NPLW Round 3 Preview
Monaro Panthers v Tuggeranong United | Saturday, 13th April – 5pm @ Riverside Stadium - WATCH LIVE
Monaro will finally play their first game of the season when they host Tuggeranong United on a refurbished Riverside Stadium surface. Panthers had their first game of the season called off due to weather conditions before a reschedule saw them miss round two as well, so the team will be raring to go come Saturday evening. Ian Worthington has recruited strongly with a number of overseas players ready to take to the pitch, but he will hope that they are not sluggish or lacking match fitness having only seen action in training up to this point. They will back themselves against a Tuggeranong side lacking numbers this weekend but will need to be wary of a side trying to bounce back from two defeats.
Michael Aldred will again have a young side on the park this weekend with several injuries, and the side had struggled in attack as they await the arrival of Alice Linn from overseas who is sure to provide a boost to the struggling side. Last week against Gungahlin they were cut open far too often and were unable to contain them going forward, but they may have more success against a Monaro side with out the same depth of attacking options. After conceding 10 goals in the opening two matches it is clear where the issues lie, but fixing those issues is no simple task.
Canberra FC v Canberra Olympic | Sunday, 14th April – 2pm @ Deakin Stadium - WATCH LIVE
Canberra FC thrashed Woden-Weston by seven goals at Melrose last weekend and Nik Brozinic’s side will be heavily favoured here against club rivals Canberra Olympic. Canberra FC used their pace and width to cut Woden-Weston open and after seeing the way the Academy did the same to Olympic on Sunday they will be confident in their ability to create chances going forward. Grace Gill is in doubt with a hamstring injury however this side has the depth to cover the loss this season, and with Rachael Goldstein in excellent form after scoring six last week they will no doubt be looking for her up front. The runners-up from last season are yet to concede a goal and that record may well remain intact here.
Olympic were soundly beaten at O’Connor last weekend, conceding only twice in the first half before shipping seven goals in the second set of 45. They now sit rooted to the bottom of the table without having scored a goal, albeit having only played one game. They did create some chances against the Academy although too often Natinah Skinner was asked to do a bit much up top, and those chances were shut down in due course. This week will be a massive test for this team, and they will be big outsiders to get a result. However there will be some experience to be taken from playing a side like Canberra FC and will get a solid break from the league afterwards with the Easter weekend followed by the bye.
Gungahlin United v Belconnen United | Sunday, 14th April – 2pm @ Gungahlin Enclosed - WATCH LIVE
The Match of the Round sees Gungahlin United hosting Belconnen United at Gungahlin Enclosed, and it will be an interesting look at where two of the better sides in the league sit at an early stage. Gungahlin were solid against Tuggeranong last week but Diego Iglesias admitted they could have been better and that they will need to make marked improvements if they are to get a result here. They still managed six goals in that outing though will find it much tougher to break down a disciplined Belconnen United backline who are fresh off a bye weekend last round. Both teams have only played one game and while the result of this match can be brushed off by either side as early season form, the campaign is not long enough for either side to drop too many points.
It will have been a while since one looked at the table after two rounds and found Belconnen United down in sixth spot, but here we are in 2019. A goalless draw in round one followed by the bye has resulted in such an occurrence, but it is unlikely that Antoni Jagarinec is losing sleep over it. His side lacked fluency in the draw with Canberra FC and will need to be better in the final third on Sunday if they are to get more out of this game. His side still possesses a formidable spine but they need to click this weekend before another week off can halt momentum. The week off will however have given Jagarinec the chance to scout Sunday’s opponents so expect the Blue Devils to be prepared for what the hosts throw at them.
Wagga City Wanderers v Canberra United Academy | Sunday, 14th April – 2pm @ Gissing Oval - WATCH LIVE
The Canberra United Academy will be looking to keep momentum rolling after the 9-0 drubbing of Olympic last weekend, but Wagga City will be out to stop them in their tracks. Hayley Taylor-Young netted six times including three in three minutes late in the second half but the team are unlikely to be afforded quite as much space and time as they were at O’Connor. Plenty of positives came out of that game for the young side, particularly the way they responded to a round one loss, and if they can pick up another three points here they will be very well placed heading into a Federation Cup tie during the week and then the Easter break after that.
Wagga City had a week off following their inaugural win against Tuggeranong United at home and will be fresh as they welcome the Academy teams to Gissing Oval. Rachel Lyon was chief provider when they hosted Tuggeranong and she will be keen to make an impact once more against the Academy. For many teams in the competition Wagga City are a largely unknown commodity and they may be able to use that to their benefit, as well as being arguably the only side in the competition with a true home ground advantage. They currently reside on the edge of the top four and another win here would firmly entrench them in the hunt for finals at this early stage.