After a highly successful season in 2015, the PlayStation®4 NPL Northern NSW competition returns for its third year and is set to be just as enthralling as the seasons that have come before.
After Edgeworth FC took out both the top place on the league ladder and managed to take a victory in the Grand Final with a 2-0 victory over Hamilton Olympic FC, many of the PlayStation 4 NPL teams will now be eager to prove that they can take down the defending champions.
The newest entrant to the top division is Valentine FC, who claimed promotion through an eight-point gap over their closest rival in the NewFM First Division competition. The new side will be eager to justify their promotion and prove that they are the best team in Northern NSW.
With big signings in the form of Hyundai A-League veterans, former competition stars returning and new coaches keen to prove that they can take their teams all the way, the season is set to be a thrilling one from start to finish.
With only eighteen rounds of action along with the nail-bitting elimination finals that beckon at the end of the season, the clubs are looking more strong and composed than ever – so this will be another phenomenal season of football and one that is not to be missed.
NBN Televisions's Mitch Hughes caught up with representatives from PS4 NPL Northern NSW teams at the 2016 media launch yesterday to discuss the upcoming season. View the extended interviews here
Adamstown Rosebuds FC
2015 Season Ladder: 6th Place
Coach: Graham Law
Falling below a finals place by four points in the 2015 season, the Rosebuds now look towards proving that they can bounce back and make it into the elimination rounds in the upcoming season.
Adamstown’s main loss of the season so far has been the promising youngster Aaron Niyonkura who was lured away by the Newcastle Jets Youth program. However the recruitment has replaced gaps in the squad that may have been lacking last season.
The stand-out signings for the Rosebuds have been Broadmeadow Magic FC’s Joseph Grujevski as well as Alex Clarke and Dylan Schauder, Americans who trialled with Singleton FC before eventually settling in to the Adamstown squad.
Broadmeadow Magic FC
2015 Season: 4th Place
Coach: Robert Virgili / Bobby Naumov
Last season Magic came into the finals just three points above Weston with their eyes set on the Grand Final. However the semi-finals were as far as the Magic side could go. This year they will be looking to return to their table-topping ways.
Magic’s squad were not one to lack firepower last season, with all top three goalscorers coming from the club. Kale Bradbery scored sixteen goals in nineteen matches for Magic, and both Peter Haynes and Dino Fajkovic weren’t far behind, scoring twelve and eleven respectively.
The first major signing for Magic was another attacking option however, coming in the form of former Newcastle Jets winger, James Virgili.
Charlestown City Blues FC
2015 Season: 9th Place
Coach: Shane Pryce
After keeping away from relegation by just four points last season, Charlestown City has had a series of problems in the off-season as players moved away from the Blues and others suffered injuries that could put them on the sideline for some time.
One of Charlestown’s promising players, Daniel Minors, is now playing at Edgeworth while goalkeeper Paul Bitz and young centre-back Damian Cox have also left the squad in the weeks leading up to the season.
2015 Season: 1st Place
Coach: Damian Zane
With Edgeworth FC having proven that they are top-table contenders in the end of the season last year, with both deep runs in the FFA Cup and claims to the minor premiership as well as their Grand Final victory over Hamilton Olympic in 2015, Damian Zane’s side now set their eyes on claiming back to back glory in the new season.
The first step in the process of defending their titles was signing former Hyundai A-League 2012-13 golden boot recipient Daniel McBreen, who returns to his grassroots club after leaving for Newcastle United.
Edgeworth looked to fill out their squad with more strong players for the coming season, the first of whom was Daniel Minors, one of Charlestown’s rising talents.
Hamilton Olympic FC
2015 Season: 3rd Place
Coach: Michael Bolch
After losing 2-0 to Edgeworth in the 2015 Grand Final, Hamilton Olympic knew that they would need a big impact signing for the upcoming season to continue their upwards trajectory.
Michael Bolch completed the side’s coup in recruitment with the signing of A-League veteran and New Zealand international Leo Bertos, one of the big-name signings of the league.
Bertos, now 34 years old, returned to Australia after appearances in the Indian Premier League for both East Bengal and North East United and had played with Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory in his stints in the A-League.
With their impact signing to bring their midfield’s talent up by leaps and bounds, the Hamilton side will now eye another Grand Final appearance and a chance to claim the championship that Edgeworth denied them last season.
Lambton Jaffas FC
2015 Season: 2nd Place
Coach: James Pascoe
Finishing three points off the top spot and falling out of the semi-finals 4-3 against Hamilton Olympic, Lambton knew that they needed to bolster their squad to face the PlayStation 4 NPL challenge again.
Change is coming for the side however, with David Tanchevski’s six year reign coming to an end. Tanchevski’s leadership at the helm of the Jaffas, saw the club rise from the depths of the NewFM 1st Division to a challenging PlayStation 4 NPL side in Northern NSW, with honours coming in the form of the 2014 Grand Final victory.
Tanchevski will be replaced by former Jets assistant coach James Pascoe.
2015 Season: 8th Place
Coach: Steve Piggott
Maitland avoided the drop by six points in the 2015 season and will be keen to stay away from that end of the table in the new season.
The major loss of the off-season for Steve Piggott’s side was Joel Wood, who was expected to move interstate and be unavailable for the Northern NSW National Premier League, but when the move didn’t eventuate the attacking player signed with rivals Lambton Jaffas.
The loss will be a disappointing move for Maitland fans, who watched Wood help their side to promotion in 2014 and kept them in the fight in the 2015 season.
Newcastle Jets Youth
2015 Season: 7th Place
Coach: Clayton Zane
After a season of disappointment for the Newcastle Jets Youth side, the new season would see them rise above and beyond for a new campaign and look to make a bigger impact on the league this time around.
The major signing of the Jets Youth side so far has come in the form of Aaron Niyonkura, who was identified at the Adamstown Rosebuds as a player that could continue to rise in the footballing ranks and he now joins Clayton Zane’s developmental squad for the season.
2015 Season: Promoted from NewFM 1st Division
Coach: Darren Sills
It will be a year of proving their worth for Valentine, who took the top of the NewFM 1st Division by storm last season, claiming the title and promotion by eight points.
Darren Sills has taken the helm for the new season with one goal in mind – keep Valentine in the fight and climb the ladder and new signings came in many forms for Sills and his newly promoted side.
The Central Coast proved to be an ample supply of talent for the incoming coach, with Central Coast Mariners player Ridge Marpu joining the squad, as well as Beyhan Irmako, Josh Swadling and Darren Cooper all signing from the Central Coast leagues.
Building around the key squad that took Valentine to the top division last season, including golden boot runner-up Scott McGingley who tallied twenty goals to his name last season, the team’s only major losses came in the form of Damian Lobb, who moved back to the Central Coast, and Brett Adcock, who retired after the birth of his child.
Weston Workers FC
2015 Season: 5th Place
Coach: Trevor Morris
Three points and a single win kept the Weston Workers from making it into the finals last season and their close taste of the elimination matches are going to push Trevor Morris’ side to bigger and better things in the 2016 season.
With some of their stronger players from the last seasons leaving the club, including Brock Oakley, Jaime Subat and Wilson Edwards, Morris turned his eye to rebuilding the core of his starting eleven and the bench players that would bolster that.
Seven new signings came in for the Weston Workers side at the beginning of the season, with names like Lee Ashton, Mitch Wallace and Nathan Stevens being chalked onto the team sheets.
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