PS4 NPL Victoria Preview: Round 16

Two teams come together at Jack Edwards in very different moods; the Oakleigh Cannons will be on top of the world after a big FFA Cup win, while Melbourne Knights are coming off of a 2-1 loss to arch rivals South Melbourne.

Oakleigh Cannons v Melbourne Knights
8.30pm, Friday, June 12, 2015
Jack Edwards Reserve, Oakleigh
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎OCvMK ‪#‎PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Oakleigh Cannons 1 - 1 Hume City
Northcote City 1 - 2 Melbourne Knights

Form:
OC: LLWWD
MK: DWDDW

Last time they met:
Melbourne Knights 2 - 2 Oakleigh Cannons

They both have everything to play for with the Knights sitting in fourth, looking to solidify their finals spot, while Oakleigh makes a late charge in the second half of the season. Arthur Papas' boys are currently in eighth, four points away from finals, but a win tonight will bring them a lot closer to finals football.

New signing Kofi Danning will be eligible to play tonight with Papas potentially playing Danning on one wing with fellow speedster Ben Clarke on the other; the Knights could have their work cut out for them. But given the Knights only have the league left to play for, you could forgive Andrew Marth for throwing caution to the wind  tonight in looking for a big win.

 

Avondale FC v Pascoe Vale
3.00pm, Saturday, June 13, 2015
Avondale Heights Reserve, Avondale Heights
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎AFCvPV #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Avondale FC 1 - 1 Hume City  
Pascoe Vale 1 - 1 Bentleigh Greens

Form:
AFC: LLLDD
PV: LWLWD

Last time they met:
Pascoe Vale 0 - 1 Avondale FC

The first time these two teams met, Avondale recorded its first-ever win in top tier Victorian football. A lot has changed since then, but the newly-promoted side will also hand a league debut to former Melbourne City midfielder Massimo Murdocca.

With the addition of Murdocca to a midfield that already consists of veterans Matthew Sanders, Jeff Fleming, and Jonathan Munoz, Avondale will have a lot of class to support a strike force of Francesco Stella and Aleksiy Khrapko. But just how they gel, and how they bounce back from last weekend's loss to Frankston Pines in the FFA Cup could play a factor on Saturday.

Pascoe Vale is just one of two teams who played an NPL game last weekend, so consistency could be in Vitale Ferrante's side's favour. What also helped is the positive performance in earning a draw against ladder leaders Bentleigh Greens. But Ferrante will be spurring his boys on to play for the full 90 minutes, and not concede a late equaliser like they did last week.

 

North Geelong Warriors v Green Gully
3.00pm, Saturday, June 13, 2015
Elcho Park, Lara
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #NGWvGG #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
South Melbourne 7 - 1 North Geelong Warriors
Oakleigh Cannons 1 - 0 Green Gully

Form:
NGW: DDLLL
GG: LLWLL

Last time they met:
Green Gully 1 - 6 North Geelong Warriors

If North Geelong wants to get out of the relegation zone and have any chance of saving its season, it's going to need a win against Green Gully. Its only win of the season has come against Green Gully in a six goal demolition away midweek.

Micky Colina will be hoping he can recreate that form against a side that has only earned three points out of a possible 15 in the last five weeks. What he also will have in his favour is a competitive game last week, despite a loss to South Springvale in the FFA Cup.

Gully also needs a win to keep them away from the relegation zone. A loss here could send it into 12th, and a loss to the bottom team could hurt it mentally. It's a relegation six pointer if there ever was one.

 

Northcote City FC v Hume City FC
3.00pm, Saturday, June 13, 2015
John Cain Memorial Reserve, Thornbury
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #NCvHC #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Northcote City 1 - 2 Melbourne Knights
Oakleigh Cannons 1 - 1 Hume City

Form:
NC: WLLWL
HC: DLWDD

Last time they met:
Hume City 5 - 0 Northcote City

Northcote City will want revenge on Saturday. Last time these two teams met, Hume City embarrassed its visitor with a big 5-0 win under lights at ABD Stadium, before the match was abandoned.

