Bayswater City have been tipped by rival coaches and players as the PlayStation 4 NPL WA team to beat, although the consensus is that it will be a much closer competition in 2016.
City have won the first two PS4 NPLWA titles and are firm favourites to win a third this season, which kicks off tomorrow (Saturday, March 19).
Their romp to last season’s top spot by 10 points has given them favouritism among those aiming to topple them from the pinnacle this season.
But just as City coach Chris Coyne expects a tough battle to retain the crown this season, his side’s rivals also expect a more even competition – from top to bottom.
Coyne, who took Bayswater to the NPL National Grand Final last season, is one of five former Perth Glory players will a PS4 NPLWA coaching role this season along with Scott Miller (Cockburn City), Gareth Naven (Perth SC), Jamie Harnwell (Sorrento) and Marc Anthony (Balcatta).
Sorrento coach Harnwell is one of those predicting a season in which Bayswater might not have it all their own way.
“The gap might just close a bit more and provide a bit more competition for the likes of Bayswater,” Harnwell said.
Coyne sees a potential threat from several teams.
“Floreat are going to be up there again,” he said. “I think Stirling will do well if they can keep bodies on the park and keep everyone happy.
“Cockburn will surprise a few people, they’ve got a very young, fit and good team and Scotty Miller will have them well organised. And I think Armadale could be a surprise package as well.”
The team that finishes top of the PS4 NPLWA table at the end of 22 rounds will represent WA in the PS4 National Finals Series against the winners of other State competitions.
The top four teams in the PS4 NPLWA will also contest a Top Four Cup.
PS4 NPL WA Round One Fixtures
Saturday, March 19
Stirling Lions v Subiaco (Macedonia Park, 3pm)
Sorrento v ECU Joondalup (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm)
Cockburn City v Balcatta (Dalmatinac Park, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Perth Glory (Finance 365 Stadium/Frank Drago Reserve, 3pm)
Armadale v Perth (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 5pm)
Inglewood United v Floreat Athena (Inglewood Stadium, 7pm)
Visit www.nplwa.com.au for more information or click on the links below: