NPL NSW Round 21 Preview

Photo Credit Football NSW

Sydney FC vs Sutherland Sharks – Saturday 3rd August

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Sydney FC (11th) – DWWLL

Sutherland Sharks (10th) – LLLWD

Sydney FC will be hosting Sutherland Sharks to kick things off in Round 21 of the NPL NSW and with both sides enduring disappointing seasons, these two teams will be wanting to finish the season on a high. 

Sydney FC took on APIA Leichhardt last weekend and a late equaliser from Benjamin Koop ensured a brave draw for Sydney and thus also ending APIA’s premiership hopes. We also saw Sutherland host Mt Druitt last weekend and it was another disappointing loss for Sutherland who fell 4-2 to Mt Druitt. 

Key player for Sydney FC – Jaiden Kucharski (1 goal in NPL NSW)

The key player in this week’s match for Sydney FC’s NPL side is Jaiden Kucharski. Sydney took an early lead against APIA last week thanks to a strike from Kucharski. This player has mainly been kicking around in the U18’s side this season but has made two appearances for the 1st grade team. With a number of Sydney’s NPL players not likely to make an appearance due to a midweek friendly with PSG, Kucharski could be key to Sydney winning this weekend, should he be selected.

Key player for Sutherland Sharks – Bai Antoniou (1 goal in NPL NSW)

Sutherland will be desperate to get a win this weekend as they are coming off three losses in a row. Last week’s loss against Mt Druitt meant that Sutherland’s season is well and truly over but the club will want to taste victory again before the season is done. The player who will be crucial for that goal is Bai Antoniou. The former Sydney FC winger joined Sutherland this season after a short stint in Cyprus earlier this year and scored his first goal for the club last week and Sutherland fans will be hoping he can do the same this week as they have only managed 3 goals in the past 5 games.

Both clubs failed to get a win last week and with the season drawing to a close very soon, both Sydney and Sutherland will be out to collect three points. Sydney played some good attacking football last week but failed to get more than a draw while Sutherland’s defence leaked four goals. They will need to be more defensively sound this week if they hope to get a resut against Sydney’s energetic attack.

Prediction: Sydney FC 2 – Sutherland Sharks 1 

Marconi Stallions vs Blacktown City

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Marconi Stallions (5th) – WWWDL

Blacktown City (3rd) – WWDWW

In last week’s installment of NPL NSW we saw both of these sides pull off big wins. Marconi defeated old rivals Sydney Olympic 1-0 and Blacktown City defeated Wollongong Wolves 2-0. A crucial win for Marconi as their last two games will not be easy, starting with Blacktown City. 

Blacktown have enjoyed a successful season this year and their win over Wolves proves that they are not here to muck around. They are undefeated in their last five games and will want to keep up their form ahead of finals. Marconi on the other hand will be desperate for a win, they currently sit in a finals spot in 5th place but a loss to Blacktown this week could spell disaster for their season. 

Key player for Marconi – Nenad Vekic

There are no ifs or buts about this game, Marconi need all three points, plain and simple. The Stallions will play Wollongong next week so dropping points this week is not an option if they want to play finals this year. The key player for Marconi will be Nenad Vekic, the goalkeeper has been a rock for Marconi this season and has kept 3 clean sheets in the past 5 games. Vekic was crucial in the club’s win over Olympic last week, making many important saves and he will need to do the same this week. 

Key player for Blacktown City – Joey Gibbs (8 goals in NPL NSW)

Blacktown pulled off a huge 2-0 win over premiers Wollongong Wolves last weekend and they will be hoping to improve on that ahead of the finals series which is just around the corner. A big player in that win was striker Joey Gibbs who managed to find the back of the net against Wolves. The Blacktown striker has also netted 7 goals in the past 8 games and he will want to keep that form up ahead of finals.

Both of these teams are coming off wins from last weekend and both sides need the win. Marconi need all three points if they want to keep their finals hopes alive and Blacktown will want to continue their run of form. Marconi managed to hold out Olympic last week but their defence might be more challenged against a side such as Blacktown. 

Prediction: Blacktown City 3 – Marconi Stallions 0

Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Hakoah Sydney City East

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Mt Druitt Town Rangers (9th) –  WLDLW

Hakoah Sydney City East (12th) – LLLLW

Mt Druitt host Hakoah Sydney City this weekend and with finals football still a mathematical possibility, the home side will want to go out with all guns blazing and get the win. Hakoah Sydney City endured another disappointing loss as they fell 3-0 to Sydney United last week to make it four losses in a row while Mt Druitt claimed victory over Sutherland in the shape of a 4-2 win. 

Key player for Mt Druitt – Alex Boyadjian (4 goals in NSW NPL) 

Mt Druitt’s player to watch this weekend is Alex Boyadjian, the Mt Druitt striker managed to get himself a goal in his team’s win over Sutherland last week and will play a key role in this week’s game. Boyadjian has scored four goals this season and his team will need him to be on form this weekend when they play host to Hakoah Sydney City

Key player for Hakoah Sydney City – Dylan Cox

Hakoah Sydney City have endured a long and disappointing season and they have struggled for goals recently, with the club only managing 2 goals in the past 5 games. One of those goals came from Dylan Cox who found the back of the net in the club’s last win. The team will turn to Cox for goals this weekend when they travel to Mt Druitt.

