The derby of the South will open an afternoon of four Women’s NPL matches with West Canberra Wanderers hosting Tuggeranong United on their synthetic turf at Melrose High School.
The Wanderers received a boost of confidence after two consecutive league wins, remaining unbeaten in NPL action, but have a busy schedule with a midweek game against Gungahlin United ahead of this weekend’s clash. Sarah Whitfield’s teammates know they need to get a positive result against the Tuggies to continue the pressure on the early pace-setters.
Tuggeranong had a complicated start in 2022, facing arguably the three best teams in their first trio of fixtures. Regardless of the results we are seeing an improved team, on and off the ball, with Paulo Romero’s work clearly showing everywhere on the pitch. They will approach this weekend’s game with the firm belief that they can score their first points.
Deakin Stadium will be theatre of the first highly anticipated clash between Canberra Croatia and Canberra Olympic, with both teams staring the season with a hat-trick of wins. The reigning champions will lean on their experience and recent history of getting big results when it matters. Zoran Glavinic has had a perfect debut on his new bench, and this is going to be his real first test.
Nicole Begg on the other end has an upset to cause away from home. Olympic has strengths all over the park and depth on the bench and proved it against Belconnen last week. Expect a fiery game at Deakin and some brilliant football between the two most experienced teams of the competition.
Gungahlin United were still pointless after two games after their heavy loss to the Canberra United Academy. In what is a busy week for a team already affected by injuries, Pat Mills will look to get six points out six when his troops face both Wanderers, West Canberra on Wednesday, and Wagga City on Sunday, twice at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval.
The team from the Riverina is also yet to get a point and Sam Gray will need a complete squad and a serious performance from his players if he wants to bring a result back from Gungahlin. The team is now getting used to playing together and showing more density defensively as well as more intent offensively. A draw or a win would certainly make the trip back to Wagga sweeter.
The final game of the weekend will be at Hawker Football Centre once again, where Canberra United Academy hosts their Northside neighbours of Belconnen United. Sarah West celebrated her first win at the head of the Academy last Sunday with style, scoring four against Gungahlin.
Facing the well-oiled Blue Devils will be a harder task. Chloe Lincoln and her teammates will be tested by the physicality and experience of the team coached by Scott Conlon, a Belconnen United team that was three minutes away from getting a result against Olympic last week.
A lot of positives came out of the game, starting with the Blue Devils’ defensive shape. Against the tireless Academy, they will once again have to be strong in their own half, but also very mobile to resist the constant pressure the players in green like to apply on their opponent. The duel between two contenders for a top four will be the perfect way to end the weekend.
Sunday 1st May
West Canberra Wanderers v Tuggeranong United (Melrose Synthetic, 12:45)
Canberra Croatia v Canberra Olympic (Deakin Stadium, 14:30)
Gungahlin United v Wagga City Wanderers (Gungahlin Enclosed Oval, 15:00)
Canberra United Academy v Gungahlin United (Hawker, 17:10)
IMAGE: Mike’s Soccer Pics