NPL preview: Wollongong on cusp of premiership glory, crucial matches around the country

Luke Wilkshire’s Wollongong Wolves can get their hands on the premiership on Sunday if they beat Blacktown City.

The Wolves hold an eight-point lead at the top of the ladder meaning victory at Lily Homes Stadium – or if APIA Leichhardt fails to beat Sydney FC on Saturday night – means the premiership trophy will head to Wollongong.

While it will be a tough task for Wollongong away from home, with attackers Lachlan Scott and Thomas James in sensational form they will be confident of getting their hands on the silverware.

The race for the finals is also heating up, with a number of important fixtures this weekend.

Champions Sydney Olympic host Marconi Stallions on Sunday, Manly United are at home against Rockdale City Suns and Sutherland Sharks do battle with Mount Druitt Town Rangers.

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NPL NSW table

Victoria

Heidelberg United will have to overcome a resurgent Dandenong City if they are to keep the pressure on league-leaders Avondale FC.

The ‘Bergers travel to Frank Holohan Soccer Complex on Friday night and will need to find a way to stop the Brendon Santalab-inspired Dandenong from causing another shock.

Avondale, who have a five-point lead over Heidelberg – although they have played a game more – do battle with Oakleigh Cannons on Saturday night.

Elsewhere, Bentleigh Greens are at home against Kingston City, Green Gully take on Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne welcome Dandenong Thunder to Lakeside on Sunday.

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NPL Victoria fixtures

South Australia

Campbelltown City will be out to bounce back from last weekend’s shock loss when they take on Adelaide Olympic at Valo Football Centre on Saturday.

City’s loss has seen their lead at the top cut to six points ahead of their clash with third-place Olympic – who will be buoyed by their epic 4-3 win in the FFA Cup 2019 Round of 32 on Wednesday night.

Second-place Adelaide Blue Eagles will be hoping Campbelltown slip up again to give them a chance to close the gap further as they take on Croydon Kings.

In other games, MetroStars host Raiders and Adelaide Comets take on Adelaide United.

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Can Adelaide Olympic build on their FFA Cup win?
Can Adelaide Olympic build on their FFA Cup win?

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra Olympic has the chance to increase the pressure and close the gap to leaders Tigers FC to two points in the nation’s capital.

Olympic head to McKellar Park on Saturday to take on Belconnen United, while the Tigers have the bye this weekend.

Elsewhere, Canberra FC have to win to boost their hopes of a top-four finish when they host Riverina Rhinos, while Tuggeranong’s faint finals hopes rest on getting a win over Monaro Panthers.

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Tasmania

There’s only one place to be in the Apple Isle this weekend and that’s at Valley Road for the season-defining clash between Devonport and Olympia.

Both sides are locked on 44 points at the top of the ladder, with Devonport ahead courtesy of their superior goal difference, as well as having a game in hand.

It means only a win will do for the Warriors – who are also currently appealing the potential loss of three points for playing an ineligible player in their recent clash with South Hobart.

Elsewhere, South Hobart take on Kingborough and Hobart Zebras travel to Clarence.

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Action from Devonport's clash with Hobart Zebras last weekend
Action from Devonport's clash with Hobart Zebras last weekend

Northern NSW

The Premiership race could become a little clearer after this weekend when Weston Workers take on Broadmeadow Magic at Rockwell Automation Park.

Weston are currently second – three points behind leaders Edgeworth Eagles - with Magic one point and one spot further back.

But both of the chasing sides have games in hand on the Eagles – who have the bye this weekend - at the summit.

Elsewhere, Maitland are at home against Lake Macquarie City and Lambton Jaffas take on Newcastle Jets Youth.

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It's a massive weekend in Northern NSW

Queensland

The match of the round in Queensland this week sees Olympic FC do battle with Lions FC on Sunday evening.

Olympic are in red-hot form and thrashed WA’s Bayswater City 5-2 in the FFA Cup 2019 Round of 32 on Wednesday night but will face a far sterner test against an equally potent Lions side.

Both clubs are closing in on league-leaders Peninsula Power, who are away against SWQ Thunder on Saturday.

In other games, Magpies Crusaders take on Moreton Bay United and Gold Coast Knights are at home against Eastern Suburbs.

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Olympic FC have a huge opportunity this weekend to close in on top spot

Western Australia

It’s first against third at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday with league-leaders Perth SC hosting Inglewood United.

The Azzurri, who pushed Hyundai A-League premiers Perth Glory hard in a 2-0 friendly loss on Tuesday night, will start favourites to win although the two clubs played out a 1-1 draw earlier this season.

In other matches, Floreat Athena will need to pick themselves up from their FFA Cup loss on Wednesday night when they travel to Armadale.

Bayswater City, who were bundled out of the FFA Cup by Queensland’s Olympic FC, are away at Sorrento and Balcatta FC head to Cockburn City.

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Floreat v Bayswater