Sutherland Sharks welcome a rival, Sydney United 58 clash with an old favourite and Manly United get their season underway in round two of the NPL NSW Men’s 20s competition.
Match of the Round
Sutherland Sharks v Sydney FC, Saturday 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Two championship hopefuls clash in round two’s curtain raising fixture at Seymour Shaw this Saturday where defending champions Sutherland Sharks host Sydney FC.
The pair were involved in a catalogue of high-quality affairs in 2017 and despite early season rustiness and injury clouds hanging over Sutherland it is likely to be another enthralling encounter when they meet again this weekend.
Nick Dimovski’s side began their title defence with a point away at Rockdale with new recruit James Temelkovski securing a late equalizer and were undefeated against the Sky Blues during their three meetings last campaign.
Opponents Sydney FC are also flaunting a slightly revamped frontline which recent arrival Hamish Lamberton spearheaded to great effect during last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Hakoah Sydney City East.
The former Sydney United 58 man grabbed a brace against Hakoah to gift new coach Giancarlo Italiano his first victory as Sky Blues boss and they’ll be hoping to make it two in a row to deal an early setback to Sutherland’s title defence.
Sydney United 58 v Blacktown City, 5.30pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
A wounded Blacktown City outfit are looking to for a response when they face Sydney United 58 following an opening day defeat to Wollongong Wolves last Sunday.
John Carnevale’s side were dealt no luck in their 2-1 loss on the South Coast and will be hoping to establish their first points on the board at Sydney United Sports Centre.
It won’t be easy against a dangerous Sydney United 58 side who are always involved in entertaining clashes against City and will no doubt offer Blacktown a great test of their mettle this time around.
The two sides finished level on points in 2017 in fourth and fifth place respectively with the Reds dealing City a knockout blow in the elimination finals. United 58 were also unbeaten in their three contests against Blacktown last campaign.
It will be worth heading down to Edensor early to catch this fixture particularly with several impressive young talents on display – one of whom being United 58 attacker Sam Perre who has scored seven goals in his last eight fixtures.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Manly United, 1.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East are looking to build on a positive performance in last weekend’s defeat to Sydney FC when they welcome Manly United to Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday afternoon.
Paul Hubbard’s side matched a more fancied Sky Blues outfit for long periods of their 3-1 defeat in round one and will hope a similar performance pays dividends for the arrival of Manly.
The Cromer Park outfit are very much an unknown quantity so far this year due to squad turnover and following the rescheduling of their round one fixture with APIA Leichhardt.
Having won the premiership the year before, Manly were easily one of last season’s underachievers in the competition and should be set for an improved season under new coach Adam Griffiths.
Wollongong Wolves v Rockdale City Suns, 1.00pm at WIN Stadium
Wollongong Wolves are aiming for back to back wins when Rockdale City Suns come calling at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
James Ford’s side made an impressive beginning to their campaign thanks to a 2-1 victory over Blacktown City and should relish the opportunity to develop a strong home ground record that was sorely lacking in 2017.
Key attackers James Markovic and Tory Musumeci each got off the mark in their defeat of Blacktown last Sunday which will provide the Wolves with great confidence for the arrival of Rockdale.
Stamati Glaros’ Rockdale team opened their season in canny fashion after holding defending champions Sutherland Sharks to a 1-1 draw last Sunday with only a late equalizer preventing the Suns from a commendable round one win.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Marconi Stallions, 2.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles must guard against complacency at home to Marconi Stallions when the two sides clash at Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Sunday afternoon.
The White Eagles got off the mark last weekend thanks to a 1-0 win over Sydney Olympic but will have slight concerns regarding injuries sustained against the Blues and some nervy second half lapses.
After losing six of their first seven last campaign the fixture represents a great chance for the hosts to demonstrate their maturity and potential as championship contenders.
Opponents Marconi were narrowly defeated at home by Sydney United 58 in their opening round clash at Marconi Stadium with plenty of positives for the recently promoted side to take from the loss.
Postponed: APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Sydney Olympic, 1.30pm at Lambert Park
-By Jacob Windon