Belconnen United v Monaro Panthers | Saturday, 3pm @ McKellar Park
Belconnen will look to continue their barnstorming pace at the top after clinching the Premiership when they host Monaro on Saturday afternoon. Antoni Jagarinec’s side flew out of the blocks in Wagga Wagga, scoring three in four minutes, and he was adamant post-match that his side would not back off this weekend despite locking in top spot. He will want his team to keep up their intensity here in their penultimate fixture and home game.
Monaro held Gungahlin United to a draw last week thanks to Kaitlyn Joy’s stunning free kick and they will be looking to build off that when they face Belconnen. When these two met previously the Panthers held Belconnen to a very respectable 4-0 scoreline but this clash is at McKellar Park and United have been in some hot form. Regardless, the Panthers will set out to challenge them and spoil the post-Premiership party, and on the basis of last weekend they stand in decent stead. A strong defensive performance for a second week in a row would be an excellent sign for a team that is continuing to improve.
Canberra United Academy v Gungahlin United | Saturday, 5pm @ Hawker
The Canberra United Academy and Gungahlin United will both look to lock in finals football with a win when they face off at Hawker Football Centre in the penultimate round on Saturday night. Despite recent wins over Woden-Weston and Wagga City the visitors have struggled at times, with draws against Canberra Olympic and more recently Monaro stunting their progress into the top four. The departure of Nat De Marco has robbed them of a midfield creator, although Elke Aitolu did an excellent job helping with that in Nat’s final game a fortnight back at Gissing Oval. If United pick up a point here they will essentially be safe by virtue of superior goal difference, and that will be important given the task becomes no easier next weekend against Canberra FC.
For the Academy the situation is remarkably similar. A win here would guarantee them finals with a week to play, and given that final week is a McKellar Park showdown with Premiers Belconnen United, Heather Garriock will be keen to sew up top four as she returns to the dugout. Mia McGovern will miss this game after being selected in the Junior Matildas squad headed to the Pacific region for a series of matches, and Garriock will look elsewhere for someone to fill her role. The youngsters have had only one match since the fourth of July, a 3-0 win over Tuggeranong, but will have picked up plenty of experience with players off at NYC & NTC. Now is time for them to prove that they have not gone off the boil in the league though, and come out firing at Hawker.
Wagga City Wanderers v Woden-Weston | Sunday, 3pm @ Gissing Oval
The second Wanderers derby of the season takes place at Gissing Oval on Sunday afternoon as the competition’s newest team begin the end of their inaugural season. The hosts were beaten well by Belconnen last weekend, but things looked as though they could have been worse when United netted three goals in the opening four minutes. Wagga City steadied from there and looked to fight back, and this weekend they will be looking to turn the tables from the last time these two met. On that occasion, they were up 1-0 as visitors to Melrose Synthetic before shipping three goals in the final 25 minutes to lose 2-1. Rachel Lyons scored two stunning free-kicks in that game but hasn’t played since the 29th June, and the Wanderers have arguably missed her presence in the middle of the park. They finish the season with this game and a clash against Canberra Olympic next weekend.
Woden-Weston will know by kick-off whether the finals chance created for them last weekend remains as open or not, but must be ready to go out and win strongly if they are to take advantage of it. They squeezed past Canberra Olympic last weekend despite a second-half resurgence from the hosts, and will want to put this game away much earlier. They will also want to avoid a repeat of the afore-mentioned Wanderers derby, where they were forced to come from behind at home. They’ve now won three of the last five matches they’ve played and this is their chance to push on.
Canberra Olympic v Tuggeranong United | Sunday, 3pm @ O’Connor Enclosed
Tuggeranong United will play the final game of their season when they visit Canberra Olympic at O’Connor Enclosed on Sunday afternoon. Michael Aldred’s team are 11 points better off than they were at the end of last season and the signs of improvement have been obvious to many. This week they get the chance to finish the campaign on a high note, although some injuries and departures may make that tough. Last week’s big loss to Canberra FC saw a number of youngsters play three separate matches so it remains to be seen who returns and if some players back up. With a win against Olympic already under their belt in the league the chance is there for the double, and Aldred will be hoping his team comes out firing.
Olympic were beaten by Woden-Weston at home last weekend, but matched it with the Wanderers for large parts of the match. A save from Cristina Esposito denied them a goal to level proceedings and shortly after the visitors struck their second down the other end. Andrew Woodman’s side have been hit by injuries at different parts of the season, and with just two games left the expectation will be to finish the season on a high. While they did lose the league outing against Tuggeranong they also thrashed them in the cup, so this is a match that can give one team bragging rights over the other. The hosts will be keen to snap a four-game losing streak at O’Connor.