Tilford Zebras and South Hobart lock horns this Sunday in what is the biggest match of the 2014 Victory League season to date.
Kingborough Lions vs Launceston City – 2:00PM/Saturday 26 July (Lightwood Park)
Kingborough Lions host Launceston City to kick off Round 16. Both sides have had a long run of losses and are in desperate need for win.
Kingborough Lions have lost six straight matches and Launceston City have lost ten straight, so both teams will be fighting hard to break their recent droughts. Kingborough have Andrew Duncan return to don the gloves from suspension and Adam Hedge and Nathaniel Taylor who have recovered from injury.
Launceston City produced their best display in recent times last week, falling in a close one to Rangers 2-0 after a goalless first half. A win would be a foreign feeling for the northern side, who have not tasted victory since April.
City have some big ins for the road trip south, but also miss some key cogs with one a potential long term blow.
Devonport City vs Olympia FC Warriors – 4:00PM/Saturday 26 July (Valley Road)
Devonport City return to their fortress Valley Road to host third placed Olympia FC Warriors.
Olympia have taken three points away from Valley Road once this year, when they became just the second team to beat Devonport at Valley Road in the Victory League. This week the Warriors are looking to make it two from two and keep the pressure on the top two teams.
Devonport were on top early against Tilford Zebras last week but failed to capitalise on their advantage. Olympia blew away Devonport 5-1 in their last meeting, with Eduardo Cabello tearing the Strikers apart.
Northern Rangers vs Glenorchy Knights – 1:00PM/Sunday 27 July (NTCA)
Northern Rangers host Glenorchy Knights at NTCA on Sunday. The two sides are coming off contrasting results, with the Knights suffering a 5-0 defeat and the Rangers winning 2-0.
Despite being beaten 5-0, Glenorchy had periods against South Hobart where they challenged Ken Morton’s men.
Lunnon is looking to get his team firing with the Victory Cup series to come in September.
Glenorchy Knights have competed well with the Rangers in the first two years of the Victory League but have not often taken the points.
Knights will miss experienced Centre-Back Jade Clay, who has been a revelation since returning to the starting lineup.
South Hobart vs Tilford Zebras – 2:00PM/Sunday 27 July (Darcy Street, South Hobart)
These two teams have met four times this season with the ledger split at two wins a piece, and the fifth and final meeting of the regular season could decide more than just bragging rights between the two proud clubs, with a big chance it could have a major say in this year’s Victory League premiership.
Ladder leaders South Hobart hold a six point advantage over Tilford Zebras in second, and a win on Saturday for South could all-but wrap up back to back Victory League titles. With a win extending the gap to nine points over the Zebras, requiring at least three slip ups from South Hobart in the remaining five league matches.
Tilford Zebras enter the top of the table clash as the form team of the competition, with a sizzling seven win streak.
The Tilford Zebras have had the best success of any club in recent history against South Hobart, with a 4-2 win in the Summer Cup and a 3-0 win in Round 9 of the Victory League.
The match kick starts a busy period for South Hobart, who have three games in nine days, but the South Hobart Supremo Ken Morton is taking it one week at a time.
Morton does not believe the Round 16 meeting is a season defining clash for his club but has his eyes firmly fixed on the three points to move the southerners one step closer to lifting the Victory League shield.
Both teams will be bolstered by the return of leaders, with South Hobart Vice-Captain Liam Scott returning from suspension and Josh Fielding likely to return from a hamstring injury for the visitors.
The match kicks off from 2:00PM at South Hobart’s home ground, Darcy Street.
Click here for a full preview of all the weekend’s matches including comments from coaches.