NPL Finals Series: Get to know Devonport Strikers

Devonport Strikers carry the hope of the Apple Isle in the National Premier Leagues Australian Finals, which get underway in Tasmania this weekend.

The Strikers have made an impact on the national stage in the FFA Cup in recent years but will look to produce in the NPL finals in 2018.

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Here’s all you need to know about the Tasmanian NPL champions.

How they qualified

Devonport secured the Tasmanian NPL title with a big win over Kingborough.

Needing only a point to clinch the Premiership, the Strikers cruised to a 4-0 win the finish three points clear of South Hobart.

The Premiership success means the club have won the double in 2018, having taken out the Lakoseljac Cup earlier in the season.

Star player: Brayden Mann

The club’s skipper, Brayden Mann, has enjoyed a phenomenal campaign, setting the record for most goals in an NPL Tasmania season with 35, including a brace in the crucial win in the last round.

Mann’s sensational season saw him win the Mitsubishi Medal as the competition’s best player, the second time the 25-year-old has taken out the award.

A devastating finisher, Mann leads by his action on the park and will be the main man if the Tassie outfit is to go all the way in the Australian NPL finals.

Devonport Strikers captain Brayden Mann
Devonport Strikers captain Brayden Mann

Coach: Chris Gallo

Like Mann, Chris Gallo was recognised for his outstanding season at the helm of Devonport by being named the NPL Tasmania Coach of the Year.

Originally from Sydney, Gallo joined the club ahead of the 2017 season from NSW NPL outfit Manly United where he was their technical director.

Gallo, who holds a UEFA B Licence, has also had experience at clubs in the UK such as Hull City, York City and Notts County, while he has been in an observer role with England’s under-16 team in the past.

In his time at Devonport, he’s turned them into one of the most consistent and entertaining teams in the Tasmanian NPL.

Devonport Strikers coach Chris Gallo
Devonport Strikers coach Chris Gallo

Home ground: Valley Road

Devonport plays out of the Valley Road Ground, which has been the clubs base since July of 1971.

The venue has a capacity of around 1250 but had more than 3000 when the club has hosted matches in the FFA Cup.

Who they’re up against

A massive challenge awaits up against defending national champions and FFA Cup quarter-finalists Heidelberg United, from the Victorian NPL, at Valley Road on Saturday September 8th.

The first of this year’s Elimination Finals kicks off at 6pm AEST.

Heidelberg United
The Strikers will face Victorian champions Heidelberg United.
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This article was originally published on the National Premier Leagues website.