NPL 1 Preview: Rockdale v Wanderers

It’s another big test for the Western Sydney Wanderers NPL side, as they travel to face high-flying Rockdale Ilinden on Sunday.

Rockdale currently sit second and have won four games in a row, having rebounded strongly after being smashed by APIA Leichhardt 6-0 in round two. They have also only conceded one goal in that time and are one of the form sides of the competition.

But the Wanderers will be full of confidence after they broke a poor run of form with a 3-2 home victory over Sydney Olympic. Their attacking quality was on show once again as Jarrod

Carluccio, Ariath Piol and Nathaniel Blair all got on the scoresheet, and they also showed great defensive resilience to hold off a late flurry of Olympic chances.

Zac Sapsford was also a key player off the bench, grabbing a brilliant assist for the winning goal and showing that he is close to his best after an injury lay off. The Wanderers will also be hoping to have the services of their Australian U20s stars in Alessandro Lopane, Aidan Simmons, Alex Badolato and Jack Warshawsky, as they begin to return from international duty.

They will need to have their top players firing against a strong Rockdale side that has the league’s top scorer in Alec Urosevski (eight goals) as well as former Wanderers midfielder from last season Lochlan Constable.

Rockdale were in imperious form last week as they raced out to a three goal lead after half an hour away against Wollongong, with Jaden Casella netting a double and Urosevski getting on the scoreboard. The Wolves pulled a goal back in the second half, but the visitors still coasted to a 3-1 victory.

If the Wanderers can pull off another huge victory, it would see them climb the table, as well as increasing the gap between them and the relegation places.