NPL Tasmania Round 16 Preview

South Hobart vs Olympia Warriors
 Saturday July 31
Venue: Darcy Street
Kick-off: 2:00 pm

2021 Record
South Hobart: 8-4-2 (third in NPL TAS)
Olympia Warriors: 3-2-9 (seventh in NPL TAS) 

Top Scorers
South Hobart: Nicholas Morton (12)
Olympia Warriors: Kyle Vincent (9)


South Hobart fans will fear that anything less than three points against the Olympia Warriors may force them to kiss their title chances goodbye.

While the loss to Glenorchy Knights last week was only the second of the season for Ken Morton’s men, they still find themselves nine points adrift with seven games remaining. However, they will be buoyed by the fact that the ladder-leading Devonport Strikers are not in action in round 16, meaning they have a chance to cut that lead down to six. This meeting with the Olympia Warriors comes at a good time; after losing 4-1 in the reverse fixture back in round seven, the Warriors have gone on to earn just four points, and find themselves on the end of a five-game losing streak. South’s Jayden Hey returned from a long-term injury last week, while Josh Divin’s Covid-19 isolation period came to an end which allowed him to come off the bench. They are both significant inclusions for South Hobart, who will fancy their chances of a return to winning ways.

The Warriors are a side that rely heavily on confidence. They have conceded goals in the opening 10 minutes on six occasions this season, after which they went on to concede a total of 21 goals. When things are going their way, they play attractive football and are capable of scoring some goals, however they have suffered their share of convincing losses as well. One thing is for sure, they will need to be switched on from the start against a South Hobart side boasting the likes of Kasper Hallam and Nick Morton. No doubt the Warriors’ game plan will involve keeping those two quiet, and if they can South Hobart may struggle to find the net, with Sam Tooze the next leading scorer with three goals in ten appearances.

Key Player: Ben Tilley, Olympia Warriors

The Warriors are facing one of the most disciplined sides in the state, and leadership is going to be crucial in giving them a chance to win. The Warriors’ captain may not be the most vocal, but Tilley leads by example. He will need to be at his inspiring best against the goal-threat of Hallam and Morton.

Launceston City vs Glenorchy Knights
Date: Saturday July 31
Venue: Buckby Motors Park
Kick-off: 4:30pm 

2021 Record
Launceston City: 5-1-8 (fifth in NPL TAS)
Glenorchy Knights: 10-3-1 (second in NPL TAS)

Top Scorers
Launceston City: Yasin Mohammadi (5)
Glenorchy Knights: Nicholas Mearns (11)


The scenario is simple enough: If the Glenorchy Knights can manage a win against the improving Launceston City, then the gap at the top of the NPL Tasmania will be closed to one point ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with the Devonport Strikers next week.

So far this season, the NPL Tasmania has been exposed to two versions of Launceston City: The version playing away from home which has claimed three of a possible 21 points, and then the version deployed at Bucky Motors Park which has not lost since round two, winning four of the last five. The Knights will surely be wishing that this fixture was played at KGV with City proving to be a formidable force at home in recent weeks. More promising still, City have still managed to find the net six times in the last three games without relying on leading scorer Yasin Mohammadi. If Mohammadi can break his three-game drought and his supporting cast continues to find the net, it could be a shootout between two in-form teams.

However, City’s strike force will have their work cut out against what was already a robust Glenorchy Knights defence which has only been improved by Eli Luttmer’s transition to the middle of three centre-backs. He was rewarded with the Knights’ best on ground award in last week’s 2-0 win over South Hobart, and will prove to be an integral part of their NPL Tasmania title pursuit. Nick Mearns and Nick Naden have both scored in two games running, coinciding with a growing connection between they and Austin Yost. The ladder-leading Devonport Strikers have the week off after they played their round 16 fixture at UTAS Stadium in April, so the Knights will lick their lips knowing they have the opportunity to down Launceston City and set up a blockbuster clash next week.

Key Player: Jack Bowman, Glenorchy Knights

Both Connor Schmidt and Jack Bowman will play a key role this weekend, however eyes will be on Bowman whose attacking potential has been unleashed since his shift to wing-back. He has always been known as a hard-hitting defender, but moments of flashy footwork and an increased attacking threat last weekend will make him more appealing as a forward outlet. Plus, he will play an important role defensively against some tricky Launceston City wingers.

Riverside Olympic vs Clarence Zebras
Date: Saturday July 31
Venue: Windsor Park
Kick-off: 4:30pm

2021 Record
Riverside Olympic: 0-2-12 (eighth in NPL TAS)
Clarence Zebras: 4-2-8 (sixth in NPL TAS) 

Top Scorers
Riverside Olympic: Fletcher Fulton (5)
Clarence Zebras: Riley Dillon (11)


After a draw last week, a win for the Clarence Zebras would see them resume their pursuit for a place in the top four, while Riverside Olympic still search for their first victory of the season.

Although Riverside’s 3-2 loss to northern rivals Launceston City was their fifth straight game without claiming a point, it was a major improvement from recent results. Most significantly, it was the first time in six weeks that they had conceded less than four goals, and they went ahead in a match for the first time since the infamous round 10 meeting with Kingborough Lions. Much like in that 4-4 draw, it was a lack of discipline that cost them a result. Three red cards allowed the Lions back into the game in round 10, and an 89th minute penalty cost them a point against City this past week. The players are determined to turn their luck around; however, they need to channel that energy into something more positive against a confident Zebras team.

Sam Hills has scored two goals for Clarence this season, both in the last two weeks and both from corners. Combined with Ryan Cook, Josh Mathie and Riley Dillon’s ability in dead-ball situations, Riverside will need to be careful not to hand the Zebras too many free kicks this week. They paid the price in an 8-0 loss against Devonport Strikers last Tuesday night as they were overrun at set-pieces by the big-bodied Strikers and the Zebras are nippy enough to set up similar situations. While the Zebras gave up a 2-0 lead last week, if they can start fast and go ahead early yet again, then they would fancy themselves to put a few past the league’s leakiest backline.

Key Player: Riley Dillon, Clarence Zebras

Dillon has scored goals against the toughest defences, so a trip to the league’s bottom-ranked will have him hoping to add to his tally. While Brodie Denehey has established himself as the favourite for the golden boot, Dillon’s aerial ability and his knack for creating goals from nothing makes this fixture the perfect opportunity for him to move into second.