It is round two of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition and another six blockbuster fixtures are scheduled for this weekend.
The round kicks off on Saturday afternoon with a return to Seymour Shaw for the first time in almost a year as the Sutherland Sharks host Marconi Stallions, while APIA Leichhardt make their second trek to Western Sydney in as many weeks when they take on Mt Druitt Town Rangers on Saturday night.
Four games will take place on Sunday starting with Wollongong Wolves going up against Manly United in a match which will be a curtain-raiser for the A-League game between Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory.
Sunday’s other fixtures include Blacktown City up against Northbridge Bulls, Rockdale Ilinden facing off against Sydney Olympic and in the final match of the round Sydney United 58 play Sydney FC.
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Sutherland Sharks v Marconi Stallions, 3pm Saturday at Seymour Shaw Park
The Sutherland Sharks host Marconi Stallions at Seymour Shaw this Saturday, hoping to build their draw from round one.
A dramatic injury-time equaliser by Oliver Green in the dying seconds helped Sutherland take a point from their first game back in the NSW top flight in almost 12 months.
They will be looking to build on that result when they play their first home game of the season this Saturday.
Coach Nick Dimovski proclaimed after last week’s result that his side wouldn’t be battling for the wooden spoon this season, and if their fighting spirit from that round one result is anything to go by, they may not have anything to worry about.
James Andrew was impressive in his first game back for the Sharks, while Chris McStay and Brendan Hooper also performed well.
The pressure will be on these established stars of the competition to keep the results comings for Sutherland.
They will be up against a Marconi Stallions team desperate to make amends for their shock opening round defeat to Sydney FC.
Marconi paid the price for poor finishing and could not capitalise on their dominance throughout the match, with a late Sydney goal against the run of play enough to snatch the points.
Coach Peter Tsekenis will likely drill down the importance of making the most of the opportunities that fall his side’s way this week in training.
Anthony Frangie and Marko Jesic were a handful for the Young Sky Blues in round one, but they will need to find their scoring touch.
Marconi will come into this game as favourites, but Sutherland will hope their home ground support can lift them to a shock upset.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v APIA Leichhardt FC, 7pm Saturday at Popondetta Park
The Mt Druitt Town Rangers will be looking for a win in their first home game of the season when they host APIA Leichhardt at Popondetta Park on Saturday.
The Stewart Montgomery coached side were forced to settle for a point in week one after they conceded a dramatic equaliser in the dying seconds of their clash with Manly United.
A big talking point going into this match will be the status of Rangers star recruit Tarek Elrich who went down injured only 13 minutes into last week’s game.
John Roberts and Blake Thompson were stand out performers in the Round 1 clash and hope to back up with another big showing against APIA.
Looking to ruin Mt Druitt’s coming home party will be APIA Leichhardt making their second trip to western Sydney in as many weeks.
APIA was held to a scoreless draw in round one, but coach John Calleja will have plenty to smile after an impressive defensive display.
Josh Symons was named to the round one team of the week after nullifying a potent Blacktown attack and will be up for another big showing.
Harry Callahan delivered an impressive cameo performance off the bench and should be pushing for a starting berth while we may see the debut of former Western Sydney Wanderers high flyer Mathieu Cordier.
Mt Druitt has been touted as a dark horse this season and will need a win against a competition powerhouse such as APIA to prove their case as a team to watch truly.
Wollongong Wolves v Manly United, 1pm Sunday at WIN Stadium
A big defeat in round one will have Wollongong Wolves desperate for a bounce-back performance when they host Manly United at WIN Stadium this Sunday.
The Wolves will have a big crowd for their first home game of the season, with the match a curtain-raiser for the A-League clash between Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory.
The 4-0 loss in week one likely set off a few alarm bells for coach Luke Wilkshire who would’ve had his team putting in extras during training this week ahead of this must-win clash.
Expect to see more of Leroy Jennings this week with the Wolves star recruit impressing despite only coming on as a second-half substitute against Rockdale Ilinden.
The defence will be a big focus, with experienced campaigners Nicola Djordjevic and Taylor McDonald needing to lead from the front for this young side.
Manly United come into this contest after an incredible added time equaliser in round one ensured they took home a point to start the season.
Coach Adam Griffiths will still be looking for improvement as his side was forced to chase the game against Mt Druitt.
New attacking option Ben Koop impressed on his Manly debut Seyia Kambayashi will be full of confidence after scoring.
