It is a busy weekend of football in WNPL, with an unusual 6 games played between Saturday and Monday.
Canberra Croatia will close the weekend, facing the West Canberra Wanderers “away” at Deakin on Monday night. By that time, they could be 2nd on the table and need a result to keep their spot at the top of the ladder.
It only took a week of poor form for the team coached by Zoran Glavinic to see their title hopes under threat. His experienced team will need to regroup and get the job done if they want to write their club’s history with a third consecutive league championship next weekend.
The Wanderers are also in need of a result to retain their fourth place and finally get into post-season football. At Deakin, they will play their second game in three days, a real test for Rey Castro’s troops.
This season, despite opening the score twice, they ended up conceded 12 times against the reigning champions. A strong defensive performance is needed on Monday night.
The first of two games for West Canberra is in the Riverina, where their postponed game against Wagga City Wanderers is scheduled on Saturday at Rawlings Oval. A win during the battle of the Wanderers, originally a round 17 encounter, would offer West Canberra a comfortable six-point cushion over Gungahlin.
Wagga City have already surprised West Canberra once this season though, earning a hard-fought point at Melrose in Round 10. Megan Castle and her teammates want to finish the season on a high at home, and another upset against their fellow Wanderers would do just that.
It’s a busy weekend for Robert Tuksar’s players as well as they play two teams from the top four in two days. We will indeed be treated to more football down South, Wagga City hosting Belconnen United at Gissing Oval 24 hours after the battle of the Wanderers. The “festival of football” for the young team of the Riverina will be anything but a walk in the park.
The Blue Devils are trailing Canberra Olympic by six points and will most likely end the season at the third place. A week after their outstanding result at Deakin, Scott Conlon’s team travels to Wagga with all intentions to keep the top two under pressure, and to surf on their boost of confidence.
Back in the capital, Canberra United Academy and Tuggeranong United meet at Hawker Football Centre on Sunday for a game without any real consequence on the ladder. The Academy interrupted their poor run of form last weekend and are after a second win in a row this Sunday. If they have beaten the Tuggies twice already in 2022, it was both times a hard-fought battle, only decided in the final minutes.
Tuggeranong surprised Canberra Croatia last week and held their own for over an hour on Wednesday against Canberra Olympic. Their difficult run of games sees them playing a fifth game in 15 days on Sunday.
The Academy is, with Olympic, the only team Paolo Romero’s forwards have not found the back of the net against. Ending this draught would be the perfect reward for Sammy Emms’ teammates after a big couple of weeks.
Head to Gungahlin Enclosed Oval for the game of the round on Sunday. Gungahlin United and Canberra Olympic meet in the North for a crucial game a week before the end of season. It is a must win for the Gunners if they want a shot at the finals.
Michelle Heyman had scored a brace against Olympic when they met in round 6 to offer her team a point. She is on five goals in her last two outings and will be key for the Gunners on Sunday.
After their serious midweek performance at Greenway, Canberra Olympic are only two points behind Croatia. The league championship, all but lost two weeks ago, is back in reach for Nicole Begg’s team, so long as they do not drop a point.
The three points on Sunday would put the O’Connor residents a point over Canberra Croatia before their Monday game, the best way to put pressure on the reigning champions.
Saturday 3 September
Wagga City Wanderers v West Canberra Wanderers (Rawlings Park, 12:00)
Sunday 4 September
Wagga City Wanderers v Belconnen United (Gissing Oval, 14:30)
Gungahlin United v Canberra Olympic (Gungahlin Enclosed, 15:00)
Canberra United Academy v Tuggeranong United (Hawker Football Centre, 17:10)
Monday 5 September
West Canberra Wanderers v Canberra Croatia (Deakin Stadium, 19:45)
|West Canberra Wanderers
|Canberra United Academy
|Wagga City Wanderers
Words: Jeremy Magan