The Newcastle Youth Jets will be determined to state their case as the benchmark of the PlayStation 4 NPL NNSW when they take on Lambton Jaffas in the Match of the Round to kick off the season.
Lambton Jaffas FC vs. Newcastle Jets Youth
Sat 11 Apr 2:30 PM
Arthur Edden Oval
Match of the Round
Ins - Hakan Kanli, Lee Soo-myung, Joel Grenell (General Manager/Player), Michael Bridges, Michael Williams, Brad Swancott, Grant Brown
Outs - Kale Bradbury, Dino Fajkovic, Dennis Fajkovic, Michael Lawrence, Danny Ireland
2014 season: 3rd place/Grand Final Winners
Coach: David Tanchevski
Lambton Jaffas enter the 2015 season as one of the competition favourites following their inspiring Grand Final win in the 2014 season. The Jaffas enjoyed several big wins throughout their trial matches, most notably dispatching Valentine FC 7-1, where Alex Palozzi netted four second half goals, Lake Macquarie 9-3 and the Newcastle Suns 12-0.
Their most significant trial, however, was ironically a 7-0 defeat. This defeat was at the hands of the Blue Samurai, the Japan national team, back in December 2014 at Cessnock Sportsground, a once in a lifetime opportunity for many involved with the club.
The Jaffas finished third in the 2014 National Premier League season, which Coach David Tanchevski labeled ‘a good achievement, but also quite disappointing considering with a few rounds to go we were in a position to finish Minor Premiers.’
Since then the club has announced the signings of Hakan Kanli and Michael Bridges to replace the departed attacking duo of Kale Bradbury and Dino Fajkovic.
Bridges, who has featured for Sunderland, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Hull City, and closer to home both Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets, brings an abundance of experience, which will benefit the side in their third season back in the top flight.
The Jaffas’ Westfield FFA Cup run is over after bowing out in the 4th Round to Broadmeadow Magic, allowing them to fully focus on the upcoming PS4 NPL season. Their opening match against the 2014 Premiers Newcastle Jets Youth is significant considering they possess several ex-Jets, and also due to the fact that they defeated the young side 4-3 in the final knockout match to progress to the 2014 Grand Final.
It will be a tough first round for the 2014 Grand Finals Winners, however as they have proven since their return to top flight football in 2013, the sky is the limit for this club.
Ins - Peter McGuinness (Coach), Braedyn Crowley, Josh Barresi, Ryan Ensor, Jake Adelson
Outs - James Pascoe (Coach-promoted to First Team Assistant), Mike Finlayson, Roman Hoffman, Liam O’Reilly
The Newcastle Jets Youth will be determined to repeat the success they experienced in 2014, finishing in first place after edging out Weston Bears in the final round of the competition.
They begin the new campaign with several fresh faces, most notably with a change in coaching following James Pascoe’s promotion to the First Team Assistant role. The Newcastle Jets issued a statement at the beginning of the week informing the public that they had made their decision on their new PS4 NPL Youth Team coach with the appointment of Peter McGuinness.
Joining McGuinness as a new recruit is Josh Barresi, who signed for the Jets in July last year after two years with the Western Sydney Wanderers, however missed the 2014/2015 A League season after tearing his ACL in the side’s trial match against Juventus.
The side enters the 2015 competition without two key members that were crucial to their 2014 NPL season success in Mike Finlayson and Roman Hoffman, who marked their departures with a goal each in a 4-3 Preliminary Final loss to Lambton last year. Both moved on due to their age, with Finlayson signing for the Jaffas.
Joining the pair on the way out is Liam O’Reilly who moved to Edgeworth last season.
One of the biggest talking points about the Jets 2015 season does not involve the new coach or any new or departed players. It is the fact that they will not be eligible to participate in the finals series. Therefore if the Jets Youth make the 2015 finals, the top ranked side will play the team who finishes fifth in a home and away semi final.
