The forty-sixth season of semi-professional football in Western Australia commences in earnest this weekend with the opening round of home-and-away fixtures. Over the decades fourteen clubs have finished top of the regular season table with by far the most successful being Perth S.C. who have been crowned champions on no less than seventeen occasions. The Blues are widely tipped to add to that tally in 2006, but before they do they need to negotiate a tricky path past their challengers. Brett Klucznik takes a close look at each of the Premier League clubs, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and makes a few bold predictions as to how the year will play out ...
Anyone who believes the summer departures of four key players will
expose a few chinks in the armour of PERTH S.C. had better
think again. The passion for success still burns bright at Dorrien
Gardens where Graham Normanton has returned fourteen trophies in
little over six seasons. Boasting a watertight defence and arguably
the best central midfield combination on the local scene, it's going
to take one almighty effort to halt the Perth juggernaut once it
cranks into top gear. Just to mention the names Gareth Deeg, Aaron
Cole, Michael Icanovski, Scott Bulloch, Gary Faria, Robbie Puca and
David Onoforo is enough to send shivers through opposing camps. A
superb squad and a triumphant Night Series campaign in which they
were undefeated in seven outings have made Perth the red-hot
favourite to once again claim top honours.
In -Scott Bulloch (Wanneroo City), Gary Faria (Cockburn City), Andy Pomfret (Fremantle City), Felim Rugel, Barry Wood (Western Knights)
Out - Dino Djulbic (Frankston Pines, Victoria), Daniel Micevski (Bayswater City), David Micevski (Perth Glory), Antonio Naglieri (Frankston Pines, Victoria), Andreas Oliveira (Frankston Pines, Victoria), Mark Pottier (retired)
You can't help but feel a new golden era is about to dawn for
FLOREAT ATHENA. Their playing stocks have been finetuned
over the summer and in terms of overall balance Michael Roki could
not have done a better job. Club legend Adrian Sutton, underrated
shot-stopper Vas Vujacic and star in the making John Migas form the
basis of what is potentially the top flight's tightest defensive
unit. Adam Bachillor, Bajo Savic and Josip Magdic are sure to cause
plenty of headaches for opposing midfield and should provide plenty
of ammunition for Boima Karpeh to work with. They showed great
resilience in making the last four of the Night Series and should
Floreat display that character regularly this year there is no reason
why they can't be a top three proposition.
In -Okwy Diamondstar (Bloodmouth, India), Boima Karpeh (Fremantle City), Josip Magdic (NK Slavonija, Croatia), Chris Wylie (Canning City)
Out - James Afkos (retired), PJ Mills (England), Craig Simpson (Freed-Hardeman University, USA), Eugene Singeorzan, Jarred Smith (Bayswater City)
SORRENTO went game for game with Perth S.C. in last seasons'
title race and there is absolutely no reason why they can't challenge
for top honours once again. An abundance of talent is at Steve
Neville's disposal and just how high the Gulls soar will depend on
whether they continue making the most of a gifted midfield, or slip
into the old habit of playing straight over the top of it. The club
parted company with several key personnel during the summer months
but these losses have been offset through the recruitment of three
seasoned campaigners and the promotion of youngsters from within the
ranks. Newcomers Scott Miller, Stuart Young and Brad Hassell bring
with them a wealth of playing knowledge and in combination with Neil
Young, Richard Watson, Glen Thomas and Simon Harland anchor the
side. Sorrento are rarely away from the top of the table and expect
this year to be no different.
In -Ben Davies-Smith (Farleigh Rovers, England), Brad Hassell (long-term injury), Scott Miller (Perth Glory), Stuart Young (Perth Glory)
Out - Danny Cain (Green Gully, Victoria), Jake Harman (Stirling Lions), Craig Lewis (Wanneroo City), Guy MacDonald (Wanneroo City), Steve MacDonald (Motherwell, Scotland), David McGeown (Alloa Athletic, Scotland), Paul McMullan (Hamilton Academical, Scotland), Brodie Martin (Inglewood United), Mark Walsh (Stirling Lions)
If INGLEWOOD UNITED are wanting to make a serious play for the
Premier League crown they need to instil greater consistency in their
game. On paper the inner city club have a first-rate squad,
however, their knack of throwing points away prevents Inglewood from
gaining a final placing much higher than what is achieved. They
take into the new season a largely unchanged squad although a few
select recruits and the promotion of youngsters from within the ranks
provide coach Eddy Hodgkinson extra flexibility. Their greatest
asset is a core group of dedicated, hard-working individuals which
includes Oliver Taseski, Danny Kovacevic, Shaun Kilkelly, Dean
Apelgren, Anthony Danze, Kevin Griffiths and Louis
Parkinson. Inglewood may have horror start to the season with games
against Perth S.C., Sorrento, Stirling Lions and Western Knights in
the first four weeks but this will only ensure they are battle
hardened for the rest of the campaign. An upper mid-table placing
suits them in 2006.
In -Anthony Danze, Ian Griffiths (Stirling Lions), Brodie Martin (Sorrento), Glen McCormick (Stirling Lions), Shane Pryce, Daniel Waind (E.C.U. Joondalup)
Out - Michael Baczynski (Wanneroo City), Morgan Dendle (Wanneroo City), Dean Gartside (Cockburn City), Kevin Henderson (Stirling Lions), Rory Mouttet (Swan I.C.)
