It is Round 13 in the National Premier Leagues Men’s competition, and another big week of action set to take place around the grounds.
Blacktown City is settling in as the top team after making first place their own for the third straight week.
Sydney United 58 is in hot pursuit, while Rockdale Ilinden is determined to get their premiership defence back on track after some inconsistent results.
The battle for the top five is heating up with Manly United, Mt Druitt Town Rangers, Wollongong Wolves and APIA, all battling it out for the remaining two finals places.
This week’s matches get underway on Saturday night with three blockbuster games, starting with APIA v Mt Druitt.
Saturday’s other matches include Marconi taking on Sutherland and Manly United, playing host to Wollongong.
Three more games are scheduled for Sunday as Sydney Olympic play Rockdale, Northbridge, and Blacktown go head to head, and Sydney FC faces off against Sydney United 58 in the late game.
Remember, you can catch all the action live on NPL.TV.
APIA Leichhardt v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 5.15pm Saturday at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt will be determined to keep their finals hopes alive when they take on Mt Druitt Town Rangers this Saturday night at Lambert Park
APIA has lost their past two matches albeit in tough circumstances having battled gallantly and desperately needs a win to stay in touch with the top five.
They come into this game on the back of a closely contested snatch and grab 1-0 defeat at the hands of ladder leaders Blacktown City.
Paul Dee has had a significant impact on the club since taking over as head coach earlier this season but will need to work his magic to ensure the side doesn’t slump into another run of defeats.
Left-back Mathieu Cordier has found form in recent weeks and was one of the best on ground in a losing side during last week’s match.
Injury to recruit Corey Gameiro limits Dee’s options in attack, leaving Blake Powell, Corey Biczo, Sean Symons and Franco Parisi to carry the load against a stout Rangers defence.
Mt Druitt comes into the match on the back of a shock 1-0 loss at the hands of Manly United.
Shot stopper Carlos Saliadarre was forced to make save after save to keep his side in the match, but it wasn’t to be as Manly snatched a narrow victory.
Fumoto Kamada was dangerous on the flanks for the Rangers in Round 12, and his ability to create chances from out wide could help stretch the APIA defence.
Mt Druitt has only won once in their past five games and will be determined to take home all three points.
APIA will be favourites at home, but this match will go down to the wire.
Marconi Stallions v Sutherland Sharks, 6pm Saturday at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions are in desperate need of a winning edge, and they will be hoping to find it at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night against Sutherland Sharks.
The Stallions fought back to snatch a 3-3 draw against Sydney FC in Round 12 courtesy of goals from Anthony Frangie, Marco Jesic and Mitch Mallia.
It was the Stallions eighth draw of the campaign, with their inability to close out matches proving very costly.
Coach Peter Tsekenis would’ve been happy to see his star attacking players all on the scoresheet last week and will be hoping It is the start of a run of goals for the trio.
They will be facing off against a Sutherland Sharks side who have lost their past three fixtures and will be desperate for victory.
Sutherland was embarrassed 5-1 by Northbridge Bulls in Round 12, and the pressure will be on the Nick Dimovski coached outfit to find a way to win.
Players such as Chris McStar and Lachlan Everett have been a feature for the Sharks in every one of the team’s matches and will be relied on to continue the consistency they have shown this campaign.
Sutherland spurned a late winner against Marconi in their round two clash and will be looking to go one better this time.
Both sides have had their struggles this season, but they each have solid rosters and should never be written off.
This match is set to be a tight affair.
Manly United v Wollongong Wolves, 7pm Saturday at Cromer Park
Back-to-back wins will be on the agenda for Manly United this Saturday night when they host Wollongong Wolves at Cromer Park.
Manly climbed back into the top five last week with a narrow 1-0 win against Mt Druitt.
It was their first win in five weeks, and coach Adam Griffiths will be hoping it was the result that helps the team rediscover their spark.
Jack Fulton found the back of the net in the opening moments of the second stanza, scoring after some quick thinking to fire home a fumbled save.
Winger Dejan Pandurevic and veteran striker Richie Cardozo were a headache for the Rangers defence last week. Griffiths will be working with them to ensure another big performance this week.
Looking to stop them will be a Wollongong side who, despite their many struggles, are only one point outside the top five.
Coach Luke Wilkshire knows how important it is that his team takes at least a point from this contest to remain in the battle for finals football.
A brave performance against reigning premiers Rockdale last week helped the Wolves hold on for a draw, but very easily could’ve had the win if it were not for a moment of Patrick Savor magic.
