PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues football kicks off in Queensland this weekend with a mix of traditional rivalries and intriguing match-ups.
Brisbane Strikers FC v Redlands United FC
Saturday, February 28th/ Perry Park / 6:00PM
The PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland season kicks off with the traditional opening round clash between Brisbane Strikers and Redlands United - the teams splitting the honours on the past two occasions.
Incoming Strikers coach Kevin A’herne-Evans has recruited strongly in the off-season to bolster the two-time Semi-Finalists, including veteran defender Greig Henslee and young attacking midfielder Trent Clulow.
Newly-appointed Redlands player/coach Graham Fyfe is also looking to a raft of new players to make an impact including last year’s third tier Brisbane Premier League Player of the Year – Brazilian playmaker Igor Sao Jose – and Tasmanian recruit Joel Stone.
Western Pride FC v South West Queensland Thunder FC
Saturday, 28 February / Briggs Road Complex / 7:00PM
There are new coaches for both Pride and Thunder as last year’s bottom two teams look to start 2015 on a more positive note when they meet in their opening round clash in Ipswich.
Former Hyundai A-League player Karl Dodd takes the reins at Pride and brings an emphasis on better defensive structure and professionalism, recruiting a handful of Queensland Academy of Sport graduates to implement his ideals.
Chris Wilkes has accepted the challenge of helping Thunder get their first ever three points after the Toowoomba-based club conceded over 100 goals in a winless debut season.
FNQ FC Heat v Northern Fury FC
Saturday, 28 February / Barlow Park / 7:30PM
The tropical north is set to get even hotter with the blockbuster traditional opening round derby between Heat and Fury in Cairns.
Heat coach Martin Docherty has successfully retained the majority of a squad that rocketed to second in the league and the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 in 2014, including former Hyundai A-League player Alex Smith.
While Fury struggled for consistency and results last year, their squad of predominantly local talents will be fired up against their nearest rivals under the guidance of former Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson.
Sunshine Coast FC v Brisbane City FC
Sunday, 1 March / Sunshine Coast Stadium / 2:15PM
The first live-streamed match of the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland season sees Brisbane City venture up the Bruce Highway to face Sunshine Coast FC.
Both clubs are looking to make amends for disappointing league and cup performances last season after previously qualifying for the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Finals Series in 2013.
City welcome back 2013 Golden Boot winner Antonio Murray, who missed the majority of last season due to visa issues, while Fire have called upon several youth products from their dominant Queensland State League era to return and spark a renaissance under new player-coach Paul Arnison.
Moreton Bay United FC v Olympic FC
Sunday, 1 March / Wolter Park / 6:00PM
There promises to be plenty of goals north of Brisbane as two of the league’s most attacking teams meet in the form of Moreton Bay United and Olympic FC.
Under the guidance of new coach Adam Piddick, Jets have retained the services of 2014 Golden Boot winner Royce Brownlie and Frenchman Charles Mendy - the pair combining for over fifty goals last campaign.
Olympic coach Jim Bellas has recruited extensively to compensate for key departures after the club’s high-profile Westfield FFA Cup run, but once again boast former Brisbane Roar striker Tim Smits and ageless captain Danny Byrne in attack.
Brisbane Roar FC Youth v Palm Beach SC
This match will be rescheduled for later in the season due to Young Roar’s final round commitments in the Foxtel National Youth League.
For further news, match reports, video highlights and more from Football Queensland, visit www.nplqld.com.au
Image courtesy of Emily Wilson/Sunshine Coast FC