It's Round 17 in the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s competition and with only six matches left for each team the time is now for club’s to stake their claim on a finals berth.
There are some potentially season-defining fixtures scheduled for this weekend, headlined by the Match Of The Round which sees an in-form Sydney Olympic host a surging Manly United outfit on Sunday afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground at 5pm. Meanwhile, our cameras head down to Melita Stadium on Sunday afternoon to LIVE STREAM the clash between Parramatta FC and ladder-leaders Blacktown City from 2:55pm, so make sure to check it out!
Blacktown City hold top spot for another week but APIA Leichhardt Tigers won’t be giving up on their pursuit to regain the competition lead anytime soon.
Sydney United 58 currently holds onto the last finals qualification spot on the ladder but their recent struggles has Manly United and Wollongong Wolves in with a big chance of knocking them out of the playoff race.
Manly United’s finals push will be a focus of this week’s Match of the Round as the Northern Beaches based side travel to Belmore Sports Ground to take on third placed Sydney Olympic FC.
Match of the Round
Sydney Olympic FC v Manly United FC, 5pm Sunday at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic are back at Belmore Sports ground for the second straight week as the host Manly United FC on Sunday.
Olympic were unlucky to come away with only a scoreless draw against Rockdale City Suns last round and will need to improve their finishing in front of goal if they are to beat Manly.
Currently in third position on the ladder, Olympic have remained in the Premiership race for most of the season but will need to win out the rest of the season and hope Blacktown City and APIA slip up if they are to pull off the unexpected.
One player in particular that has impressed since signing on from the Blacktown Spartans has been Mohammad Rahimi. The midfielder will be put to the test against a fierce Manly United side but thus far he has handled himself well in NSW’s top tier.
For Manly this game is another must win as they sit just outside the top five.
However, their victory last week against Parramatta FC was less than convincing and they will face a far tougher challenge this week.
Dejan Pandurevic and Brendan Cholakian have been the go to players once again for Manly so expect a big game from both if the Norther Beaches side takes home all three points.
The Round 6 clash between these two sides was a hard fought 1-0 win at Cromer Park for Olympic so expect much more of the same when they go head to head once again this weekend.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Hakoah Sydney City East FC, 7pm Saturday at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles will hope to build on their strong performance last round when they host Hakoah Sydney City East FC on Saturday.
Brian Brown’s side took a point away from their torrid encounter with fierce rivals Sydney United 58 FC after the match finished 0-0.
While their clash this round against Hakoah may lack the same derby passion, don’t expect the White Eagles to take the game lightly.
Bonnyrigg has been working towards a strong close to the season and last week’s result was proof they have come along way from their horror opening to the campaign.
Since returning to the game, fan favourite Nikola Zonjic has really boosted the White Eagles’ defensive stocks and will be putting in 100% come game time on Saturday once more.
Hakoah claimed an incredible come from behind victory against Sutherland Sharks last week scoring four second half goals, including three in six minutes.
They will be high on confidence for this clash and will want to make it two wins on the trot.
Hakoah are a hard team to break down and will be favourites for this clash, however don’t write off Bonnyrigg who are always tough to beat at home.
Sydney FC v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 6pm Saturday at Lambert Park
Saturday night will see the second Lambert Park derby as Sydney FC host APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
APIA took out the round six clash between the two sides in emphatic style scoring three goals against the young Sky Blues.
Sitting in second spot, three points behind league leaders Blacktown City FC, APIA will be looking for no less than a win as they battle to reclaim their position at the top of the ladder.
It has been a tough but respectable season from Sydney FC and they will be wanting to make some noise throughout the final weeks.
While Robbie Stanton’s side has won only four matches, they have rarely looked out of place at this level.
An expansive gameplay with athletically gifted players has Sydney FC in with a shot of winning every game they play.
APIA will be favourites for this match but as Danial Cummins side experienced against Bonnyrigg a few weeks ago, nothing is assured in football.
Rockdale City Suns FC v Sutherland Sharks FC, 3pm Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale will be out to continue its return to form when they host Sutherland Sharks on Sunday.
Paul Reid’s side shot out of the blocks to start the season before a run of poor results brought them back to the pack through the middle of the season.
With only six weeks left to play, the Suns are finding their groove again and will need to secure victory at home against the Sharks.
It will be a battle of the two most prolific scorers in the competition with Jordan Figon of Rockdale and Tomohiro Kajiyama of Sutherland leading the race for the Golden Boot with 11 goals.
Both have been in strong form recently and will be relied on to get their team over the line.
Sutherland suffered a heartbreaking loss to Hakoah Sydney City East last week after conceding three goals in six minutes.
An improved defensive effort will be required to defeat Rockdale.
The Suns have the upper hand going into this clash but have not been able to rediscover the form which had them looking like premiership winners in the early rounds. If the Sharks bring their A-game they are in with a really good shot of pulling off an upset.
Parramatta FC v Blacktown City FC, 3pm Sunday at Melita Stadium – MATCH TO BE LIVESTREAMED ON NPL FACEBOOK LIVE
Parramatta FC will be hoping to pull off the upset of the season when they host Blacktown City FC at Melita Stadium on Sunday.
Parramatta’s campaign has gone from bad to worse in 2017 but a win against an all-conquering Blacktown team would give Marshall Soper’s team something to look back on fondly at seasons end.
Blacktown has lost only one game all season and are only getting better at the tail end of the season.
Joey Gibbs, Mitch Mallia and James Andrew have been three of the league’s best attacking players and will be out to continue their run of form.
Blacktown will be favourites but anything can happen in football.
Wollongong Wolves v Sydney United 58 FC, 3pm Sunday at WIN Stadium
Wollongong Wolves have all three points in their targets when they host Sydney United 58 on Sunday.
WIN Stadium has been a fortress for the Wolves this season and United 58 will be in for a big challenge if they are to win.
Wollongong were unable to match it with APIA last round and the loss has only made the challenge of making the top five that little bit harder.
Currently five points out of finals contention, a win against fifth place United 58 would be the perfect recipe for the Wolves.
Sydney United 58 go into Sunday’s match suffering through a rough run of form and have lacked the spark which saw them go on an incredible seven game win streak.
Both sides are evenly matched and it will come down to Wolves key contributors Nick Montgomery, Yuzo Tashiro and Patrick Antelmi to lead the South Coast side to victory.