This big mover of 2006 will be STIRLING LIONS. The club cast
a critical eye over last seasons' lacklustre performance, identified
their weaknesses and took means to remedy them. The end result is a
new-look Stirling side which faces 2006 under the guidance of Mike
Lyons. Amongst the few survivors of the overhaul are defensive
partners Darko Ilmanoski and Riste Stefoski who've already developed
a solid relationship with new goalkeeper Phil Straker. Steve
Porter, Rob Miller and Jordan Rhodes provide the drive and creativity
for an attack spearheaded by Jake Harman and Phil Arnold. They may
have made the final of the Night Series but the general feeling is
Stirling need a year or so to gel as a unit before making a serious
play for top honours. Even so, you can be guaranteed they will be
amongst the chasing pack.
In -Phil Arnold (E.C.U. Joondalup), Andy Brown (Wanneroo City), Kevin Coroma (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jake Harman (Sorrento), Kevin Henderson (Inglewood United), Ryan Jeans (Bassendean Caledonian), Andy Mason (E.C.U. Joondalup), Rob Miller (Bedford Town, England), Steve Porter (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jordan Rhodes (Mandurah City), Phil Straker (Fremantle City), Mark Walsh (Sorrento), Steve White (E.C.U. Joondalup)
Out - Steve Bozinoski (Bayswater City), Daniel Brown, Glynn Busson (Canning City), Paul Dickson (Crusaders, Northern Ireland), Goce Dilevski, Ken Fytengionous (Cockburn City), Ian Griffiths (Inglewood United), Muhamed Komaderic (Ashfield), Glen McCormick (Inglewood United), Aaron McKee (Ards, Ireland), Denis McRoberts, Rob Milevski (retired), David Murphy (Ards, Ireland), Troy Tobin (Wanneroo City), Aleksandar Vrteski (Australian Institute of Sport), Alen Zilic
2006 will be all about consolidation for WESTERN KNIGHTS. In
the past few years the club have lost the services of several loyal
servants and while they've been replaced by some rising talents
who'll make up the next generation of Knights trophy winners, these
youngsters will need time to find their feet at this level before
achieving their full potential. A sound defensive record has always
anchored the Knights and that is sure to continue under Tommi Tomich,
Evan Wallace and David Annall. Shane McNally adds muscle in the
centre of the park, ammunition from out wide comes from Claus Neilsen
and Paul Cooke, and Stuart Montgomery leads the attack for a fifth
season. The Knights are a definite top five proposition, and a
higher finish is within their grasp providing they don't drop too
many points to teams their lesser.
In -Jakub Chudy (E.C.U. Joondalup), Kevin Correia (Fremantle City), Paul Devlin (Kilkenny, Ireland), Shane McNally (Cockburn City), Ivan Zuvela (Melbourne Knights, Victoria)
Out - Alex Christie (Fremantle City), Scott Devine (Armadale), Josh Kamasz (Cockburn City), Joe Reale, Leon Russell (E.C.U. Joondalup), Barry Wood (Perth S.C.)
It must be frustrating for COCKBURN CITY supporters who start
each winter full of hope and optimism, but six months later are faced
with the disappointment of another trophyless campaign. This year
it's Billy Russell who has been handed the responsibility of turning
things around for the club and, as usual, the initial signs are
good. The nucleus of the side remains much the same as it has for
the past few years - Alan Dunlop, Liam Lilly, Dusan Macura, Jason Dos
Santos, Michael Mirco and John Mirco - to which depth and flexibility
has been added through the recruit of players like Jason Godfrey and
Andy Cornmell. There's no doubt that Cockburn have it within them
to claim a place in the top three, however, their unpredictable
nature makes them a mid-table proposition at best.
In -Andy Cornmell, Dom De Felice (Fremantle City), Ken Fytengionous (Stirling Lions), Dean Gartside (Inglewood United), Jason Godfrey (Fremantle City), Josh Kamasz (Western Knights), Mileta Miletic, Greg Newcombe (Canning City), Shane Nunes (Fremantle City), Paul Oliver (Canning City)
Out - Jeff Cargill (Canning City), Jeremy Chiron (China), Gary Faria (Perth S.C.) Shane McNally (Western Knights), Marco Pagliarulo (Scotland), Dean Wallace (retired)
The appointment of former Australian youth international Frank Farone
as coach has re-ignited the dreams of the BAYSWATER CITY
faithful. However, don't expect too much from them this season in
light of the fact that much of last seasons' senior list has moved
on. Bayswater's strength is a superb midfield in which captain Mark
Lee and new signing Daniel Micevski will pull the strings with wide
support from Igor Novakovic and Damir Kudozovic. Ben Rogers will
score a hatful if given the right service while at the opposite end
Daniel Naumovski and James Hesketh have been put in charge of a
fairly young defence. Bayswater will lose more games than they win
this year and given time to get to know each other they'll gel into a
fairly formidable unit. But there's still some tinkering to be done
and a place somewhere in the lower third of the table is where they'll finish.
