NPL NSW Round 1 Preview

It’s finally here – the return of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition! 

After the 2021 season was cut short due to Covid, our 12 teams have been working hard for months to prepare for Round 1 and are eager to get back on the pitch this weekend.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC v APIA Leichhardt FC
7:00pm, Friday 4th March, Popondetta Park

All the action kicks off on Friday night under lights when Mt Druitt Town Rangers and APIA Leichhardt match up at Popondetta Park.

With both teams bringing some fresh talent and rejuvenated strategy to the competition, it is set to be a great matchup as the boys from the inner west head out to take on the Rangers.

Both teams have highlighted their aims for increased mobility and an aggressive & fast-paced style of football which will make for an exciting game as they show what they are capable of this season.

The league is ready to see what Rangers’ new Portuguese import Diogo Barbosa is made of while for APIA, a lot will rest on the shoulders of gun striker and U.S. star Jason Romero.

READ MORE: Mt Druitt Leveraging blend of youth and experience to compete in 2022
READ MORE: APIA Ready to embark on new era under leadership of Daniel Cummins

Sydney Olympic FC v Manly United FC
6:45pm, Saturday 5th March, Belmore Sportsground

Sydney Olympic will host Manly United on Saturday night at Belmore Sportsground.

Ante Juric’s men will be looking to use their new attackers to tackle the force of Adam Griffiths’ Manly United outfit and start off the season on the right foot.

Having recruited heavily during the break, Blues fans hope that big signing Roy O’Donovan can light up the place with his experience and eye for goal.

With some new, experienced players, Manly United will be hoping they can claim an early upset as they start a string of away matches to commence the season.

The old guard of Matt Sim will no doubt be a key inclusion to help assist Griffiths’ young troops in what will be a big night for both clubs.

READ MORE: Olympic hoping for return to glory in 2022
READ MORE: Griffiths focused on developing next generation at Manly United

Marconi Stallions FC v Sutherland Sharks FC
7:00pm, Saturday 5th March, Marconi Stadium

The battle between Marconi Stallions and Sutherland Sharks will be the first chance Nick Dimovski has to show off his new-look Sharks squad & new brand of attacking football, and the first chance Peter Tsekenis will have to test out the new talent in his attacking line.

Marconi will be hoping their investment in attacking forces, along with their retention of their solid defensive structure, will lead them to an early victory at home.

Unfortunately they will not be able to call upon the services of new recruit Thomas James who is currently on the sidelines through injury but the Palace will see a few new players make their official debuts with Domenico Costanzo a great story, following in the footsteps of his father Angelo who proudly wore the kit in the early 2000’s.

While for the Sharks, former Wanderers and Glory ace Nick Sullivan will hope he can spearhead his charge back into A-League contention with a solid season in the NPL.

The win will be crucial to both sides as they look to gain some confidence and momentum to kick off the season.

READ MORE: Marconi looking to make magic in 2022
READ MORE: Sharks set for stellar season with new look squad

Blacktown City FC v Rockdale Ilinden FC
3:00pm, Sunday 6th March, Blacktown City Sports Centre

Two of the favourites for this season will match up in Round 1 at Blacktown City Sports Centre in a clash that will give some real insight into the Premiership hopefuls.

Steve Zoric’s side has focussed heavily on creating a squad with plenty of depth to get them through the season, while bolstering their attacking forces to give them some real impact on the park.

The likes of Peter Kekeris, Will Mutch and Nicola Kuleski to name a few will all make their first official appearances for the club with Ilinden bolstering its squad from 2021.

Mark Crittenden has supplemented his already strong squad with several talented players in the hopes that they can pick up where they left off in 2021 and get an early lead in the competition.

Anyone that’s in the know understands Blacktown City are always the benchmark for many in the NPL and 2022 will be no different.

All eyes will be on the club’s Japanese star Hiroaki Aoyama who has earned big wraps in pe-season.

Who will come out on top and let the league know that they mean business?

READ MORE: Turner highlights exciting 2022 season ahead for Blacktown City
READ MORE: Revamped Rockdale ready to go big in 2022

Sydney United 58 FC v Wollongong Wolves FC
3:00pm, Sunday 6th March, Sydney United Sports Centre

Another exciting clash will be between the almost unchanged Sydney United 58, under the new leadership of Joe Haywood, and a reinvigorated Wollongong Wolves.

After a very strong showing in 2021, Sydney United 58 will be looking to continue their good form and goal-scoring superstar Patrick Antelmi will be looking to start his race to the golden boot early.

He will be assisted by another sharpshooter in new recruit Kyle Cimenti with the two set to form a deadly combination if they click.

Wollongong will be hoping the extra experience they’ve brought in, along with their winning mentality, will lead them to victory and set the standard for an impressive season.

Luke Wilkshire’s troops understand its never easy getting points at Edensor Park but will hope the likes of Leroy Jennings and Lachlan Scott can fire-up the squad.

The Wolves will however be unable to call upon one of its brightest sparks in 2021 Bilal Belkadi who suffered a season ending injury during preseason.

READ MORE: Haywood looking to grow strong Sydney United 58 legacy
READ MORE: Wilkshire ready for Wollongong to return to winning ways

Sydney FC v Northbridge Bulls FC
6:30pm, Sunday 6th March, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre

The two young-guns of the NPL NSW Men’s competition will go head-to-head on Sunday evening in a clash that will surely see an impressive display of technical skill and tactical prowess.

Both young, talented sides have expressed their desire to continue to develop their squad and stand up against the heavyweights of the competition and a matchup between each other will allow them to settle into their strategy early on.

Expect fireworks, goals, and quality football from two sides that will no doubt feature some up and coming guns for their future senior squads.

With players such as Rory Jordan, Diego Bonilla, Stephan De Robillard, James Cakovski, Lachlan Sepping, Ben Gibson, Jaiden Kucharski, Adrian Segecic and Jake Girdwood-Reich to name a few that will be on show, its enough to make anyone not want to miss out on this big one.

READ MORE: Van Weeren to unleash fresh faced Sky Blues young guns in 2022
READ MORE: Sterjovski to unearth more gems in 2022