MATCH OF THE ROUND
Berkeley Vale v Southern & Ettalong
BPL Round 11 Match of the Round is once again Berkeley Vale taking on Southern & Ettalong after these two clubs could not be separated in their first fixture.
Berkeley Vale finds themselves on equal points with 2nd place Killarney, but The Wombats have a crucial game in hand. Last year Berkeley Vale had the best defensive record in all of BPL but so far this year Mark Pratt’s side have only recorded 2 clean sheets in 9 games. Their first encounter with Southern & Ettalong was a very tight affair that was labelled an “arm wrestle” by coach Mark Pratt
Mark Pratt is expecting this weekend’s contest to be another close encounter and knows a win for his side will go a very long way for their hopes of playing finals football. “I’m looking forward to another tight game as it usually is with Southern and heading into the second round, no one in the top half of the competition wants anyone to get away from each other so all teams will be conscious of dropping points against each other. Southern are a good solid team and while they have individuals that can sometimes be a focus on other teams to nullify, we believe that their whole group work as one and will be very difficult to beat. We are close to full strength to start the second round and are hoping to continue to improve over the coming weeks.”
Southern has a golden opportunity to jump their opposition if they can record a win this weekend. SEU are currently only 2 points behind Berkeley Vale and a win could possibly take Southern from 4th to 2nd if other results go their way. Southern was trailing in their first match to Berkeley before they found a way back into the game through a penalty call that allowed Southern to equalise with 10 to go.
The Lions coach Dale Eggleton understands that his team must be better when playing on the road, but he and his squad are excited for the challenge that lies ahead this weekend. “We realise our away results haven’t been good enough this year so far if we want to feature in the finals contention at the end of the season. Our performances have been ok so we have to work on getting a combination of results and performances in the second round as we will have more away games than home games. Berkeley Vale are always a formidable opposition and from all reports, they have a good balance of experience and talented young players in their side which is a reason why they sit top two. As a team, we are looking forward to the challenge that this clash will bring.
The Entrance v Kanwal
The Entrance will look to mirror their 2-0 win over the Bulls in front of a home crowd this weekend at Pat Morley.
The Entrance are now without a win in their previous 3 matches and are also coming off their biggest loss of the season, a 4-1 loss to Woongarrah in round 9. The Entrance are still within touching distance of the top 4 as they only remain 2 points behind Southern & Ettalong who currently claim the 4th spot. The Reddies had plenty of success away from home against Kanwal in round 2 and walked away with their first win of the season. Matt Page’s team will look to produce another result in front of a home crowd at Pat Morley and reinstate themselves in the top 4.
Kanwal, much like their opposition, are coming off their biggest defeat of the season as they fell to Killarney in the only BPL fixture that was played in round 10. Before last weekend, Kanwal put in an excellent string of performances, and it looked like the Bulls had completely turned their season around as they managed to escape the relegation zone for the first time this season. When the Bulls faced The Entrance earlier in the year, they were missing both Ryan Walker and Jason Cozens who are both eligible to play this weekend. With the inclusion of those 2 veterans into the game, you can expect quite a different match come Sunday.
Avoca v Wyoming
Avoca picked up their biggest win of the year against Wyoming as the Sharks will look to repeat their result at Fagan Park come Sunday.
Jesse Parnell put in a stellar performance as he picked up 4 goals in Avoca’s 7-1 win over Wyoming earlier in the year. Neal Hide will be hoping his side can get back to winning ways after Avoca have split the points on their last 2 fixtures. Avoca knows exactly what it takes to beat this Tigers side and a win this weekend will go a long way for this young side who could slip back into the top 4 if they walk away with 3 points once again.
Wyoming is coming off their second win of the year as they look to get revenge over Avoca who handed them their biggest loss this season. Wyoming had their young centre back Kaelan Burke sent off on that day and will be looking to keep all 11 men on the field this time around. On both instances that Wyoming has won this year, it has come via a 3-0 scoreline and their only 2 clean sheets of the year so expect Wyoming to come out defensively strong if they want to take maximum points away from Avoca.
Woongarrah v Terrigal
It was a very close battle between these two sides the first time around as Woongarrah looks to put an end to Terrigal’s unbeaten year.
Despite the 4-2 scoreline when these two sides faced in round 2, the game was much closer than the scoreline suggests and this will give Woongarrah plenty of confidence as they welcome Terrigal to Hamlyn Terrace. Woongarrah are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 4-1 result over The Entrance. Luke Rogers’ side still remains unbeaten at home as they look to keep Hamlyn Terrace a fortress for other clubs who play there. A win this weekend for the Wildcats could see them go within touching distance of the top 4.
Terrigal dropped their first points of the year in their last game but still remain unbeaten after the halfway mark of the competition. despite splitting the points with Killarney (2-2), Terrigal are still the only team to not concede double-digit goals so far in the competition as the O’lads defence have only conceded a superb 7 goals so far this year. Terrigal currently sits 7 points clear of 2nd place and are strong favourites to win everything up for grabs this year but after a very tough battle in round 2, Terrigal will not be taking their opposition this weekend lightly.
Kariong v Killarney
Killarney are coming off their biggest win of the season as they travel to Kariong Oval to face a desperate Cougars side in need of crucial points.
Kariong’s first year in BPL has not gone as well as the Cougars would have liked and after 9 rounds the Cougars still remain without a point as they still at the bottom of both the BPL Ladder and Club Championship ladder. Mark Owen and his squad will need to turn things around soon if they wish to compete in BPL once again next year. Although Kariong fell to Killarney at the start of the year, the Cougar’s did take an early lead and found the back of the net one more time against the reigning League Champions. One win could turn their whole year around and Kariong will be hoping that win comes in front of a home crowd this weekend. Killarney struggled defensively for their standard in the first half of the competition but last week Chris Ackerley’s side was able to put together their first clean sheet of the season with a 4-0 win over Kanwal away from home in round 10. The Terriers are back on the road this weekend and will look to keep their form going from their biggest win of the year thus far. BPL Golden Boot leader Ethan Hall was able to get on the scoresheet for the first time in 3 games as he takes his total for the year to 9 and will be looking to hit double digits against Kariong come Sunday.
Written by Adam Blunden.