2024 NPL Round 15 – Sharks v Knights

NPL Victoria actions returns this weekend as the Knights head to the bay to take on the Port Melbourne Sharks in round 15 action. 

After tasting bitter defeat at the hands of South Melbourne in last week’s derby despite their solid performance, the Knights will be looking to upset home side Port Melbourne Sharks and bag all three points.

Under newly appointed head coach Ivan Franjic, who is still currently playing, the Knights’s recent string of performances have seen a lift in the squad, with a playing style reminiscent of 2023. Last week’s match against South Melbourne, despite the defeat, had to be one of the more total performances of the side, with plenty of chances on goal and a more concise and focused defence. Much to the ire of Knights fans in attendance, the Knights weren’t able to get on the board due to an inform Javier Lopez, who continually made heroic save after heroic save to keep the Knights at bay.

The Knights will be looking to capitalise on this performance and bring it into round 15 against the Sharks. However, for the Knights, Steve Whyte, who was arguably the most consistent on the pitch in 2023, and who has been out of squad contention for the last four games due to a minor calf strain, is still an unknown for Saturday’s match and by his own admission “doesn’t want to rush the recovery and risk re-injury”.

For the Sharks, the side is currently rounding out the top six on 24 points, seven points clear of seventh-placed Altona Magic and nine points clear of ninth-placed Knights. The Sharks have been defensively inconsistent, currently having 26 goals against their ledger, the worst of any top-six side. This record is only offset by their scoring ability, with Emmanuel Peters, Jackson Courtney-Perkins and Eoghan Stokes on seven, five and four goals respectively and with the trio accounting for over half of all of the Sharks’ goals.

In the lead-up to the match, the Sharks have had a somewhat rollercoaster few weeks, first being handed a 5-1 belting at the hands of Avondale FC in Round 13, and then handing St Albans Saints a 5-3 defeat in Round 14.

The last time the two sides faced off against each other was back in Round 2 when the Sharks put three past the Knights at home. On this occasion Amanhomm Khamis, Lucas Byrns and Maker Maker were able to score for their side a goal each, however, it was also the last time the trio would find the back of the net for the Sharks as none have been able to score follow-up goals since. Mitch Hore was able to score a lone goal for the Knights, but the match eventually ended 3-1.

This time around, if the Knights continue the performance trend of the past few weeks, then the side has a strong chance of sinking the Sharks and claiming all three points on the trot. Join the Knights this Saturday at 5pm at JL Murphy Reserve’s SS Anderson Oval for Round 15 NPL Victoria action.

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