Edgeworth FC vs. Charlestown City Blues FC
Fri 10 Apr 7:00 PM
Jack McLaughlan Oval
2014 Season: 5th place
Coach: Damien Zane
Ins - Damien Zane (Coach), Justin Tannock, Dom Bizzari, Liam O’Reilly, Brenton Olzomer
Outs - Gary Wilson (Coach), Hector Mendez, Zac Hill, Jesse Krncevic, Luke Walker (still with the club but will miss most of the season with injury)
They haven’t won the Championship in five years or the Premiership in six, however the feeling at the Edgeworth Eagles is that this is their year.
The side from Jack McLaughlan Oval will be looking to build on their fourth placed finish in the 2014 campaign, but are forced to do so without key man and captain Luke Walker for at least the first nine rounds after he suffered a torn ACL in a pre season trial match.
The side has made some handy signings, however, in former Eagles Dom Bizzari and Justin Tannock. The Eagles remain a part of the Westfield FFA Cup after coming from behind to defeat Hamilton Olympic 2-1 away from home last month, and Zane is relishing the potential challenges and opportunity.
The Eagles host the curtain raiser of 2015 PS4 NPL Season on Friday night as they welcome Charlestown City Blues to Jack McLaughlan Oval.
2014 Season: 4th place
Coach: Shane Pryce
Ins - Joe Holt, Paul Bitz, Joel Witherden, Daniel Laman
Outs - Kane Goodchild, Mitch Harper, Josh McGuire, Troy Hearfield, Andrew Goldman
Charlestown begins their season on the opening night of the 2015 PS4 NPL season, and they are one team that desperately requires three points to help them overcome a somewhat shaky pre-season.
The main talking point in regards to the Blues’ preparations is the shock departure of clubman and veteran Kane Goodchild. Goodchild was the leading scorer in the 2014 NPL season and was the side’s captain, making him a huge loss.
Rene Ferguson was the name on the lips of many after the side’s courageous comeback win in the Westfield FFA Cup 4th Round. Twice they trailed by a single goal to Maitland, however twice the left winger Ferguson equalised. He completed an amazing hat trick with a last minute winner.
Joel Witherden is the pick of the Blues’ signings for the 2015 season. The former Hamilton and South Cardiff defender is a strong frame and will provide stability for a side that has conceded
The Blues’ opponent in their opening match is Edgeworth who they defeated 2-1 in the Elimination Final last season. The match will take place at 7.00pm on Friday night under floodlights at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
Adamstown Rosebud FC vs. Weston Workers FC
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
2014 Season: 8th place
Coach: Graham Law
Ins - Graham Law (Coach), Mason Palmieri (Assistant Coach), Grahame Hamilton (Manager), Stuart Musialik, Guy Bates, Matthew Paul, Roger Dowdell, Daniel Clements, Garry Kenneth, Owen Littlewood, Jack O’Toole, Nathan Ham, Aaron Niyonkuru
Outs - Anthony Richards (Coach) Sean Matthews, Matt Comerford, Abe Wheelhouse, Nathan Cavaliere, Steve Rospigliosi, George Bland, Jack Symons, James Someville, John Dineen-Griffen, Jack Brilliante, Tomislav Jakovljevic
Last year was a significant one for the Rosebud who celebrated their 125th anniversary as a club, having been founded on July 12 1889. Despite all the hype and anticipation, the side finished the season in a disappointing eighth position following just six wins from 18 matches.
This year they will be desperate for another significant season, but will look to achieve this with improved performances and on the park and positive results.
The acquisitions of former Newcastle Jets Grand Final winner Stu Musialik and former Dundee United enforcer Garry Kenneth have strengthened the side immensely, and will heavily impact on their search for success.
Their biggest signing however, is Graham Law as Head Coach. Law guided Maitland from NEWFM 1st Division to NPL last season, losing just one of 24 games.
Law has been pleased with his side’s pre season, and has a full squad to choose from in Round 1 apart from Musialik who has only recently returned to full training and will miss the first two rounds.
The Buds welcome Weston to Adamstown Oval in their opening fixture on Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm. They experienced little success against the Bears in 2014, drawing 1-1 with them in the sixth round, then falling 4-1 in Round 15. They will be extremely confident despite this, after handing the Bears a 6-0 smashing in the 4th Round of the Westfield FFA Cup last month.
