NPL Victoria Women's Round 9 preview

Round 9 marks a significant moment of the NPLW season as each team has now played one another. As we edge towards the half way point of the season, the league table is starting to take shape with a the top four and the bottom four becoming more clearly defined.

To get us underway tonight, the Bulleen Lions will take a trip to Wembley Park to take on Box Hill United, with both teams looking to recapture form.


After a strong start to the 2022 campaign, the Lions have stumbled in recent weeks. A defeat against Heidelberg United two weeks ago was compounded last Monday, as they let a 3-1 second half lead slip to only come away with a point against South Melbourne.

Box Hill has lacked consistency this season but the Club has done enough to find itself comfortably nestled in mid-table. Two straight victories in rounds five and six was followed by two straight defeats in the last fortnight, leaving the team 5th in the NPLW table.  The sooner they steady the ship the better as defeat this week could see considerable breathing space open up between United and the top four.

For the Lions a return to winning ways is required to stay in contention with the top two, Calder United and Heidelberg. A win tonight would also do wonders for the side's confidence heading into the Nike F.C. Cup quarter final clash with Alamein next Tuesday. The first meeting between the sides ended 2-0 in favour of the Lions, but with a lot of water having gone under the bridge since then it shapes up to be an intriguing contest.

League leaders Heidelberg United will head to Dorothy Laver West Reserve on Saturday full of confidence for their match against Alamein.

Heidelberg surged to the top of the table following some excellent form of late.

Strong results in recent weeks have seen them return to the top of the pile, backing up their convincing victory against top three rivals Bulleen by putting five past last placed Bayside United last weekend.

Alamein returned to winning ways last round to cement their spot in the top four. An Elaina Vatcky effort in the first five minutes was enough to edge past FV Emerging and secure the points. Under the guidance of Head Coach Kat Smith, Alamein have established themselves as one of the best sides in the state, sitting 4th in the league and through to the quarter finals of the Nike F.C. Cup.

Last week, Smith was appointed at the helm of A-League Women side Western Sydney Wanderers Liberty, from the start of next season. Alamein fans will be eager to see how far she can take their side in her swansong season at the club.

For the Bergers, captain Steph Galea has been in scorching form, scoring her seventh and eight goals of the season on the weekend in just her seventh game.

She will be hoping for more of the same this week, as they hope to extend their lead at the top, with Calder United breathing down their necks.

Despite Heidelberg’s league leading status, it was actually Alamein who were victorious in the reverse fixture earlier this year, a detail which coach Smith is sure to have not forgotten.

It’s the battle at the bottom next, as last placed Bayside United travel to the Lakeside Stadium to take on 7th placed South Melbourne.

Despite their strong form in the Nike F.C. Cup, which sees them in the quarter finals on Tuesday, Bayside are still searching for their first victory of the 2022 NPLW campaign.

Already sitting four points behind their hosts, this week is must win as they risk losing touch with the rest of the field.

On the flipside, South's fortunes have finally started to turn in recent weeks. Last year's runaway leaders secured their first three points of the season against Box Hill, which was followed by a dramatic stoppage time equaliser from Janna Lawson to earn a point at Bulleen on Monday.

It was the third goal in as many games for Lawson who has found an eye for goal in the past few weeks. A trend which the South Melbourne faithful will hope continues as they look to push back up the table after a shaky start to their season.

Amanda Stevenson and Julia Budiongo are the only players two have netted more than once so far for Bayside. The latter’s effort briefly having her side all square last Saturday before Heidelberg eventually ran away 5-2 winners.

The points were shared when these two sides met in Round 2, but both teams have much more need for all three at this point of the campaign.

To round out the action on Sunday, young guns FV Emerging will need their very best when they host possibly the most inform side in the state in Calder United.

Fresh off a commanding 5-0 dispatching of VPL side Boroondara Eagles last night in the quarter finals, the Nike F.C. Cup defending champs head to Knox in full flight. Since their defeat at the hands of Heidelberg on April 23, Calder have not conceded a point or even a goal, scoring 20 goals across five games in all competitions over the last month.

Calder United proved too strong for Boroondara in last night's Nike FC Cup Quarter Final, building on its strong form.

There’s an old adage that states “you’ve got to beat the best to be the best”and the talented Emerging side would do well to keep this in mind come Sunday.

A result on Sunday after last week’s narrow loss to Alamein would not only be a spirit lifting upset, but it would also be a statement of the growth the young side has been hoping to make since they last player Calder. That match ended 4-0 to United and there is nothing better than getting revenge in front of your home fans.

As far as Calder are concerned, Head Coach Mark Torcaso will be asking for more of the same please as the United train looks to keep rolling on.

We encourage everyone to get down to your local game, but if you can't make it tune in via NPL.TV where all games will be streamed live & free.