NPL NSW Round 15 Preview

Top spot will go on the line during Round 15 of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition.

A battle between first-placed Sydney United 58 and second-placed Blacktown City on Sunday headlines this weekend’s action and could have massive implications in the fight for the Premiership.

Rockdale could have a chance to close the gap to the top two sides when they kick-off the Round 15 fixtures on Friday night when they head to Cromer Park to play Manly United.

One match is scheduled for Saturday with Sutherland Sharks up against APIA Leichhardt.

Wollongong Wolves will go head to head against Sydney Olympic in Sunday’s early kick-off, before Blacktown City’s clash against Sydney United at 3 pm at Lily Homes Stadium.

Marconi Stallions have shifted its match to Sunday as they host Northbridge Bulls at the ‘Palace’.

The round wraps up at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday night with a match between Sydney FC and Mt Druitt Town Rangers.

Remember, you can catch all the action live on NPL.TV.

Manly United v Rockdale Ilinden, 7pm Friday at Cromer Park

Manly United will be looking to add to Rockdale Ilinden’s winless run when the two side’s face off at Cromer Park on Friday.

Manly United snuck back into the top five with a 2-2 draw against Blacktown City last week.

However, the Adam Griffiths coached side have won only one game in their past five and will be determined to improve their recent record.

Ben Gibson was a standout player against Blacktown scoring Manly’s first goal.

Jesse Piriz and Kieran Paull also stood out and will be out for another big performance.

Rockdale comes into the contest on the back of a shock loss to Marconi Stallions and will need a win this week to get their season back on track.

Ilinden has to solve their struggles in defence which were put on display in the defeat to Marconi.

Veteran defender Mitchell Stamatellis and his defensive partner Banri Kanauzumi will need to rediscover the form, which made them one of the league’s best back-line pairings last season.

In the centre of midfield, Tomoki Wada and Daniel Araujo will need to take control of the contest early to make the most of Rockdale’s explosive attacking players.

This is a big game for both sides, with a lot on the line. Rockdale will be favourites, but Manly should never be written off at Cromer Park.

Sutherland Sharks v APIA Leichhardt, 3.30pm Saturday at Seymour Shaw Park

Sutherland Sharks will be out to cause an upset when APIA Leichhardt comes to Seymour Shaw Park this Saturday.

The Sharks shocked the competition when they held competition leaders Sydney United 58 to a scoreless draw last round.

Sutherland has not tasted victory in six weeks since they edged Manly United 1-0 in round nine and will be fired up to end their wretched run of results.

Wing-backs Gabriel Contigiani and Chris Lindsay play a big part in how the Sharks like to play and will be ones to keep an eye on this weekend.

APIA also comes into this game on the back of a draw after being held 1-1 by Sydney Olympic last Sunday.

The Paul Dee coached side is sitting just outside the top five and is in need of the three competition points to stay in contention for a place in the finals.

Central defender Themba Muata-Marlow was a standout performer last week. His ability to lockdown opposition strikers will be crucial if APIA collects victory on the road.

Usual suspects Sean Symons and Franco Parisi will also be determined to put in a big performance to help APIA break into the top five while the electrifying Peter Kekeris is one to watch out for as well as Matthieu Cordier.

There were plenty of goals the last time these two sides met, and it should be more of the same this Saturday at Seymour Shaw.

Wollongong Wolves v Sydney Olympic, 2.30pm Sunday at Albert Butler Memorial Park

Wollongong Wolves will be determined to break back into the top five with a win against Sydney Olympic at Albert Butler Memorial Park on Sunday.

The Wolves suffered a bit of a reality check last week with a 3-0 loss to Mt Druitt Town Rangers.

It was their first defeat in five weeks, and coach Luke Wilkshire will be pushing his players to get back to winning ways in Round 15.

The pressure will be on strikers Lachlan Scott and Leroy Jennings to find the back of the net after Wollongong was held scoreless last week.

Scott is Wollongong’s leading scoring with five goals, while Leroy Jennings will be out to build on his tally of four.

Marcus Beattie is also essential to the Wolves chances, with the young attacker able to create opportunities and find the back of the net.

Looking to stop them will be a Sydney Olympic side also battling to keep their finals hopes alive.

