A top of the table clash is just one of a series of intriguing fixtures on offer in Round 8 of PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland this weekend.
Sunshine Coast FC v Moreton Bay United FC
Saturday, April 23 | 2:00PM
Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
PS4 NPL Head-to-head – Fire 1, Jets 4, Draws 1
PS4 NPL Last Meeting – 1-1 draw at Sunshine Coast Stadium (21/6/15)
Fire are out to get their campaign back on track when they host the resurgent Jets in the opening match of the round.
The tenth-placed Fire have proved hot-and-cold this year but were not completely outclassed despite recent back-to-back defeats to top four sides Redlands United and Brisbane Strikers.
However, they face another tough assignment against a Jets side that reminded their rivals of their title claims with a 6-1 thumping of Olympic last weekend to arrest a three-match winless run.
Adding extra spice, the match also marks the return to Sunshine Coast Stadium of former Fire duo Reyze Kelly and Jacob Fulluck, who joined Jets in the off-season (‘Jets Duo Ready For Fire Test’)
Redlands United FC v FNQ FC Heat
Saturday, April 23 | 3:00PM
Cleveland Showgrounds, Redland City
PS4 NPL Head-to-Head – Redlands 6, Heat 0, Draws 0
PS4 NPL Last Meeting – Redlands won 2-0 at Cleveland Showgrounds (15/8/15)
Bayside-based football fans are in for a treat as FNQ Heat look to record their first ever win over Redlands in a top of the table match-up to commence a rare double-header at Cleveland Showgrounds.
Heat have proved unstoppable so far in 2016 – undefeated after seven rounds of the league and carrying that form into their midweek demolition of local Cairns club Edge Hill United in the Westfield FFA Cup. (More: 'Heat Storm Into Next Round')
However, they face their toughest test of the season against a Redlands side that has avoided fanfare but still won their past three matches to storm into second on the table.
Regardless of the result, Heat will remain top of the standings but a win for either side could well prove vital to building confidence should they meet again in the end-of-year Finals.
Brisbane Roar FC Youth v Northern Fury FC
Saturday, April 23 | 5:00PM
Cleveland Showgrounds, Redland City
PS4 NPL Head-to-Head - Young Roar 2, Fury 2, Draws 0
PS4 NPL Last Meeting - Young Roar won 2-0 at Perry Park (8/8/15)
The second match of the double-header offers a distinct contrast as lower table sides Young Roar and Fury seek a desperately needed three points.
Young Roar’s relative lack of experience proved telling in recent weeks after failing to put away their chances in otherwise solid performances against Heat and Fire – a trend coach Josh McCloughan has sought to correct this week (More: ‘Young Roar Eye More Goals’)
They will fancy their chances against a Fury side still struggling to find answers to their club-record losing streak of seven matches despite scoring in every match they have played this year.
Fury will be extra motivated to at least secure a point – and much needed confidence – with the match their last before a potential banana-skin Westfield FFA Cup tie in Townsville next week against local outfit Rebels FC.
Brisbane City FC v Gold Coast City FC
Saturday, April 23 | 6:30PM
Corporate Travel Management Stadium, Brisbane
PS4 NPL Head-to-Head – City 4, GCC 1, Draws 1
PS4 NPL Last Meeting – Drew 0-0 due to cancellation (29/8/15)
The ‘M1 Derby’ or the ‘Clash of Two Cities’ – no matter what you call it fans in the capital are primed for an electric clash between Brisbane City and Gold Coast City on Saturday night.
Both sides boast 12 points so far this campaign, but come into the clash with markedly different form.
Gold Coast City are undefeated in their last six outings and are coming off the back of a season’s best 7-1 thumping of Thunder in the previous round and have further strengthened by signing defender Martin Vazquez and Benjamin Lyvidkos midweek. (More: 'Gold Coast City Bolster Defences')
Meanwhile, Brisbane City managed a scrappy win over cellar-dwellars Fury last week in the state’s north – a performance their skipper Timothy Allen said must be improved upon if they are to take the points against the Surfsiders. (More: 'Allen Calls For City Step-Up')
Western Pride FC v Brisbane Strikers FC
Saturday, April 23 | 7:00PM
Briggs Road Sports Complex, Ipswich
PS4 NPL Head-to-Head – Pride 2, Strikers 4, Draws 0
PS4 NPL Last Meeting – Strikers won 3-0 at Briggs Road Sports Complex (20/6/15)
Strikers are out to maintain their recent surge of form when they head to Ipswich take on the out-of-sorts Pride to close out the Saturday night matches.
Last year’s runners-up have won their past four outings – keeping three clean sheets on the way – and will know another win will bring them closer to reeling in top two sides Redlands and Heat.
However, despite losing their past two matches Pride remain a tricky proposition on their home patch and will be eyeing an upset as they seek to get their campaign back on the rails.
Key to Pride picking up the points is shutting down league-leading marksman Rhys Meredith, who has scored in every game he has played this season. (More: 'Meredith Focused On Pride')
Olympic FC v SWQ Thunder FC
Sunday, April 24 | 6:00PM
Goodwin Park, Brisbane
PS4 NPL Head-to-Head – Olympic 4, Thunder 0, Draws 0
PS4 NPL Last Meeting – Olympic won 6-1 at Clive Berghofer Stadium (4/7/15)
The round concludes with a Sunday fixture that loom as a must-win for both Olympic and Thunder after coming off big defeats in their last league outings.
Olympic have struggled to gel new blood this season with their club worst five match losing streak punctuated by a record 6-1 defeat last week to Jets.
Meanwhile, questions are also being asked of early season high-flyers Thunder’s consistency after a 7-1 defeat to Gold Coast City last week and a midweek scare against local Toowoomba outfit Willowburn in the Westfield FFA Cup. (More: 'Thunder Survive Cup Scare')
Olympic have dominated the fixture in the past – scoring no less than five goals in each of their four wins – and will be hoping recent attacking signing Ramone Close can net his first for the club to continue that trend. (More: 'Close Signing Bolsters Olympic Attack')Review the Olympic and Thunder squads in the Match Centre