The Wolves seem to be finding their feet, and a solid second half of the campaign could mean a place in the finals.
Manly will be favourites at home, but Wollongong has the players to spring an upset.
This clash could go either way.
Sydney Olympic v Rockdale Ilinden, 3pm Sunday at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic will be determined to take all three points from reigning premiers Rockdale Ilinden when the two teams go head to head at Belmore Sports Ground this Sunday.
Back-to-back losses from Olympic has meant they’ve dropped out of the top five, and coach Ante Juric knows he must motivate his players before it is too late.
The 3-1 loss to Sydney United 58 was a confidence-sapping defeat, and the pressure is now on veteran players such as Jason Madonis and Thomas Whiteside to get the team through this tough patch.
Mo Adam netted another goal after coming on as a substitute against United 58, showing his ability to impact a match.
Silly mistakes proved very costly for Olympic in their round 12 defeat so expect Juric to get the side to focus on the fundamentals.
They will be up against a Rockdale Ilinden team that has fallen from the top spot after a run of three draws in their past four matches.
Coach Steve Zoric must get his team scoring more freely and not relying too much on star frontman Alec Urosevski.
Michael Neill is one player who could be a gamechanger for Rockdale this weekend, with the winger challenging opposition defenders with his crossing and speed on the ball.
Olympic will need to lift their performances if they’re to snatch an upset against Rockdale, who will come into this game as favourites.
Northbridge Bulls FC v Blacktown City, 3pm Sunday at Sydney United Sports Centre
A big victory last round has Northbridge Bulls full of confidence, and they will be determined to claim back-to-back wins when they go up against competition leaders Blacktown City at Sydney United Sports Centre this Sunday.
The young Bulls put five past Sutherland Sharks in a 5-1 victory during Round 12, with the Mile Sterjovski coached side breaking through for their first victory since they defeated Sydney United 58 by the same scoreline back in round six.
Milislav Popovic and Bul Jauch were in fine fettle last round, each scoring a brace.
Despite their position on the ladder, the ninth-placed Northbridge is equal with Blacktown and Sydney United for the best attack in the league, scoring an incredible 24 goals.
If Sterjovski can stem the flow of goals at the other end, his Bulls side could cause more than just a few upsets.
Their opponent this round is a Blacktown City team at the peak of their powers.
A gritty 1-0 win against APIA last week was their fifth straight victory as Travis Major converted in the 16th minute to give his side all three competition points.
Across the board, Blacktown’s team is playing top tier football and will be very difficult to break down.
Lachlan Campbell has emerged as a rock at the back alongside veteran stopper Grant Lynch. In contrast, the Return of Travis Major this season has given Blacktown City the firepower it lacked since the departure of Joey Gibbs.
Coach Mark Crittenden has this team eyeing silverware this season, and they will be driven to build their lead at the top of the table with a big win on Sunday.
City defeated Northbridge 2-0 when they met in round two this season and will be favourites for this clash once again.
Goals could be on the menu in this match. It’s one you won’t want to miss
Sydney FC v Sydney United 58, 1pm Sunday at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre
Sydney FC will be looking for an upset when they host the high flying Sydney United 58 at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre this Sunday.
The Young Sky Blues ended their run of defeats last round with a 3-3 draw against Marconi Stallions.
While it was Sydney’s first competition point since a 2-2 draw in round seven, coach Jim Van Weeran would not be impressed with the way his side spurned a 3-1 lead against the Stallions.
Adrian Segecic found the back of the net for the second straight week, while Luke Ivanovic and Callum Talbot also scored in the draw.
A-League rising star Ivanovic gives Van Weeran a top tier attacking weapon and gives the Young Sky Blues a whole new dimension to their forward line.
Looking to stop them will be a United 58 team sitting second on the table and on a three-game winning streak.
The Tomi Vidovic coached outfit have bounced back from their midseason slump and are back to their devastating best.
Patrick Antelmi and Chris Payne both found the back of the net in a 3-1 win against Sydney Olympic last round.
The duo are one of the most fearsome attacking partnerships in the competition and will be a headache for Sydney’s defence to contain.
Devante Clut is another player the Young Sky Blues will need to keep an eye on, with the former A-League star able to both score and create goals.
Sydney United will be favourites for this clash and will be looking for a repeat of their dominant 5-2 victory against Sydney FC in round two.
The Young Sky Blues will need to bring their best if they are to cause an upset in what is sure to be an entertaining clash.