Northern NSW 2015 NPL preview

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This year marks just the second season of the Northern NSW Premier League competition. Last year provided some of the most exciting action the region has seen in recent memory and with a host of former A-League stars and promising internationals joining the competition 2015 look set to be even better.

The Football Sack has poured over the ins and outs and preseason form to give you what may or may not be the most accurate preseason predictions in the history of previews.

Broadmeadow Magic
2014 finish: 9th
2015 prediction: 1st

Last year was one to forget for the Magic after falling to second last following three consecutive grand final wins. The singing of Dino Frajkovic and Kale Bradbury from last year’s major premiers Lambton Jaffas, as well as promising Korean import Ko Sanjin will provide solid additions to Broadmeadow’s experienced roster and may be what is needed to lift the Magic back to the top of the pile.

Lambton Jaffas
2014 finish: 3rd (Major Premiers)
2015 prediction: 2nd

Former Leeds United front-man Michael Bridges is possibly the biggest capture in the history of football in the Hunter and the veteran adds invaluable experience to a squad which will once again go close to taking out the title. The loss of Frajkovic and Bradbury will hurt but Bridges and last year’s grand final hero and former Newcastle Jets mid-fielder Jobe Wheelhouse should still be able to steer the team to the finals.

Hamilton Olympic
2014 finish: 6th
2015 prediction: 3rd

Excellent off-season recruitment and some solid trial performances have given Olympic the appearance of club that can improve greatly on their 2014 season. During the break Hamilton picked up two proven NPL players in former Jaffa’s stopper Danny Ireland and Charlestown striker Kane Goodchild which could be what is required for Michael Bolch’s men to be real contenders.

Adamstown Rosebud
2014 finish: 8th
2015 prediction: 4th

Possibly the busiest club in the transfer market and another club which is looking on the up for the 2015 season. Former Scottish international Garry Kenneth headlines the new recruits and will be a powerful force in defence. Two-time A-League grand final winner and local boy Stuart Musialik and ex-Jet Guy Bates have also come on board and give the Buds a formidable team on paper. Their pre-season form has also been impressive and there wouldn’t be many who didn’t take notice of their 6-0 drubbing of Weston.

Edgeworth Eagles
2014 finish: 5th
2015 prediction: 5th 

The Eagles should be amongst it again this season and while they didn’t bring in many players during the off-season they’ve also managed to minimise their losses and will be all better for keeping intact the majority of their 2014 squad. The loss of captain Luke Walker for the beginning of the season with a knee injury is cruel blow for Edgeworth and coach Damien Zane will need to get his squad settled in early if they are to push for a finals spot.

Maitland Magpies
2014 finish: Promoted
2015 prediction: 6th

The Magpies have been missing from the top-flight for 12 years and coach Chris Turner will be looking for a solid season after they only dropped on match in the NEWFM 1st Division last season. Maitland have given a lot of attention to recruitment for their return season and top of list is former Jet and most capped A-League player in history Matt Thompson. However the 32-year-old former Newcastle captain will need to have a good season if they want to make finals as their depth is somewhat lacking.

Weston Bears
2014 finish: 2nd (Grand Final Runners Up)
2015 prediction: 7th

NPL player of the year Connor Evans has departed to Blacktown for the 2015 season and will be a big blow to the squad. Veteran Mick Ryan has hung up his boots for this season and Kiwi striker Paul Clout and the Blues Troy Hearfield have been brought in to fill the gaps. The return of Trevor Morris as coach is an encouraging sign for the Bears but their trial form has them looking well off the pace and quick improvement will be required if they want to repeat or better last year.


South Cardiff Gunners
2014 finish: 7th
2015 prediction: 8th

The Gunners were relatively quiet in the offseason but may have uncovered some good singings in Korean attacking midfielder Jung Sang-deok, Far North Queensland Heat’s Mikel Brekenridge and Lake Macquarie young-gun Alex Brandrick. The Gunners will again be looking to punch above their weight this season after proving last year that they can mix it with the best in the competition and loom as a genuine roughie for a finals spot.

Charlestown City Blues
2014 finish: 4th
2015 prediction: 9th

Charlestown looked to have emerged the worst hit by transfer season with the losses of Hearfield and Josh Maguire made all that much worse by the shocking last-minute departure of golden-boot winner Kane Goodchild to Hamilton Olympic. The addition of Joel Witherdin to the defensive ranks is useful but doesn’t make up for the on paper quality that left with the trio. Coach Shane Pryce is facing a tough task in trying to repeat last year’s efforts.

Newcastle Jets Youth
2014 finish: 1st (Premiers)
2015 prediction: 10th

The Jets youth are shaping up for a rough time this season with their inconsistent National Youth League a worrying trend for last year’s Premiers. Additionally, promotion to the Jets first team for Radovan Pavicevic and Nick Cowburn means the young squad will enter the competition missing two of their best players. Peter McGuinness takes over as coach for the 2015 season which may prove to be a difficult one for the Jets Youth faithful.

Round 1 Fixtures

Edgeworth FC vs Charlestown City Blues FC
Fri 10 Apr 7:15 PM
Jack McLaughlan Oval

Lambton Jaffas FC vs Newcastle Jets Youth
Sat 11 Apr 2:30 PM
Arthur Edden Oval

Adamstown Rosebud FC vs Weston Workers FC
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
Adamstown Oval

Broadmeadow Magic FC vs Hamilton Olympic FC
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
Magic Park

South Cardiff FC vs Maitland FC
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
Ulinga Oval

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