PS4 NPL: Big Weekend Ahead for Top Teams
There are some intriguing battles set to light up the Canberra autumn this weekend as the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues competition reaches Matchday 7 and, with the added Westfield FFA Cup fixtures taking place in midweek across the last seven days and the forthcoming week, clubs have needed to be extra vigilant in juggling their squads to ensure that they enter this round in as peak a condition as possible.
Belconnen United begin Matchday 7 when they take on Gungahlin United at McKellar Park on Saturday evening. The 5:30pm kick-offs are proving popular with the local supporters who have turned out in numbers to support the initiative and we should see another bumper crowd for the visit of the Gunners. The match is a repeat of last season’s Westfield FFA Cup Qualifying Final at the same venue but the cast list, especially in the white of the visitors, couldn’t be more different.
Indeed, Dustin Wells, signed with much fanfare by Gungahlin from the Blue Devils is now back in blue and preparing to face his former club. Well’s form saw him nominated as the Belconnen PS4 NPL Player of the Month for April and his pulling of the strings from a deeper position has been instrumental in creating space for the likes of Sam Smith and Jason Ugrinic to take advantage. Gunners meanwhile will be hoping that Jack Green’s return continues apace as the central defender brings assurance to the back four.
On Sunday Canberra FC roll out the welcome mat to Tigers FC with both teams set on securing the three points to help boost their title charge. When this pair meet goals are usually a given and we have witnessed some incredibly high-scoring matches in the past. Deakin Stadium’s vast open spaces should prove manna from heaven for the Tigers attack, who likes to stretch the opposition defence as much as possible.
A lengthy injury list has compounded Canberra FC’s problems in 2016 with James Field, Robbie Deeley and Nathan Evans all long-term absentees. The depth which FC used to take for granted isn’t the same this season but there is a clutch of eager youngsters willing, and able, to make the step-up to first grade action. As ever, FC will need their old heads like Ian Graham and Aidan Brunskill, to take control of proceedings.
Kambah 2 will provide the venue for the Southside derby as Tuggeranong United meets Woden-Weston FC. Matches between these two often are feisty affairs and with Southside supremacy on the line there is much to play for. Tuggeranong have enjoyed a good start to like under new coach Miro Trninic whilst Woden-Weston FC, under Martin Lategui, have more to offer with Spanish star Richy Hurtado Lora starting to settle into a groove and dictate the Woden-Weston FC game plan.
Canberra Olympic host the CU Academy at O’Connor Enclosed on Sunday afternoon in their latest match with Frank Cachia’s team ominously grinding through the gears as they look to mount a serious assault on the PS4 NPL Championship title. Their fast, free-flowing football has been on show in a number of matches this season and with the Academy also attempting to play a similar possession-based style of play, this fixture promises to be a high quality one with a lot to offer the football purist. The Academy will certainly be buoyed by their win over the FFA COE last Saturday with Samuel Whithear, Joshua Gulevski and Tomas Krklec prominent.
The final match-up on Matchday 7 sees Monaro Panthers welcome the FFA COE to the Riverside Stadium. Used to the lush, flat, open-spaces of the Australian Institute of Sport a visit to the Riverside will be a different kind of experience for the young Australians with the Panthers always a tough nut to crack on their own pitch. Graeme Plath, the Panthers Head Coach, has a number of effective young players of his own in the squad and they appear to be improving week on week.
FFA COE meanwhile will be looking to bounce back from their second home defeat in succession as CU Academy turned them over on Matchday 6. On the plus side John Roberts netted his sixth of the season and there were good showings from Jacob Italiano and Louis D’Arrigo, both of whom must be closely watched by the Panthers defence.
Saturday 14th May
Belconnen United v Gungahlin United (McKellar Park, 17:30)
Sunday 15th May
Monaro Panthers v FFA COE (Riverside Stadium, 15:00)
Canberra Olympic v CU Academy (O’Connor Enclosed, 15:00)
Canberra FC v Tigers FC (Deakin Stadium, 15:00)
Tuggeranong United v Woden-Weston FC (Kambah 2, 15:00)
7 Jason UGRINIC (Belconnen United), Stephen DOMENICI (Tigers FC)
6 Sam SMITH (Belconnen United), John ROBERTS (FFA COE)
4 Jordan TSEKENIS (Canberra Olympic), Jaidon SELDON (FFA COE), Nicolas ABOT, Daniel BARAC (Tigers FC)
3 Josip JADRIC, Thomas JAMES (Canberra FC), Tomas KRKLEC (CU Academy), Mitch STEENBERGEN (Gungahlin United), Mark SHIELDS (Monaro Panthers), Alex OLORIEGBE (Tigers FC)
2 Philippe BERNABO-MADRID, Daniel COLBERTALDO, Jeremy HABETMARIAM (Canberra Olympic), Sam WHITHEAR (CU Academy), Bryce BAFFORD (FFA COE), Ed MCCARTHY (Monaro Panthers), Domenic COLUCCIELLO, Marco GAYER, Andrew SLAVICH (Tuggeranong United)
1 Matt GRBESA, David KEMP, Goran MUKEVSKI, Cameron REINHART, Toby RICHTER, Dustin WELLS (Belconnen United), Nikola BARISIC, Robbie DEELEY, Domenic GIAMPAOLO, Ryan KEIR (Canberra FC), Tim BOBOLAS, Robbie CATTANACH, Angelo KONSTANTINOU (Canberra Olympic), Daniel FABRIZIO, Joshua GULEVSKI (CU Academy), Rahmat AKBARI, Lachlan BROOK, Louis D’ARRIGO, Mirza MURATOVIC, Marc TOKICH (FFA COE), Nathan DUCK, Jack GREEN, Alex MOSCARITOLO, Marcial MUNOZ, Liam WALSH (Gungahlin United), Darian MCGARRY-WATSON (Monaro Panthers), Julian BORGNA, Osman FOFANAH, Alan GASTON, Nahuel GUERRERO, Milan POPOVICH (Tigers FC), Nikolaos KALFAS, Emilio KISTA, Jonathan REIS, Sam SHADBOLT Tuggeranong United), Bensah AFIABO, Daniel DI-SALVATORE, Ben GRIEG, Tom HIRST, Matthew WATERS (Woden-Weston FC)