Mt Druitt will want to keep their finals hopes alive, however slim, when they host Hakoah Sydney City this weekend and while Hakoah’s season is done and dusted, the club will want to finish on a high. 

Prediction: Mt Druitt 3- Hakoah Sydney City 0

Manly United vs APIA Leichhardt

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Manly United (7th) LWLLL

APIA Leichhardt (2nd) DWDWW

Manly United will host APIA Leichhardt in Round 21 of NPL NSW and the home team will be out for nothing less than a win. Manly, along with Olympic and Rockdale, sit currently on 26 points, which is only three points off a finals spot. Any team that are looking to sneak their way into finals cannot afford to drop points with only two games remaining. The home side will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Rockdale City Suns last weekend, while APIA will want to get back to winning ways after conceding a late equaliser which resulted in a 2-2 draw with Sydney FC.

Key player for Manly United – Brendan Cholokian (8 goals in NPL NSW)

After a disappointing loss last week, Manly must step up and collect all three points if they want to keep their finals hopes alive. They have struggled to pull together results over recent weeks and they will face a strong APIA outfit this weekend and their star striker Brendan Cholokian will need to be on top form. Their defence will need to be tight but the early goal will be crucial and Cholokian could be their hero in that regard.

Key player for APIA Leichhardt – Christopher Payne (18 goals in NPL NSW)

Christopher Payne has been a key player for APIA all season and he will be crucial to APIA getting the win this week. The APIA striker added to his monstrous goal tally in last week’s 2-2 with Sydney FC last week and he will be looking to notch it up to 20 before the finals series starts where his club will need him to be in fine form.

Manly have not kept a clean sheet in their past 5 games and their defence will need to wake up and tighten up if they hope to hold out a dominant APIA side. APIA will be looking to cruise to the end of the regular season with some momentum as they hope to do some damage in the finals series.

Prediction: Manly 0 – APIA Leichhardt 3

Sydney Olympic vs Sydney United

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Sydney Olympic (6th) – LLWWL

Sydney United (4th) – WLDDD

Sydney Olympic will come up against old rivals Sydney United in this week’s installment of NPL NSW in an attempt to get their season back on track. Olympic fell to Marconi last week in a tight affair that saw Marconi steal a late winner while Sydney United managed to turn their form around and defeat Hakoah Sydney City 3-0. Olympic currently sit just three points off a finals place and with only two games remaining, every point is crucial.

Key player for Sydney Olympic – Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson put in a very brave performance against Marconi last week and made some crucial saves to keep his side in it before eventually conceding. The Olympic goalkeeper will need to put in a similar performance this weekend if his side want to get a result.

Key player for Sydney United – Josh Macdonald (1 goal in NPL NSW)

Sydney United were back to winning ways last weekend with a 3-0 win over Hakoah Sydney City and also won their crucial FFA Cup game in a 5-3 thriller against St George. There was a number of names on the scoresheet but youngster Josh Macdonald got himself a goal and he will be looking to do more of the same this weekend when his side travel to Belmore to play their old rivals.

Sydney United are coming off the back of a huge 5-3 win against St George in the FFA Cup and will be looking to score more goals this weekend. Olympic will need their defence to be rock solid as United’s attack has stepped it up over the last week and shows no signs of slowing down.

Prediction:  Sydney Olympic 0 – Sydney United 1

Rockdale City Suns vs Wollongong Wolves

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Rockdale City Suns (8th) – WLLLL

Wollongong Wolves (1st) – LWWWW

Last week we saw Rockdale get back to winning ways with a crucial 2-0 win over Manly United while Wollongong lost their winning streak courtesy of a 2-0 loss to Blacktown. Wolves have been the dominant side this year and will be hoping to go into finals with some form as they will be looking to lift the championship. Rockdale are only 3 points away from a finals spot and whilst unlikely, it is still very possible they could clinch that spot and play finals football.

Key player for Rockdale City Suns – Jonathan Grozdanovski (1 goal in NPL NSW) 

Rockdale got their season back on track last week when they defeated Manly United 2-0 and Jonathan Grozdanovski got himself a goal in that game. Grozdanovski has only picked up 1 goal this season but with finals just around the corner, the Rockdale forward will need to step up and put in another big performance as his team cannot afford to drop any more points. 

Key player for Wollongong Wolves – Lachlan Scott (12 goals in NPL NSW)

Wollongong clinched the premiership last week but they will want to get back to winning ways ahead of the finals series after an unexpected 2-0 loss to Blacktown last week. Wolves have enjoyed a terrific season and while the premiership is all wrapped up they will want to finish the regular season in style. Lachlan Scott has managed 12 goals this season and he will be crucial to Wolves’ success this weekend. Rockdale are coming off the back of a huge win and will come out firing early on which means the early goal is crucial for Wollongong.

Wolves may have the premiership all wrapped up but Rockdale still have plenty to play for. A finals spot is on the line and with only two games left to play, Rockdale will understand this game is a must win. Wolves will field a strong side but will be their hosts will be up for the challenge.

Prediction: Rockdale City Suns 1 – Wollongong Wolves 0