It’s the final round before the halfway mark of the season and things are only getting more exciting!
As the new National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s ladder leaders, Rockdale Ilinden will have a target on their back this week as the competition heats up and the tight battle at the top of the ladder continues.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC v Sydney FC
7:00pm, Friday 13th May, Popondetta Park
After being knocked off the top of the table by Rockdale, Sydney FC will be fired up and ready to wreak havoc on Mt Druitt Town on Friday evening.
As the young sky blues head out to Popondetta they’ll be hoping to capitalise on the struggling defence of the Rangers’ to knock home the goals they’ve shown they are capable of.
Jaiden Kucharski, Zac Sapsford and Clayton Taylor have been netting plenty for Sydney FC and will be looking to add to their goal tally and stay in contention for the top spot.
Mt Druitt Town have been watching their hopes of a successful season slip away from them as they’ve struggled through recent weeks, with a 4-0 loss to Sydney Olympic in Round 10 the latest in a string of losses.
While they have the goal-scoring power, they will need to keep a tight defensive line to contend with the scoring power of Sydney FC.
Will the Rangers be able to pull off a big upset or will Sydney FC bounce back and Kucharski especially add to his goal scoring tally after not hitting the net last weekend.
Sutherland Sharks FC v Wollongong Wolves FC
3:30pm, Saturday 14th May, Seymour Shaw
Both the Sutherland Sharks and Wollongong Wolves will be riding high on the winning feeling heading into this Round 11 clash at Seymour Shaw.
Both teams sit at the lower end of the table and will be hoping to build some momentum to give them a chance at finals football.
Sutherland’s Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu and Michael Neill were featured in the Round 10 Team of the Week after their performance against Northbridge and will be looking to repeat the performance this week.
Wollongong’s Josh Macdonald was also featured in the team after his side managed a crucial 3-1 victory against league heavyweights Blacktown City FC.
Luke Wilkshire’s move to the Central Coast Mariners in 2023 was the big story last week but rest assured ‘Wilko’ will be doing all that he can to guide his troops to a finals series finish in his last year with the club.
The Wolves have been riding high and will look at this match which is a derby of some sorts as a big three pointer in keeping that dream alive.
With a win to build on, will Sutherland or Wollongong manage to build crucial momentum heading into the second half of the season?
Marconi Stallions FC v Northbridge Bulls FC
7:00pm, Saturday 14th May, Marconi Stadium
Marconi will be looking to make it five consecutive in the NPL NSW Men’s wins when they welcome Northbridge to ‘The Palace’ on Saturday night.
After an important 4-1 victory over APIA Leichhardt in Round 10, Marconi have plenty of momentum behind them which should help them as they look to extend their undefeated run.
Marko Jesic and Nathan Millgate both represented the Stallions in the Team of the Week after impressive performances in Round 10 and will be among those to watch in the Marconi lineup alongside the likes of Charles Lokolingoy, Connor Evans and Domenic Costanzo.
Their experience and physicality will be a stark comparison to the youth and technicality Northbridge will be leaning on as they look to get a win to lift them off the bottom of the ladder.
Having fallen to Sutherland last week, Northbridge will need to regroup as they prepare for the clash if they have any hope of crushing an in-form Marconi side.
The Bulls will be aided by the possible inclusion of a couple of senior youth stars who may well feature now that their A-League journey has ended.
Will experience be able to conquer youth or will Northbridge manage to end Marconi’s momentum?
Blacktown City FC v Sydney Olympic FC
3:00pm, Sunday 15th May, Blacktown City Sports Centre
Blacktown City will be looking to redeem themselves on Sunday afternoon when they host Sydney Olympic after a trip down to Wollongong saw them fall 3-1 to the Wolves in this week’s ‘Match of the Round’.
The ten-man Blacktown City side conceded three goals last round, the most they have conceded in a game so far this season, and will need to get back to their typically strong defensive line to defeat Olympic.
While they will have to do so without regular starter Daniel Collins due to his red card, Blacktown City have plenty of depth to lean on to get a result.
While Blacktown conceded the most, Sydney Olympic scored the most goals in a game so far this season in their 4-0 defeat of Mt Druitt Town.
Roy O’Donovan, Oliver Puflett and Sam McIllhatton all featured on the scoresheet, while McIllhatton and Nikola Ujdur made the Round 10 Team of the Week for solid performances.
In what is set to be a high-calibre matchup, it’s anyone’s game as these two top-six teams match up.
Sydney United 58 FC v APIA Leichhardt FC
3:00pm, Sunday 15th May, Sydney United Sports Centre
In their first home game since the departure of coach Joe Haywood, Sydney United 58 under Miro Vlastelica will be looking to make a statement as they take on league heavyweights APIA Leichhardt.
With a string of losses not reflecting the amount of talent they have on the field, it could be the challenge of an experienced team like APIA Leichhardt that gives United 58 the fire they need.
While United 58 will be looking to get an all-important victory before the season hits the halfway point, APIA Leichhardt will be hoping for a big win to reprieve them after their 4-1 loss to Marconi in Round 10 and keep them in the premiership race.
Lining up without Themba Muata-Marlow, who has been a constant pillar of strength for the inner west side throughout the season, APIA struggled against the Stallions, conceding three penalties and another goal.
While Romero scored a hat trick in Round 9, the dynamic attacker could only manage one at ‘The Palace’ and will be hungry to prove that he can consistently score as APIA head out to Sydney United Sports Centre.
With no Australia Cup journey to look forward to, all eyes will be fixed on APIA wanting to win silverware as the club expects trophies for 2022.
Both sides should bring out the best in each other in the clash as the historic teams match up in what is set to be a stellar match.
Rockdale Ilinden FC v Manly United FC
4:00pm, Sunday 15th May, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre
New league leaders will have their first opportunity to hold on to the top spot for consecutive weeks but will have to hold out Manly United to do so.
After a victory over Sydney FC in Round 10, Rockdale Ilinden will return to Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon as they hope to give their loyal home fans another win.
Alec Urosevski managed an incredible four-goal haul last week and after a successful season of netting goals, will be hoping to continue doing so to put away a hungry Manly side.
The depth of the Rockdale squad has been a talking point all season and has been valuable to the side as they continue an impressive unbeaten run.
Alongside Urosevski, Brayden Sorge was featured in the Team of the Week for Rockdale, while Seiya Kambayashi was the only representative from Manly United as the lone goal scorer in the Round 10 victory.
Manly United’s victory over United 58 should give them some momentum heading into this clash, but they’ll need to bring their A-game if they want to infiltrate Rockdale’s strong defence.
Captain Jimmy Oates will be readying his troops for the big clash, but with the top spot on the line, Rockdale will surely be a tough team to crack.