The National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition continues to be fierce and Round 17 is set to bring plenty of action as the teams continue to battle.
In an incredibly tight & competitive race for finals every point counts and it’s bringing a whole lot of extra passion to the pitch.
With six games packed into two days, here’s what to expect this weekend:
APIA Leichhardt FC v Sydney FC
5:30pm, Saturday 25th June, Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt will host the young Sky Blues to kick off the Round 17 action on Saturday evening and will be this week’s ‘Match of the Round’.
As APIA continue to fight to get back to the top spot on the league ladder, they’ll draw on the support of their home fans to get them over the line and get a crucial three points.
Yianni Nicolaou was a standout for the Inner West side in their draw on the weekend, but having let in a late goal to Wollongong, APIA will be wanting to bounce back with a big result against a challenging Sydney FC side.
Jaiden Kucharski and Adrian Segecic were yet again the stars of the young sky blues squad in their Round 16 performance, and will likely cause a headache to the experienced back line of the hosts.
Sydney FC’s draw with Sutherland last week will give them some extra motivation to bounce back, and after a stellar start to the competition they will need the win to get back in the Premiership mix.
Wollongong Wolves FC v Manly United FC
6:00pm, Saturday 25th June, WIN Stadium
Manly United will make the trip down to Wollongong on Saturday night to play under the bright lights of WIN Stadium.
Heading into Round 17 on top of the league ladder, Manly are a force to be reckoned with and will surely make tough competition for the Wolves.
Jesse Piriz and Seiya Kambayashi featured in the Team of the Week for Round 16 after impressing in their defeat of Northbridge and, having been consistently impressive throughout the season, will be worth keeping an eye on.
Wollongong’s Banri Kanaizumi was their representative in the team after his late equaliser saw the Wolves take a point from their battle with APIA Leichhardt.
A win against Manly will be crucial for the hosts, not only to stay within close distance of the top five, but for their confidence as they move into an uphill battle as the season progresses.
Marconi Stallions FC v Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC
7:00pm, Saturday 25th June, Marconi Stadium
Marconi’s late winner over Sydney Olympic will have them riding high as they prepare to take on Mt Druitt Town this week
Just two points away from first position on the NPL NSW Men’s ladder, Marconi’s 2022 campaign is on solid footing and a win against fellow Mt Druitt would put them in good stead for finals.
After weeks of his brother Roberto being in the spotlight, Giorgio Speranza was featured in the Round 16 Team of the Week after an impressive performance against Olympic and will likely be key to the Stallions as they look to defeat the Rangers.
John Roberts was selected in the team for Mt Druitt for his role in their draw against Rockdale and will be hoping to have an impact in this clash.
The last time the two met Marconi managed a 4-2 victory, will the Stallions be able to recreate their success at The Palace?
Rockdale Ilinden FC v Sydney United 58 FC
3:00pm, Sunday 26th June, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre
In what is set to be a hard-fought battle, Rockdale will host Sydney United 58 at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre to kick off the Sunday action.
In seventh and eighth position on the ladder, the two will be looking for a win to keep them in the finals race after some inconsistent results over the 16 rounds played so far.
Coming off a draw with Mt Druitt, Rockdale will be hoping for a win and some momentum to lead them into the final five matches of the season, while United 58’s loss to Blacktown City will have left them hungry to take down another NPL heavyweight.
With a plethora of NPL talent and experience across the two teams, there will be plenty of players to watch and hopefully plenty of entertainment for football fans streaming on NPL.TV.
The likes of Alec Urosevski, Yianni Perkatis and Patrick Antelmi will all have plenty of goal-scoring potential while experienced defenders like Mitchell Stamatellis, Daniel Petkovski, Adrian Vlastelica and Yianni Fragogiannis will be looking to keep the dynamic attackers without opportunities.
*Reminder this match will be played without spectators and a full closure of the stadium.
Blacktown City FC v Northbridge Bulls FC
3:00pm, Sunday 26th June, Blacktown City Sports Centre
As Blacktown City look to work their way into the top five, a win over the young Northbridge Bulls will be crucial.
Their 1-0 victory over Sydney United 58 will give Blacktown a platform to build on heading into this match up, but it’s tough to predict whether Northbridge will bring enough to cause an upset.
Alex Robertson and Mario Shabow were both selected to the league’s Team of the Week for their performances last weekend, while a 3-0 loss to Manly saw Northbridge without any representation.
Northbridge are fighting to get themselves off the bottom of the ladder and are searching for their third win of the season.
The last time the two met, Blacktown managed a 3-1 victory, but Mark Crittenden will surely be asking for a clean sheet and three points from this match – will the hosts be able to deliver?
Sydney Olympic FC v Sutherland Sharks FC
4:00pm, Sunday 26th June, Belmore Sportsground
Sydney Olympic will return to Belmore for their third consecutive match as they host Sutherland on Sunday afternoon.
In their hard-fought battle with Marconi on the weekend, they fell to a late goal and will be looking to ensure that doesn’t happen again this week.
Roy O’Donovan coolly converted two from the spot in Round 16, while Adam Parkhouse’s efforts earned him Team of the Week recognition.
As Sutherland fights to stay away from the wooden spoon, they’ll likely be leaning on Jason Madonis as he returns to his former stomping ground for this clash.
While Madonis has spent a lot of his time on the familiar turf of Belmore, several other Sharks players like Anthony Bouzanis and Mark Rodic have also spent time at Belmore, setting this up to be an intense battle.
After a short stint at the top of the league will Olympic be able to keep themselves in Premiership contention with a win over the Sharks?