One hit wonders of the NSL

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Time to take a trip down memory lane as we look back at an exclusive list of teams who tasted glory in the National Soccer League (NSL) era.

This elusive group share two outstanding characteristics. They dominated the NSL during their respective title winning campaigns while all five sides were unable to add a second league title to their trophy cabinets.

Below we look at five of the 13 teams which were crowned NSL champions over the league’s 27-year existence.

Here are the one hit wonders of the NSL.

APIA Leichhardt (1987)

Current Status: Competing in the National Premier Leagues NSW.

Last Season: 1st (regular season)

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Before taking their place in the NSL, APIA were one of the strongest sides in the NSW State League. They entered the NSL in 1979 and were crowned champions in 1987 under the guidance of NSL legend Rale Rasic.

Financial difficulties forced Leichhardt to drop out of the NSL in 1992 and return to the NSW State League. After years of rebuilding, the club finished top of the table in the National Premier Leagues NSW last season and secured their first premiership since 2003.

 

Brisbane Strikers (1996/97)

Current Status: Competing in the National Premier Leagues Queensland.

Last Season: 1st (regular season)

The Strikers competed in the NSL for the final 10 years of the competition. They adapted to life well in the competition and were crowned NSL champions in 1997 after beating Sydney United 2-0 in front of over 40,000 spectators at Lang Park.

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The Strikers’ bid for a place in the A-League was denied and they have been playing in the Queensland Premier League since the demise of the NSL.

The Brisbane outfit returned to the national stage when they faced Melbourne City in the FFA Cup round of 16 last year. Unfortunately the Strikers went on to lose 2-1 against the A-League outfit.

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Brunswick Juventus (1985)

Current Status: Competing in Victorian State League 5 North as Brunswick Zebras.

Last Season: 11th (Victorian State League 4 North)

Brunswick joined the NSL in 1984 and reached the finals in their debut campaign before claiming the title the following season after defeating Sydney City over two legs in the grand final.

However, three years later they found themselves relegated to the Victorian state leagues. The club re-joined the NSL for a short period between 1993 and 1996 before returning to the Victorian Premier League.

Brunswick have slowly slipped down the Victorian state leagues since their relegation from the NSL and they recently found themselves relegated once again as they finished second last in the State League 4 North competition last season.

 

St. George (1983)

Current Status: National Premier Leagues 2 NSW.

Last Season: 2nd (after regular season)

St. George were one of the best clubs throughout the 1970’s with a host of their players competing at the highest level for the Australian national team. Five of the club’s players were in the Australian side that started against West Germany in the nation’s first World Cup appearance in 1974.

At the height of their powers they won the NSL in 1983, however they bowed out of the league after the 1990/91 season. Since their spell in the NSL, St. George have played in the various state leagues across NSW.

The club returned to the NSW NPL 1 competition for the 2014 season however they faced an immediate return to the NPL 2 competition after finishing last in the top tier.

 

West Adelaide (1978)

Current Status: Competing in the National Premier Leagues South Australia.

Last Season: 5th

West Adelaide were the first club from outside NSW to win the NSL championship in 1978. The South Australian outfit were a dominant force in the early years of the NSL however like Sydney City, issues off the field ultimately led to the club’s demise.

For the 1990/91 season they changed their name to the Adelaide Sharks in an effort to increase their fanbase. Their time in Australia’s elite football competition came to an end in 1999.

Since departing the national stage they have spent time in South Australia’s state leagues and currently compete in the National Premier Leagues South Australia.

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Samuel Greco Schwartz
Samuel Greco Schwartz
Studying Journalism at UTS. Obsessed with football and a die hard supporter of Sydney FC and Liverpool FC in the EPL

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