In -Steve Bozinoski (Stirling Lions), Tony Cumace (Swan I.C.), Rick Fonseca, James Hesketh, Bobson Koroma (Fremantle City), Daniel Micevski (Perth S.C.), Tony Paolino (Balcatta), Ben Rogers (Armadale), Jarred Smith (Floreat Athena)
Out - Francis Allen (Ashfield), Ross Barnes (Arniston Rangers, Scotland), Daniel Vangelovski (Stirling Panthers), Cormac Dawson, Stuart Fraser (Arniston Rangers, Scotland), Steve Grant (Fremantle City), Joe Kendall, Bobbi Klenkoski, Peter Martinovich (Morley Windmills), Andy O'Neill (Ashfield), Luke O'Neill (Ashfield), Matt Wardle (Livingston, Scotland), Daniel Webb (Ashfield)
You won't find a more loyal or committed group of players than those
at E.C.U. JOONDALUP. But it takes a lot more than character
to win trophies and new coach Stuart Currie has his work cut out in
turning around the clubs fortunes and erasing the memory of a poor
showing last term. The services of Jamie Kuzmanovich, Anthony
Jones, Garin Collins and Peter Stewart will be invaluable over the
course of the coming season while new recruits Chris Currie, Scott
Blackmore and Ian McMurray will also play key roles as the club
attempts to get themselves back on track. Serious concerns have
been raised over their defensive frailties and lack of depth. All
things considered, Joondalup are going to have to be content with a
place in the bottom half of the table for the second successive year.
In -Scott Blackmore (Armadale), Chris Currie (Wanneroo City), Daniel Glasspool (Wanneroo City), Corey Herrington (Bassendean Caledonian), Joe Kelly (Bassendean Caledonian), Ian McMurray, Leon Russell (Western Knights)
Out - Phil Arnold (Stirling Lions), John Aitken (Balcatta), Stuart Banks (retired), Jakub Chudy (Western Knights), Kevin Coroma (Stirling Lions), Andy Mason (Stirling Lions), Julian Piromalli (Ashfield), Steve Porter (Stirling Lions), Daniel Waind (Inglewood United), Steve White (Stirling Lions)
The Night Series form of SWAN I.C. was hardly awe inspiring
and set the scene for what will be a demanding year on the club. In
terms of playing stocks the black and whites are in a strong position
and long-serving goalkeeper Corey Hugo and new recruita Dom Ando and
Rory Mouttet are expected to play pivotal roles at the back this
season. In Scott Campbell and Miki Vujacic Swan have two of the
state's most creative central players while up front David Foster is
keen to re-discover the form which made him the league's top
goalscorer in 2004. However, a defence which concedes goals at an
alarming rate, a home record they'd much rather forget and an overall
lack of consistency are hurdles the club are yet to prove they've
overcome. The bottom line is Swan won't trouble too many sides this
season and it's difficult to see them improving on the eighth place
claimed last year.
In -Dom Ando (Bassendean Caledonian), John Monterosso (Ashfield), Rory Mouttet (Inglewood United), Joel Powell (Bassendean Caledonian), Wesley Ryder (Fremantle City)
Out - Tony Cumace (Bayswater City), Carlos Echevierra (retired), Paul Lincoln (retired), Conor Mahady (Armadale), Matt Ullbricht (Armadale)
WANNEROO CITY will find the going tough in their first season
as a Premier League club. Unfortunately, they've lost many of the
players who helped them capture last year's First Division title and
consequently take a much changed squad in to 2006. Summer signings
Ryan Townsend and Scott Evans will be key figures in a defence that
desperately needs more depth and experience. Craig Cheesman, Ben
Yates and Phil O'Callaghan all proved themselves last year and will
be regular starters again this season while goals shouldn't be too
much of a problem with former State Schoolboy representatives Derek
Cooke and Michael Baczynski up front. The fact that so few of
Wanneroo's number have any previous top flight experience is of major
concern and how many points they can pick up in the first half of the
winter will determine their fate. Come September, expect to see
Wanneroo battling it out with Armadale and Swan to avoid relegation.
In -Michael Baczynski (Inglewood United), Derek Cooke (Kingsway Olympic), Morgan Dendle (Inglewood United), Scott Evans (Kingsway Olympic), Sota Iwasaki (Kingsway Olympic), Will Kirkpatrick (Ashfield), Craig Lewis (Sorrento), Guy MacDonald (Sorrento), Kevin Miller (Bassendean Caledonian), Nathan Tate, Troy Tobin (Stirling Lions), Ryan Townsend (Perth Glory), Danny Taylor (Ashfield), Joe Woodin (Kingsway Olympic), Mark Wilson (Balcatta)
Out - Phil Bell (Forrestfield United), Andy Brown (Stirling Lions), Scott Bulloch (Perth S.C.), Stuart Collins, Chris Currie (E.C.U. Joondalup), Daniel Glasspool (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jon Greenwood (Forrestfield United), Leith Hinds (Mandurah City), Christian Merry (Morley Windmills), Brian Robertson (Forrestfield United), Ryan Thomasz (Morley Windmills)
It's going to be a long and difficult second season in the top flight
for ARMADALE. They've brought in a number of new faces over
the summer but with so few of them familiar with Premier League
football Armadale no stronger now than this time last year. The
Reds pre-season was nothing to write home about and the alarm bells
must surely have been triggered by their failure to score in over
seven hours of Night Series football. Goalkeeper Nick Stone is sure
to feature prominently along with defensive partners Darryl Platten
and Scott Paterson while new signing Scott Devine brings some
much-needed experience to a midfield which includes James Isaia and
Christian Alvarez. However, the lack of a recognised striker is a
major flaw in the team's game plan. With a comparatively young
squad Armadale should be well pleased if they achieve anything beyond
a bottom three placing.
