The Peel shows promise as NPL draws closer

A local derby south of Perth is intensifying as two of the Peel region’s leading clubs aim to secure a position in the inaugural season of the Western Australian NPL.

A local derby south of Perth is intensifying as two of the Peel region-s leading clubs aim to secure a position in the inaugural season of the Western Australian National Premier League.

Mandurah City FC and Rockingham City FC are two of over twenty clubs that have submitted applications for the competition and both are optimistic their bids will be successful.

With both clubs residing in one of the state-s fastest growing areas, their ongoing success is necessary to help fuel the growth of football in the far west.

While many believe that a joint bid between the clubs would have all but secured a spot in the NPL, talks were soon quashed when both sides recognised they each had a compelling argument as to why they could field a successful team.

“We are hoping to showcase Western Australian regional football at the highest level and thus are confident that will be successful in our bid next year,” said Rockingham City president Brian Kennedy.

“The club has over 450 players across 23 teams and we believe that having an NPL team will further increase participation again.”

Kennedy also believes that the club has some of the best facilities he has seen.

“Our facilities are state of the art here at Rockingham.

“I-ve had people visit from Britain and inform me they are a similar quality to many of the youth academies back home.”

Forty minutes further down the coastline, Mandurah City secretary Bill Morrison shared similar sentiments about his club.

“The club-s NPL application ticked all the boxes,” said Morrison.

“We have one of the best, if not the best, facility in WA state football and we have short and long-term plans to grow the game through the NPL ideals.”

A strong junior base at Mandurah City is another endearing quality the club embodies.

“Youth development is already one of our key pillars.

“The club has 1100 members and operates as a business 365 days a year, supporting grassroots football and elite programs.”

This battle is not the first between the clubs with the rivals regularly attracting healthy crowds to their local derby.

“There is great rivalry between the two clubs that goes back 40 years,” said Morrison. “Derbies are great affairs with great crowds.”

“We both have quality players so whether we go there or they come here then it is always a good local derby,” added Kennedy.

One thing the two sides do agree on is the fact that one day they do believe that the area could support a Hyundai A-League side.

“The Peel region is a good catchment area for football with some talented juniors that would no longer have to head straight to the city to play at the top level,” said Kennedy.

“You-d be hard pressed to find people that are more passionate about football than a lot of people in our area.”

The Mandurah City Secretary believes that a club in the top tier of Australian football would add another exciting derby to the A-League-s list of fixtures.

“We would draw support from the entire south west of the state and create a very healthy rivalry with the Perth franchise,” said Morrison.

“The AFL derby between Eagles and Dockers has shown the thirst for local rivalries in WA.”

Both sides will now play the waiting game as they hope that they are one of the sides selected to compete in the NPL when it is announced later in the year.