The Macarthur Rams have managed to hold on to the lead at the top of the competition ladder of the NPL NSW Women’s competition but another challenger rises this weekend in round 10 action.
They travel to North Turramurra to face the hungry Tigers, while Manly plays a must win clash against Sydney University.
A real six-pointer takes shape down the south coast between the Stingrays and Spartans, and the Jets and Lions will both be confident they can register victories on Sunday.
Sydney Olympic will look to keep their good form going against the Koalas as the Institute and APIA look to get back to winning ways.
Manly United v Sydney University @Cromer Park, Sunday 3pm
Sydney University will travel to Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon as they take on Manly United.
June will be a tough and testing month for the Students with six games on the schedule for them.
After a slow start where they didn’t win in their first two games, they lost only once in their last five outings with some impressive victories to boast about.
They proved many wrong who doubted their credentials after their uncharacteristic start, but now sit a point outside the top five with two games in hand on most of their rivals.
Holly Caspers and Kaitlyn Torpey have been standouts in the goal scoring departments while it’s the rock in defence of Taren King who keeps things tight at the other end.
Should June go well for Uni, they could find themselves right in the battle for premiership honours, a title they currently hold.
It’s disappointing at Cromer Park.
They had three points in the bag at the 44th minute of their match on Sunday but unfortunately for them, football games last 90 minutes.
They were playing some good football, could’ve been four-goals to the good had it not been for the phenomenal Sally James and then just stopped playing.
The drop was unexplainable from Tom Hopley’s side and the coach was devastated at losing all three points, fully well knowing that a win would’ve thrown them right back in the finals mix.
A win is imperative on Sunday and with the quality at his disposal, Hopley will be expecting his side to be at their best.
Illawarra Stingrays v Blacktown Spartans @JJ Kelly Park, Sunday 3pm
At JJ Kelly Park on Sunday, the Illawarra Stingrays host the Blacktown Spartans.
Only one win in six and two straight defeats has seen the Illawarra Stingrays drop out of the top five for the first time this season.
With Caitlin Cooper being selected into the Westfield Matildas squad (Congratulations to her), things will only get more difficult for the south coast side with one of their influential leaders absent.
With a tough run of games in front of them, they’ll need to reconsolidate quickly in order to keep their finals hopes alive.
Michelle Carney and Erica Halloway will need to step up now and help lead Bruce Tilt’s team.
Out at Blacktown Football Park, form has drastically improved and Brad Attard’s team is now closer to finals football.
This rise in form though coincided with the arrival of Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin to the squad, two players they will soon lose after gaining selection into the Westfield Matildas team, a fantastic achievement for these two talented youngsters.
But how will Attard’s side cope without them? Nevin’s replacement Tanya Borazio is out with an MCL injury and Cooney-Cross is one of their most important players.
Rosie Galea and Maja Markoviski have been playing well, the latter scoring her first hat-trick on Sunday in a Spartans jersey.
They showed excellent character to come from two-goals down and win over the weekend but will need youngsters Lowry and McKenna to step up in midfield with the imminent departure of Cooney-Cross.
Without a doubt, the Spartans currently have the best goalkeeper in the competition in Sally James, pouring confidence across the rest of her team with her saves and leadership.
Emerging Jets v Bankstown City @Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Sunday 3pm
Bankstown City travel North on Sunday afternoon to take on the Emerging Jets.
Fresh off their first win of the season, Bankstown enter this one full of confidence.
Matthew Costatini will believe his side can get on somewhat of a roll and a win here would set them up nicely for two straight home games.
Finishing has still been a major problem for them, even though only one was needed on the weekend, Meleri Mullan seems to possibly be the answer.
At the other end, Annie Grove was colossal in goals, pulling off a large number of top saves to secure Bankstown’s first three points of the campaign.
Finals are most definitely too far away but this season was all about consolidating and building for the future for Bankstown.
The tough season continue for the Jets, nine games and yet to register a point.
It genuinely seems as though the experience from their opponents gets the better of them as they are well in the battle for most games.
Nevertheless, they’ll feel they can take something from this game, in particular with it being at home.
