MATCH OF THE ROUND

Killarney v Southern Ettalong

Enjoying their best form of the season, Southern Ettalong looks to carry this momentum to Edsacc Oval when they face undefeated league leaders Killarney in the round 18 match of the round.

In all of their thirteen games so far this season, last weekend against Woongarrah was the first time Killarney have been the team to concede first and fall behind on the scoreline. However, this didn’t seem to intimidate Chris Ackerley’s side who went on to score four unanswered goals to walk away with a 4-1 win and their unbeaten record still intact. Another impressive feat from last weekend’s win saw their veteran striker Adam Woodbine grab his seventh goal of the season, scoring his first career goal with his right foot. Killarney will once again enjoy the luxury of playing at their home ground this weekend, a luxury they have enjoyed the last four straight weeks. For a team that is yet to be beaten, they will be even harder to defeat on their home soil in front of a home crowd but the Terriers are welcoming a side whose finals chances may hang in the balance of the result this weekend so they will need to be on their game like they have been this entire season.

Chris Ackerley is anticipating a very tough battle come Sunday and has concerns over the opposition’s dangerous striker. “I’m expecting an extremely hard game especially with them coming off a massive win over Terrigal. It was a close game in the first round and I’m expecting them to be even more dangerous now Keith has started scoring again. Hopefully, we will have a full squad to choose from for the first time this season.”

A rampant Southern Ettalong put together their best and most disciplined performance last weekend when the Lions defeated their rivals Terrigal 6-2. Matt Caisley, Jacob Lepre and Charlie Polson all recorded single goals to their names and Keith Gumbs was also amongst the scorers, ending his season-long drought with a hat trick to his name. Seeing the almighty Keith Gumbs’ name on the scoresheet would have scared many clubs around the league who know and fear what Keith is capable of on his given day. Southern’s only downfall from their magnificent win over Terrigal would be Jack Elwood picking up his fifth yellow card of the year which will see him sidelined for this important clash this weekend. Southern has a great chance to overtake Berkeley Vale and jump into fourth with a win this weekend if the Wombats lose their fixture against Avoca. Not to mention a win over the unbeaten Killarney side would do wonders for their confidence heading into their run of games to finish the season.

Despite knowing his team are the underdogs this weekend, Dale Eggleton is adamant his team is up for the challenge come Sunday. “Our away record this year and Killarney being undefeated suggests that they should win but football doesn’t work that way. It’s 90 minutes this Sunday that counts. We know what it will mean to our prospects of being involved in the finals at the end of the season.”

“We will be endeavouring to win as many of the 1v1 contests over the park and collectively minimizing our errors and converting our chances. Killarney are so consistent over the entire 90 minutes week after week. We know it will be a big challenge but one we are prepared to take on.”

MATCH OFFICIAL – Gerrod Young

Woongarrah v Kanwal

In a game that has a history of producing lots of goals, local rivals Woongarrah and Kanwal are set to square off at Hamlyn Terrace this Sunday.

Not only does this fixture have a history of producing plenty of goals, but historically this fixture in recent years has also produced big crowds, wherever the venue. After enjoying their season-best form less than a month ago, Woongarrah is now on the wrong end of two 4-1 losses in back-to-back weeks. Last weekend Woongarrah took a first-half lead over league leaders and are the only team to be leading against Killarney in a game this season, but a string of errors saw the Wildcats concede four straight goals and leave Edsacc extremely disappointed.

Luke Rogers’s squad also failed to pick up any club championship points last weekend as Woongarrah currently sits on equal points with the Entrance and in the relegation zone. Woongarrah will be desperate to shake these back-to-back losses as they welcome local rivals Kanwal to their home ground. This year their rivals have performed the better of the two sides on a weekly basis but none of that matters in a local derby when the two sides kick off. Expect a fired-up and hungry Woongarrah come Sunday.

Kanwal enters this weekend’s local derby coming off their third draw of the season as the Bulls still sit in second place. After going ahead midway through the first half against Berkeley Vale, Lachlan Walker was given his marching orders as he was shown a red card for bringing down the opposition attacker who was deemed to be denied a goal-scoring opportunity. As a result of that red card, Lachlan will now miss this weekend’s important derby match as he serves his suspension.

In their fixture against Woongarrah back in round 9, Kanwal took an early two-goal lead but couldn’t see the rest of the game out as they allowed the Wildcats back into the game which finished 3-3. Ryan Walker will be hoping his squad can get off to another fast start against their rivals this weekend and this time see out the attack of Woongarrah. With lots at stake for both teams, it’s sure to make this local derby even more intense as both clubs look for bragging rights over their neighbours.

MATCH OFFICIAL – Trent Dickeson

The Entrance v Wyoming

Wyoming who enter round 18 coming off their biggest win of the year now look to carry this momentum when they travel to Pat Morley to face the Reddies.

After failing to pick up a single club championship point when the Entrance met Avoca at Pluim Park for round 17, the Reddies now find themselves in the relegation zone. The Entrance has now lost their last five first grade games which has had a major impact on their club championship standings. Midway through the year this team were in the top half of the club championship and seemed to only be getting better every week but a recent slump in their results now has the Reddies in the fight of their lives as they look to stay in BPL next season.