In -Kevin Bisset, David Clarke, Tim De Souza (Fremantle City), Scott Devine (Western Knights), Clark Killoh, Conor Mahady (Swan I.C.), Gerald O'Brien (Floreat Athena), Lynden Pywell, Marlon Ramirez (Fremantle City), Matt Ullbricht (Swan I.C.)
Out - Mo Atak, Scott Blackmore (E.C.U. Joondalup), Joshua Clark (Gosnells City), Michael Kelly, Richard Lacey, Gary Murdoch, Ben Rogers (Bayswater City), Peter Taylor (Fremantle City)
State Premier League Prediction 1. Perth S.C. 2. Floreat Athena 3. Sorrento 4 .Inglewood United 5. Stirling Lions 6. Western Knights 7. Cockburn City 8. Bayswater City 9. E.C.U. Joondalup 10. Swan I.C. 11. Wanneroo City 12. Armadale
Promotion and relegation between the Saturday Premier League and First Division remain a one-up one-down policy as last year. However, the late withdrawal of Bassendean Caledonian from the First Division threw a spanner in the works and, after careful consideration, Football West will offer promotion to second tier of Saturday football to two teams from the Sunday amateur Premier League for next season. On the eve of the new season the playing field looks remarkably level with any one of a handful of teams capable of claiming top honours, and the battle to avoid the drop equally as close ...
It's widely believed BALCATTA will be the one lifting the
First Division title come late September. Their greatest asset is a
squad blessed with depth and in which seasoned campaigners compete
with quality first year rookies for a spot in Basil Lenzo's
line-up. Jordan Conti, Scott Broadley and Perry Ielati form an
imposing defensive axis, the drive through midfield comes from Adam
Raines and Rob Giorgi, and David Moschilla's goalscoring credentials
at this level are simply beyond reproach. Balcatta learnt a lot
last season and with a little more application, particularly when
playing away, they should be able to go all the way.
In - John Aitken (E.C.U. Joondalup), Scott Broadley, Mark D'Ascanio, Perry Ielati, Rob Giorgi, John Nicoloau, Anthony Tountounzis, Basil Vlachou
Out - Anthony DiLoretto (Morley Windmills), Anthony Macri, Tony Paolino (Bayswater City), Jim Vasiliou, Mark Wilson (Wanneroo City), Toby Wright
The 'back in business' signs are up at CANNING CITY. A
frustrating, injury ravaged 2005 season will be little more than a
footnote in Canning's history after their triumphant Night Series
campaign. Frank Longstaff's side are bound to be a major player in
the title race and Paul Van Dongen, Andrew Brown and Shane Laing have
already stamped themselves as players to watch in 2006. Young gun
Simon Versaico has started the new year in fine goalscoring form
while at the opposite end of the park new signing Jeff Cargill brings
stability to the role between the uprights. Canning's prospects are
very good this year and anything outside the top three shouldn't even
In - Andrew Brown (Whitby Town, England), Aaron Barnett (Havant & Waterlooville, England), Glynn Busson (Stirling Lions), Jeff Cargill (Cockburn City), Jeevan Krishnan (Queens Park), Garth Lecky (Fremantle City)
Out - Stephen Cole, Josh Italiano (Queens Park), Nick McLean, Greg Newcombe (Cockburn City), Paul Oliver (Cockburn City), Adam Parmenter, Dan Purcell, Michael Smerilli (long-term injury), Chris Wylie (Floreat Athena)
Having gone close on several occasions in the past MANDURAH
CITY are confident 2006 is their year. The southerners are now
under the guidance of Englishman Malcolm Rhodes whose tactical and
technical expertise brings a new dimension to their game. The club
are well aware their defence needs tightening and taking up that
challenge are Stuart Francis and reliable shot-stopper Mike
Green. Neil Connor returns to the engine room where he'll partner
new recruits Leith Hinds and Daniel Kilka, while captain Christian
Paschewitz leads the way in attack. There aren't a lot of chinks in
Mandurah's armour this time around and they'll be vying with Balcatta
and Canning City for a spot in next year's Premier League.
In - Ross Clayton (Darwin), Leith Hinds (Wanneroo City), Daniel Kilka (Germany)
Out - Alex Agnew (retired), Mark Brabazon, Clint Brown, Gary Collins (retired), John Cox, Nathan Hodgkinson, Cliff Kearns, Jordan Rhodes (Stirling Lions), Michael Sesma
Don't expect to see the name FREMANTLE SPIRIT (formerly
Fremantle City) in the top flight for quite a few years. The
process of re-generating the port side has begun with a re-badging, a
return to their traditional colours and a new board. Changes aren't
limited to off-field and Fremantle's playing stocks are virtually
unrecognisable from that which completed last season. Alex Christie
and Dale Wingell will provide leadership for a young squad that
includes David Rodgers, Simon Elton-Bott and Tyrone
Fenwick. Although it is a year of rebuilding, Fremantle will be
competitive and claim a place in the top half of the table.
