Sutherland Sharks continue their title defence at home to APIA Leichhardt Tigers while chasing pack Blacktown City, Sydney FC and Sydney United 58 all look to keep in touch with the runaway leaders in their fixtures against Marconi Stallions, Manly United and Hakoah Sydney City East.
Match of the Round
Blacktown City v Marconi Stallions, Saturday 5.00pm at Lily’s Football Centre
Blacktown City are aiming for their fifth win on the bounce when they welcome Marconi Stallions to Seven Hills on Saturday afternoon.
A 5-1 win over Sydney Olympic last Sunday was the fourth consecutive victory for City who after starting the season with back to back defeats are now the closest challengers to competition leaders Sutherland Sharks.
Blacktown are four points behind the reigning champions ahead of kick off on Saturday and another win would register as a significant statement of intent as the true competitors begin to take shape.
Marconi have done enough to warrant their name being included in that particular discussion despite going down 3-0 to Hakoah Sydney City East in their first defeat of the season last weekend.
The Stallions currently reside in sixth place with a match in hand on those around them and have proven a tricky customer for many so far this season. Should former Blacktown City flyer James Andrew feature on the team sheet for the visitors there could be an upset brewing.
Sutherland Sharks v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Reigning champions Sutherland Sharks have begun their title defence in intimidating fashion and will be looking to underline their status as premiership favourites when they host APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Seymour Shaw this Saturday.
Nick Dimovski’s side claimed their fifth win on the trot following a 1-0 victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles in round six in a result that extended their advantage at the summit to four points.
The Sharks certainly haven’t fallen for a complacent start following their 2017 title win and it would be another significant step towards maintaining their grip on this season’s competition if they could defeat last year’s Grand Final opponent’s APIA on Saturday.
APIA Leichhardt have had disrupted start to the season and currently lies in eleventh position but with a midweek fixture against Manly United to come prior to their date with Sutherland the Tigers need to start accumulating points to build their season.
It will be a tough ask for Franco Consentino’s side but if the Tigers can take their chances and remain resolute at the back they’ll fancy inflicting a first setback and revenge for last season’s Grand Final on Sutherland.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Sydney United 58, 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East have their sights on three wins in a row for the visit of Sydney United 58 this Saturday afternoon at Hensley Athletic Field.
Hakoah have propped up the table and endured a tough start to the year through various misfortune but back to back victories over Wollongong Wolves and Marconi Stallions now has the side within striking distance of Saturday’s opponents.
The visitors have had their issues at the back so far this season but boast several goalscoring threats in the form of Finley Hayhurst and Connor Eldridge, who got off the mark for the season in last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Marconi.
Sydney United 58 meanwhile have slumped to consecutive defeats in the past fortnight, with the last arriving at home in a 2-1 loss to Wollongong Wolves. The Reds are still very much in touch with premiership contenders during the season’s early stages but another loss here would perhaps be a significant reality check.
Sydney FC v Manly United, 5.45pm at Lambert Park
Sydney FC will look to put a rocky recent run of fixtures behind them for the visit of Manly United at Lambert Park on Saturday evening.
The Sky Blues got back to winning ways thanks to a 3-2 victory over APIA Leichhardt Tigers last Saturday but previously surrendered points in high-scoring draws with Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Sydney United 58.
Those 5-5 and 2-2 results for Sydney mean the side currently has the poorest defensive record (17 goals conceded) in the competition despite sitting comfortably in third position, and although the home side will enter the clash with Manly as favourites another complacent defensive showing could see them punished again.
Manly have been unable to gather any significant momentum so far this season and may lack the flamboyancy of the Sky Blues, but have equally shown they can be a rigorously difficult challenge for anyone.
The Cromer Park outfit has conceded just 6 goals in their five matches this campaign and may just have the formula to grab a victory to kick start their season.
Sydney Olympic v Rockdale City Suns, 12.40pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic need a win to lift themselves off the bottom of the competition ladder at home to Rockdale City Suns on Sunday lunchtime at Belmore Sports Ground.
It hasn’t been a happy start to the season for Anthony Harb’s men who have lost four of their five opening matches and have been held scoreless in three of those matches.
The Blues are entering the clash following a 5-1 defeat to Blacktown City at home and if the opportunity to make a response isn’t enough the chance to leapfrog the visiting Rockdale side on the ladder should give Olympic great impetus to put in a performance.
Rockdale have also endured an indifferent start to the campaign with a single win from their six outings so far. The City Suns drew 1-1 with Manly United last Saturday with Dimitrios Petratos netting his second of the campaign.
Wollongong Wolves v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 1.00pm at WIN Stadium
Wollongong Wolves can further the misery for Bonnyrigg White Eagles but will need to be on guard when the pair clash at WIN Stadium to conclude round seven on Sunday afternoon.
The Wolves ended a three match losing streak with an excellent 2-1 win over Sydney United in round six in a match that saw forward Tory Musumeci grab his fourth goal of the season. The result leaves the South Coast outfit in fifth place after three wins and three losses to start the campaign.
Visitors Bonnyrigg have attained just two points from their last five matches but have more than held their own in their last two fixtures – a battling 1-0 loss with Sutherland Sharks and a 5-5 draw with Sydney FC. However, the White Eagles need to get their season up and running and begin turning good performances into victories if they are to avoid a repeat of last year’s late dash to the finals.
-By Jacob Windon