OFC: There was welcome relief for Fijian skipper Esala Masi this week, as his club South Cardiff Gunners rocketed back into form with a devastating 5-1 victory over high flyers Hamilton Olympic away from home on Sunday.
Having endured a six match winless run, the Gunners caused one of the biggest upsets of the Northern New South Wales Premier League season, which has given some credibility to their fledgling finals ambitions.
Masi was in top shape for his side, netting two of the five goals, his first for the club.
With six rounds remaining, South Cardiff sits just one spot away from a semi final berth, but, importantly, nine points shy of fourth place.
The Gunners take on bottom placed Toronto Awaba at home this Sunday.
In Victoria, Henry Fa’arodo was also amongst the goals.
The Solomon Islander netted his second goal for the Fawkner Blues since rejoining the club on the eve of the Oceania stage one qualifiers in May.
Fa’arodo’s strike was the final goal in Fawkner’s 3-0 rout of the Whittlesea Stallions away from home, which keeps the Blues in ninth spot ahead of this weeks clash away to fourth placed Frankston Pines.
Frankston will be high on confidence following their 2-0 win over Preston Lions in Preston on Sunday.
Samoan goalkeeper Pasi Schwalger was an absentee from the Lions line up, due to an ongoing trial with English club Southend United.
In Queensland, there was good news for all the QPL’s pacific contingent.
Solomon Islands trio Jack Samani, Joel Konofilia and Paul Usumae were all a part of Brisbane Wolves 4-2 victory over the University of Queensland in the Premier Cup quarterfinals at home on Sunday.
Samani and Konofilia both played full matches with Usumae restricted to an appearance off the bench in the second half.
The Wolves will now meet North Star at Perry Park in the semi finals in August, but will first return to league action when they take on fellow top four challengers Palm Beach at home on Sunday.
Having been knocked out of the Premier Cup at the preliminary stage, Mitchelton, home to Vanuatuan pair Etienne Mermer and Richard Iwai, hosted the Toowoomba Raiders on Sunday in a deferred league fixture that was won by the hosts 1-0.
Mermer played the whole ninety minutes for his side, while Iwai had to be contented with a fleeting substitute appearance in the second half.
The win propels Mitchelton back into the QPL top four although they face a tough task to remain there, with a local derby against fifth placed Brisbane City on the horizon this Sunday.
Papua New Guinean Alex Davani’s Taringa Rovers had a week off due to the Cup and will return to action this Sunday when they host North Star.
After a notable absence due to injury, there is hope Davani will make his return to the Rovers starting eleven this weekend.
In Queensland’s Metro Cup, Fijian Raj Kumar was apart of another Darra Lions rout, this time a 7-0 thrashing of the University of Queensland at the competitions semi final stage.
Darra will now play Park Ridge in the final, which is to be played on August 1. – By Ben Coonan (Australian Correspondent)