We’ve reached the penultimate round in the National Premier League’s NSW Women’s competition with the Premiership and finals races both still well and truly alive.
Football NSW Institute v NWS Spirit
The first match of round 25 takes place at Valentine Sports Park as Football NSW Institute host NWS Spirit.
These two teams arrive at this game not being in the best form.
The Institute have one win in their last five, while Spirit have managed one victory more in the same period.
Squad inconsistencies have been the Institute’s biggest downfall and despite all the problems they have faced, have not had a poor season all things considering.
Tiana Gauci will expect a reaction from her team, in particular with finals only a few weeks away and their place guaranteed after weekend results.
A team that was stubborn defensively has shipped 10 goals in their last five games, something they’ll need to rectify soon.
Bankstown City Lions v Manly United
Bankstown City are back at Jensen Park again this week as they host Manly United in a massive game for both teams.
Both teams are out of the hunt for finals football, but the relegation battle is still a danger that looms above both teams.
Bankstown showed great heart and character to battle for almost an hour with a player less last weekend to secure a vital point against the Northern Tigers.
It is the last time that the home team can add points to the club championship table and they will come into this one with real intent.
A victory for Manly here will secure their safety in the NPL competition for the 2024 season with one round to play.
Daisy Arrowsmith returns to her old stomping ground and wouldn’t she like to leave a mark on this fixture.
Blacktown Spartans v Bulls FC Academy – MOTR
The match of the round takes us to Rooty Hill as the Blacktown Spartans host Bulls FC Academy on Sunday evening.
There is so much riding on the line for both these teams but for differing reasons.
The Spartans are right in the middle of a relegation battle and with some solid results of late have given themselves a fighting chance.
Victory is imperative for Milan Jovanovic’s team to keep them alive come round 26.
Jaime Gomez’s side almost took a valuable point from the competition in form side Macarthur Rams but fell very, very late.
With only two games left and their finals fate out of their hands, all the Bulls can do is take maximum points and hope for results to go their way.
Emerging Jets v Gladesville Ravens
At Lake Macquarie on Sunday evening, the Emerging Jets take on the Gladesville Ravens.
It’s been a difficult campaign for the Jets, still winless after 24 games.
They have shown that they are able to hurt teams but have conceded too many goals to stay competitive in matches.
With their finals hopes all but extinguished, it has been a fantastic first season in the top flight for the Gladesville Ravens.
They need a miracle to qualify for finals football but a mid-week win over the Football NSW Institute and victory over the Jets on Sunday could have them in the mix come round 26 if results go their way.
Sydney University v Sydney Olympic
At Sydney University Football Ground, Sydney University welcome Sydney Olympic.
Only one loss in their last five and Emily Husband will be asking her team where was this form earlier this season.
They would no doubt like to push for as high a league position as possible and two wins in their last two games could take them as high as seventh in the table.
It’s simple for Sydney Olympic, win the last two games and hope that results from Bulls FC Academy and the Northern Tigers go their way.
No victories in their last five and scoreless in as many games has seen them drop out of the finals places and put them on the brink of elimination.
Illawarra Stingrays v Macarthur Rams
The Macarthur Rams travel down the south coast to take on the Illawarra Stingrays at Macedonia Park on Sunday.
Much like Sydney University, the Stingrays seemed to have left their good form too little too late.
They’ll be happy they don’t need to worry about relegation in the final two weeks having secured wins over top placed APIA Leichhardt and third placed NWS Spirit.
Incredibly, their finals hopes are still alive with a game in hand and if they can pick up three victories, they will give themselves some chance of play off football.
Having worked so hard to chase down APIA Leichhardt, the Rams almost threw it all away against Bulls FC Academy before veteran Leena Khamis came on to secure all three points in a dramatic finish to the game.
They get coach Stephen Peters back on the touchline this week but will be without the suspended Bethany Gordon.
Macarthur must win to take the Premiership race down to the wire.
Northern Tigers v APIA Leichhardt
A massive game takes place at North Turramurra as the Northern Tigers host league leaders APIA Leichhardt.
The Northern Tigers fought hard last weekend but were unable to take all three points against a stubborn Bankstown City outfit.
They are in pole position to play finals football again and with two wins in their last two games that will be secured.
But they face one of the best teams in the competition and will need the likes of Isabel Gomez and Claudia Cholakian to step up.
APIA recovered after the incredible collapse two weekends ago against the Illawarra Stingrays, defeating Gladesville Ravens 3-1.
APIA knows that two wins in their last two games will see celebrations go deep into the night next Sunday at Lambert Park but need to take care of the job in a difficult away trip this week first.
Interestingly, these two will clash again in a couple weeks in the first ever Sapphire Cup Final.
By – Nikola Pozder