NPL Preview: Vital games for both academy sides


It is another big weekend for our academy sides in the NPL 2 as both the men and women continue their campaigns. Our women are at home on Sunday and our men are away on Saturday.

Central Coast Mariners Academy Women vs. Southern Branch FC

The women’s teams will be seeking a return to form in what is a pivotal fixture against Southern Branch at Pluim Park.

After losing key players through injury, Dan Barrett’s side narrowly fell to a strong Sutherland side on Easter Sunday and were lucky to not take something from the match. The women, however, have not been pushovers as the young side put in a great performance against both Gladesville and Sutherland. Barrett will be looking to key attacking players such as Danielle Wise and Indianna Auddino to get back to scoring ways.

Southern Branch secured themselves a second win of the season with a 3-1 victory last weekend and are now in 9th place, just one point below the academy women. Southern Branch also have the leakiest defence in the NPL 2 so far, conceding 38 goals in 7 games which will give hope for Dan Barrett to get back to goal scoring ways.

“The girls deserved more against Sutherland,” Barrett said. “Their effort was phenomenal; every player did their job and more. No player left anything in the tank. I just wish their effort went rewarded. I was extremely proud of the team.

“We need to be better in the final third. Countless times we countered and ended up with the numerical advantage, but we didn’t even to manage a shot on goal. It’s just a matter of the players getting a better understanding of each other that will make things start to happen. The effort and discipline is there.

“That has been the focus of our training this week, turning those transition moments where we have the overload into a scoring chance.

“We need goals and the three points against a hungry opponent in Southern Branch,” Barrett said.

Last week’s Academy side: Rhiannon Hines (GK), Indianna Auddino, Gabrielle Blanch, Haylie Eyers, Jade Mcatamney, Kaitlin Murphy, Katie Oliveira, Elizabeth Shorter, Iona Snape, Mikala Tucker, Danielle Wise

Match Details
Sunday, 28 April 2019
NSW NPL 2 Round 8
Central Coast Mariners Academy Women vs. Southern Branch FC
Venue: Pluim Park, Lisarow
Kick Off: 3:00pm 

Hills United FC vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy

It is a battle of 4th vs. 5th on the NPL 2 table as the academy boys travel to Blacktown to take on a dangerous Hills United outfit.

The men are currently unbeaten in their last three games and have Dylan Ruiz-Diaz who is in red hot form. Unfortunately, Ray Junna’s team will be without Ruiz-Diaz who earned his second consecutive call up to the Hyundai A-League team.

After an inspiring 4-0 win over Macarthur, the boys will be wanting to make it two in a row as they push for the top four, scoring 10 goals in their last three games as well as securing their first clean sheet of the season last week has built confidence.

4th placed Hills United are on a run of four consecutive wins at Lily Homes Stadium and their coach, Mariners Legend, Patrick Zwaanswijk will be wanting to make it five. Hills lost their last game against GHFA Spirit 2-1 and will have their depth tested for this game after seeing two red cards in the same fixture.

A win for the academy men will see them go joint 4th with Hills and put them within breathing distance of top side Western Sydney Wanderers.

Last Week’s academy side: Aidan Munford (GK), Alec Vinci, Michael Glassock (c), Lewis Miller, Ollie Valentine, Joshua Nisbet, Bilal Belkadi, Ruiz-Diaz, Peter Kekeris, Jordan Smylie, Charles William

Match Details
Saturday, 27 April 2019
NSW NPL 2 Round 9
Hills United FC vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy            
Venue: Lily Homes Stadium, Blacktown
Kick Off: 7:00pm