In - Alex Christie (Western Knights), Steve Grant (Bayswater City), Peter Taylor (Armadale)
Out - Kevin Correia (Western Knights), Michael Cutri, Dom De Felice (Cockburn City), Tim De Souza (Fremantle City), Luke Eoannidis, Robert Figg (Fremantle City), Jason Godfrey (Cockburn City), Boima Karpeh (Fremantle City), Bobson Koroma (Bayswater City), Garth Lecky (Canning City), Andy Pomfret (Perth S.C.), Shane Nunes (Cockburn City), Marlon Ramirez (Armadale), Wesley Ryder (Swan I.C.), Phil Straker (Stirling Lions), Craig Surtees (retired)
A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes at ROCKINGHAM
CITY in recent times and their return to the top half of the
table is evidence the club are on the right track. This year
they'll be looking to continue down that same path, but in order to
do so Rockingham must start reproducing their away form on home
turf. Paul Colkin, Glen Hallums and Brian Hastie are expected to
feature prominently throughout the winter months, while Terry Flynn
and Cyrill Sharrock have already proven valuable pick-ups. Quick,
skilful and capable of matching it the best the First Division has to
offer, Rockingham are not a team you want to underestimate.
In - Fraser Brown, Terry Flynn, Scott Grieves (Scotland), Steve Harding, Steve Hornby, Chris Reid (Scotland), Cyril Sharrock (Bamber Bridge, England)
Out - Dean Hayes (retired), Luke Morris, Nick Twyman (retired)
After avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth last year
ASHFIELD are very much a club on the rise. After a quiet
start to the year they've slowly gathered momentum and will be in
peak condition for the commencement of home-and-away
fixtures. Newly appointed coach Salv Todaro knows how to get the
best out of players and in reviving the clubs flagging fortunes has
carefully crafted a new-look side around Andy O'Neill, Jason Van Rooy
and goalkeeper Francis Allen. A lack of depth is likely to bite
hard as the season progresses but, even when that is taken in to
account, Ashfield are stronger enough for a mid-table placing.
In - Francis Allen (Bayswater City), Alisdair Annall (Bassendean Caledonian), Chris Darnbrough, Eldin Ibrimisovic, Muhamed Komaderic (Stirling Lions), Brad McCagh (long-term injury), Julian Piromalli (E.C.U. Joondalup), Andy O'Neill (Bayswater City), Luke O'Neill (Bayswater City), John Sherington (Queens Park), Nimmy Srndic, Jason Van Rooy (Bassendean Caledonian), Daniel Webb (Bayswater City)
Out - Ciaran Allen (Gosnells City), Wayne Culverwell (Morley Windmills), Elhossain Etekkis (Forrestfield United), David Gordan (Morley Windmills), Ben Harris, Will Kirkpatrick (Wanneroo City), John Monterosso (Ashfield), Kevin Munro, Maekol Taseski (retired), Danny Taylor (Wanneroo City)
SOUTH WEST PHOENIX have gone from strength to strength since
joining the State League in 2001. During the summer they took stock
of the situation and started work on assembling a squad capable to
taking them into the top flight. A bright future beckons for State
Under-16 representative Patrick Quinn while teenage defender Alan
McGlashen and promising shot-stopper Marc Kavanagh are also amongst
the group of players in whom the club has put their faith. Trent
Hathaway lends his experience to the backline, the contributions of
midfielders James Bergin and David Murphy will be telling and Steve
Suttie leads the way up-front. With a focus on youth development,
Phoenix have set themselves the achievable goal of mid-table.
In - Vince Grooby, Steve Rodgers
Out - Domenic Allen (Bunbury United), Reece Braithwaite (retired), Vion Garic, Gareth Harker, Patrick Roberts (Bunbury United)
FORRESTFIELD UNITED gave a good account of themselves on their
return to semi-professional football last year. A club with a fine
youth system, Forrestfield bolstered their playing stocks during the
summer months through a wise recruitment program and promotion from
within. To a core of Scott Radford, Carlo Di Toro, Jason Kindon and
Glen Noblett they've added the attacking prowess of Phil Bell and Jon
Greenwood. A spot somewhere in the middle of the table is the best
bet for a Forrestfield side which isn't quite ready to take part in
the title race, and yet have enough talent to end well clear of the drop zone.
In - Phil Bell (Wanneroo City), Elhossain Etekkis (Ashfield), Jon Greenwood (Wanneroo City), Brian Robertson (Wanneroo City), Luke Woodfin (Gosnells City), Grant Williamson (Gosnells City)
Out - Rob Anderson, Keith Byrne (Ireland), Richard Fox, Steve Hyland (Ireland), Lawrence Endersby (retired), Quinten Sharp, Nathan Watkins
If you were asked to describe DIANELLA WHITE EAGLES in one
word that word would have to be inconsistent. For the past few
years the club have flattered to deceive and with minimal change to
the playing stocks it's hard to see how they can be considered
anything other than a week-by-week proposition. The recruitment of
Aaron Moschopolous and Rydeen Botha increases options at opposite
ends of the park and loyal servants Peter Mrdja, Dragan Njegic and
Dejan Djukanovic once again take on key roles. In the final wash-up
Dianella's reality is that they must start matching it with the First
Divisions top dogs, and unless they can do that another year of
mid-table mediocrity beckons.