Olympic was held 1-1 by rivals APIA Leichhardt in round 14, stretching their winless run to four matches.

The Ante Juric coached side have had moments of brilliance this season but have lacked a winning edge.

Olympic will be leaning on their veteran players such as Jason Madonis and Tom Whiteside to lead from the front in this crucial clash.

Oliver Pufflett has been a fixture at the top of the attack for Olympic this year, and don’t be surprised if he adds to his goals tally this week.

This is a must-win match for both sides if they are to keep in touch with the top five.

Wollongong will be tough to beat at home, but don’t write off a talented Sydney Olympic team capable of testing any opposition side.

Blacktown City v Sydney United 58, 3pm Sunday at Lily Homes Stadium

Top spot goes on the line at Lily Homes Stadium this Sunday as Blacktown City host competition leaders Sydney FC.

The hosts will hope that its ‘Back to Blacktown Day’ honouring past and present players will hype Mark Crittenden’s squad in what is the ‘Match of the Round’.

It is a match that could significantly affect the Premiership race as second-placed Blacktown looks to take points from their major rival.

City comes into the match after snatching a 2-2 draw against Manly United last week.

The return of veteran attacker Sean Rooney was a major plus for Blacktown, as was the addition of Mario Shabow after his time on the sideline.

They may still be without superstar striker Travis Major who missed last week’s game.

United 58 come into this contest after being held in a scoreless draw with Sutherland Sharks.

It was a shocking result with Sydney United’s prolific attack unable to break down the Sharks.

The lack of goals will only make Patrick Antelmi hungrier to get on the scoresheet, and a return to his former club is just further motivation for the Golden-boot leader.

Shot stopper Danijel Nizic was in incredible form last round, saving a penalty to prevent a shock loss for his side.

The young gloveman will have his work cut out for himself this round against Blacktown’s talented attack.

Sydney United 58 thumped Blacktown 4-1 in their previous meeting this season, but expect a much closer affair this time.

This is set to be an absolute blockbuster and one you won’t want to miss.

Marconi Stallions v Northbridge Bulls, 5pm Sunday at Marconi Stadium

Marconi Stallions will be fighting for back-to-back wins this Sunday when they host Northbridge Bulls at Marconi Stadium.

The Stallions stunned Rockdale last round to end a ten-week winless streak, and now the Peter Tsekenis coached side will be fired up to carry on their excellent form.

Striker Chris Hatfield had a breakthrough game scoring a brace to secure Marconi the win.

He will be hoping it is the start of a successful run of form and will be determined to add to his tally this week.

Alongside Hatfield will be Marconi captain and lead goalscorer Marko Jesic who will be sure to lead from the front yet again.

They come up against a free-scoring Northbridge Bulls side who snatched an incredible 2-2 draw with Sydney FC deep in added time.

The Bulls penance for late goals is something Marconi will have to watch out for.

Stefan De Robilliard has gone from strength to strength for the Bulls this season and will be a player to watch

The last time these two sides met, it was a thrilling 3-3 draw so expect plenty of goals in what is set to be an exciting clash.

Sydney FC v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 6.30pm Sunday at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.

Sydney FC will be determined to end their winless run when they host Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.

The Young Sky Blues were seconds away from claiming their first win since round three last week until they conceded a dramatic equaliser to Northbridge Bulls in the game’s final play.

The 2-2 draw was an unfortunate result for the Jim van Weeran coached side, who have suffered some wretched results this season.

However, there were some bright signs against Northbridge, and Sydney will be trying their best to build on their last result.

Corey Hollman had a stand out performance against the Bulls, scoring a stunning solo goal.

Callum Talbot was another player who excelled in week 14 and will be out to back it up again this round.

Sydney will be up against a Mt Druitt outfit that comes into this game in fourth position after a big win in round 14.

The Rangers were too strong for Wollongong Wolves in a 3-0 win thanks to a Jack Stewart brace and a goal from Fumoto Kamada.

Stewart has been a shining light in attack this season, and he will be tough to stop again this round.

The clean sheet against Wollongong is sure to have put a smile on coach Stewart Montgomery’s face, and he will be pushing his defenders to repeat that feat against Sydney.

The Rangers will be favourites for this match despite being on the road, but don’t write off a Sydney FC upset.