The forty-ninth season of semi-professional football in Western Australia kicked off last weekend with the opening round of home-and-away fixtures. This years competition is expected to be a two-horse race between reigning champion Floreat Athena and perennial favourite Perth S.C., however, for either to claim top honours they'll have to fend off the challenges of Cockburn City, Stirling Lions and Sorrento amongst others. It may still be early days but there's plenty of interest at the other end of the table where a handful of clubs are expected to be involved in a lengthy battle to avoid the drop. Brett Klucznik takes a close look at each of the twelve clubs, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and makes a few predictions as to how the 2008 Premier League season will play out ...
As was the case last year, ARMADALE's focus will be on keeping their head above water and extending their stay in the top flight. There is absolutely no doubt the eastern corridor club are in a stronger proposition than this time last year thanks largely to Brad Hassell's activity in the transfer market, however, a great big question mark hangs over their ability to go the full distance. Cyril Sharrock, Daryl Platten, Marlon Ramirez, Steve Skilandis, Scott Devine and Jason Goodwin form the nucleus of the side along with newcomers Gary Faria, Andy Bowyer and Remo McCann. The absence of a recognised goalscorer has been a major hindrance since they joined the top flight in 2005 and heading into the new season this again looms as a major concern. It really is difficult to see Armadale being able to achieve the consistency required to be truly competitive so don't be surprised to see them in the mix for relegation come seasons' end.
In - Andy Bowyer (Morley Windmills), Kevin Carmona (Bayswater City), Mark Darby (Fremantle Spirit), John Dixon, Gary Faria, Brad Hassell (coach), Oliver Hilton (Perth S.C.), Adrian McCann (Morley Windmills), Ryan Pearson, Stefan Smiljanic (Floreat Athena)
Out - Joel Baptist, Daniel Capellaro (Queens Park), Robbie Easton (Queens Park), Simon El Chami (Morley Windmills), Lee Hallums (Fremantle Spirit), Graham Herd (Gosnells City), Ben Howe, Matthew Johnson, Jeevan Krishnan, Dusan Macura (Cockburn City), Connor Mahady (Swan I.C.), Scott Paterson, Jerry Maguire, Cameron Richens (Queens Park)
It's been a very long time since COCKBURN CITY claimed silverware and it's unlikely that will change in 2008. The club suffered some heavily losses during the off-season, specifically goalkeeper Dino Pacella, defensive stalwart Shane Nunes and retired utility Dean Wallace, which will leave them a little light on for experience. In their favour is a core group of dedicated, hard-working individuals which includes Liam Lilly, Paul Natale, returning veteran Dusan Macura, Dom De Felice, Michael Mirco and John Mirco. And bubbling up through the ranks are the next generation of Cockburn stars such as Aaron Dos Santos, Giovanni De Bartolo and Joseph Brunetto who still have a few things to learn about playing at this level before achieving their full potential. Even so, Cockburn are a top five possibility and a higher finish is within their grasp if they can instil greater consistency in their game.
In - Mirco Jelicic (coach), Shane McNally (Western Knights), Dusan Macura (Armadale), Brad North, Ryan Pretorius (Fremantle Spirit)
Out - Jason Dos Santos (long-term injury), Alan Dunlop (retired), Louis Lopresti (work commitments), Scott Miller (coach), Shane Nunes (South Melbourne, Victoria), Dino Pacella (long-term injury), Dean Wallace (retired), Luke Woodward (Gosnells City)
Reigning champion FLOREAT ATHENA are odds-on favourite to claim the Premier League crown for a second time in as many years. Michael Roki's side made history last season by completing the home and away series without loss and there's every likelihood that that run will be furthered in 2008 by a considerable margin. Change has been kept to a minimum with 2004 Golden Boot winner David Foster and utility Dean Apelgren brought in to replace Boima Karpeh and Josip Magdic, who have moved on to greener pastures. Otherwise, the championship winning side remains intact with national league veteran Ante Kovacevic forming an imposing defensive line alongside rising stars John Migas and Julian Madaschi and goalkeeper Vas Vujacic. Branimir Mikulic, Argentine import Rafael Insurralde, Garin Collins and Adam Bachillor provide the momentum going forward with Foster the target man in the final third. With a squad brimming with not only talent but also confidence, Floreat are expected to challenge Perth for top honours.