Since then, Hume City has completely revamped its strike force, and it's beginning to pay dividends with the side looking stronger every passing week. But Northcote has also begun to look stronger. Over its last five games, it has two wins, and losses to three of the top four sides in its other games. It will also have a 12 day break in its favour, with Northcote having no excuses for lacking fitness and looking jaded.

Expect a fiery match as Northcote looks to bounce back and make a push for finals in the second half of the season.

 

Dandenong Thunder v South Melbourne
7.00pm, Saturday, June 13, 2015
George Andrews Reserve, Dandenong
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎DTvSM #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Bentleigh Greens 3 - 1 Dandenong Thunder
South Melbourne 7 - 1 North Geelong Warriors

Form:
DT: DLLDL
SM: WWWLW

Last time they met:
South Melbourne 5 - 0 Dandenong Thunder

South Melbourne must be feeling on top of the world. A 2-1 come-from-behind win against arch-rivals Melbourne Knights, preceded by a 7-1 demolition of North Geelong Warriors, and coming into a game they know they should be winning, especially after recording a 5-0 win the first time around. But there are no certainties in football.

South has to live with life after Andy Brennan, but Saturday could also see New Zealand international Andy Bevin handed a debut. Whether Bevin can fill the hole left on South's wing will be telling in a match that has the potential to be a banana skin for second-placed South.
 
Dandenong will be fired-up knowing it needs at least a win to get itself out of the drop zone. If Stuart Munro is going to keep his side above water, he'll need to start picking up points where he can, and Saturday night is as good a place to start as any.

 

Werribee City v Bentleigh Greens
3.00pm, Sunday, June 14, 2015
Galvin Park, Werribee
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎WCvBG #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Heidelberg United 1 - 0 Werribee City
Pascoe Vale 1 - 1 Bentleigh Greens

Form:
WC: LWWDL
BG: WWWWD

Last time they met:
Bentleigh Greens 1 - 1 Werribee City

Werribee is a difficult side to plan against. Avondale has gone to Werribee and taken a two-goal lead, and dropped two points at the death.

Werribee has beaten a resurgent Oakleigh Cannons, and has even taken a point away from Kingston Heath the first time around in this fixture. But Bentleigh is top of the PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria for a reason, and it's hard to imagine John Anastasiadis going into a fixture like this complacent.

Three points here will be imperative for the undefeated Bentleigh as it looks to maintain that one-point margin at the top of the ladder, and get itself on the national stage by wrapping up the minor premiership.

Meanwhile Werribee needs the points for a different reason; to keep itself away from relegation and lift itself from the relegation playoff spot. But what will be key here is how they shut down a midfield led by Wayne Wallace, as he looks to open Chris Lucas and Ryan De Vries out wide, and get in behind a Werribee defence that has conceded the least amount of goals in the bottom half of the table.

 

Heidelberg United v Port Melbourne Sharks
4.00pm, Sunday, June 14, 2015
Olympic Village, Heidelberg West
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#HUvPM #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Heidelberg United 1 - 0 Werribee City
Pascoe Vale 1 - 0 Port Melbourne

Form:
HU: DDWWW
PM: DWDLL

Last time they met:
Port Melbourne 0 - 2 Heidelberg United

After two draws in May, Heidelberg is back to its best. Fresh from a simple win over State 3 side Caulfield United Cobras in its FFA Cup qualifier, George Katsakis' men face a trickier task.

But Port Melbourne is an enigma. After two losses on the trot and a week off, the Sharks will be desperate for a win. They've had an extra week to work out how to best utilise new signing Adrian Zahra, and what better time for him to make his mark on the competition than against a Heidelberg side that's been one of the league's best. A win here is invaluable for Port Melbourne, who currently sits three points outside of finals.

 

Keep up-to-date with all the NPL Victoria news, video, features and more via the official website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.