NSW National Premier Leagues get friendly for 2016

By Corinthian (Paul Green):


There’s no official pre-season competition this season for NSW Nationa Premier League (NPL)  1 or NPL2 clubs so the winners of the latter, Bankstown Berries, get to hold onto the trophy from last year for another twelve months.

Instead, FNSW has organised a series of official friendlies and it seems there’s a few unofficial ones around as well.
Rockdale City Suns, for instance, took part in the annual Macedonian Cup at the Kembla Grange home of Wollongong United, whom the Suns beat in the Final of a rain-reduced weekend tournament on the South Coast, a week before the official friendlies began.

Back of the Net went along to two of the early friendlies, on the last Sunday of January, with several earlier midweek games having already been completed.

Apia-Leichhardt, for instance, had already engaged in a midweek scoreless friendly against Marconi Stallions, on the Wednesday, while Bonnyrigg White Eagles had accounted for Mount Druitt 5-1 a week earlier in a match conducted at Valentine Park, a venue that’s going to see a lot of action this season.

Marconi had also played Hakoah Sydney City East and lost 2-0 and then went on to lose 8-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers on the last weekend of the month, in a game where the Wanderers fielded a senior side, rather than its NPL2 Youth team.

Hakoah, meanwhile, boosted by some high profile signings, went to Wollongong and held Wollongong Wolves 0-0 at Cringila’s John Crehan Park last Sunday.

A match between Mounties Wanderers and North Shore Mariners had to be abandoned after a Mariners’ player broke a leg forty minutes into the game, the same day.

We don’t have all the results in, as these are not always easy to come by, but the two matches under review produced clear-cut victories for NPL1 teams over NPL2 sides.

Apia had little difficulty in winning 5-0 against St George, who were having their first public outing and Bonnyrigg, while they took some time to break the deadlock against Fraser Park, went on to win 2-0 against a team also having its first public airing.

Apia will be engaged again this Thursday night at Lambert Park against last season’s all-conquering NSW NPL2  Premiers, Spirit FC, kick-off 745pm.

They’ll also play Canberra Olympic on Sunday afternoon at the same venue, at 3pm.

Hakoah are due to play Sydney FC at Valentine Park, this coming weekend, but Sunday also sees Bankstown City Lions pitted against North Shore Mariners at Jensen Park at 630pm.

That’s likely to be our feature game this coming weekend.

Here’s a rundown on the two games we went to.

Lambert Park, Leichhardt – 4:30pm, Sunday 31st January, 2016
APIA-Leichhardt vs St George Saints

It took only two minutes for Apia-Leichhardt’s new Japanese signing, Tasuku Sekiya, to get his team in front at Lambert Park, where the diminutive striker was able to add two more very well-taken goals in the 17th and 32nd minutes to have the Tigers three-up at the break.

His compatriot, Kenta Masegawa, replaced him off the bench early in the second-half and added a fourth before Nicholas Olsen made it 5-0 towards the end.

St George were having their first outing under new coach Ivo De Jesus.

A few former Saints were back in the side, with a stronger, more compact-looking outfit far from disgraced against a team that’s already put in plenty of hard work on the training pitch and had an earlier game under their belt before this match took place.

Apia look good, the Japanese boys were most impressive, both of whom are experienced players in their first season in Australia.

Apia Leichhardt Tigers: GK 1 Tony Liiband, 13 David D’Apuzzo, 2 Nathan Millgate, 23 Nicholas Olsen, 10 Franco Parisi, 12 Liam Austin, 7 S. O’Connell, 16 Sean Symons, 18 Anthony Ucchino, 5 B. Hooper, 20 Tasuku Sekiya,

Subs used in interchange: 3 M Fbandi, 19 Kenta Masegawa, 92 M Williamson, 6 M Stewart, 17 Dominic Cook, 14 M Cook, 24 D Fergenson

Coach: John Carnavale

St George FC: GK 1 George Boropoulos, 13 Peter Vasilis, 32 Billy Darwich, 6 Ruben Lagos, 3 Ali Nasreddine, 10 Nicholas La Rocca, 11 Wassim Hijazi,  9 Stevan Ilic, 8 Tarek Ercan, 22 Daniel Kamel, 15 David Han

Subs used in interchange: 4 Johnathan Kontalis, 17 Mark Stivis, 14 James Togais, 5 Daniel Tini, 16 Thomas Menton, 18 Bruno Pivato

Coach: Ivo de Jesus

Referee: Kurt Ams

Fraser Park, Marrickville – 7pm, Sunday 31st January, 2016
Fraser Park vs Bonnyrigg White Eagles

Bonnyrigg White Eagles were missing injured target man, Robbie Younis, but had an otherwise strong side out against Fraser Park on Sunday evening where the new stand is taking shape, with all of its concrete stepped formation apparently well-advanced.

Fraser Park were more than competitive, with one or two changes from the previous season when they almost made it into the Finals’ series.

They’ve acquired veteran Askin Oygur from Rockdale  and Nathan Sampson and Peter Crevani from Sydney University, along with Joseph D’Elia from St George and it took Bonnyrigg until the 40th minute to open the scoring, though they’d done plenty of the attacking to that point.

The former Wollongong Wolves man Michael Robinson got in a good header to open his team’s account.

For Robinson it’s a return to the club he played for some four years previously and he looked immaculate at the heart of the White Eagles’ defence.

Substitute Jake Douglas got the second, midway through the second-half, in what was a very open and entertaining game.

Fraser Park: GK 1 Wayne Estavo, 2 Z Ribeiro, 3 Davide Talone, 4 Peter Crevani, 5 Nick Dimitropolous, 6 Joseph D’Elia, 7 Kevin Oliveira, 9 Daisuke Kim, 10 David Savic,  16 Nathan Sampson, 17 Askin Oygur

Subs used in interchange: 15 D Nevin, 12 J Roberts, 13 Paul Cappuccio, 14 D Kato,

Coach: Mile Todoroski

Bonnyrigg White Eagles: GK 1 James Chronopoulos, 2 Alexander Mansueto,  4 Reece Camra, 12 Adam Jenner, 15 Ray Miller, 17 Mun- Soo Gil, 18 Yuta Kokada, 3 David Vrankovic, 11 Michael Robinson, 16 Greg Koniek, 20 Ken Chun,

Subs used in interchange: RGK 40 Stevan, 6 Taylor McDonald, 14 Jake Douglas, 13 Triallist James McKenzie

Coach: Brian Brown

Referee: Carl Davies