In - Rydeen Botha (Bassendean Caledonian), Aleks Lackovic, Aaron Moschopolous (Bassendean Caledonian)
Out - Abdul Kamara, Anthony Mori, Stefan Smiljanic
MORLEY WINDMILLS have failed to make an impression since
returning to semi-professional football in 2001. In each of those
five seasons they've finished in the bottom half of the table and the
early indications are it'll be more of the same this
winter. Starring roles await Matt Darling, Simon Messenger, Justin
Everley, Paul Dundo and Ray Rose this year, however, a poor away
record and the lack of a decent youth system is going to hamper their
progress in 2006, and development going forward. Come the business
end of the year expect to find Morley somewhere towards the foot of the table.
In - Wayne Culverwell (Ashfield), Matt Darling, Anthony DiLoretto (Balcatta), David Gordon (Ashfield), Bobby Irving (Kingsway Olympic), Peter Martinovich (Bayswater City), Christian Merry (Wanneroo City), Callum Salmon, Leighton Smith, Ryan Thomas (Wanneroo City)
Out - Christian Khalil, Grant Learmont (retired), Naeim Razi, Steve Waycott
2006 is going to be a taxing year for GOSNELLS CITY. A
lengthy list of outs, headed by John Cassidy, Tony Lang and Adam
Bremer, has left the club a little on the light side. And while
it's true they have made some good signings, amongst them Steve
Gillibrand and Aaron Nadine, the overall feeling remains that
Gosnells do lack depth. Veteran Jason Mehnert resumes his role
between the posts and how well he, Nadine, Ian Maguire, Darren Ingham
and Brian Cairney perform will have a large influence on their
season. There's no doubting Gosnells are a tough nut to crack,
especially on home soil, but they'll have to dig deep in order to
retain a place in Saturday football beyond the winter.
In - Ciaran Allen (Ashfield), Joshua Clark (Armadale), Robert Figg (Fremantle City), Steve Gillibrand, Stuart Indge, Gary Jamieson (long-term injury), Ryan Jamieson (long-term injury), Jason Jones, Andrew McGettrick, Anthony Maguire, Aaron Nadine
Out - Adam Bremer (long-term injury), John Cassidy (Scotland), Jonathon Cook (long-term injury), Sam Cundall, Nigel Doherty, Alex Grindley (retired), Jamie Grindley (long-term injury), Ian Ingham, Tony Lang (long-term injury), Angus Lawrie (Scotland), Sam Maguire, Brian Murphy, Gary Reading (retired), Mark Ronald (retired), James Winrow, Luke Woodfin (Forrestfield United), Grant Williamson (Forrestfield United)
State First Division Prediction 1. Balcatta 2. Canning City 3. Mandurah City 4. Fremantle City 5. Rockingham City 6. Ashfield 7. South West Phoenix 8. Forrestfield United 9. Dianella White Eagles 10. Morley-Windmills 11. Gosnells City
Final Table Prediction 1 Perth 2 Sorrento 3 Inglewood United 4 Stirling Lions 5 Western Knights 6 Floreat Athena 7 Cockburn City 8 ECU Joondalup 9 Swan IC 10 Bayswater City 11 Wanneroo City 12 Armadale
Final Table Prediction 1 Balcatta 2 Mandurah City 3 Canning City 4 Rockingham City 5 Forrestfield United 6 Morley-Windmills 7 Dianella White Eagles 8 South West Phoenix 9 Ashfield 10 Fremantle City 11 Gosnells City
A brand new format and an expanded competition will bring extra life to an already popular Amateur Premier League for the 2006 season. The sixteen clubs will be divided into two groups of eight teams, with the winners of each league meeting to decide the championship and possible promotion to the State First Division. The bottom club of each conference will be relegated.
After a season's absence Fremantle United are back in the amateur top flight, and they are looking to continue their top form from last season after winning the Amateur First Division. Most of last year's winning squad are back apart from Fabio Fusari due to injury and Chris De Felice because of working commitments. New additions into the first team include Michael Cutri from Fremantle City and Andrea Rossi. The black and whites were unlucky not to reach the semi-finals of the recent First Division/Amateur Night Series when they gave semi-professional teams a run for their money. Our tip is for Fremantle United to win their group and win the Championship via the play-off final. The club are already expanding their facilities at Hilton Reserve and there is little doubt they will accept promotion to the semi-professional competition in 2007 if successful this year.
Shamrock Rovers as usual will be the team to watch in 2006 and should give Fremantle United a run for their money in Group A. A heap of new players have joined, which should give the hoops the extra fire power they need. In comes Flavio L'Abatte (Hamersley Rovers), Gary Webley (Sydney), Alun Vernals (Hamersley Rovers), Matt Saliacus (Bayswater City), Sean Brooks (Bayswater City), Peter Marocchi (Perth International Calcio), Asid Igal (Queens Park), Ridwan Mahumad (Queens Park), Paul Finn (Balga), Cathal Lennon (back from injury), Jamie Silsby (return from retirement), John Carvajal (Western Knights), Elliot Wilkinson (UK), Nik Silsby (Morley-Windmills) and Byron Davies. Players to leave are Paul McCue (retired), Greg Macken (Ireland) and Paul Harland (Kingsway Olympic). Expect Shamrock to go close this year.
