The Northern Tigers lead the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s competition, at least until 9:30pm tonight after over-taking the Macarthur Rams on Sunday.
Victory for Sydney Olympic in their catch up game against Sydney University will see them jump from fourth to first.
The Jets host Illawarra, while Uni and the Spartans clash after playing each other only a couple weeks ago.
Bankstown will be looking to get back to winning ways against Manly, as will Macarthur against the Koalas.
Olympic complete their double up against the Institute and the Northern Tigers seek revenge against APIA.
Emerging Jets v Illawarra Stingrays @LMRFF Speers Point, 3pm
At LMRFF Speers Point, the Emerging Jets will host the Illawarra Stingrays.
With zero points at the half way point of the season, the Emerging Jets are in last place on the competition ladder.
Their lack of points on the board can somewhat be said to be ‘unlucky’ and a result of less experience against their older opponents.
They made life difficult for the Spartans on the weekend, as they have for most this season and the Stingrays can’t expect anything else.
Should they be able to knock off some simple errors, they could spring a surprise here.
Desperate for a win last week, the Stingrays delivered when nobody expected it.
To stay within touching distance of the five, nothing but a victory would be deemed acceptable and knowing they did it without Caitlin Cooper adds an even greater element to what they did.
The Stingrays had only won one of seven matches before the weekend fixture and have now set themselves up for the second half of the season.
They cannot drop points in games they’re expected to take all three, like Sunday, in order to make finals football.
Michelle Carney once more proved her importance to the team with the winning goal on Sunday, taking her season tally to eight, comfortably leading the clubs goal scoring charts.
It was a comfortable 3-0 win to the Stingrays in round one.
Sydney University v Blacktown Spartans @Arlington Oval, 3pm
Sydney University takes their home match against the Blacktown Spartans to Arlington Oval on Sunday afternoon.
These two clashed just over a month ago in an absolute see-sawing five-goal thriller in which Sydney Uni came out on top.
Since that victory, Uni have gone on to register two losses and three victories and put themselves in seventh place (potentially fourth if they defeat Olympic).
They were very comfortable on Sunday, almost too comfortable and went on to hammer Bankstown 4-0.
Emily Husband was able to give her leaders Torpey, Galic and Peak an early mark and some extra rest ahead of the tough week that is to come.
Torpey picked up a brace (should’ve had four), and took her goal scoring tally to six. While the introduction of Demi Koulizakis in the second half on the weekend lifted the team’s tempo.
The Spartans are only a point outside of the top five after a fantastic month and a half, Brad Attard’s side are one of the form teams of the competition.
Blacktown’s last loss came against, you guessed it, Sydney University.
Since then, one draw and four victories, catapulting them up the ladder into fifth place.
Depite losing Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin to national team duty, the Spartans haven’t been affected as yet.
Ash Crofts has found her scoring boots with goals in back to back games and that will be a positive sign for Attard, while Maja Markovski has been on fire, scoring seven so far.
The first half of the season though for the Spartans belongs to Sally James. The Spartans goalkeeper has been in outstanding form and is no doubt one of the best custodians in the league.
Bankstown City v Manly United @Jensen Park, 3pm
Manly United will travel to Jensen Park to face Bankstown City on Sunday afternoon.
Picking up a massive win over Sydney Uni two weeks ago, you felt that it would be the turning point of Manly’s season.
It wasn’t to be though, going down unexpectedly to the Stingrays on Sunday.
Only four wins in the first half of the season isn’t acceptable for the champions though and their finals hopes are already hanging by a thread.
Only a victory will keep their post-season hopes alive, sitting at least six-points out of the top five currently.
Tom Hopley without a doubt has the quality to turn it around but time is slowly starting to run out for the Northern Beaches side.
They’ll need Remy Siemsen and Tara Andrews firing in the next 11 rounds to give themselves a chance of defending their trophy.
Bankstown was going in the right direction with two straight wins but their positive vibes were quickly extinguished by Uni on Sunday.
They started brightly, looked okay but couldn’t deal with Uni’s high press and sheer quality, in the end succumbing to a 4-0 defeat.
Every time Olivia Price was on the ball, things looked positive for the Lions and she is key to what they do moving forward.
Their woes have been in the front third though and Matthew Costatini will be hoping he’s solved that by snapping up former Northern Tiger Daisy Arrowsmith who will debut in a couple weeks time.
