Round 1 Recap

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Half Time Hero
wrote on 08-Jun-23 22:56

Well gentlemen it's officially the halfway point of the 2023 season and we've had a mixed bag to say the least! Upsets, dominations, stalemates and everything in between. Let's pause and take stock of what, so far, has been a very interesting 9 rounds of football.

1st- WPH (8W/1D/0L - 25 Points)

West Penno seem to have picked up this season where they left off the last. Going through the first round undefeated with the only points dropped an away draw to Macquarie Dragons. Questions arose pre-season of whether or not they could still be as dominant without their taslismanic striker and goal-scoring machine Kane after he, and apparantly a slew of other first graders moved on from the club in the off season. But clearly, from the current table, their goal difference (+27!) says it's business as usual down at Campbell Park this season. So far the clear favourites to take out yet another premiership but who knows, a tough double header this weekend against 2nd placed EEW and Hawks both away. Two wins will see them potentially 9 points out of sight of anyone but 2 losses brings them right back to earth! Only time will tell.

 

2nd- EEW (5W/2D/2L - 17 Points)

 

After a very strong season last year the lads from Boronia find themselves, yet again, up the pointy end of the table.  With their only losses this season coming at the hands of WPH and a gritty Penno side the Tigers are looking to close the 8 point gap this weekend. With arguably the hardest draw of all the double headers ( vs 1st and 3rd place) this is potentially a season defining weekend for EEW. They haven't lost any games at home so far and with both games being at Boronia Fortress can the Tigers continue to chase down the league leaders and roar to victory or will they continue to softly purr underneath the shadow of West Penno?

 

3rd- WRR (5W/1D/3L - 16 Points)

 

After a slow start to the campaign Rovers find themselves in the top 3 at the turn of the season and rightly so. Each season since promotion they have proven to be contenders and games at Meadowbank are never an easy fixture. Some slightly mixed results early on with dominant wins over STA (5-0) and Hawks (5-2) slightly marred by big losses to EEW (4-0) and Normo (4-0) and a tough 1-1 draw with RSU means the Rovers cap off the round just scraping in with a positive goal differential.  With seemingly no issue scoring goals will it be their leaky defence that costs them in the latter half of the season or can they plug the gaps and continue to put pressure on those teams above them? A strong ressies side providing extra depth may be the key in the later rounds.

 

4th- NMH (4W/3D/2L - 15 Points)

 

The Eagles again flying high so far this season and rounding out the top 4. With one of the best defensive records in the league (8 conceded in 9 games) they are a tough outfit to crack. Their shape and 90 minute all-out energy have caused teams many headaches so far this season. Being masters of playing on their bouncy home pitch won’t serve them very well this double header weekend as both fixtures are away to PEN and St Pats. Picking up maximum points means they stay in the hunt and if those above drop points could see them as high as 2nd place! But on the other hand dropping points could see them outside the top 4 with MQD breathing down their neck for a top 4 spot! Can they recapture some of the 2018 spirit or will they just be there to make up the numbers come season end?

 

5th- MQD (3W/4D/2L - 13 Points)

 

As you can see by their points tally 13 is unlucky for some and that’s probably how the Dragons can sum up the first half of their season so far. 4 draws in 9 games, turn them into wins and they’re giving WPH a nudge for top spot! It’s been a case of “close but no cigar” so far for the Waterloo faithful. With a strong outfit since promotion and playing fast-paced, passing-focused, attacking football they have the ability to turn it on and put any team to the sword if not taken seriously but for some reason they have been lacking that killer instinct we saw in the 2021 season that saw them top of the pile*. With them playing the 2 lowest placed teams next (RSU and STA) the Dragons will be chasing the coveted 6 point weekend which puts them right back in the mix! But having only drawn with both teams (1-1 & 3-3) in the first round will they fall short yet again or can they channel some 2021 energy and mix it with the big boys in the top 4?

 

6th- STP (3W/1D/5L - 10 Points)

 

If you asked St Pats where they thought they’d be at the halfway mark of their 1st PL season based off their previous stellar SL seasons they definitely wouldn’t have said “6th with a -7 goal differential”.

