Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Cromer Park on Friday night.
The boys from the Northern Beaches fought back to claim a draw against Marconi last week after a sublime finish from Brendan Cholakian.
The emergence of the side’s young players such as Luca Kmet, Marley Peterson, Jordan Devries and James Georgaklis has been a bright spot in what has been a season of mixed results.
Coach Adam Griffiths will be looking for another big performance from his rising stars this week.
They will be up against a Mt Druitt side which was on the wrong side of a 5-0 demolition from Sydney FC last week.
The Franco Cosentino coached side has been a competitive outfit all season and will be looking to take maximum points from their final two games.
Rangers captain Carlos Saliadarre has been a star performer in goals all season and will be called on to lead from the back once again.
It is set to be an open contest and could go down to the wire.
Blacktown City v APIA Leichhardt, 7.30pm Friday at Lily Homes Stadium
Blacktown City will be out to make it back to back wins for the first time this season when they host APIA Leichhardt at Lily Homes Stadium on Friday.
It was a massive return to form from City in Round 9 as they stunned premiership hopefuls Sydney United 58 5-1.
Leroy Jennings was the star of the show for the Seven Hills based side scoring a sublime hat trick in the win.
Rhett Desilva was another player who wowed the fans after scoring a thunderous strike from range.
Both players will be ones to watch this week against a leaky APIA defence.
APIA come into the contest after a thrilling 3-2 loss to Rockdale and will be out to finish a season of struggles with a win.
Hardman Paul Galimi marked his return to the starting line-up in style with a goal last week and will be out to build on that performance against Blacktown.
Themba Muata-Marlow was another key defender who has made a recent return to the side and will be needed if APIA are to take home the win.
Both sides have had their struggles during the rebooted season, but this game will be a chance to put a positive spin on what has been a hard campaign for their players and fans alike.
Marconi Stallions v North Shore Mariners, 8pm Friday at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallion’s finals hopes go on the line as they host a gritty North Shore Mariners on Friday night at Marconi Stadium.
The Stallions are two points outside the top five and will need to win at least one of their last two matches if they are going to play in the postseason.
A draw last round against Manly was a frustrating result for the Peter Tsekenis coached side and he will be urging his players to rediscover their scoring touch.
Marko Jesic has been in fine touch upfront for Marconi but he will need support from his teammates if they are to return to their free-scoring ways.
Injuries have plagued Tsekenis’ men but they still have the likes of keeper Nenad Vekic, Anthony Costa, Connor Evans, James Andrew, Anthony Frangie, Martin Fernandez and Nathan Millgate to guide them through to a hopeful Finals Series finish.
Looking to stop them will be a Mariners team who last round held premiership contenders Sydney Olympic to a 1-1 draw.
It was a dogged performance from the Mariners highlighted by a sublime Chris Lindsay free-kick.
The Mariners will be determined to avoid the wooden spoon and will be out to make life difficult for the teams battling at the top end of the table.
Mitchell Smith will lead the team up-front and he will hope to add a couple more goals to his impressive goalscoring tally.
Marconi will be favourites at home but it won’t be easy going against a determined North Shore team.
Sydney Olympic v Western Sydney Wanderers, 7pm Saturday at Lambert Park
It’s crunch time for Sydney Olympic in the race for the Premiership as they host Western Sydney Wanderers at Lambert Park on Saturday night.
Olympic sits in fourth place, three points behind ladder leaders Rockdale, and will need to win both of their remaining matches to give them the best shot of finishing the regular season in first place.
A frustrating 1-1 draw against North Shore Mariners last week was a difficult result for Olympic to swallow, but they must bounce back and rediscover their attacking prowess when they take on the Wanderers.
Look to experienced strikers Fabio Ferreira and Charles Lokolingoy to lead the charge as the Ante Juric coached outfit battles to keep their Premiership hopes alive while Hagi Gligor continues to find his old self with some good performances in midfield.
Looking to stop them is a Western Sydney Outfit which has developed a penchant for challenging the competition’s best.
Central defender Tass Mourdoukoutas has held his own against the A-League’s best strikers and will be tasked with marking up against Olympic’s star frontline.
Fellow defender Mohamed Al Taay has also been solid for the Red and Black’s and he will need to be at his best to thwart out any Blues attack.
The Wanderers have some skilful attacking stars of their own in Rory Jordan, Peter Grozos and Ali Auglah.
Olympic will go into the match as favourites but the Wanderers will push them for the full 90 minutes.
Sydney United 58 v Rockdale Ilinden, 3pm Sunday at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United Sports Centre will be host to a possible Premiership decider as Sydney United 58 go up against Rockdale Ilinden on Sunday.
United 58 led the competition before a horror 5-1 loss to Blacktown City last round which dropped them down to third on the ladder, two points behind new leaders Rockdale.
It was the first major slip-up in over month for The Reds who had previously seemed unflappable as they headed towards a premiership title.
However, last week’s major slip up means they will need to win on Sunday if they have any chance of finishing the season on top.
Patrick Antelmi continued his brilliant scoring run despite defeat last week and will again be an integral player in United 58’s chances.
Yianni Perkatis is another to keep an eye on as he pulls the strings from midfield.
For Rockdale the match is a chance to stretch their lead at the top of the competition and move one step closer to a historic title.
Their 3-2 win last week against bogey side APIA Leichhardt proved coach Steven Zoric has helped his players take their game to a new level.
Tomoki Wada has etched an important role in the centre of the park for Rockdale and will be the key player for them in this contest.
Alec Urosevski’s late winner after coming on as a substitute was another incredible showing from the talismanic striker, who for years has been the main man at Ilinden Sports Centre.
This game has so much riding on it so expect a finals-like atmosphere on the pitch.
Neither side is going to give any less than their best with a possible premiership on the line.
If you can only catch one game this week – make sure it is this one. You won’t want to miss it.
Sydney FC v Wollongong Wolves, 3.45pm Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre
Premiership hopes go on the line on Sunday as Sydney FC host Wollongong Wolves at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
Fifth placed Sydney FC are four points off the pace and must win their next two games if they are to pull off an incredible premiership run.
After a period of frustrating results, the Young Sky Blues returned to form last week with a 5-0 domination of Mt Druitt.
Thomas Fay scored a brilliant hat trick in the win, while Jordi Swibel claimed a brace.
The form of Sydney’s young strikers including current Golden Boot leader Patrick Wood is one of the side’s strengths at this crunch time of the season.
They come up against the second placed Wollongong Wolves who are n a campaign to win the premiership for the second straight year.
A hard fought 1-0 win against Western Sydney last week helped them claim a vital three points and keep the pressure on competition leaders Rockdale Ilinden.
Josh Bingham had made a slow start to his time at the Wolves, but the striker has found form when it matters most as proven by his match winning goal last week.
The pressure will be on him and Thomas James to take the match to the youthful Sydney FC defence.
With so much riding on this game neither side can afford to lose.
It is set to be a blockbuster.