South Hobart host Clarence United in their final home game for the season as they look to wind up their Darcy St fixtures in style.
South Hobart v Clarence, Darcy St, Saturday 6 August, 2:00PM
They comfortably accounted for Clarence last time the two sides met here but were pushed by them at Wentworth Park a month ago. With Zebras now in their sights in second place South will be expecting to win this game to keep up the pressure ahead of their clash next week, Clarence will be hoping to keep things tight and to offer more resistance than they did last time they visited Darcy St.
Ben Hamlett has been a welcome sight in recent weeks, finally fit to play and having an impact by scoring goals and with Alex Walter putting in consecutive best on ground performances Morton is now left with some selection headaches as to how to accommodate them. Hall, Leszczynski and Hess has been his preferred starting three but with the embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal he has no shortage of flexibility in how he lines up and who he keeps in reserve from the bench.
For Clarence this will be a good test of how far they have come this season, they should be fielding a strong line up with Aldridge and Bremner returning and George Hallard looms as a likely target man up top to replace the suspended Wild.
Finding a reliable striker has been a problem all year for Clarence, midfielder Nick Naden remains their best avenue to goal scored in another strong performance against the Warriors last week. The youngster has been a shining light for Clarence this season and although at times he seemed to lack the confidence to take games by the scruff of the neck, when he has looked to run at defenders and take them on he has helped produce goals and create chances. He will need to be at his best if they are any chance here.
Devonport v Kingborough Lions, Saturday 6 August, Valley Road, 2:00PM
The Devonport Strikers are on the precipice of the title, they need just four points from their final three games to guarantee it. Three here against the Lions will be expected and pending the result of Olympia v Zebras, could even see them crowned as Premiers as early as Sunday. The last time the two teams met it was the Brayden Mann show, as he hit a spectacular second half hat-trick and one would expect the Lions to be paying him particularly close attention this time around.
The biggest danger for the Strikers is that this could be a classic let down game for the Strikers, coming off the high of holding out the Zebras and with Wednesday night's FFA cup tie against the Lambton Jaffas looming large, it would be easy for them to take their eye's off this game or to not quite be playing their best. If they were to be below par, we saw in the first half the last time they met that the Lions can cause them problems, but whether they can stick with this relentless Strikers side for a full 90 minutes is another matter.
The Lions have responded in a positive manner to the departure of their former coach Ian Shaw, winning consecutive games and jumping up into fifth place on the table. Nick Cuthbertson returns to the line up but they will be without their powerful striker Danny Cowen for this one. Moving Cartwright to Striker is one possible option to fill the void, but given the physical strength of the Devonport defence, he may be best served staying in midfield with a more mobile option up front. They will want to avoid conceding early and make the Strikers have to attack them and commit men forwards, if they are left chasing the game it will be tough given their strength at set pieces something Devonport defend so well.
Launceston City v Northern Rangers, Saturday 6 August, Mitsubishi Park 4:30PM
Northern rivals Launceston City and Northern Rangers are set to renew their rivalry when the pair meet for the third and final time this season in Round 19 of the NPL TAS at Mitsubishi Park on Saturday. As well as the three points on offer, the game represents the final leg of the Derby Cup that is played for between the two sides over the course of their three league meetings during the season. Northern Rangers are the current holders, having won it on goal difference in 2015.
The first meeting between the two teams in 2016 was a 1-1 draw and Launceston City won the second game, 1-0 leaving the 2016 Cup firmly in the balance and giving both sides something to play for in addition to the local bragging rights heading into this game.
With both sides having endured difficult seasons this offers both a shot at silverware. Launceston City fell back into sixth place following last week’s defeat to South Hobart and having lost to Devonport the week prior will be looking forward to taking on a more beatable opponent to try and climb back into fifth. A ten minute lapse, cost them dearly against South but the Rangers lack the firepower to produce such a burst and if they peform as they did for the majority of the game, they should be good enough to take the points.
Rangers are still winless for the season, with just three draws to their name and they are running out of chances to avoid playing out a winless year. This looms as one of their better chances to get a victory and to secure a trophy in the process. Last week saw Baker experimenting with Thannhauser used in an advanced, attacking role and Monticchio dropped back into midfield. Whether this is a permanent move or was simply a way of trying to stifle Cartwright by matching him physically in midfield remains to be see, but with just the 2 goals in their last 7 outings, they clearly need to find a way to score more often.
Olympia v Hobart JEEP Zebras, Sunday 7 August, Warrior Park, 3:00PM
One side's title hopes evaporated long ago, and the other's may have all but disappeared last week but there will still be plenty at stake when traditional rivals Hobart JEEP Zebras and Olympia Warriors clash at Warrior Park on Sunday. The two long standing rivals always produce games with plenty of feeling between them, with both sets of supporters always looking to claim the bragging rights over each other.
The two sides have met twice this year with Zebras claiming both games, winning 4-0 when they played at Warrior Park and more recently 1-0 at KGV. A win here would give them a rare clean sweep over the Warriors and at least put the pressure back on Devonport, in the hope that the FFA cup provides enough of a distraction for them to drop points. Whilst that notion seems unlikely, they also need to watch out for South Hobart nipping at their heels and will be desperate to win to avoid falling back into third place.
The Warriors continue to look to use this season to plan for the future, playing a very youthful line up and seeing what the kids can do. The form of young winger Jacob Leaman in recent weeks would please them and they will be looking at this game as a chance for he and other prospects to prove themselves up against one of the best teams in the competition. To lose all three games in the season to their fiercest rivals would be a significant blow and on their home pitch they should be up for the game to try and avoid that.
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