It’s been a hard first round for the newcomers learning first hand the jump from SL>PL is a tough one. But credit where it’s due, after getting towelled up by NMH and WPH and scrounging a draw against Hawks in their first 3 games they rallied and have since taken the points against PEN, MQD & RSU to somewhat salvage what could have been a more embarrassing start to their PL campaign. Currently 5 points shy of the top 4 all hope is not lost for the Saints as they look to bounce back and regain some of the form that saw them undefeated last season. Will the upcoming games against Normo and Hawks be the revenge for round 1? Or will they have to get comfy with the unusual feeling of residing in the bottom half of a league table? A thought that I’m sure will not sit well with those used to the lofty heights of previous years.

 

7th - HWK (2W/3D/4L - 9 Points)

 

All is not well with the lads from Galston, after a blistering pre-season they turn the season with only 2 wins and 9 points. Far from where the Gilmore Cup Winners would have wanted to be at this stage of the year. With a nightmare 5 game winless start (LDDLL) they didn’t pick up their first win until round 6! With a lot of chatter on the forum of a superstar international transfer a lot was expected of the Hawks, all of which has yet to come to fruition. Nothing short of 6 points this weekend will be acceptable for those at Hayes but with the games being against St Pats and WPH and with numbers running thin it looks to be an uphill battle for the remaining 9 games. Can the Hawks dig deep and make a run home similar to the 2021 season or will they be battling it out in the dreaded relegation zone come late July?

 

8th- PEN (2W/2D/5L - 8 Points)

 

After an amazing pre-season as well and finishing an admirable runners-up in the Cup, Penno are also battling it out in the bottom half of the table. After a lacklustre 2022 season any hope of bouncing back has been all but diminished with the only wins this season so far coming from cellar-dwellers STA and EEW(?!). It seems they’re yet to recover from the changing of the old guard that was so dominant in previous seasons. Maybe it’s an inexperienced squad, maybe it’s a lack of depth, maybe it’s just a poor rub of the green. Regardless, their next 2 fixtures being against STA and NMH who they’ve both beaten (4-0) and drawn with (2-2) respectively, they could look to make a change this weekend with 6 points potentially putting them in reaching distance of the top 4!

 

9th - RSU (2W/2D/5L - 8 Points)

 

The Pidding Park Possy will be licking their wounds having had a very rough first half of the season. Only picking up wins against STA and PEN means they barely drop to 2nd last by a 2 goal differential to PEN. Word in the street is the Saints and their fans are anything but saintly in their conduct and maybe this is reflected in their results. The only positive thing going for RSU this season is that there is one team worse than they are. Will their prayers be answered with some points this weekend against MQD and WRR or has the Lord turned his back on the hooligans from Ryde and doomed them to a deserved relegation battle?

 

10th - STA (1W/1D/7L - 4 Points)

 

Yep, you’re reading that right. Certainly the biggest shock of the season so far is the almighty fall of the stalwart finalists STA. With seemingly an apocalyptic exodus of players leaving the PL squad in the off season has seen STA slump into dead last. In what seems to be a husk of its former self the team from Eastwood have gone from loss to loss to loss so far this season only scrounging up their one and only win last weekend against STP (3-2). Now if it were the STA of old you’d bet your house that they’ll survive relegation and make a late-season charge up the table. But with the change in troops, the leaky defence and the low motivation I hate to say it but it is going to take something very special from the Woodies to salvage things and put this season very far behind them. Will we see them step up and become the Woodies we all know and love? Or will we bear witness to a Grand Finalist club being relegated the very next season? It all could start this weekend against PEN and MQD, if things go their way “the great escape” might still be on!

 

James
wrote on 09-Jun-23 23:36

Great write up, 100s no one is catching west pen but with 4 points seperating 2 from 5, and 5 points seperating the bottom 4 the double header weekend could change that up big time.

It begins
wrote on 11-Jun-23 19:38

Looks like the great escape is on at STA! You heard it here!

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