‘Six Rounds’ remain in the #NPLWNSW competition with a number of teams still catching up in what will be a frantic finish to the season.
Bankstown City v Sydney University
What a way to open round 17 with a massive clash at Jensen Park as Bankstown City host the league leaders Sydney University.
Full of confidence after three straight victories, Bankstown City will feel confident they can put up a real fight against the table toppers.
Matt Costatini’s team came away with an important win on Sunday, giving themselves a real chance of playing finals football. For Bankstown though, they cannot drop any points and the task won’t be easy by any stretch against Uni.
A victory could put Bankstown just one point outside the top four with five weeks to go.
Another fine defensive performance, another clean sheet and their lucky 13th game without defeat after beating APIA Leichhardt.
Should Uni take all three points here, they will definitely be another step closer to securing the Premiership. Rola Badawiya is finding the back of the net at will while Courtney Newbon at the other end has only conceded six goals all season.
Emily Husband’s team has been extremely difficult to break down, even under extreme pressure and it has become a signature mark of their season.
Bankstown showed true grit when they met last time, down to 10 they managed to salvage a late draw, 1-1.
Blacktown Spartans v Northern Tigers
Another game at Blacktown Football Park as the Blacktown Spartans welcome the Northern Tigers.
Finals football is most definitely getting away from the Spartans after suffering another defeat on Sunday. With only one win in the last two months, the Spartans have slowly tumbled down the ladder, currently sitting in ninth place.
Brad Attard will be one of the most frustrated coaches in the competition with all the difficulties him and his team have faced this season. They have not given up though and have been right in games until the final moments on a number of occasions.
Consistency has cost the Northern Tigers in recent weeks. It has seen them drop off the pace in the battle for the Premiership but remain in second place on the competition ladder.
Maddie Bart was unavailable last week but could make a return Sunday which would be a great addition to the team. Malia Steinmetz was colossal at the back as was Izzy Gomez in midfield and they will be key.
This one finished goalless when they played back in May.
Illawarra Stingrays v NWS Spirit
The Illawarra Stingrays should be at JJ Kelly Park on Sunday evening as they prepare to take on NWS Spirit.
If they make the finals, it will be some ride and an incredible come back by Anthony Guido’s girls. Having spent most of the season away from their home at JJ Kelly Park, ravaged by the wet weather, they have overcome adversity to stay in the hunt.
They are currently on a five-game unbeaten run and are hitting form at the perfect time of the season. Michelle Carney has once again proven that age is just a number and is leading the line for the Stingrays.
The good form continues at NWS Spirit as well. They managed to pinch a point from Manly United on Sunday and have only lost once in the last month, a tough defeat to take against Sydney University.
Sophie Harding has shone since Tiana Gauci took the helm and has been an important part of Spirit’s renaissance.
The Stingrays won the first clash, coming away with a tight 2-1 victory.
Manly United v Emerging Jets
The Emerging Jets have their shortest away trip of the season as they travel to Cromer Park to take on Manly United.
The Jets made it hard for Sydney Olympic last week, pushing them all the way and having to settle for a 1-0 defeat. There has definitely been an improvement up North, having lost the first game against Olympic 5-0.
They will take last week’s performance into this week and hope for a positive result.
Manly United registered their jubilee 10th draw of the season, yes, you read correctly, 10th draw out of 15 games. They have only lost two games all season with only the Northern Tigers (2nd place) and Sydney Uni losing the same amount or less.
They haven’t been able to close off games and just like on Sunday, they let a lead slip. A win gives them hope and keeps them in the finals hunt, anything else, could spell the end of their finals dreams.
Manly took the points in a seven-goal thriller last time out, defeating them 4-3 at Lake Macquarie.
Sydney Olympic v Macarthur Rams
What a way to complete the round on Sunday evening at Belmore Sports Ground as Sydney Olympic host the Macarthur Rams.
Olympic took the points last week but probably didn’t play at their best. At the end of the day, the three points is most important. This is without doubt a six-pointer and probably a more important game to take the points in for the blue and whites.
They have a host of games to catch up on but will make their own job easier in the run in if they can defeat a direct rival for that all important fourth place.
George Beltsos’ team is probably as strong as they can be at this point in the season and will be expecting to take the points.
The Rams would be disappointed they didn’t take the points last weekend. They were punished for a slow start but got back into the game as it progressed and took a point. They were good for three, but had to settle for the one.
A slow start here and you do not see Olympic letting them get back into the game which will seriously dent their finals hopes.
Alex Huynh should be back in the centre of defence even though Madison McComasky and Lauren Keir did a fine job on Sunday. Mel Caceres was in excellent form also and will be important to the Rams going forward.
Olympic took the points with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Lynwood Park back in round 6.
Football NSW Institute v APIA Leichhardt PP
-By NPL NSW Women’s Chief Writer and Commentator Nikola Pozder