By Chris Webb
ANU FC V Canberra Olympic | Saturday, 3pm @ Willows
ANU host high flying Canberra Olympic, coming off the back of their shock draw with newcomers Brindabella. More worrying for ANU will be the fact that after their amazing 12 goals in the opening game, the usually prolific students have scored just one goal in the past 180 minutes of league football. Reports of the ANU players standing as one on the change-room benches and proclaiming, ‘O Captain my Captain’ for Sam Carters to then respond for his charges to ‘Carpe Diem’, are unfounded. Regardless as only the two Arts Majors understood Latin, it was not enough to inspire a come from behind victory for the students. The visiting Olympians will be arriving with the taste of bitter and sweet in their mouths, being the only team to win all three games so far this season only to have the round one points stripped. ANU is unquestionably the yard-stick for this league, a win here for Olympic would well and truly confirm them as one of the title favourites. Their on-field general Tom Crossley will be hoping to fair better this Saturday than at the local Two-Up ring on Wednesday.
White Eagles v Brindabella Blues | Saturday, 3pm @ Phillip 202
White Eagles saw their perfect start take a hit as they lost a tight game to O’Connor Knights in a game that lived up to its spicy billing. While a number of players spent some forced time on the pine, the Mighty Eagles were unable to capitalise on a Knights’ red card. Despite the loss, Eagles fans would have been excited to see star recruit Milan Popovich take the pitch and hope he can get a string of matches under his belt. With the attacking qualities of Vuk Vucic, Pep Varga and Nik Noveski the Eagles are sure to see the goals start to rain, and likely sooner rather than later.
They welcome to the Eyrie, a Brindabella side that will be riding a massive wave of confidence after last week’s draw with ANU. Danny Babic is still enjoying a purple patch with his first half strike against ANU making it three in two weeks and he will be the one Eagles should need to keep an eye on. A midfield battle between experienced and talented midfielders Dejan Santrac and Tom Hirst will be worth attending for.
Queanbeyan City v O’Connor Knights | Saturday, 3pm @ Riverside Stadium
Despite their hammering in the open round, Queanbeyan now find themselves outright top of the league. A solid one-nil victory over a tough Narrabundah side was backed up with an impressive FFA cup display, narrowly falling to a Gungahlin United consisting of the majority of the ACT’s National Youth League side. Big Davie McCarron grabbed Queanbeyan’s goals in each of those games and will again be a handful for Rogic and Dodd in the heart of the Knight’s defence. The visiting Knights also had a big FFA cup night, putting on a show to hammer SL1 side Woden Valley to the tune of nine-zip. The star of the show was the imposing Brandon Hawker scoring a typical towering header and even delighting the crowd with a few curve balls, for no extra cost. Hawker channelled his inner Harry Kane, claiming a hat-trick goal from team mate Jake Wilsener. Coach Trninic will be hoping the reported tension between the pair doesn’t spread through his change room. While top spot is on offer for either team, both will likely feel the effects of playing midweek.
Weston-Molonglo v Narrabundah FC | Saturday, 3pm @ Waramanga
After an impressive opening round Woden-Weston find themselves in a mini form slump after picking up just a solitary point from two games where they would have fancied six. The Magpies missed the likes of Jack Rutherford and Adam Johnston last week, and will be hoping they are available for the upcoming clash. This week they face an opponent who took all six points off Weston in 2017, the only team who bettered them on aggregate last year. Narrabundah come into this one on the back of a 1-0 win and 1-0 loss against the team’s first and second on the table. Their defensive solidity is clear to see, but their attacking stock is looking thin. They will welcome back striker Nick Caggiano returning from a terrible injury suffered last season, however coach John Zalunardo has still required his own service of late coming off the bench the last two matches.
Monaro Panthers v Southern Tablelands United | Sunday, 3pm @ Duncan
Monaro are back at home and desperate to break their scoring duck, after going goalless in the first three games of the league. Defensively they have looked solid, with Joel Valtonen unsurprisingly the early season standout, however going forward is a problem. Last week the Panthers had their chances, the best falling to the usually reliable Nick Mihailakis, who crashed a thundering volley against the crossbar. If they are to get off the mark, both with the ‘goals for’ and ‘wins’ columns, then this week’s visitors represent perhaps the best chance. Southern Tablelands United have already conceded 17 goals, at a rate of almost 6 goals per game. From the Steamers’ perspective they are two points ahead of the Panthers and go into this game as favourites. This match though is anyones for the taking and three points for either team would be a massive shot in the arm. The promise of ‘Plathy-hour’ after the game might be enough motivation for Monaro to get over the mark.