2014 Season: 2nd place/Grand Finalists
Coach: Trevor Morris
Ins - Trevor Morris (Coach), Troy Hearfield, James Monie, Paul Claut, Wilson Edwards
Outs - Steve Piggott (Coach), Connor Evans, Mick Ryan, Jye Mckellar, James Wand
After a fairly unsuccessful pre-season, Weston Bears will be desperate to prove from the get-go that they have what it takes to repeat their 2014 success, and perhaps go one further. The boys from Bear Park finished second in 2014, and lost the Grand Final 2-0 to the Jaffas.
One of the biggest talking points of Weston’s 2015 campaign is the personnel no longer present. The departure lounge at the Bears includes four significant names. Firstly, the two biggest names of the inaugural NNSWF National Premier League season have made way. 2014 Coach of the Year Steve Piggott has moved on in his career, as has 2014 Player of the Year Connor Evans. The pair was instrumental in the side’s success last season, which saw them fall agonisingly short of both the Premiership and a Grand Final win.
The other flip of the coin sees the club welcome some key names. Trevor Morris, father of Team of the Century centre back Nathan Morris has stepped into the role of First Grade Coach.
Trial match losses to Broadmeadow and Hamilton, a Westfield FFA Cup penalty shootout win over Newcastle Uni in the 3rd Round, and a huge 6-0 loss to Adamstown in the 4th Round have many doubting the Bears’ chances, however their new coach is thinking positive.
‘We have got a very mobile midfield and our defence is the same as last year, so that understanding should carry on. Last year even though it was a good year a lot of chances went missing. If we can take our chances and put our opposition under pressure I believe we will be a big chance each week of picking up the points,’ Morris said.
The side kicks off the season against Adamstown Rosebud this Sunday, a side they drew 1-1 with in Round 6 of last season, then thumped 4-1 in the return fixture in Round 15. Morris is extremely excited for Sunday’s match, and so are his players.
Broadmeadow Magic FC vs. Hamilton Olympic FC
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
2014 Season: 9th place/State Cup Winners
Coach: Robert Virgili/Robert Naumov
Ins - Rob Virgili and Bobby Naumov (Co-Coaches), Darren Elkin (Assistant Coach), Kale Bradbury, Dino Fajkovic, Mike Finlayson, Ko Sanjin, Nathan Archbold
Outs - Glen Chapman (Coach), Hakan Canli, Chris Bowling, Owen Littlewood, Matt Paul, Adam Pearce
Broadmeadow Magic will welcome the return of the PS4 National Premier Leagues season, desperate to prove that they are the dominant side in Newcastle after a disappointing 2014 campaign.
Robert Virgili has been Broadmeadow’s most successful mentor in recent history, so his return as a co-coach alongside Bobby Naumov is a well-received one. The pair guided the side to the double in 2013. The year before Virgili and Damien Smith mentored the team to a Grand Final win, following the double the pair won with the side in 2011. Former Weston coach Darren Elkin also joins the coaching staff as an assistant coach.
Magic have picked up several other big names in their quest to avenge a poor 2014 NPL season. Kale Bradbury returns to the club after successful stints with the Jets Youth and Lambton Jaffas. Joining him are former Jets Youth and Jaffas teammate Dino Fadjkovic, former Jets Youth striker Mike Finlayson, and former Lake Macquarie keeper Nathan Archbold.
Despite winning the NNSWF State Cup in his first year in charge, Glen Chapman has stepped down from the role after finishing a poor ninth in the NPL.
Their biggest loss however, is Alex Kantarovski who suffered a season ending injury in the side’s Round 3 Westfield FFA Cup win. The side from Curley Road have experienced great success in the preseason. They defeated Weston 3-1, Swansea 6-0, and Adamstown 3-0, as well as progressing to the 5th Round of the Westfield FFA Cup.
Park on Sunday in one of the most anticipated opening matches in recent seasons, and one that Virgili expects will be a tough start to their campaign.
2014 Season: 6th place/Club Champions
Coach: Michael Bolch
Ins - Jamie Byrnes, Danny Ireland, Matt Harper, Simon Mooney, Kane Goodchild, Jason Korotkich
Outs - Brad Swancott, James Monie, David Hodgson, Clayton Poole, Blake Green
Hamilton Olympic enter the 2015 PS4 National Premier League season with a breath of fresh air about the side which will surely please coach Mick Bolch as well as their committee and fans.