Wollongong will be hoping the WIN Stadium faithful will help get them across the line against a youthful Manly United side which demonstrated last week that they are no walkovers.
Blacktown City FC v Northbridge Bulls, 3pm Sunday at Lily Homes Stadium
Three points will be on Blacktown City’s mind as they host Northbridge Bulls this Sunday afternoon at Lily Homes Stadium.
City was held to a scoreless draw last week by a resolute APIA defence and will be hungry to find the back of the net for this time this season against the Bulls.
The Mark Crittenden coached side showed flashes of what they are capable of in the round one draw with Travis Major and Sean Rooney’s impressive return, something which would’ve excited all Blacktown fans.
The attacking duo will carry most of the scoring responsibility this season and will be determined to get off the mark this week.
Grant Lynch showed why he is one of the best defenders in the league putting in a mammoth display and will be one to look out for on Sunday as will club captain Matthew Lewis who should be back in the starting line-up recovering from a pre-season injury.
Looking to stop them is a very talented Northbridge side which was seconds away from victory over Sutherland in round one before conceding a dramatic goal in the final seconds of added time.
The disappointment of that result will have them looking to make amends, and they will take solace in how they fought back last week to be in a position to win the match so late in the contest.
Former Western Sydney Wanderers Youth star Rory Jordan excelled for his new club last round, while Lachlan Sepping was the Bulls best against the Sharks.
With the likes of current Bulls A-League first teamers Jake Hollman, Yianni Nicolaou, Liam Rose, Moudi Najjar and Lachlan Rose on their NPL books as well, don’t be surprised if we see a couple of these faces pop up at Lily Homes on Sunday.
Blacktown will be the favourite for this match but don’t expect Northbridge to be completely out of their depth, with the young side capable of causing a few surprises.
Rockdale Ilinden v Sydney Olympic, 3pm Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale Ilinden takes on Sydney Olympic this Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre in what is a clash of the NPL NSW titans between two side’s with a lot of rivalry at stake.
A 4-0 win against Wollongong Wolves in round 1 was proof Rockdale is still the team to beat this season and will be looking to tighten their grip on the top spot on the ladder.
Ilinden’s talismanic striker ‘the baker’ Alec Urosevski started his campaign with a splash last week claiming a brace. If he is scoring freely this early in the competition it could be a big problem for opposition sides.
Japanese star Tomoki Wada was the breakout player of the season last year and he didn’t miss a beat against Wollongong. He will continue to be the centre of the Rockdale engine room.
Coach Steven Zoric will be hoping more of the same against a star-studded Olympic team this week.
Sydney Olympic went down to rivals Sydney United 58 in week one and will be determined to get their season back on track against another difficult opponent.
Olympic started fast against United 58 but was unable to find a breakthrough. Expect them to come out of the blocks this week with a bit more venom in front of goal.
Peter Kekeris was a stand out performer in the loss and the dynamic winger will once again be one to watch.
This game has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster and is one not to be missed.
Sydney United 58 v Sydney FC, 4pm Sunday at Sydney United Sports Centre
Back to back wins will be the agenda for Sydney United 58 as they host Sydney FC at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
United 58 took all three points from their season opener against rivals Sydney Olympic and will be full of confidence coming into this week’s clash.
The side hit the ground running in round one with brilliant attacking play with the team seemingly hitting their straps under the tutelage of new coach Tomi Vidovic.
Chris Payne was back scoring goals in the United 58 jersey as he scored the winner. He will be determined to add to his tally this week and will be joined by the return of their other star striker in Patrick Antelmi who is returning from suspension.
Glen Trifiro was used off the bench last week but expect him to play more minutes this week.
The Young Sky Blues pulled off one of the upsets of the round last week when they stunned Marconi Stallions.
It was a brilliant result for Sydney FC and goes to show last year’s fifth-place finish was no fluke.
Coach Jim van Weeran has his young side firing on all cylinders and they will be determined to shock the competition’s heavyweights.
Jaiden Kucharski scored the only goal of the game against Marconi with a delightful finish. It is sure to fill the talented youngster full of confidence going into this clash.
The Sky Blues may inject some young gun A-League first teamers once more in Callum Talbot and Luke Ivanovic who made their starts last week.
United 58 will be the favourites at home but Sydney FC has shown they are more than capable of defeating the top teams in the league.
Feature image courtesy of Football NSW