If you thought the opening round was huge then Round 2 of PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland offers plenty more exciting match-ups for dyed in the wool fans and neutrals alike.
SWQ Thunder FC v Brisbane City FC
Saturday, March 5 | 6:00PM
Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba
PS4 NPL Head to Head - Thunder (0), City (4), Draws (0)
Last meeting –City won 9-0 at Corporate Travel Management Stadium (August 22, 2015)
Thunder are hoping that winning becomes a habit when they host City in the opening match of the round in the Garden City.
Thunder broke through for their first ever win last week but handling the higher expectations of the home faithful will be unfamiliar territory for Chris McLeod’s squad.
City battled hard against Jets in their opener, but were second-best through much of the contest and will need to step-up against their much-improved opponents.
However, History clearly favours City with the boys from the capital boasting a perfect record against Thunder. Their last meeting nine goal win the highest for City ever in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues.
Brisbane Strikers FC v Redlands United FC
Saturday, March 5 | 6:00PM
Perry Park, Brisbane
PS4 NPL Head to Head – Strikers (3), Redlands (3), Draws (1)
Last meeting – Strikers won 2-1 at Perry Park (September 5, 2015)
Strikers are officially at home for the first time this season when they go in search of their first three points of 2016 against Redlands.
Last year’s Semi-Final combatants again harbour top four ambitions and will view the clash as a potential early ‘six-pointer’ in the Premiership race.
Both sides boast a bevy of attacking options but they also are well-drilled defensively suggesting a typically tight contest looms.
If Redlands are to prevail it will be their first away win over Strikers in the league’s history.
Moreton Bay United FC v Brisbane Roar FC Youth
Saturday, March 5 | 6:00PM
Wolter Park, Moreton Bay
PS4 NPL Head to Head – Jets (2), Young Roar (1), Draws (1)
Last meeting – Jets won 4-1 at Wolter Park (August 19, 2015)
Jets return to the scene of last year’s Grand Final triumph for the first time this season and are hoping to replicate last year’s undefeated home return starting with a win against Young Roar.
Despite off-season changes Jets remained as solid as ever in their opening round win over City but will be taking nothing for granted.
Young Roar received plenty of praise following their performance last week against Strikers and early signs are they pose a more hard-nosed edge to previous campaigns under coach Josh McCloughan.
Young Roar were also one of only three sides to defeat Jets in last year’s all-conquering campaign.
FNQ FC Heat v Sunshine Coast FC
Saturday, March 5 | 6:30PM
Barlow Park, Cairns
PS4 NPL Head-to-head – Heat (3), Fire (2), Draws (1)
Last meeting – Heat won 3-2 at Barlow Park (June 13, 2015)
The Fire are searching for their first win over the Heat in over two years when they travel to the state’s tropical north.
Fire rebounded from a tough lead-in to the season to draw Pride in the opening round, but will face a more formidable challenge against a Heat side that ran rampant against Olympic.
Recently appointed Fire coach Sam Saif, who took his first sessions with the team this week, will not travel with the side to Cairns, meaning Ashley Kingdon will again serve as interim coach.
For Heat the match is a chance to record six points from their opening two fixtures for the first time in the competition.
Western Pride FC v Gold Coast City FC
Saturday, March 5 | 7:00PM
Briggs Road Sporting Complex, Ipswich
PS4 NPL Head-to-head – Pride (3), City (2), Draws (1)
Last meeting – Drew 0-0 at Duncan McKenna Field (August 19, 2015)
Both Pride and City will be eager to claim their first three points of the campaign when the conclude the round’s Saturday night fixtures but will do it without first-choice defenders.
City’s Drew Jeskey and Pride’s Joel Haack are both suspended for this weekend after picking up red cards in the opening round – throwing a spanner into the works for both coaches.
In Pride’s favour is an impressive record against the Surfsiders over the past three years – including a win and a draw in 2015.
A win for the hosts would be welcomed by the Ipswich faithful, with Pride not winning a competitive game at Briggs Road since July last year.
Olympic FC v Northern Fury FC
Sunday, March 6 | 3:00PM
Goodwin Park, Brisbane
PS4 NPL Head-to-head – Olympic (3), Fury (2), Draws (1)
Last meeting – Fury won 3-1 at Townsville Sports Reserve (August 15, 2015)
Both Olympic and Fury will be looking to bounce back from disappointing opening round losses in the round’s sole Sunday clash in the capital.
Olympic showed plenty of resolve following the early sending off of Kosi Yannakopoulos last week to stay with the Heat before fading late.
However, Fury coach Ian Ferguson conceded his side needed to improve following a lacklustre showing against Thunder but will be bolstered by the return of Joe Thornton in midfield.
Olympic have never lost to Fury at Goodwin Park in the league and with significant quality across the park will be disappointed by anything less than three points.
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