In - Dean Apelgren (Inglewood United), David Foster (Swan I.C.), Peja Kalezic (Dianella White Eagles)
Out - Simon Barber (Floreat Athena), Stephen Bettella (Dianella White Eagles), Phil Clarke (Bayswater City), Jonathon Davite (Inglewood United), Craig Howard (Rockingham City), Boima Karpeh (Whittlesea Stallions, Victoria), James McPhail (Dianella White Eagles), Josip Magdic (Perth Glory), Bajo Savic (long-term injury), Craig Simpson (E.C.U. Joondalup), Stefan Smiljanic (Armadale), Chris Wiley (Mandurah City)
The process of turning a young FREMANTLE SPIRIT side into a force to be reckoned with continues at the WA Spanish Club. Unfortunately, it's not going to be a comfortable ride for the port side this season with their two most experienced players, Alex Christie and Gold Medal winner Dale Wingell, likely to be absent for much of the campaign. Fremantle surprised many on their top flight return but for the new season goalkeeper Steve Grant will have a re-vamped defence in front of him which features Lee Hallums, Tom Straker, Adrian McBride and Simon Elton-Bott. In Jason Barrera, Callum Roberts and Cisco Jorquiera they have three of the competitions' most exciting young players while a year on the sidelines has two time First Division top goalscorer David Rodgers champing at the bit. But a lack of overall depth and a poor home record is going to hold them back and it's hard to see Fremantle improving on last year's eighth placing.
In - Llewellyn Bake, Simon Barber (Floreat Athena), Simon Edwards (Llanfair United, Wales),
Lee Hallums (Armadale), Joseph Moffat (Harold Wood Athletic, England), David Rodgers (long-term injury)
Out - Sebastian Booysen, Alex Christie (work commitments), Roberto Colalillo, Mark Darby (Armadale), Oliver Gifford (returned to England), Vas Kalogeracos (Western Suburbs, Victoria), Ryan Pretorius (Cockburn City), Dale Wingell (long-term injury)
2008 is going to be all about consolidation for INGLEWOOD UNITED. The club parted company with several key personnel during the summer months and with seasoned campaigner Bobby Despotovski heading to Europe mid-season new coach Lee Bamber has gone back to the drawing board. The contributions of goalkeeper Oliver Taseski along with Shane Pryce and Danny Kovacevic are going to be crucial to how their season pans out. Jason Colli, Michael Baczynski and Daniel Neiderberger will run themselves into the ground in the quest for goals, while Louis Parkinson's imminent return from injury provides them with a goalscorer of great quality. An active recruitment drive and the promotion of youngsters from within bring Jamie Mitsopolous, James Sammutt and James Duncan into the equation and suggest a bright future for the club. But for this season at least, Inglewood do not possess the resources to mount a serious title challenge.
In - Jonathon Davite (Floreat Athena), Mark Grant, Ian Griffiths (Stirling Lions), David Houston (Wanneroo City), Lewis Italiano (Balcatta), Bobby Klenkoski (Bayswater City), Dennis McRoberts (Hellenic Athletic, Northern Territory), Jamie Mitsopolous (Stirling Lions), Louis Parkinson (long-term injury), Ashley Picker (Perth S.C.), Wes Ryder (Bayswater City)
Out - Dean Apelgren (Floreat Athena), Rory Hollingham, Shaun Kilkelly (Sorrento), Albert Osei-Tutu (Stirling Lions), Jason Razmovski (long-term injury), Greg Sharland (Perth S.C.), Daniel Stoitis (work commitments)
The difficult task of transforming E.C.U. JOONDALUP from something other than a mid-table proposition again falls to Willie McNally. On their day the northerners are capable of matching it with the best of them, however, a habit of dropping points to teams their lesser and a lack of depth prevents them from challenging for silverware. A superb defensive record anchored the side last season and that's likely to be the case again with former Perth Glory custodian Tommi Tomich marshalling a backline that includes Anthony Jones, Scott Blackmore and Craig Simpson. Scott Bushby returns to add creativity to the midfield where his partnership with Darren Broxton will be crucial in their quest for points. The ammunition from out wide comes from Tommy Amphlett and Jon Higgins with captain Ian McMurray spearheading the attack for a third successive year. A finish somewhere around the middle of the table beckons once again for Joondalup.