For the Bankstown coach, this season is about improving on last (which they already have) and continually getting better year after year so they will be looking for an improved performance come Sunday.
Manly came away with a 3-1 win the last time these two met.
Macarthur Rams v North West Sydney Koalas @Lynwood Park, 4pm
Lynwood Park is the venue for Sunday’s clash between the Macarthur Rams and North West Sydney Koalas.
Leading the league from round one, right on the half way mark, the Rams have slipped off first place and could find themselves in third place at the end of the night.
Nevertheless, they’ve defied all the odds and pre-season predictions, playing a fine brand of football with a tight defence.
Stephen Peters has done well to turn things around at Lynwood park and is getting the best out of experienced faces Leena Khamis and captain Renee Rollason.
Laura Murtagh has been having a solid season along with Patty Charalambous and Mel Caceres.
The Rams have only won one game in the last month and will need to snap out of the poor run of form as soon as possible.
Incredibly, the Rams could find themselves outside the top five should they fail to win on Sunday.
Another game, another tight loss for the Koalas.
They haven’t been as prolific as they’d like, nor have they been as disciplined as they should be in defence, all culminating in 10th place on the ladder.
Only two wins this season, and four losses in their last five starts has them some way off finals football.
Adam Keramea’s team though seem like they are one who can beat anyone on their day and with game changers like Nat Tobin, Sophie Harding and Rachael Soutar in the line-up, opposition teams need to be aware.
Should they be able to stay concentrated and focused for the full 90 minutes, the Rams will most definitely have a tough time of it.
The Rams came away with the spoils in a confident performance in round one, winning 3-0.
Sydney Olympic v Football NSW Institute @ Belmore Sports Ground, 6pm
Sydney Olympic will meet the Football NSW Institute on Sunday at Belmore Sports Ground.
And the home side could enter this fixture on top of the competition ladder should they secure all three points tonight in their final catch up game.
After a surprise defeat two weeks ago at the same venue to the Koalas, George Beltsos’ team bounced back to win a difficult match against the Macarthur Rams.
Aside from that Koalas defeat, the only other time Olympic was defeated in 2021 was against their weekend opponent.
There really only was one team that night and Olympic weren’t at the races as the youngsters ran away with a 4-2 win.
Since that loss in mid-May, the Belmore based side has been on fire, winning four of the five games that followed, all without inspirational leader and captain Teresa Polias.
It’s been up to players like Mazckenzie Hawkesby and Aimee Phillips to lead the way with five goals each so far.
A minor blip in form has seen the Institute slide down into fifth place on the ladder, on the edge of dropping out of the top five.
Three straight matches without a win and only two victories since that game against Olympic, Jaime Gomez will be expecting his team to lift sooner rather than later.
Charlie Rule was a woman on a mission when they met last, scoring a hat-trick and putting Olympic to the sword.
Holly McNamara got the other that night and these two will again be key to everything the Institute can produce.
The Institute have the best defence in the competition and they’ll need to be on their game this week against the dangerous firepower that Olympic possess.
Northern Tigers v APIA Leichhardt @North Turramurra, 3:30pm
In the final match of the afternoon has the Northern Tigers hosting APIA Leichhardt at North Turramurra.
Jason Eagar’s squad sits in first place after 11 rounds but may not be there by the time this one kicks off on Sunday.
It seems as though every time Eagar’s team losses, they quickly recover and go out the following few weeks and make some statement victories.
That was the case in the last two weeks, defeating the first placed and second placed teams in consecutive rounds.
Shadeene Evans has been the form player in the last few weeks for the Tigers and is well supported by top scorer Lauren Allan.
The Tigers need a win here to keep their premiership push going, in particular against a direct rival in the race.
Their opponents, APIA, snapped a three match winless run last week.
They did it tough though, throwing away a two-goal lead before scoring late on to secure all three points.
APIA’s major problem has been consistency and the fact that they haven’t been able to put up a run of victories together.
With Princess Ibini back on the training paddock, we could expect her on the park as soon as this weekend, a welcomed addition to Spencer Prior’s team.
Thanks to the arrival of Leah Davidson, who has fit in well, Rhianna Pollicina can now venture forward as she did Sunday, scoring one of her trademark goals and her first of the season.
When these two met back in early May, APIA took the points with a 3-1 victory, in a very close, evenly fought encounter.
BY: NIKOLA POZDER, CHIEF NPL NSW WOMEN’S WRITER