Lynwood Colts had a great year in 2005, finishing fifth in their first season in the amateur top flight and expect the Colts to be up there once again. Saturday referee Ton Klaver is the new senior coach of the first team, and his coaching methods will no doubt keep his squad sharper and more organised this season. Many of the players from the now defunct Leeming Strikers have joined the nearby southern suburbs outfit. One of the problems Lynwood face is there is no recognised centre forward, however with a mix of talented players expect the club to go close this year.
After their horror year last year, Queens Park will be expecting a much better season in 2006. The Coker Park outfit were relegated from the semi-professional ranks last season after only winning two games and might not find life easy in the Sunday competition. Former state player Gary Mateljan is now first team coach after being in charge of the Under 18's last year. His influence along with the youth he has elevated into the first team this season should start to pay-off. Queens Park did much better than most expected in the night series, and it is probably fair to say looked much sharper than they did for the most of 2005. If Mateljan can get his squad to gel early, the team may even finish in the top three which could be all important this season. With Bassendean Caledonian withdrawing from the semi-professional First Division just three weeks prior to season commencing Football West have decided to give their place to one of the 2005 Saturday relegated clubs at the end of this season providing they finish in top three in their group. If Queens Park are in top three all eyes will be on Kingsway Olympic in Group B, who will get first preference as long as they finish in the top three bracket in their own conference. New players to Queens Park this season include Matt Turnball (back from retirement), Bent Thomas (Fremantle City), Ciaran Summerton (Canning City), Ian McKean (Scotland), Toby Omenihu (Tasmanian youth state player) and former Leeming young guns Jarryd Thraves and Josh Italiano. A host of last season's Under 18's players have moved into the first team squad, including youth player of the year Kyle Mistapopulos. Players that have left are John Sherrington, Dwayne Martins, Michael Jennings and Vince Grooby.
Colo Colo are the defending champions and the Fremantle based club will be determined to go back to back. It should be a more difficult season however, with the league strengthened to sixteen teams, plus the club have lost several players including Johhny Ferreira to Southern Spirit who will be difficult to replace. Expect a mid-table place.
South Perth United are the team that could do anything this year, had a good night series and the highlight being their 3-2 win over semi-finalist the Dianella White Eagles. In such a difficult group, South Perth may struggle against some of the better teams.
Spearwood Dalmatinac are usually a hard team to crack and it will be difficult to predict where they finish this season, could finish a lot higher than expected. Dalmatinac has had a poor run of pre-season results, if they have a bad start to season the blue and whites may struggle.
Suburbs United are in the top flight after finishing third in the Amateur First Division last season, the expansion of the league has allowed them to compete in the premier competition. The club will find it hard to compete and might find themselves back into the league they just came from in 2007.
Murdoch University finished the season on a high in 2005 winning ten of their last eleven games. If they have a much better start then they did last season then expect big things at Murdoch for the new campaign. The club have moved to Beale Park in Cockburn, which has much better facilities than their old venue. Three players have departed the team including two of their Norwegian students who have returned to their homeland plus Ali Coulthard who has left for Singapore due to work commitments. However, a host of new arrivals should make Murdoch a force this season. Ten new players have been added to the squad, with many of the new faces coming from overseas. Michael Jennings is the club captain this year and he could well be lifting the championship trophy in the Premier League Final in September. Expect the club to win their group and come up against Fremantle United in the title decider.
Hamersley Rovers have been a shadow of their former selves for the past two seasons, and this year expect Rovers to do a lot better. It is fair to say that Group B looks the easier of the two conferences and that will help Hamersley's cause. Last season's goal keeper, Kev Clifford has stepped up as first team coach. Into the team comes John Quinn (Kingsway Olympic), Shane Fitzpatrick (Stirling Lions) plus Ian Norgrove, Nick Spallone, Scott Morris, Paul Bunton and Ian Bunton. Out goes Neil Burkinshaw (retired), Carl Cocila (overseas), Flavio L'Abatte (Shamrock Rovers) and Alun Vernals (Shamrock Rovers). Striker Flavio L'Abatte played with Morley-Windmills during the night series and has since decided to join Shamrock, he will be big loss, but with new players coming in Hamersley should make a challenge.
It would have been hard to imagine in 1999 when Kingsway Olympic were a semi-professional Premier League team that only seven years later they would find themselves in the amateur ranks, but that is exactly what has happened. After a disastrous year in 2005 Olympic were relegated and it will be the first time since 1956 that the once mighty green machine will not be in the top two leagues of Western Australian football. This will make an even more determined Kingsway Olympic aim for promotion this year. Former coach Sean Lynch has moved into the President's office and his first task was to appoint Graham Wilson as first team coach. Wilson's no nonsense approach should get the best of his players and get the wins on the board early when the real action beings on the 9th April. Into the team comes Paul Harland (Shamrock Rovers), Kevin Murray (year off), Steve Reid (year off), Richard Turvill (year off), Neil Doran (ECU Joondalup), Richard Broxton (ECU Joondalup), John Turvill (ECU Joondalup), Paul Petsos (back from injury). Out goes Aidan Hayes (injured), Scott Evans (Wanneroo City), Sota Iwasaki (Wanneroo City), Derek Cooke (Wanneroo City), Joey Wooden (Wanneroo City), John Quinn (Hamersley Rovers), Bobby Irving (Morley-Windmills) and Danny Trandos (work Commitments). Scott Evans will be a big loss to the club, but expect a top three finish for Olympic which would guarantee promotion back to the semi-professional ranks. With Bassendean Caledonian withdrawing, Football West will give the green machine first preference of replacing them in 2007 as long as they finish third or higher in their conference this season. This is an opportunity they can not afford to miss, otherwise Kingsway Reserve could be seeing amateur football for many years to come.
