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ROUND 4 PREVIEW – NPL NSW WOMEN’S

Round Four beckons in the NPL NSW Women’s competition with a new leader at the top of the league ladder following the completion of a rescheduled game. 

Some major games headline this round of action with the potential for major changes on the competition table.

 

Sydney Olympic v APIA Leichhardt 

The titans clash at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon as Sydney Olympic host APIA Leichhardt in what will be part of a memorable ‘Festival of Football’ as organised by the two iconic clubs.

Two competition favourites lock horns so early on in this campaign and what a way to open the round.

After a shock first game of the season defeat two weeks ago, Olympic were staring down the barrel of their second straight defeat on Sunday evening. With the clock winding down at Jensen Park, Cortnee Vine turned it on and Olympic managed two late goals to secure their first win of the season.

Vine was incredibly key to every Olympic attack and will be their main weapon this weekend. George Beltsos’ team is still not where the Olympic coach would want them but a come from behind win is very pleasing and great for confidence.

APIA have a full quota of games under their belt, two wins and a loss in their first three matches of the season.

They will need to be at their best on Sunday when they travel to Belmore. Youngster Claudia Cicco will have her hands full and it will be a real test of her maturity as well as the leadership of Tori Tumeth.

The match could be decided in the midfield when Rhianna Pollicina and Taylor Ray lock horns in what promises to be a real battle.

We’ve got a real exciting match on our hands.

 

Emerging Jets v Bankstown City 

Bankstown City will travel north to take on the Emerging Jets at Lake Macquarie on Sunday afternoon.

The Jets pushed Uni hard a few weeks ago but lost their legs as the game progressed. They didn’t play last week and had the extra week to prepare, they’ll need to be super disciplined against one of the competition heavyweights.

It was a tough result to take last week for Bankstown having led for almost the whole match from start to finish. Three matches in and only one win to show for it for Matthew Costantini’s team, even though they may have deserved more.

Confidence may have taken a hit at Jensen Park but they will need to bounce back straight away. The Jets would love to pick up their first points of the campaign as well and get their season moving forward.

 

Illawarra Stingrays v Blacktown Spartans 

The Blacktown Spartans travel south down to the South Coast to face off against the Illawarra Stingrays.

Top of the table at the time of writing, Brad Attard’s team, somewhat under the radar, is really placing themselves as a proper contender for the Premiership and honours at the end of the season.

Hard work rate for the full 90 minutes is what you will get from the Spartans and you can only see this side improving. Three straight clean sheets for Sally James and the girls from Blacktown make them an extremely difficult team to break down.

Two games, two losses for the Stingrays. It has not been the best start to the campaign for Anthony Guido’s team but there were definitely passages of positivity. Chloe Middleton’s first half injury last weekend could be an issue for the home side here and the Stingrays will hope she is back on the pitch sooner rather than later.

They are at home for the first time in 2022 and they will hope to pick up their first points at JJ Kelly Park in the new season.

 

Northern Tigers v Manly United 

It’s derby day at North Turramurra as the Northern Tigers host Manly United on Sunday afternoon.

A fine start for Jake Stephenson and the Northern Tigers. So far the coaching transition hasn’t changed anything and the Tigers look as menacing and dangerous as ever.

Two straight wins, including a statement victory against APIA, they enter this one brimming with confidence. North Turramurra is a daunting place to go and the Tigers will try make their home a fortress as it has been before.

Manly has had a solid start to their 2022 campaign. Two games, no losses and a massive win against Sydney Olympic. They travel to the Tigers with nothing to lose making them a very dangerous prospect here.

Yet to concede a goal this campaign, Nicole Simonsen in between the sticks and the Manly defence have been keeping it tight but will have a real test on their hands against one of the competitions most potent attacks.

 

NWS Spirit v Sydney University 

NWS Spirit will play their second consecutive game at home on Sunday afternoon as they host Sydney University at Christie Park.

It was a much improved display against the Northern Tigers last Saturday night but it wasn’t enough for Adam Keramea’s team to record their first points of the new campaign.

They have already conceded over 10 goals in their first three outings and will need to work on fixing some of their defensive issues.

Sydney University suffered their first defeat of the season on Wednesday night, going down by the odd goal to Blacktown Spartans. They were good for the majority of the fixture and perhaps the better team but they could not find an equaliser.

 

Macarthur Rams v Football NSW Institute 

At Lynwood Park on Sunday afternoon the Macarthur Rams will host the Football NSW Institute.

It’s been some start to the season for Stephen Peters’ team, nine goals in two games and they are finding the back of the net with ease. With no game last week though, will their momentum take a hit is the question?

Double hat-tricks to star Japanese import Miku Sunaga and Laura Murtagh a few weeks ago will have the opposition defence weary of the threat they can bring. Not to mention who the Rams had on the bench…Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook. Daunting, to say the least.

The Institute have only played one game in the first three rounds of the competition so it’s tough to gage where they are form wise’

They gave a good account of themselves a few weeks ago against a strong Spartans team but will really have their work cut out on Sunday. Another strong defensive display will be required and some players will need to step up.

-By NPL NSW Women’s Chief Writer and Commentator Nikola Pozder