Monaro Panthers v Gungahlin United | Saturday, 5pm @ Riverside Stadium
Gungahlin United can seal their safe passage into the finals if they defeat Monaro at Riverside Stadium on Saturday evening. A 6-0 win over Wagga City last weekend means they are just a couple of points away from keeping Woden-Weston at bay, and farewelled Nat De Marco afterwards as she headed back to the United States. Diego Iglesias will be looking for a similarly clinical performance this time out, particularly against a team they beat 6-1 in the reverse fixture at the AIS back in round seven. Elke Aitolu was at the heart of everything the side did, grabbing two goals of her own and helping set up a couple of others. After a taxing season a win here would allow Diego Iglesias to rest some players in the closing weeks, although the opportunity to chase second spot may be too lucrative.
Monaro sat out last weekend with the bye and resume here at home for the first of their final three games. It’s a tough end to the season as they take on third-placed Gungahlin, ladder-leaders Belconnen and fifth-placed Woden-Weston and will want to chalk up a win having not tasted victory since round 10. Like United without DeMarco, the Panthers will have to do it without Darby Whiteley as she goes back to college football and the loss of her will be a big blow for the hosts. Their last outing was a 7-0 loss to Canberra FC at Deakin where they did not perform overly poorly but met a Canberra FC side having one of those days. Here against Gungahlin they will be hoping they don’t meet a similar opponent.
Canberra FC v Tuggeranong United | Sunday, 2pm @ Deakin Stadium
With Belconnen needing just two points from the final three games the Premiership race has been run for Canberra FC, but they must keep their foot on the gas to ensure they are not caught in second place. Gungahlin United are four points behind but also have a game in hand, and the two will meet on the final day of the season. Last weekend they did not play having beaten the Canberra United Academy 2-0 in their rescheduled fixture and take on a Tuggeranong side that they beat convincingly at Greenway in round seven. Nik Brozinic’s side are practically at full-strength after some injuries and missed games, including against Monaro when Krista Hagen deputised at full-back, and they should be too strong for United.
Michael Aldred’s side were pipped at the post by Woden-Weston after a strong performance last weekend and have been consistent improvers as the season has gone on. Before that they were just six points behind the Wanderers having been the big risers from last season, but they face a different challenge here. Kristy Helmers, scorer against Woden-Weston, and Sophie Bui have headed back to play college football and will be big outs, but the side put in a strong performance on Wednesday night in their rescheduled game against CUA. After going behind early to two goals the side went toe-to-toe against the Academy, and they will be buoyed by that performance heading to Deakin on Sunday.
Wagga City Wanderers v Belconnen United | Sunday, 3pm @ Gissing Oval
Belconnen United can claim the 2019 NPLW Premiership on Sunday if they beat the Wagga City Wanderers at Gissing Oval. A near-perfect campaign, Antoni Jagarinec’s side are yet to lose, drawing only once, and have conceded just two goals all season. Lauren Keir and Maddy Whittall could again this weekend, while Alexia Forner and Sally James are in line for a return after taking a rest after NTC in the big win over Olympic. When these two last met it was a 12-0 win for Belconnen at McKellar and unless the road trip takes an adverse toll on the squad, a similarly dominant performance could be in store here.
While the match will take precedence once both sides head onto the pitch on Sunday, this weekend has much more meaning for the Wanderers, as they host the Mark Mulhearn Memorial Round remembering the late father of an U/16 Academy squad member. The Wanderers will don a commemorative strip incorporating elements with plenty of meaning for the club and Mark’s son Jonathon. On the pitch though, Wagga City will face a tough task as Belconnen United look to claim the Premiership, but following this meeting face two games against Woden-Weston and Canberra Olympic to finish the season that they back themselves in a bit more.
Canberra Olympic v Woden-Weston | Sunday, 3pm @ O’Connor Enclosed
Canberra Olympic will look to bounce back from a big loss to Belconnen United when they host Woden-Weston on Sunday afternoon. Olympic did not have an ‘off’ day so much as Belconnen had an ‘on’ day, seemingly finishing every chance that came their way. Andrew Woodman was missing a number of key players who he will be hoping are available to return this weekend. Their draw with Gungahlin United two weeks ago moved them off the bottom of the ladder but it now sits sandwiched between a couple of big losses. Their run-in to the season finish is certainly a step below their last few weeks, but they face a tough test against Woden-Weston who are still chasing finals and will need to be at their best on Sunday.
Samantha Briggs last-gasp winner ensured that the Wanderers remained in the finals hunt for at least another week, but they will know by kick-off on Sunday whether it is still feasible depending on Gungahlin’s result against Monaro the evening before. There will surely be plenty of eyes keeping a close watch on that game, but regardless of the result the Wanderers are likely to come out firing in a bid to finish the season off strong. This match precedes a road trip to Wagga Wagga and a home meeting with Monaro to round out the season, giving Mark Boyd and his side a chance to win out down the stretch.