The Entrance’s last win was against their round 18 opponents Wyoming. On that day only a single goal separated the two sides as the Reddies walked away 1-0 victors. After having their head coach Patrick Zwaanswijk step down due to personal reasons mid-way through the season, this side is yet to get their first win under their new head coaches. The Entrance almost picked up points last weekend until Avoca left it late to beat them 3-2. However, this was the first time in their last six games they were able to get on the scoresheet more than once which will be a big positive heading into this massive weekend where they must pick up points.

As a surprise to many, Wyoming was able to take the dangerous journey to Kariong Oval last week and walk away with a nine-point Sunday after defeating the Cougars in all three grades. This was the first instance this year Wyoming successfully picked up 21 club championship points in a day and take them back to Alan Davidson Oval. The outcome of this massive weekend for the Tigers saw them leap out of the relegation zone.

Wyoming now has the difficult challenge of repeating these performances on a weekly basis which they have struggled with so far this season. Ian McAndrews’s squad will travel to Pat Morley this Sunday as they look to avenge their 1-0 loss against the Entrance from earlier in the season. The Wyoming defence is coming off their first clean sheet of the year and they will look to repeat that as they come up against the second worse attacking team in the league. McAndrew will be looking for his captain Matt Hall to step up once against and have his hand in delivering Wyoming another win as he has done for both their wins this season.

MATCH OFFICIAL – Luke Dunkerley

Berkeley Vale v Avoca

Berkeley Vale, who are winless in their last two games, will be desperate to pick up a result against Avoca this weekend as they hope to hold their top four spot.

After recording only one win from their last four games, Berkeley Vale has allowed Southern Ettalong to close the gap between fourth and fifth as the Lions now sit only three points behind the Wombats but with a game in hand up their sleeve. With Southern on their back waiting for another slip-up, a win this weekend is a must for Mark Pratt’s side. The last time these two sides met ended in a 1-1 draw, but Berkeley Vale would have left that fixture disappointed in themselves after failing to score on multiple opportunities before letting Avoca equalise late in the game.

Berkeley’s goal-scoring problems continue as the Wombats are one of four teams yet to break the 20 goals for mark in the competition. One of the main factors for Berkeley’s subpar goal-scoring record is having their main striker Bailey Garland forced to sit on the sideline due to injury in recent weeks. Berkeley Vale still possesses the dangerous attacking threats of Reece Caira and Scott McGinley who will be vital in their team’s hopes of getting a win this weekend.

After seeing the biggest defeat of the BPL season in round 17, Avoca was able to overcome their 10-2 loss to Kanwal with a 3-2 win over the Entrance last weekend. Avoca led twice in that fixture against the Reddies before letting them come back as many spectators thought the game would end in a draw but their in-form attacker Tyler Wade stepped up and grabbed a winner as he helped his side claim three important points.

Tyler Wade now finds himself alone at the top of the BPL Golden Boot standings with eight goals to his name. Avoca has faced Berkeley twice this season and after 90 minutes on both occasions, nothing has been able to separate the two sides. Avoca’s four wins this season have all come against teams lower than them on the competition ladder as Neal Hide’s side will be hoping they can break this statistic come Sunday.

MATCH OFFICIAL – Anthony Kabbout

Terrigal v Kariong

Coming off their biggest loss of the year, Terrigal looks to regain some form as they are scheduled to face Kariong at Duffy’s Oval come Sunday.

It was a day to forget for Martyn Griffiths and his O’lads side who travelled to James Browne Oval and were handed a 6-2 defeat by the Lions. This marks by far their biggest loss this season and also their biggest loss in the BPL competition for some time. On a positive note, Terrigal is scheduled to play at their home ground Duffy’s Oval this weekend where they have only had the pleasure of playing at once this season.

Terrigal’s only fixture at Duffy’s Oval this season was against the Entrance and on that day, they recorded their biggest win of the season, defeating the Reddies 7-1 in an emphatic display of football. The O’lads will rejoice being back home and will be eager to get back on their pitch and turn around their disappointing loss. Having already beat Kariong 3-1 earlier in the season, Terrigal should enter round 18 with plenty of confidence and a desire to bounce back to winning ways.

Kariong’s great recent home form had many believing the Cougars would pick up points in their match of the round fixture last weekend against Wyoming, however, that was not the case when all three grades fell to a hungry Tigers squad who walked away with all extremely crucial club championship points. It’s critical for Kariong to now rebuild and find a way to get back into winners circle to hopefully escape the relegation zone.

The Cougars only sit eight points behind Woongarrah and the Entrance, the two teams above them on the club championship ladder, and still are scheduled to face both of those clubs again this season so it’s not all bad news for Ryan Finch’s side. However, Kariong must look at their opponent on a week-to-week basis as they look to claim as many points as possible. Disappointed with last weekend’s results, expect Kariong to try and take it to Terrigal from kick-off this Sunday.

MATCH OFFICIAL – Mark Roberts