NPL Victoria leaders Avondale FC are looking for a response to last weekend’s shock defeat to Green Gully when they face Melbourne Knights on Friday night.
The Avengers, who hold a five-point advantage over second-place Bentleigh Greens in Victoria, were felled by a stoppage-time effort from Alex Salmon last Saturday – just the club’s second defeat of the season.
Elsewhere, Dandenong City’s recent resurgence will be put to the test against rivals Dandenong Thunder on Saturday night. City have leapfrogged Thunder on the ladder over a run of six matches unbeaten following the arrival of ex-Hyundai A-League players Brendon Santalab, Carl Valeri and Adrian Leijer.
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WA frontrunners Perth SC are also shooting for a bounce-back performance after their last-gasp defeat to Rockingham City last Saturday.
Lydon Hodgkiss scored in stoppage time to consign the Azzuri to their first league defeat since a loss to Perth Glory in May 2018 – who they entertain at Dorrien Gardens this Saturday.
Meanwhile, second-place Balcatta host Inglewood United and third-place Floreat Athena travel to Cockburn City, with those two clubs looking to reduce their respective nine and ten-point deficits to the leaders.
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New South Wales
It’s first versus last in NSW this weekend, as Wollongong Wolves welcome Hakoah Sydney City East to the South Coast.
Luke Wilkshire’s side have been the competition benchmark in 2019, with just two defeats to their name, and they’ll be out to retain their five-point buffer over second-place APIA Leichhardt Tigers against a Hakoah side desperate for club championship points to avoid relegation.
The other standout fixture in Sydney takes place in Seven Hills on Sunday, where Blacktown City (third) take on APIA, with both sides needing a win to continue their pursuit of the high-flying Wolves.
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Australian Capital Territory
League leaders Tigers FC must contend with a tricky trip to Belconnen United if they are to ram home their advantage at the ACT Summit.
The Tigers – who stumbled in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with third-place Monaro Panthers – will need to pick the pace back up against fifth-place Belconnen on Saturday.
Second-place Canberra Olympic enjoy a bye following their huge 7-2 win over Gungahlin United last weekend – one of the season’s standout results – while Gungahlin must lift themselves off the floor in Sunday's visit to Tuggeranong United.
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Campbelltown City might sense an opportunity to pull away at the top in SA in their fixture with Adelaide City on Saturday.
The leaders are unbeaten in 12 following a 4-2 win over South Adelaide last time out, while main premiership rivals Adelaide Blue Eagles suffered an upset loss to Para Hills Knights.
The Blue Eagles – one of only two teams to inflict defeat on Campbelltown this season – have lost three of their last five matches, and must avoid another slip up at home to Adelaide Olympic on Saturday or they may finish the weekend trailing the leaders by more than their current six points.
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It looked as though Peninsula Power were odds on in the NPL Queensland premiership race, but the pace-setters are beginning to stumble.
Defeats to Eastern Suburbs and Gold Coast Knights has second-place Lions FC breathing down their necks, and the Power must not take Saturday’s match up with Magpies Crusaders lightly.
Lions – trailing the Power by just one point – could be in prime position to capitalise if they can beat Brisbane Roar on the same night. Elsewhere, Olympic FC take on Gold Coast United, while bottom club Sunshine Coast have a huge bottom of the table clash with Western Pride.
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Washed-out matches have wreaked havoc in the Northern NSW NPL in recent times, but Broadmeadow Magic remain ahead of a chasing pack which features Edgeworth Eagles, Weston Workers and Maitland FC.
The Magic have a big test of their credentials against fourth-place Maitland on Sunday, who sit four points behind the leaders with two matches in hand prior to kick off.
Meanwhile, Edgeworth travel to Hamilton Olympic and Weston Workers face Valentine FC – both on Saturday.
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Olympia Warriors have leaders Devonport in their sights, but they’ll need to evade the challenge of Kingborough Lions in Saturday’s NPL Tasmania affair.
The Warriors trail the Strikers – who have the bye this weekend – by five points.
Elsewhere, Glenorchy Knights host Hobart Zebras, while Riverside Olympic welcome South Hobart.
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