After a big weekend of results, the Capital League is back for Week Two, and here Chris Webb has a look at the matchups for this Round.
ANU FC (1-0) v Narrabundah Bulls (0-1)
Reigning league champions and premiers ANU started their title defense as predicted with a solid 2-0 win over a strong Canberra Olympic side. With the loss of two-thirds of their star ‘front three’ to the lure of Premier League football at Woden-Weston, the students will desperately welcome back this week former league golden boot Chase Deans for some needed experience upfront.
While Olaide Yinka-Kehinde and Danny Krajacic have departed, they have been aptly replaced, with former Canberra City NPL player Andrew Manley already finding his name on the scoresheet. This week they welcome Narrabundah to their artificial fortress, as the Bulls’ campaign didn’t get off to the greatest start, losing 2-0 to the Eagles.
They have also lost some firepower of their own with their talisman striker Kenny McDonald succumbing to a season ending injury (not too unexpected for someone of his advanced years). Overall however, Narrabundah look a more balanced side than last time out, and will be looking to build on a promising end to last season, and push for finals football. It doesn’t come any tougher than ANU at Willows however.
Cooma SC (0-1) v Canberra Olympic (0-1)
Cooma Tigers make their first appearance in Capital League this season, and with their big brother - Tigers FC, a dominant force in the NPL, Cooma will be looking to replicate that dominance here. This team has made the big jump from winning State League 2 in 2016, however they are packed full of ex-Tigers NPL players including the Schoon brothers, talented winger Jeremias Ibarra and wily striker Serdan Bircan.
In Cam Mackintosh, they have a striker who knows how to find the back of the net, he put away 25 last term, and is already off the mark in this campaign. They had a tough introduction to the league last week, losing 4-2 to a very strong Knights outfit, and this week they welcome a team that played finals football last season.
Canberra Olympic make the trip down the Monaro Highway, looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat at the hands of ANU. Olympic legend Robbie Schroder returns to the club to take the reigns as player/coach.
He and fellow returning Olympic legend Elie Salloum, will fit straight into a hole created by the loss of attacking players Oliver Wiederkehr, Matt Atkins and Richie Santiago. With the likes of former NPL stars John Stones, Dave McCarron and Chris Nikitas bossing the midfield, and the extremely talented Jeremy Hegarty controlling the defensive line, Olympic should once again be mix for trophy contention. They will need to start with picking up 3 points on their adventure down south.
White Eagles (1-0) v Queanbeyan City (0-1)
For most sides a second place league finish and a semi finals appearance marks a fairly successful season, but White Eagles aren’t most sides, for them it was a failure, which they plan to remedy. The Eagles got themselves off to a flying start (pun intended…cheers) with a solid 2-0 win over a Bullish Narrabundah side (I’ll stop…) with former NPL striker Pepe Varga grabbing a double.
The Eagles have radically strengthened their midfield with iconic midfielder Dejan Santrac returning home, after a foray in NPL with Tigers FC, coming off a fantastic campaign which saw him named the second top player in Canberra.
Also added is powerful midfielder Ohio Asikhai joining from Monaro Panther’s NPL side. These additions allow player/Coach Eric Bonnett the freedom to drop back into the defensive line to sure things up, overall creating a much more balanced White Eagles side this season.
This week is none over than the ‘Balkan Derby’ and while White Eagles have strengthened their opponents Queanbeyan City are simply a brand new outfit. Captain Matt Ryan, winger Mark Walker and midfield general Nik Noveski are all that remain from Queanbeyan’s grand-finalist squad from last season.
City didn’t have the greatest start to the season losing 3-0 at the Riverside home to Weston-Molonglo, the pain of the loss was very much compounded with the sending off of midfielder Igor Nedeski and the possibly season ending injury to their talented striker Alex Lazarov. The rivalry between the two clubs means this one is sure to be a cracker, and well worth the visit for the natural spectator.
Weston Molonglo (1-0) v O'Connor Knights (1-0)
The top of the table clash sees Weston-Molonglo host O’Connor at Phillip. The Magpies got themselves off to a great start, picking up three points at the notoriously tough Riverside stadium. Returning striker Tom Pagett grabbed himself a double, while new recruit Arden Law also got onto the scoresheet.
Weston were agonisingly close to finals football last term, finishing the season in 4th place, only to see Olympic pip them by a point after a post-season make-up game. They are determined to go one step closer, strengthened by a couple of shrewd pick-ups, most notably midfielder Aaron Cashman from Tuggeranong’s NPL side. The Knights are also coming of the back of a strong performance, banking four goals in round one.
One such scorer was new recruit, former ACT Rockets star and veteran NPL player Marcin Zygmount, who is sure to add plenty of fire power to an already strong Knights outfit. Zygmount is joined by another former Rockets rep player John Ison, who re-joins the club after a couple of year’s footballing hiatus.
Knight’s player/coach Michael Spaleta also got his first goal of the campaign, and knowing the talent he has at his disposal, will definitely have his eyes set on a top-four finish this season, if not higher. Last season’s honours where shared with both sides claiming single goal victories at home, this one is looking to be a fantastic game.