It’s Round 19 of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition and the chase for a finals spot is as tight as it has been all season.
Manly United has moved back into the top five with a run of victories, while Sydney United 58 has slipped into sixth.
Wollongong Wolves has fought its way back to only a win outside finals contention and with four games to go are a real chance of leapfrogging their opposition.
The battle is tight and every result from this point on will have a major impact on final placings.
This week’s Match of the Round features a titanic clash as a high flying Manly United take on league leaders Blacktown City on what will be a chilly evening at Cromer Park
Match of the Round
Manly United FC v Blacktown City FC, 7pm Saturday at Cromer Park
The Match of the Round cameras will be up at the Northern Beaches as Manly United will be out to end Blacktown City FC’s domination of the league when they go head to head at Cromer Park on Saturday night.
Warren Grieve’s side has found form in recent weeks and have leapfrogged into fourth position on the ladder after looking like they would miss the playoffs earlier in the season.
Beating Blacktown is another challenge in itself and Manly will need to bring their best to top the league leaders – Brendan Cholakian has been in fine form of late and will be one of the leaders of the pack alongside a strong attacking partnership consisting of Dylan Macallister and Nikola Taneski.
Blacktown cruised to a 4-0 win against Sydney Olympic last round and could wrap up the premiership as soon as Round 20 if results go their way.
City coach Mark Crittenden will put the pressure on his players to not relax until the season is over which could mean plenty of goals on Saturday.
With no Danny Choi who has been ruled out with a season ending injury the club has unearthed a new star in James Andrew and he will yet again be the one to look out for come Saturday evening.
Rockdale City Suns FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC, 3pm Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre
After a slip-up against Manly United last week Rockdale City Suns will look to get it’s season back on track when they host Bonnyrigg White Eagles on Sunday.
Paul Reid’s Rockdale Side were unable to find the back of the net in last week’s defeat and they will be determined to find their shooting boots when they take on Bonnyrigg.
Bonnyrigg has had inconsistent results this season but claimed all three points in Round 18.
Consistency is something which Rockdale has lacked in the second half of the season after an unbeaten run of six matches to start the season.
League leading goal scorer Jordan Figon will get plenty of defensive attention from the White Eagles as he searches for his 13th goal of the season.
Rockdale will be favourites but Bonnyrigg has shown they have the potential to cause an upset.
Sydney FC v Hakoah Sydney City East FC, 7pm Saturday at Lambert Park
Hakoah Sydney City East travel to the site of their historic Waratah Cup final win to take on Sydney FC this Saturday.
The young Sky Blues will want to end their season on a high and will be determined to notch a victory against the Waratah Cup Champions.
Despite suffering a humbling defeat against Wollongong Wolves last round, Hakoah has proven to be tough competition and will want to find their best form ahead of their FFA Cup clash against Hills Brumbies next week.
With their full squad back after a number of players were called up to the Sydney FC senior team for last week’s Arsenal tour match. the Young Sky Blues will be firing on all cylinders.
Wollongong Wolves FC v Sutherland Sharks FC, 2pm Sunday at Albert Butler Memorial Park
With four weeks to go in the season Wollongong are fighting desperately to sneak into this years finals series at an alternate venue in Warrawong.
Sitting two points outside the top five, Wollongong host Sutherland Sharks with nothing short of victory considered enough for the Jacob Timpano coached side.
The Wolves boast a talented team on paper and should be able to account for Sutherland. However, football isn’t played on paper.
Sutherland will get star player Tomohiro Kajiyama back from suspension and the Japanese import will be key to the hopes of Grant Lee’s side.
With the finals spot on the line expect a massive performance from Wollongong as they play to keep their season alive.
Parramatta FC v Sydney United 58 FC, 3pm Sunday at Melita Stadium
Parramatta FC has the chance to spoil the party when they host Sydney United 58 on Sunday.
Sydney United 58 has fallen outside the top five and need a victory to stay in the hunt for finals football however got back on the winners circle with a 2-1 victory over Sydney FC which sparked the 2016 Premiers into life.
Panny Nikas was in scintillating form for United 58 last round after yet another dazzling display as well as a memorable goal and will once again be the focal point of their attack.
Parramatta conceded six goals in under 30 minutes against APIA and will be fired up to deliver a better performance.
Saying that however, a pumped up United 58 squad could well turn on the after burners and if so, may inflict more pain in what has been a tough year for the Parramatta FC squad.
Chris Payne and Nikas will be two that will be licking their lips in hoping to add to their goalscoring tally for 2017.
Sydney Olympic FC v APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, 5pm Sunday at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic will take on APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Sunday desperate to fix their spiralling season.
Sitting pretty in third only weeks ago, Olympic has paid the price for a run of rough results and are only just clinging onto a finals spot.
The Belmore boys suffered a 4-0 loss at the hands of league leaders Blacktown City last round and will need a much-improved performance if they are to defeat second placed APIA.
APIA come into the match with renewed confidence after defeating Parramatta FC 6-0.
Striker Jordan Murray found his eye for goal scoring three goals in nine minutes.
With five teams all within three points of each other on the table the margin for error is minimal.
The pressure is on Olympic but will they rise up to secure their finals fate?