Revenge is in the air at McKellar Park on Saturday. Ten days after taking the Federation Cup in Deakin, Canberra Olympic faces the runner-up Belconnen United on their turf to kick-off Round 10.
In form Tianah Miro and her teammates are still undefeated in the competition and are at the start of a complicated series, facing the three other teams at the top of the ladder in the next three weeks.
They managed to edge out the Blue Devils in the dying minutes in round three (3-2, Ally Cook scored the winner at the 88th minute), after being up 2-0 in the first half and need to get three points once again to stay keep up with Canberra Croatia’s rhythm. The team managed by Scott Conlon knows how hard it is to even get a point against Olympic.
They came close to draw against this week’s opponents twice already this season, but twice could not close. As a matter of fact, Belconnen United were unable to get any point against the teams in the top three so far. The game at McKellar on Saturday is the time to right this wrong, while coming back two points behind Olympic.
The battle of Wanderers is on the cards on Sunday at Melrose. West Canberra Wanderers’ impressive season makes them favourite of the encounter, a week after they battled hard to bring a point back from Hawker against the Academy.
The defensive solidity of the team coached by Rey Castro and their intensity everywhere on the pitch will prove difficult for their visitors. The Wagga City Wanderers are still without a point after nine rounds for the first time in their short history in the WNPL, a stain Robert Tuksar and his troops can’t wait to wash off.
Getting a point against the third on the ladder will require a solid performance from the Riverina players, and it will start with a solid defence. Last time around they conceded only twice against West Canberra and will hope to do better this weekend.
Canberra Croatia will host Tuggeranong United on Sunday afternoon with the ambition to keep their winning series alive. The most lethal squad in the league is averaging six goals a game in 2022 and scored five in Greenway where the teams met in round three.
Zoran Glavinic knows the importance of getting the three points, as well as filling up on confidence on Sunday, a week before the clash against Olympic at O’Connor. Paulo Romero and his Tuggies went from scoring eight goals in three games to being unable to find the back of the net in their past two “home” games away from Kambah.
Their defensive work rate will be put to the test against the reigning champions. Sammy Emms, in great form in recent weeks, will need another stellar performance to deny the red and white armada from putting their name on the scoresheet. Bringing a point back from Deakin would be a small miracle, but it would not be the first one Tuggeranong pulls.
Gungahlin United and Canberra United Academy meet at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval at 3pm on Sunday to close the round.
The complicated season the Gunners have had so far cost Pat Mills his seat on the bench, and a win is needed on Sunday for the northernmost team to finally launch their chase for an elusive top 4 spot. The talent is undeniable in their ranks, and it feels like they just need the one good performance to start a series.
The Academy was relentless against Gungahlin the first time around. The comfortable Round Three win (4-0) launched the season of the team coached by Sarah West. Since then, we have seen the confirmation of the strength of the players in Green in defence and their great passing ability in the midfield.
Nadia Zakman, Jaya Bowman, and Isabella Hindmarsh have been making waves in the competition, and after a draw against third place West Canberra last weekend, they will want to confirm in Gungahlin and get even closer to the top four.
Saturday 18 June
Belconnen United v Canberra Olympic (McKellar Park, 15:00)
Sunday 19 June
West Canberra Wanderers v Wagga City Wanderers (Melrose Synthetic, 12:45)
Canberra Croatia v Tuggeranong United (Deakin Stadium, 14:30)
Gungahlin United v Canberra United Academy (Gungahlin Enclosed, 15:00)
|3||West Canberra Wanderers||9||6||1||2||0||19|
|5||Canberra United Academy||9||3||1||5||-6||10|
|8||Wagga City Wanderers||9||0||0||9||-64||0|
Words: Jeremy Magan