NSW NPL 2 – Season Preview

The Mens NPL 2 preview is literally only days away.

The season kicks off 7pm this Saturday, 2nd of March with every match being played simultaneously.

However before the ball is kicked it would be criminal not give you a quick preview of the season, as well as our predictions for premiers, champions, promotion and relegation.

First off, the two major headlines of the off-season (well the two that got their own stories on the FNSW website).

Hills United FC have appointed former Mariners star Patrick Zwaanswijk as their head coach. Patrick of course being the oldest player in the A-League to win a grand final in the 2012/13 season. Patrick will be taking a wealth of knowledge with him to the club in their bid to play in the top flight next season.

Claudio Canosa makes his return to Lynwood park after stints with clubs such as Bankstown United and Gunghalin United. It’s been a decade since he last took charge of the Rams and he hopes that Craig Cooley will lead the way again for the side in their bid for promotion.

In terms of player signings, possibly the biggest (apart form Bridge) is Nunes linking up with Rydalmere for this season after a stint with Marconi Stallions.

It promises to be a tumultuous season with 3 clubs set to be relegated at the competitions close to go from 14 teams down to 12.

If it wasn’t for a poor showing from Parramatta last season, Blacktown Spartans would’ve made the tumble down to NPL 3. Rams and Canterbury Bankstown also had a poor showing last year and it would be hard to imagine that at least one of those three teams won’t have their worst nightmares of relegation realised this season.

Our picks for relegation this season are: Blacktown Spartans, Canterbury Bankstown and in what may be a surprise call, we think it’s likely that Spirit could find their way down a level next season.

Now that we have relegation out of the way, let’s look at who the title and promotion contenders are.

Firstly we think that the two Hyundai A-League teams would have to be in the picture for promotion this season. The WSW youth side narrowly missed out to Sydney FC 2 season ago and Mariners went close last year, falling short by 28 points.

However it depends on how serious the clubs are with their youth development. Wanderers have opened their huge, expensive training facility so appear to be committed to developing their players, possibly with the intentions of selling them overseas to turn a profit.

Mariners on the other hand have one of the largest catchment areas in the whole NSW set up, with a lot of exciting young prospects on the coast that fancy proving themselves capable of breaking through to the big leagues one day.

Not to be left out of course are Northern Tigers who have had strong showing the last few seasons, and North Shore Mariners who had a strong run last year as well. Mark Bridge to Mounties after his time at the Wanderers is up could also prove to be a huge boost for them, but their youth may end up being their problem once again.

In terms of silverware, It’s hard to go past the two HAL teams at taking out the premiership and championship as well as promotion. Are we fans of HAl academy sides being in NPL 1? Not really but it is the reality of things.

However don’t be surprised if one of Mounties, St George and Tigers make the grand final.

With all that being said, the NPL 2 season promises to be an exciting one once again and is sure to be full of twists and drama all throughout.

Make sure you get down to your local game and support your team. Make an active support group and let’s show em just how big football in NSW is.

Image credit: Football NSW

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