The National Premier Leagues is the second tier of football in Australia. We profile the clubs that have qualified for the inaugural national play-off series.
Club: Canberra FC Founded: 1958 (originally as Croatia Soccer Club) Colours: Red and White Home Ground: Deakin Stadium Recent honours: ACT First Division / Premier League Minor Premiers: 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2013 ACT First Division / Premier League Premiers (Grand-Final winners): 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2007 - 2009 - 2010 ACT Federation Cup Champions: 2002 - 2004 - 2006 - 2007 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 ACT Club Championship: 2002 - 2004 - 2005 National Youth League Champions: 2004 Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament Champions: 2001 - 2005 Coach: Miro Trninic Key Players: Phillippe Bernabo (20 goals), Alex Oloeigbe (20 goals)
As one of the most decorated club-s in Australian football it was no surprise that Canberra FC once again lay claim to the title and has a result have now earned their shot at claiming the inaugural NPL Finals series.
Having been knocked off the top perch in 2012 by Belconnen United, Canberra FC finished seven points clear of last year-s Premiers before going down 2-0 in extra time to Canberra Olympic in the grand final.
The club finished the regular season with a 9-0 demolition of the Monaro Panthers as they increased their goal difference to a staggering plus 64.
Coming with the side-s success is a ticket to the inaugural NPL Finals series where they will compete alongside NPL league winners from NSW, Tasmania and Queensland, as well as the team that takes out the grand final in South Australia.
“It is very exciting to have made the NPL finals series,” said coach Miro Trninic.
“All the guys are very happy and are motivated for this new challenge.”
Trninic-s side-s first test will be against NSW NPL winners Sydney United 58 FC who will no doubt prove a sterner teset than many of the teams Canberra have faced this year.
“They are a great team and are going to be really hard to defeat.
"They play in a tougher competition than us but you never know as in a single game either side can get the win.”
The task will be made even harder as Canberra have to travel north to play at United, a venue where their hosts of only lost once all season.
“It would have been better if we got to play the game at home but that decision is not up to us.
“It will no doubt make it tougher again but we know we have to go there to get the win.”
Phillippe Bernabo and Alex Oloeigbe could not be split as the club-s leading scorers with twenty goals apiece as they combined to tear apart their opposition throughout the year.
“We scored 86 goals in the competition this year which was 27 more than second place.
“Phillippe and Alex added 40 of these together and played really well for us.
“We are a very young and fast side and the amount of goals we scored says a lot about the way we play with and our ability to put teams away.”
Another important part of side-s makeup is the number of youngsters that have featured throughout the year.
“We have 10 players under 20 that train in our squad with most of these playing regularly.
“There is a lot of talent here in Canberra and while it is good to have them it would be great to have a National Youth League team down here so that these players can continue to develop and go on to bigger and better things.”
With 11 championships in the past 15 years, Canberra FC believes the competition will be a new motivation for his players.
“A lot of the boys have been with the team and shared in its success over the past few years.
“This competition will provide them the opportunity to test themselves against tougher competition again.”
The match kicks off at 3pm this Sunday 29 September at Edensor Park.