NPL NSW Round 4 Preview

he National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition is heading into Round 4 and with the action heating up.

With some strong performances giving a taste of what teams are capable of, it will be interesting to see if the leaders can maintain momentum moving forward or if other teams can pick themselves up after less than ideal starts.

With action across Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there is plenty of football to get you through the weekend.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC v Sutherland Sharks FC

7:00pm, Friday 25th March, Popondetta Park

Mt Druitt Town Rangers will host Sutherland Sharks on Friday night at Popondetta Park to kick off the Round 4 action.

For Mt Druitt, a win is crucial to recovering hope of a successful 2022 campaign after two losses and one draw to open their season.

Having recruited well through the likes of players such as Portuguese star Diogo Barbosa and Louis Khoury, the Rangers would have expected to get a win from their opening rounds, especially considering they’ve managed to score seven goals in three games – the equal most goals in the league alongside APIA Leichhardt. The signs are there that the Rangers will ruffle teams, if they get their defence right, anything is possible from Stewart Montgomery’s men.

Sutherland Sharks will be hoping the momentum from their first win of the season in Round 3 will buoy them through their first away game at Popondetta.

After suffering two 3-2 losses in the opening two rounds of the season, the Sharks managed to secure a 2-0 victory over Manly United last weekend, giving themselves some fresh momentum heading into Round 4.

Nick Dimovski made a big recruitment drive in the off-season, bringing in players such as Jason Madonis, Harry Callahan and Nick Sullivan, who have had a good start at their new club with impressive performances in front of their home fans.

The Friday night matchup will prove crucial to setting the tone for both sides as they look to make an impact in the league so who will come out on top?

APIA Leichhardt FC v Blacktown City
3:00pm, Saturday 26th March, Lambert Park

APIA Leichhardt will match up against a strong Blacktown City outfit on Saturday afternoon as they look to cause the first upset of their season.

Having had last weekend off due to COVID-19 cases, Blacktown will have some question marks over the strength of their squad in the lead up to this match, however with a team jam-packed full of talent they will surely put an impressive eleven on the park.

The saying is always there, never doubt Mark Crittenden and his troops.

Under the leadership of returning coach Danial Cummins, APIA have had an impressive start to their campaign with Jason Romero making magic in the midfield, young-guns Nathanael Blair and Walter Scott showing their potential, and a wealth of experienced players showing what the squad is capable of.

While they have a strong squad and have shown potential, APIA are coming off a loss to Rockdale in Round 3 after a short turnaround from their midweek clash with Mt Druitt last week and will surely be looking to bounce back in Round 4.

Blacktown City have maintained the impressive line-up that they’re known for under Crittenden, adding some extra talent through returning attack Mitchell Mallia, new import Hiroaki Aoyama and youngsters Jordan Smyley and Alex Robinson, who has impressed in the goals as a replacement for talented ‘keeper Tristan Prendergast who underwent surgery ahead of the season.

After a week off, Blacktown will be ready to bring some fire to Lambert Park as they look to be the only team with a perfect start to the season.

 Wollongong Wolves FC v Sydney Olympic FC
5:00pm, Saturday 26th March, Albert Butler Memorial Park

Sydney Olympic will make the trip down to Wollongong on Saturday evening to take on the Wolves in Round 4.

Both sides are tied on four points with a win, draw and loss from the opening rounds and will be looking to break ahead with a win.

Luke Wilkshire’s side have managed six goals so far this season and let in three, while Olympic have only managed to net three goals and have let in two.

Kuot Maliet, Nick Littler, Guy Knight and Leroy Jennings have been strong for Wollongong, alongside ‘keeper Hayden Durose, and will be hoping to impress in front of the loyal Wolves home fans.

Olympic striker Roy O’Donovan will be hoping to be in top form for the clash, alongside Mathieu Cordier and Nikola Udjur who have had strong performances so far this season.

It’s set to be a tight clash between the two and should provide plenty of action for football fans.

Marconi Stallions FC v Rockdale Ilinden FC
7:00pm, Saturday 26th March, Marconi Stadium

Marconi Stallions will match up against Rockdale Ilinden in their first home game of the season on Sunday night.

After a cancelled Round 3 clash, the Stallions will be eager to get back on the pitch and impress in front of home fans and will be hopeful they can secure their second win of the season.

Charles Lokolingoy has bolstered Marconi’s forward line, while captain Marko Jesic and Connor Evans have been impressive in creating chances for the side and youngsters Dom Costanzo and Jarrod McKinley have shown promise.

Rockdale will be hoping that they can secure their second win of the season and will be bringing some momentum to the match after their Round 3 victory.

Ilinden will be looking to the experience of players like Alec Urosevski and Mitch Stamatellis and the dynamic, new talent of recruits Will Mutch, Peter Kekeris and Chris McStay in the match.

Stamatellis in particular scored a screamer in this same fixture last year in a match that was action packed and tense.

It will be a big game between the two sides as they look to build momentum after the opening rounds of the season.

Northbridge Bulls FC v Sydney United 58 FC
3:00pm, Sunday 27th March, Sydney United Sports Centre

The bottom of the table will face up against the top in this clash between Northbridge Bulls and Sydney United 58 on Sunday afternoon.

United 58 will be able to take a home crowd advantage in the clash as they look to continue their strong start to the season, while Northbridge look to earn their first points in 2022.

Having conceded nine goals in the opening three rounds, the Bulls will need to tighten up their defence against the impressive forward line of United 58.

As they settle into the season, now would be a great time for the youngsters to find their form and show they belong in the men’s competition, meanwhile United 58 will be looking for another win to secure their place as Premiership contenders in 2022.

In a star-studded team it’s hard to pick standout players, but the return of Patrick Antelmi as a starter proved valuable in Round 3 and will be crucial to scoring plenty of goals for United 58.

Midfield maestro Glen Trifiro continues to pull the strings alongside Devante Clut while skipper Adrian Vlastelica and Yianni Fragogiannis continue to do their bit in defence, leading from the back.

Northbridge Bulls captain Rory Jordan will be one to watch for the youngsters as he looks to bring out the best of the talented players around him with the likes of Anthony Sparacino and James Cakovski others to look out for.

Sydney FC v Manly United FC
6:30pm, Sunday 27th March, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre

Young Guns Sydney FC have had a stellar start to the season, sitting atop the NPL NSW Men’s table heading into Round 4 and will be hoping to continue their form as they host Manly United on Sunday evening.

Jim Van Weeren’s squad has exceeded expectations from NPL fans, but the young squad certainly have the talent and technical prowess to succeed in the league.

Undefeated so far, Jaiden Kuchaski and Zac Sapsford have been key for the Sky Blues, while ‘keeper Adam Pavlesic has also been impressive.

For Manly United, they have had a mixed start to the season with one win and two losses, but have shown they are capable of picking up momentum and getting the results they want in the coming rounds.

Matt Sim has provided some crucial experience to the Northern Beaches side, while Bruno Mendes, Jesse Piriz and Jimmy Oates have been impressive across the park.

Will Sydney FC be able to continue their undefeated run or will Manly United cause an upset and reignite their form?