Off season recruiting was necessary following an unacceptable sixth placed finish last season, and that is exactly what occurred with the club welcoming the signings of Jamie Byrnes from South Cardiff, Danny Ireland from Lambton, Kane Goodchild from Charlestown and Jason Korotkich.
The team has already begun to gel, with several dominant pre-season performances. The side travelled to Brookvale, defeating the Sydney side 5-3, then demolished West Wallsend 6-1. A tighter affair against South Cardiff saw them score two second half goals to win 2-0. They then defeated Maitland 3-1, and Charlestown 5-0.
A major hiccup, however, saw the side in blue and white bow out of the Westfield FFA Cup in the 4th Round, losing 2-1, and in the process giving up a 1-0 lead on home soil.
Their opening PS4 NPL clash is one of the most highly anticipated clashes that the league has offered in recent history, which sees them travel to Magic Park to take on rivals Broadmeadow Magic.
South Cardiff FC vs. Maitland FC
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
2014 Season: 8th place/State Cup Grand Finalists
Coach: Greg Asquith
Ins - Jung Sang-deok, Alex Brandrick, Stuart Pratt, Mikel Breckenridge, Nick Russell and Brad Watters (Note Russell and Watters missed last season through injury)
Outs - Mick Stafford, Chris Gazzard, Jamie Byrnes
The South Cardiff Gunners are licking their lips for the 2015 season to commence, eager to reach the highs of the 2010 season when they made the Grand Final. They have underachieved in the league since then, however 2015 marks Coach Greg Asquith’s second year at the helm, and promises to deliver the league success that has been missing in the past four years.
Following a dream run in the cup competition in 2014, where they progressed to the NNSWF State Cup Final only to be defeated by Broadmeadow, then lost on penalties to South Springvale in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32, Asquith’s side will be determined to find success in the PS4 NPL itself.
To assist their cause this season, the Gunners are boosted by the returns of Brad Watters and Nick Russell who were unable to participate in the 2014 season due to injury.
Their key signing for the campaign is Korean attacking midfielder Jung Sang-deok, who arrived in Newcastle with Jets star Ki Ji Lee, attracting the interest of several PS4 NPL clubs, and has won the praise of Asquith and co-captain Matt Grey.
They have a tough opening fixture as they welcome competition newcomers, Maitland, to Ulinga Oval on Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm which should be a cracker of a game.
2014 Season: 1st place in NEWFM 1st Division (Promoted)
Coach: Chris Turner
Ins - Chris Turner (coach), Matt Thompson, Alex Read, Matt Comerford, Jye Mckellar, Steven Rospigliosi, Josh Casey, Dennis Fajkovic, Zac Hill, James Wand
Outs - Graham Law (Coach), Roger Dowdell, Luke Lawless, David Mudd, Matt Toohey
Maitland FC returns to the PS4 National Premier Leagues after twelve long years without first flight football, and are looking to make an instant impact on the competition. The Magpies, as they are also known, booked their 2015 spot in style after losing just one of their 24 2014 matches.
They have retained their hit man Ben Martin, who was the side’s leading goal scorer in 2014, with 24 goals, and in 2013, with 30 goals. The man with 54 successful strikes in two seasons will spearhead the Magpies’ attack as one of the competition’s biggest threats.
The biggest acquisition for the Magpies 2015 season, and arguably in their history, is the signing of former Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Heart captain Matt Thompson. Thompson also played for Sydney FC on his way to 221 Hyundai A-League appearances and also has four Australian caps. He will benefit not only Maitland but also the league itself, as he is arguably the competition’s biggest and brightest signing.
The Magpies will be disappointed after being knocked out of the Westfield FFA Cup in a 4th Round loss to Charlestown, going down 3-2 despite leading for most of the match.
Their opening fixture is a tough test, away from home against the South Cardiff Gunners, which will be contested on Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm at Ulinga Oval.
Click here for a full preview of all the opening round fixtures.