MATCH OF THE ROUND
Terrigal v Killarney
In a rematch of the 2020 BPL Grand Final and the 2021 Mate Association Cup Final, none other than Terrigal versus Killarney is your BPL Round 9 Match of the Round.
Terrigal started their year with a 2-1 win over The Entrance and have not looked back since, following that result up with 7 consecutive wins which has ultimately put the O’lads clear in first place on 21 points. Terrigal still possesses the best attacking and defensive records in the league. The last two times Terrigal have met Killarney have both been in Grand Finals where the O’lads have come out victorious with a 1-0 win and a 4-2 extra-time win. Their last game was played in the Mate Association Cup on the same field these two teams will meet this weekend, Pluim Park 1.
Terrigal coach Martyn Griffiths is excited as always for the match-up this weekend and knows anything can happen in a match of this altitude. “Looking forward to this Saturday’s clash against our local rivals Killarney in Round 9 and playing for the annual Ash Grant memorial cup. I speak to Ackers most weeks and they’ve been unlucky with not picking up maximum points when dominating games, but as always, it’s a derby match feel about this game and the lads are always excited and looking forward to this one.
It’s a big game for both sides and Killarney are looking to close the gap, but a win for us will put us in a pretty decent position moving into the second part of the season.”
Killarney enters this weekend clash coming off two draws where the opposition have been reduced to 10 men in both fixtures. This new look Killarney side is finding it hard to finish off games as they have no problem enjoying a fair share of possession and creating chances, but the Terriers have struggled in finding the back of the net when it truly counts in recent weeks. Killarney have also struggled in their backline as they have not kept a single clean sheet at all this year and enter their match-up conceding 3 times as many goals as Terrigal after 8 rounds. Killarney have managed to score in every single game thus far as Ethan Hall looks to get back to scoring ways to remain on top of the BPL Golden Boot charts.
Chris Ackerley from Killarney is hoping his squad can start fast this weekend if they want any chance of taking it to the league leaders. “Looking forward to our inexperienced side testing ourselves against the competition highflyers. Last time we played in the Association Cup Final we started slowly so hopefully this time that won’t happen if we are going to get a result from the contest. As always it should be an entertaining game as both sides like to attack which should make it a must-see match.”
Avoca v Berkeley Vale
With only 4 points separating these two sides, Avoca will be looking to jump back into the top 4 with a win over Berkeley Vale on Saturday afternoon at Pluim Park.
Avoca showed plenty of character coming from behind twice to share the points with The Entrance last weekend. Avoca have defiantly proved a lot of people wrong so far this year as their young team continues to get impressive results over tough opposition. Avoca is yet to keep a clean sheet which is something Neal Hide will be trying to improve each week as Avoca remain the only team in the top 6 with a negative goal difference after 8 rounds. Avoca faced Berkeley Vale twice last year and on the first occasion they fell to the Wombats 2-0 but on the second occasion, they came out victorious 1-0 and will look to repeat that result come Saturday.
Berkeley have overturned a string of disappointing results, getting back to winning ways against Kariong last weekend (3-1). The Wombats had their first and only loss of the year in round 6 as they fell to Terrigal 4-0 in their worst performance on the field this season, they followed that result up with a 1-1 draw against Kanwal. Mark Pratt will welcome Damien Lobb back into his side this weekend who served his suspension and Pratt will be hoping his team can put back-to-back wins together for the first time since round 4 & 5. Luckily for Berkeley Vale, all 5 teams that sit below them on the table all drop points last weekend, so they remained outright 2nd on 17 points.
Kariong v Wyoming
The two bottom Club Championship teams Kariong and Wyoming will battle in Round 9 for crucial points that could make or break their season.
Kariong are still in search of their opening first-grade points this season which will hopefully kick start their first-ever BPL season. After 24 games, Kariong have managed to only get 11 points on the 2021 Club Championship which places them in the last place and 50 points behind relegation safety. Mark Owen and his squad’s first-ever BPL year has got off to a rougher start than they would have predicted but the Kariong side has given plenty of sides a challenge in the opening 8 rounds. Kariong will be looking to follow in Kanwal’s steps as they look at take maximum points over Wyoming this weekend at Kariong Oval
Wyoming will be hoping they can their season back on track with a crucial win this Sunday. Ian McAndrew’s young side have struggled with finding consistency as most young players do, Wyoming got their first win in round 3 with a spectacular 3-0 win over Southern & Ettalong, since then the Tigers have only managed to pick up 1 point which evidently puts them in 2nd last after 8 rounds. Wyoming have struggled in front of goals in recent weeks as the side has not scored in their previous 2 fixtures but their opposition this weekend boasts the competitions worst defence statistically, as Kariong have conceded 30 goals this year already. Wyoming will be wishful that they can get back to winning ways and walk away with maximum points on offer.
Woongarrah v The Entrance
Woongarrah will look to build on the last match and pick up more points over the top 4 opposition as they welcome The Entrance to Hamlyn Terrace this weekend.
Before last weekend, Luke Rogers side had only picked up points from the bottom 3 opposition but that changed in round 8 when the Wildcats split the points with the reigning League Champions Killarney in a 1-1 draw. Woongarrah managed to salvage a crucial point from that game despite being down 10 men and losing captain Chris Gavin who will now miss this weekend’s clash with the Reddies. A win for Woongarrah this weekend will keep them within touching distance of the top 6 as they still look for their first win over a side within the top half of the ladder.
The Entrance have now gone 4 games unbeaten but have only managed to pick up 2 wins from those fixtures, beating Wyoming (2-1) and Southern (2-0) whilst splitting the points with Killarney (2-2) and Avoca (2-2) in recent weeks. A win in either of those games would have seen The Entrance jump outright into 3rd place. The Entrance travelled to Hamlyn Terrace last year on the only occasion these two sides met, and it was the Reddies who came out victorious with an emphatic 6-2 win over the Wildcats. The Entrance will be hoping they can have the same outcome come this weekend with a win that could put them on equal points with 2nd place Berkeley Vale.
Southern & Ettalong v Kanwal
Kanwal looks to keep their recent form going strong as they travel to the peninsula to take on 5th place Southern & Ettalong.
Southern faced the current league leaders last weekend as they were unsuccessful in taking down the Terriers who beat them 3-1. Despite that result, Southern are yet to lose back-to-back games this year as they look to turn around last weekend’s loss into a win in front of a home crowd at James Browne Oval. Southern have not lost at home this year which is turning into a fortress for Dale Eggleton and his squad who have picked up points over both Killarney and Berkeley Vale at the Lion’s Den. Southern will be on the lookout to keep a clean sheet for the first time since round 5, but this will be a hard task with key midfielder Jack Elwood missing through a suspension that he obtained last weekend. Southern statistically possess the second-best attack in the comp as they have scored 23 goals as a team already this year, and they hope they can back up the last home game, where they scored 6 against Woongarrah.
Kanwal had an opening 5 rounds to forget as they were defeated in all 5 fixtures and found themselves equal last alongside Kariong. Ryan Walker’s side picked up their first win of the year away from home as they beat Kariong 1-0 and got their 2021 BPL campaign off and running. The Bulls followed that result up with a massive draw over 2nd placed Berkeley Vale. Last weekend the Bulls picked up their second win of the year win another 1-0 win away from home, this time against Wyoming. That win, along with their other 2 grades getting the victory over Wyoming saw them climb out of the relegation zone for the first time this year. Another win this weekend could see Kanwal jump over their rivals Woongarrah and this Bulls side will be full of confidence as they beat Southern 4-3 last season.
Written by Adam Blunden.