Declaration of Leagues Analysis

The moment that we’ve all been waiting for, the declaration of leagues for the FNSW 2020 season. Unlike other seasons where the dec of leagues is just usually confirming who would go/up down & the annual decision to protect Western’s place in NPL 3, the 2020 DoL was highly anticipated given the fact that a handful of clubs would have to be removed from the competition to fit into the new 4×12 league structure. Arguably FNSW’s biggest decision since the formation of the NPL in 2013.

We take you through our thoughts on the fallout from yesterdays decision.

Seniors

While it was well known from the start of the season at least 3 clubs would have to make way to fit into the new senior structure a twist was thrown into the mix a few weeks ago when Newcastle Jets announced their intentions to follow their WNPL team & leave the NNSW NPL & join the NPL. This would then mean another existing club would have to make way. This came to fruition yesterday as Jets place in both the senior men’s & boys youth competitions was confirmed, A 4th club would have to be given their marching orders.

Teams Removed

Balmain – A tad surprising given the fact that they run a youth program however we have been reporting on the issues plaguing the club for over a year now. You may remember last year when the club failed to put out an U/13’s team for nearly a month due to a player walkout & the allegations of structural governance issues in addition to playing out of area for the last few seasons along with general poor results we can understand why FNSW had come to this decision.

A sad fall for the club that was playing in the FFA Cup against Melbourne Victory as recently as 2015.

Gazy – The least shocking of the cuts & what a way to go out with the 18’s & 20’s both picking up the wooden spoon with GD’s of -151 & -61 respectively. Would be extremely surprised if the club continued on in any form.

Hurstville Minotaurs – We had a feeling that at least 1 of the Hurstville clubs would have to bite the bullet and unfortunately the Minotaurs were the one’s chosen in this coin toss decision. More positively though we have no doubts that the club will continue on in the local SGFA competition meaning The General’s time on the sidelines isn’t over just yet

Western Condors – Would feel somewhat aggrieved given the fact that they had an above average year going on to place 3rd in firsts & 7th in U/18’s however the cards were stacked against them from the start leading to their removal from the NPL structure. We hope to see the club continue in local football as a testament to the South American community that have given their time to the club for over 3 decades.

Teams Entering

Newcastle Jets – Despite the fact that we appreciate Jet’s probably have a better chance of developing in the NSW NPL over the NNSW NPL we can’t say we’re too pleased with this decision. We do on the other hand respect FNSW’s decision to stick them in the lowest possible divisions in both seniors & youth rather than giving them a free ride into higher divisions like the other HAL NPL teams were afforded.

Youth

Youth will see 6 new teams entering the competition with the format becoming 2 divisions of 24 next season.  We aren’t too shocked at the team’s selected as the teams entering either had experience running a women’s program & had been planning an application anyway (UNSW), experience running AYL programs (CCU, Prospect & South Coast) or experience running juniors in local competitions (ZFC) whilst Jets join obviously to link up with their seniors.

We were somewhat surprised at Southern Branch exiting the youth structure as we had heard rumours throughout the season that they would restart their men’s program to adhere to the new criteria that all clubs must run both youth & seniors if they were to remain in the NPL system. The club evidently failed to resurrect their men’s program probably for a few reasons (creation of SCF, not wanting to compete with IPL etc) and will instead “drop down” to the AYL.

As touched on in an article we wrote at the start of the season when the news of re-structure broke we do reiterate the fact that we hope that the 2×24 structure is simply used as a bedding in format given so many new clubs are joining in 2020. 

We believe the best should play the best especially seeing how youth teams are now decoupled from seniors and that pro/rel in youth will be decided on results in the U/14’s-U/16’s rather than results in seniors. Our hopes are that in the future youth will be broken into a more condensed configuration in the future of 4×12 like the seniors or even 3×16.

Seniors & Youth Summary

  • Seniors is now 4 divisions of 12 teams
  • Balmain, Gazy, Hurstville Minotaurs & Western Condors removed from the NPL
  • Newcastle Jets join NPL 4 seniors & NPL 2 youth
  • Youth is now 2 divisions of 24 teams
  • Hurstville ZFC, Prospect & UNSW pick up youth teams
  • Southern Branch moved from youth to AYL, Central Coast United & South Coast Flame moved from AYL to youth

Women’s

We have to say we’re a little disappointed in this front. We had heard murmurings earlier in the year that the controversial GCL would be re-formed into an NPL 3 competition giving girl’s an opportunity to keep playing rep football after U/17’s. Sadly this wasn’t the case as FNSW confirmed that the GCL would continue for another year in 2020. We hope to see FNSW re-visit this issue in the future seeing how women’s re-structures have been undertaken independent to changes of the men’s competitions.

We also hope to see the enforced protection of Jets being dropped, again if they want to play in our comp they should be subject to the same rules as every other club.

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