Victorian NPL Round 9 preview

We preview another exciting round of football in the Victorian National Premier League.

NPL ROUND 9 PREVIEW

Port Melbourne Sharks v Hume City 7th v 6th 8.30pm, Friday May 16, 2014 JL Murphy Reserve

Last round: Ballarat Red Devils 0-4 Port Melbourne Sharks Hume City 4-1 Goulburn Valley Suns

Form: Port Melbourne Sharks: WLLWW Hume City: LWLWW

After an indifferent start, Port Melbourne and Hume City have found their rhythm and will be looking for their third consecutive wins on Friday night. The visitors will be without in-form captain Nick Hegarty though, who succumbed to a lateral meniscus tear and will be out of action for up to eight weeks after undergoing surgery.

Ballarat Red Devils v Green Gully 11th v 10th 3.00pm, Saturday May 17, 2014 Morshead Park Stadium

Last round: Northcote City 2-3 Port Melbourne Sharks Oakleigh Cannons 6-0 Dandenong Thunder

Form: Ballarat Red Devils: LLDLL Green Gully: LLLWL

There-s been further change at Green Gully as it attempts to rescue its season, with Slobode Stojcevski stepping up from the U20s to take up the senior coaching role. Stojcevski replaces Aaron Symons, who resigned a fortnight ago. Both sides are languishing near the relegation zone and will be desperate to win, though Ballarat has been hit hard with the suspension of midfielder Shaun Romein.

Goulburn Valley Suns v Bentleigh Greens 14th v 5th 6.30pm, Saturday May 17, 2014 McEwen Reserve

Last round: Hume City 4-1 Goulburn Valley Suns South Melbourne 2-1 Bentleigh Greens

Form: Goulburn Valley Suns: LLLWL Bentleigh Greens: WWWLL

New Goulburn Valley coach Peter Zois saw his first game in charge end in disappointment last week, with his Suns unable to back up their win over Werribee City in Round 7. Bentleigh was also beaten, but didn-t go down without a fight against high-flyer South Melbourne. Despite the trip to Shepparton, McEwen Reserve is proving to be a happy hunting ground for the Melbourne-based teams, with Goulburn Valley yet to grab a single point from five home matches.

Oakleigh Cannons v Northcote City 2nd v 9th 3.15pm, Sunday May 18, 2014 Jack Edwards Reserve

Last round: Oakleigh Cannons 3-1 Melbourne Knights Northcote City 1-3 Dandenong Thunder

Form: Oakleigh Cannons: WDWWW Northcote City: WWWLL

Jack Edwards Reserve is Oakleigh-s fortress. The Cannons have won all four home games, scoring 17 goals and conceding just three in the process. It-s a daunting task ahead for Northcote City, which is stuck in another form slump after two consecutive losses. On a more positive note for the visitors, coach Goran Lozanovski will return from his suspension.

South Melbourne v Pascoe Vale 1st v 13th 5.00pm, Sunday May 18, 2014 Lakeside Stadium

Last round: South Melbourne 2-1 Bentleigh Greens Werribee City 1-1 Pascoe Vale

Form: South Melbourne: WWWWW Pascoe Vale: LWDLD

South Melbourne can do no wrong at the moment. The league leader faced its biggest challenge against Bentleigh and passed with flying colours, and will be heavily favoured to extend its winning streak to nine matches. Pascoe Vale has a tendency to play a defensive style on the road and will look to constrict the supply to South Melbourne-s in-form strikers Milos Lujic and Jamie Reed.

Dandenong Thunder v Werribee City 4th v 8th 6.00pm, Sunday May 18, 2014 George Andrews Reserve

Last round: Northcote City 1-3 Dandenong Thunder Werribee City 1-1 Pascoe Vale

Form: Dandenong Thunder: WDLLW Werribee City: LWLLD

Dandenong is one of the youngest sides in the NPL but showed great maturity to bounce back from a 6-0 drubbing against Oakleigh, with two teenagers (Matt Millar and Kieran Dover) and a 21-year-old (Marcus Schroen) scoring in the 3-1 win over Northcote City. It is slowly gelling under coach Dean Hennessey and will be fancied to defeat Werribee City, which has had a poor past few weeks and became the first side to lose to Goulburn Valley.

Heidelberg United v Melbourne Knights 3rd v 12th 6.00pm, Sunday May 18, 2014 Olympic Village

Last round: Heidelberg United 4-0 Green Gully Oakleigh Cannons 3-1 Melbourne Knights

Form: Heidelberg United: LWWWW Melbourne Knights: LLLLL

The Knights have slumped to five consecutive losses and are clearly a wounded outfit with a host of injuries to key players, namely Rodrigo Covarrubias and Jack Colosimo. They-ll gain confidence though from their midweek win over State League 1 side Mornington in the Dockerty Cup, though they had to wait until extra time to seal the win. Heidelberg is one of the form teams of the NPL, winning its past four encounters in convincing fashion. Dan Heffernan was the star last week, scoring four goals. Can he register on the scoresheet again?

Image courtesy of Mark Avellino.