Category: Front Page, Mens
Devine Super League Preview - Round 13
by Luca Cetta
Western Strikers v Croydon
3pm – Carnegie Reserve, Kingston Avenue, ROYAL PARK
Assistants: J. Mullins, Duku
Reserves – 1pm
U19 – 11am
Western Strikers: Takumi Takahashi (GK), Ermias Haile, Jordan Spadavecchia, Yasmin Sudic, Paul Bearzotti, Daniele Lastella (C), Joe Ciarla, Joe Allison, Callum Flanagan, Adrian D’Alfonso, Jake Monaco, Andreas Wiens, Ambesager Yosief, Mauro Facchini (RGK)
Croydon: Nick Munro (GK), Jack Reynolds, Dion Gazettas, Luke Shoen, Lewis May, Shaun McGreevy, Luke Klimek, Michael Papacharalambous (C), Frank Violi, Alamayo Kebede, Chris Pepe, Daniel Scordo, Nathan Farrell, Konrad Koznik, Anthony Boccacio, Luke Shoen (RGK)
Western Strikers: L W W
Federation Cup Round 2: Adelaide Hills 2 (5)-(3) 2 Western Strikers, Hawks Nest
Round 11: Western Strikers 1-0 Campbelltown, Carnegie Reserve
Round 12: Adelaide City 0-3 Western Strikers, Adelaide City Park
Croydon: W W D
Federation Cup Round 2: Croydon 3-0 Modbury, Polonia Park
Round 11: West Torrens Birkalla 1-2 Croydon, Camden Sports Complex
Round 12: Croydon 0-0 MetroStars, Polonia Park
While Western Strikers push for a spot in the top five, Saturday’s opponent Croydon will be aiming to stay atop the Devine Super League when the teams meet in Round 13 at Carnegie Reserve.
Strikers captain Michele Lastella believes a greater sense of determination has aided their recent run of form, which includes a win over Campbelltown and a 3-0 success away at Adelaide City on Monday.
“We’ve had a couple of great wins and while the style is the same as always there has been an added hunger to win the ball and to control the game,” he said.
“That would be the main difference in the past few weeks and we saw it come through versus Adelaide City. It was our best performance of the year, especially in the first half. What we’ve been trying to do paid off.”
Strikers were victorious earlier in the campaign against Croydon with to a 2-1 result and have not lost in their past three fixtures versus the Kings.
Lastella notes a victory will be a huge boost to Strikers finals aspirations as they currently sit sixth, but just four points behind the leaders.
“It’s always a tough game against Croydon. They are our closest rivals so that makes for an intense game. Being only four points behind, a win will be a huge boost to our chances.”
“We continued to believe in a finals spot even when results were not always going our way. A win will certainly help but we must keep going beyond this weekend, this match is just one small step.”
Croydon took sole possession of first place in the Super League when their 0-0 draw against MetroStars - coupled with defeats for Adelaide City and Adelaide Blue Eagles - saw them jump a point clear.
While Kings coach Mark Brazzale did not expect to be ahead of the rest, he is well aware there is still a long way to go until the finals.
“We didn’t expect to be sitting first but were always looking to push ourselves and be competitive,” he said.
“Being in first means our hard work is paying off and we are proud to be where we are. But it is extremely close and with six weeks left anything can happen. We could finish first, maybe fifth or sixth, so we’ll take it one week at a time and nothing can be taken for granted.”
Brazzale said he was generally pleased with Croydon’s performance last weekend but warns Western Strikers are a dangerous opponent and praised their performance against City.
“We started slow against Metro but then dominated as the game progressed and while I’m happy, we missed a few opportunities in the second half and could have won the match.”
“I watched Strikers against Adelaide City and I would say they are the best team of the last five weeks. They are well drilled and fit, they played quite phenomenal on Monday and we will have to be at our best to claim the points.”
Elsewhere, West Torrens Birkalla will be hoping for a return to the winners list as they host Raiders at Camden Sports Complex on Saturday.
Winless in their past eight matches, Birkalla’s unwanted streak continued last weekend as they went down 4-1 to Adelaide Comets.
Round 13 opponents Raiders have brought themselves back into finals contention after a three match unbeaten run, including last week’s stirring victory over Blue Eagles.
Adelaide Blue Eagles have lost three of their past four as they seek to reclaim first position when they host Enfield City at Marden Sports Complex on Saturday.
Having rediscovered their winning touch a fortnight ago versus Adelaide Comets, the reigning champions were stunned by 10-man Raiders. However, despite the downturn in form they remain in second position.
The Falcons outside chance of reaching the top five was aided by a lone-goal victory over Campbelltown last week, their second win in the past three matches.
Fifth-placed Campbelltown and third-placed Adelaide City are both smarting from defeats as they prepare to meet at Steve Woodcock Sports Centre on Saturday.
Since wins over then league leaders Blue Eagles and MetroStars, Campbelltown have also surrendered top spot thanks to successive losses, but due to the nature of the top five they remain just two points from first.
Adelaide City suffered a heavy home defeat to Strikers, halting their three-match winning run after the black and whites were one of three sides that shared first.
MetroStars will look to put pressure on those ahead when they host Adelaide Comets at TK Shutter Reserve on Saturday.
Metro were pleased to leave Croydon with a point last weekend but back at home they will hope to attain their first win since Round 9.
They face the dangerous Comets, who triumphed last weekend versus Birkalla and look a different side since the appointment of Emir Tarabar. Their three season wins have come since that move.
Saturday June 30
West Torrens Birkalla v Raiders3pm - Camden Sports Complex, Corner Saratoga Drive & Morphett Road, NOVAR GARDENS
Adelaide Blue Eagles v Enfield City
3pm - Marden Sports Complex, Lower Portrush Road, MARDEN
Campbelltown v Adelaide City3pm - Steve Woodcock Sports Centre, Stradbroke Road, NEWTON
MetroStars v Adelaide Comets
3pm - TK Shutter Reserve, Fourth Avenue, KLEMZIG