Woden-Weston v Monaro Panthers | Saturday, 3pm @ Melrose Synthetic
It’s the end of the road for Woden-Weston and Monaro in 2019 as they play their final regular season game at Melrose on Saturday afternoon. Monaro were knocked out of finals contention in a home loss to Belconnen United last weekend and will be hoping for a more convincing performance here. A win would allow them to move up to 20 points, but they will likely remain in seventh spot unless the Rhinos overcome Tuggeranong United in Griffith. Cleaning up at the back and reducing simple errors will be an important factor here, and Jimmy Kanaridis will know that if his backline can hold steady then his team has the firepower to overcome the hosts at Melrose.
Woden-Weston went ahead the last time these sides met before being pegged back and since that game they have picked up just two points in a devastating second half of the season. They flew out of the blocks with two wins in their first two matches but slowed down drastically, and despite flashes of brilliance they have struggled through the campaign. This weekend presents them with a chance to finish the season on a high, particularly at home, and they can take advantage of a Monaro side struggling for form with four losses in a row.
Riverina Rhinos v Tuggeranong United | Saturday, 3pm @ Solar Mad Stadium
Tuggeranong United have the chance to finish their season on a high on Saturday when they travel to Griffith to take on the Rhinos. Mitch Stevens’ men had their finals hopes ended by Belconnen United a few weeks back but bounced back to see off Woden-Weston last week and can firm up a sixth-placed finish with a win here. After making top four last year the missing of finals may be disappointing, but it has been something of an injury-plagued year for Stevens and his men who will be looking forward to recuperating and getting ready to go again next season. Victory would leave them only one short of their 2018 win total, but with 12 goals less scored it is clear where issues have lay.
For the Rhinos, they will be looking forward to the season’s end after a disastrous campaign. Their win against Belconnen was overturned leaving them with a solitary point for the campaign, and with only eight goals scored in 15 games it was always going to be hard for them to be a force in the season. This game represents a chance for them to finish on a strong note, but it will be tough to turn around their recent form which saw them well beaten by Olympic last weekend and has seen them score just twice in their last four games while conceding 24 times.
Canberra FC v Gungahlin United | Sunday, 3pm @ Deakin Stadium
Gungahlin United confirmed their top four spot was safe last weekend, but now Canberra FC must win to do the same following Belconnen United’s loss to the Riverina Rhinos being overturned. Luka Ujdur’s side have found some late season form and will be fresh for this game after having round 15 off with the bye. They know though that the last time they met they were soundly beaten by Gungahlin, to the tune of five goals at the AIS. This time though they have home ground advantage and after putting five goals past Tuggeranong recently at Deakin they will be confident they can get a result. Much will hinge on their ability to penetrate a Gungahlin United backline that remained disciplined and stoic against the Tigers last week.
For Gungahlin, they can now relax slightly knowing that their spot in the four is secure but it is unlikely they will back off with a full head of steam heading into finals. A clinical performance last weekend saw them past Tigers and the continuation of their match with Belconnen during the week was an exciting affair, with each side scoring three times in the 72 minutes. This weekend and the fixture free one before finals will allow Marcial Munoz some time to freshen legs and get his squad sorted for a big finals campaign.
Canberra Olympic v Tigers FC | Sunday, 3pm @ O’Connor Enclosed
For the second year in a row the Premiership will be decided at O’Connor on the final day of the season, as Canberra Olympic host Tigers FC in a bona-fide blockbuster. A year removed from defeat at the hands of storied rivals Canberra FC at O’Connor, Olympic go into this game ahead of their opponents, with a win or draw enough to secure them the Premiership and an NPL Finals Series date with NSW’s Wollongong Wolves. They romped to victory against the Rhinos last week with a dominant display and they have not lost in the league in over two months, since defeat to Canberra FC in their rescheduled round 10 match. That sort of momentum has propelled them through the back half of the season as they have dropped points just once and after a season in which they have lost just once at O’Connor they will start as likely favourites.
Tigers meanwhile were soundly beaten by Gungahlin last weekend and will need to buck a recent trend of form if they are to win the Premiership here. Losses to Canberra FC and Gungahlin last week have allowed Olympic to make ground on them and they now enter this title decider behind on points. A couple of chances were presented last week but not taken and Tigers need to be far more clinical if they get out on the front foot at O’Connor. They have form against Olympic having beaten them 4-1 in their round nine meeting at Nijong but haven’t beaten a top four side since then. This weekend serves a massive challenge to Gaby Wilk and his men and if they are up to the challenge then they will be confident heading into the Qualifying Final against Olympic.