Round 16 has arrived in the National Premier Leagues NSW competition and the pressure is building with only seven weeks left until the end of the regular season.
Sydney Olympic remain on top despite a minor hiccup last week with their draw against Hakoah Sydney City East.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers has cut the gap to the top of the table to four points and will still be hopeful of claiming back to back premiership titles.
Third placed Blacktown City is suffering through another major form slump and will be driven to reclaim their mantle as one of the competition’s strongest side’s.
This weekend will feature four matches on Saturday night kicking off with Bonnyrigg White Eagles hosting Sydney FC.
Round 16 wraps up on Sunday afternoon when APIA hosts Rockdale City Suns.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Sydney FC, 7pm Saturday at Bonnyrigg Sports Ground
Bonnyrigg White Eagles kickstarted their finals hopes last week but will they be able to make it back to back wins when they host Sydney FC on Saturday?
Brian Brown’s side ended Rockdale City Suns three game winning run last week with a 4-2 win at ilinden sports complex.
Sydney FC was on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat courtesy of Sydney United 58.
Bonnyrigg rediscovered their swagger in the win against Rockdale with former Newcastle Jets defender Sam Gallaway the standout performer.
The Coffs Harbour product has struggled to find his best form this campaign but last round showed what he is capable of doing with marauding runs up the flank and tough defence. Also worth a mention has been their Korean import in Jewook Woo who will once again will be the White Eagles’ go to man for goals alongside Shervin Adeli.
For Sydney FC this week’s game couldn’t come quick enough with Robbie Stanton’s side desperate to make up for last week’s defeat.
After an impressive first half display, the Young Sky Blues were a shadow of themselves as United 58 raced out to a comprehensive lead.
Duro Dragicevic was Sydney FC’s best for another week and has been a bright light in a difficult season results wise for the youthful outfit.
Bonnyrigg will be the favourites for this match but Sydney are more than capable of an upset.
Wollongong Wolves v Hakoah Sydney City East, 7pm Saturday at WIN Stadium
A much needed win last week could be the perfect tonic for Wollongong Wolves to rediscover their best form for Saturday’s clash with Hakoah Sydney City East.
The Wolves ended their winless run with a solid 2-1 victory against Sutherland Sharks at JJ Kelly Park much to the delight of their fans.
Look out for young gun Jordan Nikolovski from the Wolves. The ace marksman has gained rave reviews in the 20s and his class showed with his deft chip that earned him his first goal in senior football.
Hakoah on the other hand were seconds away from a shock upset against league leaders Sydney Olympic before Max Burgess snatch a point with a injury time equaliser as the game finished 2-2.
Wollongong will look to the experienced Nick Montgomery to help lead them to glory once again.
The former Premier League player and Central Coast Mariners captain was the Wolves best last week and his ability to lead the midfield could prove priceless for Jacob Timpano’s outfit.
Hakoah will hope Amaury Gauthier can spark their attack with the mid season signing proving to be an inspired transaction for the Hensley Athletic Field based team while Anthony Frangie has been in red hot form especially these last few weeks which has seen him hit the net a few times.
Wollongong is a tough road trip for any team so the odds will be stacked against Hakoah, however the Wolves form has been patchy leaving this match wide open.
Sydney United 58 FC v Sutherland Sharks, 7.30pm Saturday at Sydney United Sports Centre
Inspired by their new coach, Sydney United 58 have their eyes on climbing the ladder with another big win when they host Sutherland Sharks on Saturday.
Miro Valstelica has the Edensor Park based side firing on all cylinders once again as was shown in their 3-0 win against Sydney FC last round.
Their opponents this week are in need of a win as Sutherland went down 2-1 to Wollongong in Round 15.
The smarts of veteran striker Chris Payne helped the Reds to victory last week and the former A-League journeyman will play a vital role once again this week alongside the team’s maestro in Panny Nikas as well as Matty Sim.
The Sharks will need former Wellington Phoenix stopper Jacob Tratt to be at his best to stop Payne and a resurgent United 58 attack.
Sutherland are desperate for victory to stay in touching distance of a top five finish.
It will be a close fought contest with plenty of intrigue for fans.
Sydney Olympic FC v Marconi Stallions FC, 7.45pm Saturday at Lambert Park – Streamed live on facebook
A bounce back performance is on the cards for Sydney Olympic as they host Marconi Stallions on Saturday night at Lamber Park.
Abbas Saad’s side would’ve thanked their lucky stars after avoiding defeat with a last second equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Hakoah Sydney City East last week.
Marconi come into the game off the back of a solid win after they defeated Manly United 3-2.
Max Burgess demonstrated the ability he brings to Olympic with last week’s last second equaliser.
His dribbling and creativity will be key if Olympic are to break down an improving Stallions outfit.
Marconi’s defence is sure to get a workout this round and makes the performance of former Socceroos centre back Michael Beauchamp even more important.
The towering defender has taken on some of the world’s best during his career and provides plenty of extra steel to the Marconi backline alongside Peter Pelekanos and Chris Nunes.
Playing at their home away from home of Lambert Park, Olympic will be without the benefit of playing at their traditional home of Belmore Sports Ground.
Marconi has had good results at Lambert Park this season and will be determined to improve on that run on Saturday.
Manly United FC v Blacktown City FC, 3pm Sunday at Cromer Park
Manly United’s hopes of defending their Championship title are slipping away and victory against Blacktown City this weekend will be a must.
The boys from the Northern Beaches suffered a morale sapping 3-2 defeat to Marconi Stallions in Round 15.
Blacktown City were also on the wrong side of a losing score line as they went down 2-1 to second placed APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
It will be a big game for Sasa Macura as he takes on his former club. The dominant midfielder will have plenty of extra inspiration to deliver a big performance.
Blacktown have been a little off colour in recent weeks and are in desperate need of a win.
Joey Gibbs has been the one constant performer for City and the reliable goalscorer will need to find the back of the net, or at least assist his teammates score, if they are to come away with all three points.
They have been hurt by the long term injury to Mitch Mallia so Mark Crittenden’s side will need to be at their very best against their opposition.
Manly won’t make it easy for Blacktown City in this match and with both teams needing a win desperately it is sure to be an exciting contest.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC v Rockdale City Suns, 4.15pm Sunday at Lambert Park – Streamed live on facebook
The chase for the Premiership looked to be over but APIA Leichhardt Tigers are out to prove they are well and truly in the race, starting with a win against Rockdale City Suns on Sunday.
Billy McColl’s side cut Sydney Olympic’s lead at the top of the table back to four points last week as APIA defeated Blacktown City 2-1.
Rockdale’s three game winning streak came to end in Round 15 as Bonnyrigg White Eagles claimed a shock 4-2 win.
APIA midfield dynamo Sean Symons has built on his impressive form of the past few seasons this campaign and will be a key contributor on the run home towards the finals.
The 2017 Player of the Year will again be the centre of attention in all of APIA’s attacking raids.
Rockdale’s attack this seasons starts and ends with one man – Alec Urosevski.
Both teams are stacked with firepower up front as well as veteran goalkeepers to keep things safe at the back.
This has the potential to be the match of the round.