A tough start to the new NPL season

A tough start to the new NPL season

Posted on February 25, 2015 in 'News'

ECU Joondalup will take on the top two teams from last season, in the opening two games in the 2015 Play Station 4 NPL-WA. First up they travel to Dorrien Gardens on Saturday March 28th, to take on Perth Soccer Club, before entertaining Champions Bayswater City at the ECU Arena on Saturday April 4th.

ECU Coach Dale McCulloch said he was happy with the draw and is looking forward to the challenge. “To me, that is the best start of the season we could have had,” said McCulloch. “Perth and Bayswater are going to be there or there about come the end of the season, and we believe we can match it with anyone in this league, so you need to beat the best to do that. We matched it with Perth last week for 75 minutes, but little errors cost us, we will only get better.”

The squad is coming together nicely and McCulloch said he is happy the way they are going. “We have worked hard in the pre-season and we slowly getting our squad together, with players overseas and unavailable,’ he said. “Jon Higgins, Joe Smith, Jon Stynes and Charlie Comyn-Platt have missed the start of the Night Series, but all will get game time prior to the season. We have competition for places and a deep squad, which bodes well for the season.”

In other round one matches, Bayswater entertain Subiaco AFC, Stirling Lions hosts Balcatta, Sorrento travel to Armadale, while Inglewood United are at home to Cockburn City. Floreat Athena and Perth Glory will not play on the opening weekend, instead opting to shift their Round One clash to April 25 when they will again contest an Anzac Day fixture at E&D Litis Stadium.

After the success of 2014, Football West has again encouraged clubs to embrace the concept of Rivalry Rounds on the weekends of April 18 and July 19. Sorrento and ECU Joondalup will put northern pride on the line in the only Friday night fixture of the year when they clash in a Rivalry Round match at Percy Doyle Reserve on April 17.

While the majority of fixtures will take place at the traditional 3pm, Saturday kick-off, seven matches will be played on Sunday afternoons. After consultation with clubs, there will be no finals series this season with the team finishing top of the table after 22 rounds to represent WA in the PS4 NPL National Finals Series. Under competition rules, the team finishing last in the PS4 NPLWA can be relegated if the team in position to be promoted meets all competition criteria.

PS4 NPLWA manager Chris Beech said the fixtures had been finalised after months of direct consultation with clubs. “All clubs have been fantastic to deal with over the past few months while we were going through the planning process,” Beech said. “We have been working with all clubs since December to bring together a fixture format that tries to cater for the sometimes conflicting hopes of each club. Season Two of the PS4 NPLWA promises to be an exciting one with some fantastic clashes already occurring in the NPL Night Series.”

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