Subiaco United are back in the big time and will be looking to do a lot better when they were last there in 2002. The club were a hard to team to beat in the First Division last season and pushed Fremantle United all the way for the title. Expect a top four finish for the maroons.
The Stirling Panthers have undergone a rigorous pre-season that started in the first week of January. There were some mixed performances in the Night Series, but the campaign ended on a high note with 2-1 victory over highly fancied Morley-Windmills. Bruno Serra has returned as first team coach from the Bayswater City reserves and he has the players training well and looking fitter and sharper than in 2005. With the club still short on strikers that are able to put the ball in the back of the net, the team may find it difficult at times, but should finish in the top five. Into the squad comes Dean Scarparolo (injury), Glen Ivulich (injury), Daniel Vangelovski (Bayswater City), Tristan Xavier (Bassendean Caledonian), Marco Serra (Balcatta), Christian Oliveira (CN Canning International), Gabby Valentini (out of retirement). Out goes Nick Paone (Bayswater City), Rob Icanovski (Bayswater City) and first team goal keeper Simon Madaschi who is out injured for the season.
Perth Azzurri usually promise so much but fail to deliver and 2006 should be no different for the sky blues. The team wont challenge the top clubs but with the likes of former state amateur player Charlie Jensen in the squad should be good enough to avoid the dreaded drop.
University of WA look set for relegation trouble this season, which will be unfamiliar territory for the students. Influential coach Kevin Burton has left the club due to work commitments in the Northern Territory. Out goes Max Percy (taking a year off), Declan Sharp (England), Marc Dascanio (Balcatta) and Stu Preston (Melbourne). With little coming in to replace quality players new coach Ben McVeigh will not find it an easy season. However, University usually have good team spirit and that could mean the difference in having a better season than expected.
CN Canning International were only saved from playing in the Amateur First Division this season due to the expansion of the Premier League and once again they will find goals and wins hard to come by. Canning International have semi-professional league facilities at their ground in Wilson but it may be a long time before they regularly see higher league teams at their venue. Relegation beckons.
Final Table Prediction Group A 1 Fremantle United 2 Shamrock Rovers 3 Lynwood Colts 4 Queens Park 5 Colo Colo 6 South Perth United 7 Spearwood Dalmatinac 8 Suburbs United Group B 1 Murdoch University 2 Hamersley Rovers 3 Kingsway Olympic 4 Subiaco United 5 Stirling Panthers 6 Perth Azzurri 7 University of WA 8 CN Canning International
Southern Spirit will be odds on favourites to take out the First Division title this season. The club won the Second Division championship in 2005 and with new recruits including John Ferreira from Colo Colo, the southern suburbs outfit should be playing Premier League football in 2007. Joondalup United will most likely be Southern Spirit's main competition for the title. Kingsley and WA Maccabi should be in the upper part of the table, while expect a big improvement by the Morley-Windmills Amateurs. The team have gained a lot new players, which have forced the club to bring out a socials team this year. Coach Mark Webb will want a good start and if things fall the right way promotion could be there come September. BB United have lost some of their better players, while North Perth United and Perth International Calcio should be good enough to finish well away from the relegation zone. Expect a marked improvement by Balga, new coach Glynn Shaw has seen the club gain good pre-season results, and with the influential Anthony Banham returning from Wanneroo City, the black and greens should be able to avoid the bottom two. Belmont Villa will probably struggle again this year, the club has lost John Morton (Colo Colo), Scott Chambers (Forrestfield United), Geoff Hogan (Perth Azzurri) and Lee Wooten (Queensland). In comes Philip Stocker (overseas), Dave Gould (from a year off) and a number of youth players. Kwinana United only won two games in the Premier League in 2005 and expect them to be near the bottom again. Newly promoted North Beach will be hoping to avoid the drop but will likely be back in the Second Division in 2007.
Final Table Prediction 1 Southern Spirit 2 Joondalup United 3 Kingsley 4 Morley-Windmills Amateurs 5 WA Maccabi 6 North Perth United 7 BB United 8 Perth International Calcio 9 Balga 10 Belmont Villa 11 Kwinana United 12 North Beach
Final Table Prediction 1 Floreat Athena Amateurs 2 Fremantle Croatia 3 Kalamunda United 4 Carlisle 5 Port Kennedy 6 Armadale Amateurs 7 Curtin University 8 Gwelup Croatia 9 Wembley Downs Wanderers 10 Kingsway Olympic "B" 11 Forrestfield United Amateurs 12 Ballajura
Final Table Prediction 1 North Lake Espanol 2 Kelmscott Roos 3 Westside 4 Perth Royals 5 Whitford City 6 Gosnells City Amateurs 7 Mandurah City Amateurs 8 Subiaco United "B" 9 Beldon 10 Rockingham City Amateurs 11 Golden Lilly 12 Morley United
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This page was last updated on the 30th March 2006