Could the Jets score their first three points of 2021?
Sydney Olympic v North West Sydney Koalas @Peter Moore Field, Sunday 3pm
On Sunday afternoon at Peter Moore Field, Sydney Olympic host the North West Sydney Koalas.
The home team’s main problem in 2021 is consistency.
They have won their last three matches on the bounce but you get the feeling they should have picked up more points along the way.
Still, they have played two games less than most teams and came away with a magnificent victory on Sunday when they defeated premiership contenders APIA Leichhardt.
The last piece missing from the Olympic puzzle seems to be Cortnee Vine but with no real concrete return date, other will need to step up, other like the returning Sarah Yatim.
Yatim marked her full return with the winning goal in spectacular fashion on Sunday and she’ll be important to what Olympic do along with others such as Taylor Ray, Teresa Polias, Mackenzie Hawkesby and so on.
Aside from their round one defeat to Macarthur, the Koalas you can say have been unlucky so far in 2021.
Adam Keramea’s team has been right in the mix and usually only a goal away from a win or draw.
The inability to turn draws into wins and losses into draws has the Koalas in 10th place on the ladder.
With the quality the squad possess within, Keramea will be expecting things to turn around sooner rather than later.
Football NSW Institute v APIA Leichhardt @VSP, Sunday 3pm
It’s second against fourth on Sunday at Valentine Sports Park as the Football NSW Institute host APIA Leichhardt.
These two enter this one both coming off defeats in their previous round.
The Institute did it tough against the league leaders and fell away courtesy of two first half goals on Sunday.
Jaime Gomez will expect an immediate response, much like they did the last time they tasted defeat when they disposed of Sydney Olympic.
The task won’t be any easier against a tough APIA side and Gomez’s youngsters will need to be at the top of their game to tame the potent strike force that APIA possess.
An APIA side coming off a defeat to Sydney Olympic in front of a bumper home crowd.
The club has put together a side worthy of winning the competition stacked with quality W League players, it’s now time for the players to prove the preseason expectations are real and not just hype.
Lisa De Vanna and Georgia Yeoman-Dale, both missed out on call ups to the Westfield Matildas side and will now need to turn their focus to leading their young team following the disappointment of the recent announcement.
With fire in their belly, you’d hate to be the team they come up against this weekend.
But, someone’s loss is another’s gain and Spencer Prior will be able to count on two of his super stars for up coming fixtures.
Two wins and two draws in their last four matches, consistency will be key for Prior’s team as they look to get back on with their premiership push.
Northern Tigers v Macarthur Rams @North Turramurra, Sunday 3:30pm
In the final match of the round, all eyes will be on the top of the table clash at North Turramurra as the Northern Tigers host the league leaders, Macarthur Rams.
A massive battle is expected here along with the tussle for the golden boot as Rams’ Leena Khamis and Tigers’ Lauren Allan sit atop the ladder with seven goals apiece.
The Tigers have been very good and you wouldn’t expect anything less with the squad that Jason Eagar has at his disposal.
Since their opening day loss against the Stingrays, they’ve only lost to APIA and Jason Eagar will tell you that on both days, his team should’ve come away with more.
Aideen Keane is looking sharp, dangerous and in form, as is Shay Evans and top scorer Lauren Allan.
Winnie Heatley has been a rock at the back for the Tigers as has Malia Steinmetz in midfield.
They’ll expect all three points here and won’t be happy with anything less.
So the league leaders lost two weeks ago, but bounced right back and won their top of the table clash against the Institute…that wasn’t supposed to happen.
That was it for the Rams, their descent down the ladder should’ve started!?
No, Stephen Peters’ side fell off the bike, dusted themselves off and got straight back on it.
That is why they are real premiership contenders and that is why they currently lead the competition.
As mentioned earlier, Leena Khamis is in fine form as is captain Renee Rollason.
With the equal best defence in the league, Rollason and Sham Khamis have been massive for the Rams and they’ll be pivotal for a positive result on Sunday.
BY: NIKOLA POZDER, CHIEF NPL NSW WOMEN’S WRITER