NPLW Round 13 Preview
Monaro Panthers v Canberra Olympic | Saturday, 3pm @ Riverside Stadium
Canberra Olympic will be looking to halt a recent slide when they face Monaro Panthers at Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Olympic drew with Woden-Weston during the week which extended their winless streak to four matches which has left them six points outside fourth spot. While this game shapes as winnable for Olympic on looking at the table, it was not long ago that the Panthers knocked over Olympic for one of their three wins and the two are now separated by only four points on the table. After beginning the year strongly Eddie Senatore’s side have faded, and they need to begin an upswing here. This match precedes a tough fortnight of matches against the Academy and then Canberra FC, so a result here is seemingly vital.
For Monaro, they picked up win number three last weekend against Tuggeranong and will want to build on that against an opponent they have already knocked off once. Zoe Szeremet scored a brace last week and she will be dangerous here against a defence that has struggled to keep out goals so far this season. Olympic have the leakiest defence of any side in the top five and if the Panthers can give Szeremet and Alicia Meuronen the service they need then they will have chances to score. The Panthers will need to tighten up their own backline though having conceded 54 goals, and with Olympic having an array of attacking weapons.
Canberra FC v Belconnen United | Sunday, 2pm @ Deakin Stadium & LIVE on BarTV Sports
Canberra FC and Belconnen United will meet in a blockbuster on Sunday afternoon, that can be watched LIVE on BarTV Sports. Both sides are undefeated since their encounter in round one, with Canberra FC only dropping points in a draw with the Academy last weekend. The biggest impact of that match will be seen this weekend though, with Chantel Jones now out after injuring her ACL towards the end of the first half. Jones has been a strong presence in midfield for Mark Risteski’s side, and both Jones and Grace Gill missed the round one clash between these two sides. Gill is set to return this week in a boost for the side and she will help ensure there is not a repeat of the 4-0 result from round one. This side has gelled and improved since then and will have a red-hot run at Belconnen this weekend.
United are still yet to drop a point all season and they will back themselves to continue that here. Michaela Day told media on Friday that the side carries a good amount of confidence into every game during the season, and having scored 12 unanswered goals in their last two matches there’s no reason for that to change ahead of Sunday. Caitlin Munoz is back fit and firing and will add to the already experienced side in this grand final rematch, while Antoni Jagarinec has an embarrassment of riches to pick from up front. Both of these sides are in great form and are 11 and nine points in front of third place, so have wiggle room. This one is set up to be a belter, so tune in on Sunday afternoon.
Woden-Weston v Gungahlin United | Sunday, 2pm @ Woden Park Enclosed
Gungahlin United have won four straight matches since a round nine loss to Canberra FC and take on Woden-Weston this weekend. They are sitting pretty in fourth spot and now six points clear of Canberra Olympic, and eight ahead of Sunday’s opponents. Another win here would put them in a great position approaching the business end of the season, but Diego Iglesias will not be looking that far ahead this weekend. The last time these sides met United gave up a 90th minute equaliser, and Iglesias will want his team to start fast this week and take the game right to the end. Freyja Jacobson and Chantel Lynch both impressed last week and in the midweek clash with Tuggeranong, and they will be important here to control the game. A win here against a potential opponent for fourth spot could be invaluable as we enter crunch time of the season.
For Woden-Weston, they came from two goals down to steal a draw with Canberra Olympic in a rescheduled clash and will want to begin making up ground on the top four here. As she did in the earlier clash with United, Cassia McGlashan tied it up late during the week to help break a short winless run. The Wanderers are only two points ahead of Monaro now and two behind Olympic, and need to avoid getting caught up in a logjam chasing pack. Woden-Weston face Monaro and Tuggeranong after this weekend before a super-tough stretch to finish the season, and must pick up something from this clash with Gungahlin to set themselves up for a run at finals.
Tuggeranong United v Canberra United Academy | Sunday, 3pm @ Greenway Enclosed
The Canberra United Academy and Tuggeranong United will face off in the final game of the round on Sunday at Greenway Enclosed. The Academy will be chasing maximum points to keep touch with Belconnen United and Canberra FC after dropping points to the latter last weekend so expect them to come out firing. Ryan Grogan will be without Emily Jensen after she sustained a shoulder injury last week, and will be preparing for the loss of Karly Roestbakken when she heads to the 2018 AFF Women’s Championship in Indonesia at the end of the month. The last time these two faced off Tuggeranong got off to the perfect start when Adriana Ilheo put the visitors in front, and Grogan will want to avoid such a start this time.
Michael Aldred on the other hand will be hoping for a similar start, as his side still chase their first points of the season. United have struggled to convert chances this season, and lack the experienced edge that many teams in the league do have. Two losses to Gungahlin in recent weeks have come despite largely decent performances, but they must sustain that for the full 90 minutes to be effective. Aldred will be without Christina Esposito as she heads overseas for a couple of weeks, meaning his squad will be stretched thinner than normal. This will be a tough outing for his young side against one of the form teams in the competition.