Finals Series Round 2 Preview - PS4 NPL 3 NSW Men's

13.09.2017

The 2017 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition moves to the Semi Final stage this weekend, continuing the sudden death theme of the entire Finals series, with four teams battling to earn a spot in next week’s coveted Grand Final.

Of the four sides remaining, for one it is familiar territory, with Rydalmere Lions having been there at this point last season, before going on to win the 2016 Championship. For one club – Fraser Park – it is a favourable return to finals football following their relegation from the PlayStation NPL 2 in 2016. It is a credit to the coaching staff, players, and administration of the other two clubs – St George City FA and SD Raiders – because for both of them, it is their maiden season in the PlayStation NPL 3 competition, having made the transition very successfully following promotion from the 2016 State League.

Rydalmere Lions – SD Raiders

Semi Final 1 – Sunday, September 17

Blacktown Football Park @ 3-00pm

Semi Final 1 pits together Rydalmere Lions and SD Raiders, with the match kicking off at 3-00pm on Sunday afternoon at Blacktown Football Park.

Rydalmere Lions earned the right to rest during the opening week of the Finals Series, courtesy of winning the Premiership over the 26 week competition proper.

No doubt the club would’ve enjoyed some celebrations on the back of that triumph, but Tony Basha would’ve made certain the players got back to training and focussing on the task at hand, which is to complete the double by winning the Championship.

SD Raiders had a 120 minute encounter last week in the opening round of the Finals, and were triumphant, beating Dulwich Hill 1-0 with a goal in the final minute of extra time from energetic midfielder, Dylan Stivala.

The Raiders dug in deep to put in a stubborn performance, with skipper, Mirza Sehic, and central defender, Mark D’Alessandro, leading the way with inspired games.

Rydalmere Lions have the wood over SD Raiders when it comes to the two matches played during the season, having been victorious in both.

The first time the sides went head to head was at Ernie Smith Reserve back on May 20 in Round 11, and it was a seven goal thriller. Rydalmere Lions prevailed 4-3, with goals from Zak Elrich, Mitchell Gibbs, Ahmad Elrich and Amaury Gauthier.

Mark Symington has had a super season for Raiders, being pivotal in the attacking third when his team are on the forward move. ‘Simmo’ scored twice that day against the Lions, and again will be a man to watch for the Rydalmere defence, whilst John Fahmi netted the other goal for the Raiders.

The return fixture was in Round 24, and was played at Lambert Park, with Rydalmere Lions winning 2-0. Amaury Gauthier scored a brace that evening to help keep Rydalmere at the top of the competition ladder, finishing the season with a remarkable 32 goals – at a return of just under 1.5 goals per game – to easily win the competition’s top goalscorer plaudits.

Rydalmere Lions will be gunning to make their second successive Grand Final, having won the Championship in 2016 with a 4-1 victory over Hills Brumbies, whilst SD Raiders can cap off what has been a remarkable maiden season in the top flight by earning the right to play in the season decider.

With both sides displaying attacking weapons from every corner of the park, get out to Blacktown Football Park for a serving of entertainment and goals.

 

Fraser Park – St George City FA

Semi Final 2 – Sunday, September 17

Fraser Park @ 3-30pm

Our second Elimination Final will take place at Fraser Park, and sees Fraser Park take on  St George City FA at 3-30pm.

Fraser Park had the opening week of the Finals series to rest up, and lick their wounds somewhat, after falling short of the Premiership by just two points following a monumental effort by the club. Fraser Park have had a formidable season nevertheless, and would be keen on, at a very minimum, finishing with the Championship trophy.

St George City FA finished third in the competition proper, and accounted for Gladesville Ryde Magic 2-1 in the Elimination Final last week to continue their remarkable journey.

After being promoted from the State League at the end of last season, St George City FA have become a team to be feared, especially given they have momentum coming in to September.

It has taken eight wins and a draw for St George City FA to arrive at this point, their last loss coming back in early July, and they will hope the confidence acquired from these performances and results will put them in a good position to overcome this next hurdle.

Fraser Park won the first encounter between the two sides by 1-0, surviving a late onslaught back in Round 11 to grab the three points on offer. Ben Vidaic has provided 21 goals from 23 matches for Fraser Park, and the former PlayStation NPL 1 sharpshooter will again be one man to be watched closely by the St George City FA defence.

St George City FA more than returned the favour in Round 24, winning 4-1 with goals from Sean Richardson, James Spanoudakis, and a brace from substitute, Peter Yannopoulos, whilst Jordan Roberts replied for Fraser Park with a late consolation.

Sam Messam continued his scoring form of late to net his 14th of the campaign in St George City’s victory over Magic last week, whilst the club will welcome back James Spanoudakis this week, the playmaker sitting out the first Final on the back of acquiring five yellow cards during the competition proper.

Can Fraser Park bounce back from their Premiership anguish, to make their way into next week’s Grand Final, or can St George City’s wave of momentum continue to carry them in to the final match of the season?

Get out to Marrickville to see how it all unravels on Sunday afternoon.