After five matches played reigning champions Sutherland Sharks have hit the front and it will take a big performance from Bonnyrigg White Eagles to pull them back when the pair face off this weekend. Elsewhere, closest rivals Blacktown City face Sydney Olympic and Sydney United host Wollongong Wolves.
Match of the Round
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Sydney FC, Sunday 1.30pm at Lambert Park
A rematch of the 2017 semi-final awaits Lambert Park on Sunday afternoon when APIA Leichhardt Tigers meet Sydney FC in what should be an intriguing contest to conclude round six at Lambert Park.
The two sides provided some sensational entertainment throughout their meetings last year, including a memorable 2-1 APIA Leichhardt win in the semi-final that saw the Tigers net two late goals to steal an unlikely victory from a hugely fancied Sydney side.
There should be a fairly drastic difference in personnel for both teams on Sunday although it should nonetheless be a clash of high quality and a match that is equally important for both sides in the context of the campaign.
APIA Leichhardt enter the clash on the back of a 5-0 thrashing over Rockdale with Franco Consentino opting to bolster the Tigers’ ranks with several experienced heads and frontman Aedon Kyra, who if featured on Sunday could well provide torment for the Sydney FC defence.
Kyra netted a brace against the City Suns last Saturday and with the Sky Blues defence shipping five goals to Bonnyrigg in round five and 15 goals in five matches so far, there’s a dire need for Sydney to bolster their collective defensive effort or they’ll be punished again.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Sutherland Sharks, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Can Bonnyrigg White Eagles halt the Sutherland train? After opening their campaign with a 1-1 draw at Rockdale, Nick Dimovski’s reigning champions have won five in a row and wrestled the competition lead off Sydney United 58 with a 2-1 victory last Saturday.
The Sharks are admittedly still not at their best and most cohesive yet, which is an ominous sign for the rest of the competition. James Temelkovski has made an inspired start to life at Seymour Shaw with six goals and several assists while there’s plenty of goals and an abundance of squad depth at Sutherland’s disposal.
Sutherland will arrive at Bonnyrigg Sports Club having lost their last match of league football in round 16 last year and while it’s certainly a formidable proposition for the White Eagles, it’s a challenge Hamish Brown’s side will look to meet front on.
Bonnyrigg claimed a valuable point off Sydney FC in a crazy 5-5 draw at Lambert Park last week and although the White Eagles will clearly have to tighten their defence for Sutherland’s visit, there is enough attacking potential in the likes of Milan Parenta and Dean Bereveskos for Bonnyrigg to frustrate the high-flying visitors.
Manly United v Rockdale City Suns, 5.00pm at Cromer Park
Manly United and Rockdale City Suns haven’t been pulling up any trees with their performances so far this campaign but the opportunity for either to do so will arise on Saturday evening when the pair tussle at Cromer Park.
The hosts Manly enter the clash following a 2-1 defeat to Blacktown City in which the young United side offered glimpses of potential but were punished by lapses in concentration. It looks as though the viability of Marley Peterson and Gianni Stensness as first team regulars (who have scored four out of Manly’s six goals so far) could be detrimental to the 20s side this season with the pair both turning in excellent performances for first grade in recent weeks.
Rockdale City Suns will be eager to banish a 5-0 loss to APIA Leichhardt from memory when they arrive at Cromer Park. The Suns have looked good in patches this year, particularly in 2-0 win over Bonnyrigg White Eagles but have been unable to garner enough consistency in the season’s fledgling weeks.
Marconi Stallions v Hakoah Sydney City East, 5.00pm at Marconi Stadium
Hakoah Sydney City East got off the mark at the fifth attempt last weekend and are searching for back to back wins at Marconi Stadium in their clash with Marconi Stallions.
Paul Hubbard’s side have endured poor luck with injuries to compound a tricky start to the season but with their first points on the board after beating Wollongong Wolves 3-2 last Sunday should give Hakoah a decent platform to start building their season.
It won’t be a straightforward task against a Marconi team who have flown under the radar at the start of the season and sit in fifth position. The Stallions have proven they’re capable of edging close matches and have conceded a meagre five goals thus far – and possess proven star quality in James Andrew who has scored the winner in their past two matches.
Sydney United 58 v Wollongong Wolves, 5.30pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 are hoping to bounce back from their first defeat of the campaign at home to Wollongong Wolves at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The Reds were defeated 2-1 by Sutherland Sharks in round five’s top of the table contest at Seymour Shaw after a near flawless start of the year and will look to get things back on track when the Wolves arrive in Edensor Park.
United 58 frontman Kyle Cimenti represents the principle goal threat for the travelling Wolves who after two wins to open the campaign slumped to their third loss on the bounce against Hakoah last Sunday.
Despite the defeat it’s been a good start to the year for Wollongong who are in sixth and have had a fairly daunting fixture list in the season’s opening month. The likes of Tory Musumeci, who claimed a brace last weekend, and Jordan Nikolovski are capable of causing damage in the final third and will be an attacking pair for the Reds to watch out for.
Sydney Olympic v Blacktown City, 12.40pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Blacktown City motored on to their third straight win thanks to a 2-1 victory over Manly United last weekend and John Carnevale’s side are out to make it four when they take on Sydney Olympic in Belmore on Sunday.
Blacktown are beginning to look the part having conceded a solitary goal in their past three matches and offering attacking threats from all over the pitch – whether it be through wingbacks, wide attackers, midfield or up front where forward Lachlan Rose has scored in consecutive matches.
It’s a daunting visit for Olympic who currently reside at the bottom of the table after four matches played. The Blues have been held scoreless in three of their four matches and will need to muster their strongest showing of the season to prevent Blacktown from claiming another victory.
-By Jacob Windon