The 2013 Men’s F-League hits Canberra on the weekend of 3/4 August and it is turning out to be an extremely critical round of games for every team in the competition.
For our very own Boomerangs there are three challenging games ahead, and even though these games are against teams sitting below the Boomerangs on the ladder, the team knows that points can be dropped if they do not play to their full potential.
The Boomerangs kick off the weekend with a game at 2.oopm Saturday against Sydney club, East Coast Heat. Last time these two teams met – Round 6 in Melbourne – the Boomerangs came out comfortable winners 6-3. The East Coast have had quite a few personnel changes this season, and many of their more experienced players have not always been available to play. The Boomerangs on the other hand, have had a consistent squad of 18 that they have been able to choose their 14 team members for each game. A solid outing for the Boomerangs in the first game of the weekend will hopefully see a full three points taken against a tough opposition.
The Boomerangs second game for the weekend is at 9.00pm Saturday evening against the Victorian team, St Albans Strikers. When they previously met on the first weekend of this year’s competition, it was St Albans who came out on top, inflicting a 4-2 defeat on the Boomerangs. Since that game though the Strikers have only won a further three games and have dropped six. The Boomerangs on the other hand have won five and drawn another to be four points and two places above St Albans on the ladder. The Boomerangs have the capability and capacity to win this game at home to further solidify their push for the top four.
The lads play their third game of the weekend on Sunday evening at 6.00pm against the Melbourne based Jaguars. The Jaguars have by far the worst defensive record in the league having conceded 85 goals over 11 games so far. However, they are capable of scoring goals and have racked up thirty three themselves. It would be hard to see them lift to defeat a cohesive Boomerangs though, as they have only managed to win a solitary game this season.
The Boomerangs are targeting three wins from three games, and depending on other results from the weekend, should retain their fourth place on the ladder. They could also make a move up to third, however this would require either the Vipers or Scorpions to lose two of their three games.
THE RACE FOR THE MINOR PREMIERSHIP
Dural Warriors who are currently sitting on top of the table with seven wins and only two draws and a solitary loss to date, face a stern test this weekend. They play their first game against Vic Vipers at 3.45pm Saturday afternoon. 1 v 2 will be a classic, no holds bar encounter that will go a long way to determining this year’s F-League Champion. Dural’s second and third games on Sunday are against the bottom two teams – both from Victoria. If they can win their first match against Vic Vipers, they should be able to polish off the bottom two teams in Melbourne Heart and Jaguars, and come away with a clean sweep for the weekend, which would leave them clear at the top of the table.
Vic Vipers, currently second on the ladder with seven wins, one draw and two losses face off against the Dural Warriors first off Saturday, They also match up against East Coast Heat and Sydney Scorpions to round out the weekend. And with those match ups, the Vipers probably have the toughest weekend of any of the top four teams. They will need to be at their very best to get maximum points from the weekend. Better odds would be a six point return for them for the weekend which would see them remain in second position, but possibly be pushed down to third if Scorpions do well.
Now to the Sydney Scorpions; they currently lie in third place on the table coming into the weekend. On Saturday afternoon they face St. Albans which will be an intriguing match, but one they should win. Sunday sees them matched up against the Heart and a tough game to round out the weekend against the Vic Vipers. The Scorpions, being a newly created team, and also having the most players away for the past two weeks in New Zealand playing with the Australian Futsalroos (and therefore not being able to have their full squad together training), may struggle a little this Canberra weekend. They have a real opportunity to take home maximum points from the weekend, but they will need to be at their best to do so. If they do succeed in gaining maximum points, then they still rely on a slip from Vic Vipers (which they would inflict themselves) and from Dural – which would need to be a loss to the Vipers.
THE RACE FOR THE TOP 4
Along with Boomerangs, two other teams still have reasonable chances of making the F-League final series by finishing in the top four.
East Coast Heat sit just below the Boomerangs in fifth place, and with a solid outing this weekend could challenge for the top four. They play Boomerangs first off on Saturday in what is turning out to be the match of the round from an ACT perspective, as a win either way could deliver a significant blow to either side’s finals chances. Saturday evening sees them with a second tough game against Vic Vipers who need to win this match to remain in the title race. Their third and final game for the weekend on Sunday is up against St Albans. These teams are closely matched and this too will be a challenging match up.
St. Albans currently sit in 6th position on the F-League ladder, and with fixtures against Scorpions, Boomerangs and East Coast Heat, some might say they are out of contention for the finals. However, if St. Albans manage to grab a win or two, most importantly for them, against the Boomerangs and East Coast, it could blow the race for the fourth spot wide open. This means they will no doubt be playing for their lives in every game.
THE BATTLE FOR THE WOODEN SPOON
Seventh place is currently occupied by Melbourne Heart, and even though they are only seven points off fourth place, they only have three games remaining to make up those points, while also needing results to go their way. Making things more difficult, this Canberra weekend looks to be one of the toughest series’ of the season for Heart as they take on Dural Warriors and Sydney Scorpions, who both are fighting for the Minor Premiership and will be desperate for points.
Jaguars are looking down the barrel of a second consecutive wooden spoon as they finished last season’s F-League in last place. Knowing this, they will be out to prove themselves as a team not just making up the numbers, but looking to be a force in future seasons of Australia’s Premier Futsal competition. With games against Dural and Boomerangs in the nations capital, it provides a great setting for the Jaguars to prove themselves in the competition as they look to avoid the unflattering title of the wooden spoon holders.
A final round of competition is scheduled for the 17th of August in Sydney in which the current top four teams play off against the current bottom four teams. Barring significant upsets, the ladder could be well and truly determined by the end of the upcoming Series 4 in Canberra, making it possibly the most important series of the season.