Riverina Rhinos v Canberra Olympic | Saturday, 3pm @ Solar Mad Stadium
The Riverina Rhinos will be a step closer to wrapping up their season on Saturday when they host Canberra Olympic in their penultimate fixture. The Rhinos were officially relegated to NPL2 in a dismal loss to Gungahlin United last weekend and will be hoping for a better showing here. Jacob Donadel will miss this game after he was dismissed for a poor tackle on Antoni Timotheou, but the side should be looking to close out their second last home game with a strong showing. They have little to play for but pride themselves, however the match presents them with the chance to spoil the party for another team.
Olympic thrashed Woden-Weston last weekend and then watched storied rivals Canberra FC knock over the ladder leaders to help them pull within a point, and Frank Cachia’s side could be in first place overnight if they can get the points here. In the back of their mind will be the 1-0 loss they suffered to the Rhinos during last season thanks to a last ditch Samuel Scarfone winner, and will be wary of the need to be thorough and disciplined. Lasse Olrik will miss this game through accumulation of yellow cards Andre Jancevski will be in line for a return and the 2018 Grand Finalists will be looking forward to getting back on the bus with three points and teeing up a final day title decider.
Monaro Panthers v Belconnen United | Saturday, 5:30pm @ Riverside Stadium
It’s last chance saloon for both Monaro and Belconnen as they look to make a charge for fourth spot and a berth in finals. Both teams have enough points still on offer, but will need to pick up wins by a strong margin to make up the goal difference ground on Canberra FC if they end up level on points with them. Belconnen gave themselves a fighting chance with a gritty victory over Tuggeranong United last week and anything is possible at this stage. There are some injury concerns in Steve Forshaw’s squad though and managing those will be important if the Blue Devils are to make a strong impression through the final couple of rounds and into finals.
For Monaro, their last outing was a 1-0 loss to Tuggeranong but they return to Riverside Stadium this weekend where they performed strongly earlier in the season before dropping their last two games to Gungahlin and Olympic. They now haven’t won since round 12 against Canberra FC just over a month ago and their top four chances will be dashed if they do not pick up three points in this outing. The squad against Tuggeranong was plagued by injuries so Jimmy Kanaridis will be hoping to welcome back some numbers here. They will want to avoid a repeat of the round eight meeting with Belconnen, where they were thrashed 4-0 at McKellar in a disappointing performance.
Gungahlin United v Tigers FC | Sunday, 3pm @ AIS Synthetic
Gungahlin United have all but sewn up third place in the league after a strong campaign and will be looking to build momentum heading into finals across two big remaining matches. This weekend they take on Tigers and have the chance to spoil the Premiership party by making life much harder for Tigers who face a final day outing with Olympic. United were the first side to beat Gaby Wilk’s men this year when they beat them 3-1 at Nijong Oval and come into this game having scored 12 goals in their past two outings against Woden-Weston and the Rhinos. A strong performance here will be needed to overcome a side fighting for the title but Marcial Munoz’s side are on a roll as they approach a return to the finals.
Tigers fell to Canberra FC last weekend after dropping to Hume City in the FFA Cup and need to regain momentum here ahead of a likely title decider on the final day of the season. If they fail to pick up full points here then Wilk’s side face the prospect of heading into the game at O’Connor in second rather than first if Olympic triumph in Griffith, a daunting prospect. Against Canberra FC was the first time they have failed to score all season in the league and they will be up against one of the best defense’s in the league, which is not an ideal time to try and find your scoring boots. If they are to hold on to the Premiership and lead the charge into finals they need to buck their form and take hold of this match from the outset.
Tuggeranong United v Woden-Weston | Sunday, 3pm @ Greenway
Tuggeranong United and Woden-Weston will play out what is a dead rubber fixture on Sunday, with only able to move as high as fifth with both sides now out of the race for finals. A heavy defeat at the hands of Canberra FC on Wednesday night ended Tuggeranong’s chances but they will be looking to finish on a strong note through their final two matches here and in Griffith. Mitch Stevens has some tired and injured legs in the squad with Eddie Coggan just one player who has missed the last couple of outings and some of the youngsters may be given a further chance through the final rounds. Stevens’ men triumphed when these two teams met in the Federation Cup, but the result was reversed back in round eight and this serves as an unofficial season tiebreaker.
Woden were soundly beaten by Canberra Olympic last week, and are limping towards the finish having not won a game since the reverse of this fixture in round eight. Rey Castro’s side has also been beset by injuries including goalkeeper Willem Lejeune who has missed the last couple of games, and they finish the season with matches against United and Monaro. Away from home has not been a happy hunting ground for Castro and his men, with just one win and a draw to show for their travels. They will need to buck that trend hear and find another gear to defeat a Tuggeranong side who will be wanting to pick up the points in their final home match.