There are four rounds to go in the National Premier League NSW Women’s competition, with much on the line across the league ahead of Round 23.
Macarthur Rams v Sydney Olympic – MOTR
The match of the round takes us to Lynwood Park on Sunday as the Macarthur Rams host Sydney Olympic.
It was a hard pill for the Rams to swallow last weekend where they felt they should have come away with all three points against APIA Leichhardt.
They remained undefeated though in a run stretching 13 matches and still have faint hopes of pinching first place.
Kelli Brown continued her fine form in front of goal which would have impressed Stephen Peters along with another excellent performance from his side.
Olympic only won two games in July, seeing them subsequently drop out of the top four.
Lynwood Park is a tough place to travel to when in search of three points but that is what George Beltsos’ team will need to do to stay in the finals hunt.
They have been left scoreless three times in their last four games, illustrating that the problem lies in the front third.
The Rams fought back from two down last time these two met and rescued a point.
Football NSW Institute v Bulls FC Academy
The action kicks off Sunday afternoon at Valentine Sports Park as the Football NSW Institute host the Bulls FC Academy.
Finals football seems a long stretch for the Institute after their defeat against the Northern Tigers last week.
They’ve had a solid enough season with the amount of selection headaches that Lisa Warrener has faced.
Jaime Gomez cannot afford to drop points against his for employer’s and knows his team must came away from the game with the victory.
Only one win in their last four has them one point outside the top four, further demonstrating how important a win is here for the Bulls.
Emerging Jets v Bankstown City Lions
The Emerging Jets welcome Bankstown City Lions to Lake Macquarie on Sunday evening.
What a special performance from the Emerging Jets last week, coming from four down to rescue a well-deserved point against NWS Spirit.
Brinley Gentle was again in fine form, further adding to her impressive goal scoring tally in 2023.
Bankstown and Matt Costantini would have been greatly disappointed following their last second defeat to Sydney University.
With a large number of his overseas contingent returning in the next 5-10 days, Bankstown’s squad will grow in personnel.
If they have any hope of finals football, they must win here.
Illawarra Stingrays v APIA Leichhardt
The league leaders APIA Leichhardt travel south to Macedonia Park to take on the Illawarra Stingrays.
It was a shock result for the Stingrays on Sunday as they went down to the Blacktown Spartans in a direct relegation clash.
The Stingrays no doubt have the quality and experience to cause APIA problems, in particular if Sarina Bolden becomes available.
They have been a bit of a bogey team for APIA in the past and will take confidence from that.
APIA are bruised and battered after their encounter with the Macarthur Rams over the weekend but will take great confidence from a well-earned draw.
They will take it a game at a time with the Premiership now only touching distance away from them.
The quality they possess is great and they should be taking the spoils in this one.
Manly United v NWS Spirit
Cromer Park will be the venue for Manly United’s clash against NWS Spirit on Sunday evening.
Manly have been much improved over the last two months of competition, only losing two times over that period.
They did not manage to score a goal in their last two outings and will be expecting Daisy Arrowsmith and Emily Minett to step up.
Saturday proved to be one of the shocks of the season as NWS Spirit let a four goal half time lead slip against the Emerging Jets.
Tiana Gauci will be expecting a reaction from her team, in particular having rested a number of key players for that game.
Third place is theirs to lose in the final four matches of the season.
Gladesville Ravens v Sydney University
On Sunday evening the Gladesville Ravens host Sydney University at Christie Park.
Finals football are still a possibility for the Ravens with a couple games in hand and some key clashes against teams around them.
They have definitely dropped off in terms of the form they showed in the first half of the season and will need to see it turn sooner rather than later.
If Emily Husband’s team can’t make finals, they will look to eliminate as many teams out of the fight as they can.
Their form is definitely going in the opposite direction to the Ravens and with two consecutive late 1-0 victories over Manly United and Bankstown City, they will come into this one full of confidence.
Northern Tigers v Blacktown Spartans
At North Turramurra on Sunday night in the final game of the round, the Northern Tigers host the Blacktown Spartans.
The Tigers look imposing at this point of the season and seem to have found form at the right time, only losing once in their last five matches.
They need to stay focused and disciplined here if they are to remain in the top four, having snuck in with victory on the weekend.
What a performance from the Blacktown Spartans on Sunday against the Illawarra Stingrays.
There is still a long way to go for them and repeat performance is required here from young guns Amber Luchtmeijer and Maja Prostran, who have come alive at the late stage of the season.
16-year-old Luchtmeijer has been particularly impressive, scoring four goals in her last three games.
By – Nikola Pozder