10 Things We’re Looking Forward to This NSW NPL Season

With the season fast approaching we thought it would be good to share the top 10 things we’re most looking forward to for this seasons competitions.

1 – No more Club Championship

As we all know the Club Championship has finally been scrapped in seniors. Promotion and relegation will now be determined by the traditional method of table placing in 1st grade but how will this affect clubs?

There are two types of club that will either benefit or be disadvantaged by this change. Firstly you have clubs such as Sutherland Sharks and Sydney FC who traditionally have relied on the results of their youth to keep them up, then you have clubs such as Bonnyrigg who conversely have been dragged down by poor 18s and 20s results compared to 1st grade.

We’re excited to see what impact it will have on the competition overall, and we’re hoping it produces more exciting 1st grade games and less dropping overage players down to the 20s to save points.

2 – The NPL 4 Battleground

The cluster of the NPL4 looks set to be one of the toughest leagues to get out of, especially with the introduction of Newcastle Jets to the NSW NPL competition.

Other teams that could take promotion include:
– Parramatta FC – after 3 straight relegations they sorely need to bounce back for the Maltese faithful.
– Fraser Park – Lost out to a strong CCU side last year after dropping down.
– Nepean FC – Always been around the top 4 or so, narrowly missed promotion a few years back.
– Hurstville FC – Have a lot to prove after being kept in the competition, also a historically strong side.
– South Coast Flame – Couple of years of poor finishes after originally wanting to go straight to NPL 2. Surely they’ll be making a case for promotion soon.

It’s safe to say that as a club you definitely don’t want to fall into NPL4, as it may take you years to get back out.

3 – NPL 2 Promotion Battle

Much like NPL4, the battle in NPL2 looks set to be a tough one with some big named clubs eager to get into (or back into) NPL 1.
Hills, one of the contenders for promotion last season has lost a lot of it’s key players. SD Raiders were promoted last season and will be hungry to keep it going especially with the backing of the association money coming in.

Bonnyrigg had an amazing 10 run win streak last year and with the dropping of the Club Championship may be actual contenders especially with no point deductions dragging them down.

The academy sides of WSW and CCM will always be looming as potential promotion candidates, but as we saw last season with WSW they fell off very quickly after May and completely bottled it in 1st grade whilst their 18s and 20s stayed strong. Will the clubs be doomed to be NPL2 mainstays? Or will they break through and have one of them joining Sydney FC in the top flight next season?

4 – Derbies

Sure the eternal derby may take a few years to eventuate again, but in the meantime we’ll be blessed in NPL3 with six Bankstown derbies. With Canterbury Bankstown dropping down last year and Lions missing out on promotion, the three Bankstown sides will be battling out all year long for bragging rights.

Not to mention we’re still working on getting a TCS Cup in place similar to the Legea cup that used to run.

The St George derby is also back on with St George City earning promotion to NPL2 whilst FC just held their heads above water as well as local rivalries such as Nepean v Prospect, Wolves v Sharks, Marconi v Sydney United, North Shore v Manly.

5 – The FFA Cup

NSW lost out on a spot in the redistribution of allocations meaning we’re now down to 4 qualification spots. However, thanks to the Wolves being crowned national NPL champs, we’re back to five for this season.
As there’s only four spots however, the qualification rounds have to change slightly to end up with four games in Round 7 instead of the usual five.

Add to this the record number of entrants in 2019, we’re sure it’s going to become a headache to schedule all these games. However we’re football tragics and love our midweek fixtures, so we’re very much looking forward to getting out to some lower league games again.
With any luck we’ll eventually have all the premier league sides across the local districts entering as well as the IPL and IDL sides instead of the usual handful.

6 – Can the Wolves back it up?

After years of mediocrity, the Wolves under Wilkshire set out to be the best team in the NPL in 2019. Whether they were the best team in NSW will depend on who you ask but there is no denying they swept the NPL finals series as well as maintaining 1st on the table from round 1 through to round 22, a feat that hadn’t been done previously in the NSW NPL competition.

With the team retained from last campaign, will they be able to do it all again or was last year a fluke under Luke? Will the pressure of the FFA Cup get to them later in the competition during finals and how deep can they go in the cup? Last FFA Cup appearance was in 2016 where they lost 3-0 to Sydney FC at WIN stadium in front of a 10k+ crowd.

7 – Will Sydney Olympic redeem themselves after last year’s shock performance?

In 2018 we saw Sydney Olympic do the double, a feat that is rarely achieved at the top level of NSW football. In 2019 Sydney Olympic missed out on the finals, but it could have ended much, much worse for them.

After a great off season of signings including new coach Terry Palapanis, Charles Lokolingoy, Seb Ryall, Fabio Ferriera, Adam Parkhouse, Anthony Bouzanis, as well as retaining a lot of their star players from 2019, Olympic look to have one of if not the best side on paper.

Will the Belmore club redeem themselves in 2020 and give the Olympic faithful something to cheer about again? We’ll have to wait and see.

8 – Active Support

It’s known that Sydney United 58 are well supported through SUS and that Wolves have the Wolfden, but will any other teams have their active support step up this year?

For Marconi we saw the quick rise and fall of La Stalla and afterwards La Cavalleria, but how active will they be in 2020? Will Komiti return for Rockdale and attempt to steal more banners? Will Trelli-57 show up at Olympic games with their revitalised side? Will Blacktown City Supporters get more support at games?

All we can say is hopefully yes to all the above. As well as getting The Cove and RBB to their respective NPL sides for gameday. Active support is a vital part of football culture as we’ve seen in the A-League and down in Victoria so we would love to see more support shown in NSW.

9 – Legitimate player threats or one season wonders?

Last year we saw a few stand out players in the competition such as Thomas James and Fabricio Fernandez. The question on everyone’s lips is whether they can back it up and prove themselves as legitimate in the NSW competition or whether they had a fluke season.

Thomas James had a great run in Capital Football and backed it up immediately after arriving in Wollongong, earning himself the golden boot award and just shy of the NSW NPL record set by Murray.
Fernandez proved his worth at Rangers and was instrumental in their campaign that saw them finish just outside the finals after their first year int he top league. Will the Uruguayan be able to back it up in 2020 and take the side one step further?

10 – Sunday games

So we didn’t get our Friday night games like we’ve been asking but the 2020 draw has more Sunday afternoon games than previous years. This time slot is extremely attractive to families, so hopefully we see more support come out for these games. Fingers crossed for some Friday night fixtures in the future still.

If there is one thing that we here at TCS are certain of it’s that the NPL 2020 season across all grades will throw its fair share of surprises and roller coaster rides for many a football fan.

Bring it on!

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