In - Scott Bushby (Western Knights), Jarred Bracewell (National Training Centre), Andrew Durkin (Bangor Celtic, Ireland), Tommy Jones (Stirling Lions), Bobson Koroma, Danny Green, Thomas Nicholson (Manchester City, England), Craig Simpson (Floreat Athena), Tommi Tomich (Perth Glory), John Thornley (Western Knights)
Out - David Abel (returned to England), Marc Anthony (Stirling Lions), Steve Baines (returned to England), Howard Fondyke (Australian Institute of Sport), Craig Highet (Morley Windmills), Ryan McDarby (Mandurah City), Andy Petterson, Chris Porter, Darren Quinncroft
MANDURAH CITY will find the going tough in their first ever season as a Premier League club. Their pre-season was nothing to write home about and the alarm bells must surely have been triggered by their return of a single goal in over seven hours of Night Series football. The backbone of last years' First Division championship winning side remains with Mike Green, captain Andy Brown, Graeme Matthews, Christian Pascherwitz and Jeff Bright all looking forward to lining up in the top flight. Coach Stuart Currie has strengthened his side with a rash of signings that include defensive pair Ryan Townsend and Chris Currie, midfielder Keith Brown along with young guns Patrick Quinn and Phil O'Callaghan. How many points Mandurah can pick up in the first half of the winter will determine their fate but expect them to battle it out with Swan I.C. and Armadale to avoid the drop.
In - Keith Brown (Stirling Lions), Gary Collins (long-term injury), Chris Currie, Michael Currie (National Training Centre), Kieran Kavanagh (South West Phoenix), Dale McCulloch, Ryan McDarby (E.C.U. Joondalup), Phil O'Callaghan, Patrick Quinn (South West Phoenix), Ryan Townsend (Persiba Balikpapan, Indonesia), Chris Wiley (Floreat Athena), Stuart Young
Out - Jason Carmichael, Ross Clayton (work commitments), Shane Crampton (North Pine United, Queensland), Alex Darby (work commitments), David Dawson (work commitments), Stuart Francis (retired), Scott Halpin, Stuart McCall (Rockingham City), Fraser Marr (Rockingham City), Kevin Morris (retired), Adam Parmenter, Jordan Rhodes (Stirling Lions), Stephen Rhodes (work commitments), Ryan Stewart (Rockingham City)
Punters looking to lay money on who will take out the 2008 Premier League title would be hard pressed to go past PERTH S.C. Graham Normanton has so far returned fifteen trophies to the cabinet at Dorrien Gardens and he'll be keen to add to that tally as Perth celebrate his tenth season at the helm. Gareth Deeg shelved retirement plans to take his place between the posts in front of homegrown talents Michael Icanovski and Trent Kay. Antonio Naglieri, Robbie Puca and new recruit Andrija Jukic run the show across the centre with the goalscoring trio of Greg Sharland, David Onoforo and Andreas Oliviera sure to cause more than a few headaches for opposition sides. With a first eleven that is unrivalled in the top flight and a triumphant Night Series campaign under their belt, Perth are more than ready to return to the return to the top of the table.
In - Andrija Jukic (Western Knights), Simon Madaschi, David Onoforo (Fremantle United), David Price (Western Knights), Greg Sharland (Inglewood United)
Out - Lewis Beasley, Mark Birighitti (Australian Institute of Sport), Scott Bulloch (Sorrento), Adrian D'Adamo (Balcatta), Oliver Hilton (Armadale), Michael Ord (Sorrento), Chris Parfitt, Ashley Picker (Inglewood United), Simon Trinca (long-term injury), Barry Wood (retired)
An exciting time lies ahead for SORRENTO who'll be the year's big improver. After winning the title in 2006, the Gulls showed a little too much complacency last year and with just four wins to their name ended uncomfortably close to the drop zone. But lessons have been learnt and a barnstorming Night Series has catapulted the northern suburbs outfit to amongst the favourites for regular season glory. A strong recruitment drive has swelled the ranks at Percy Doyle Reserve with the arrival of some of the state's best talent, players of the calibre of Stuart Montgomery, Shaun Kilkelly and Michael Ord. They compliment the existing core group of Neil Young, Steve MacDonald, Glen Thomas, Scott Neville and Todd Harnwell who all worked tirelessly for little reward in 2007. Making the last four of the Night Series provided only a glimpse of what they are capable of and should Sorrento display that same fighting spirit regularly this winter then there's no reason why they can't be a top-three proposition.
In - Scott Bulloch (Perth S.C.), Danny Cain (Green Gully, Victoria), Glen Campbell (Walker Central, England), Jake Harman, Danny Hill, Shaun Kilkelly (Inglewood United), Neil Main (Fraserburgh, Scotland), Glen Moore (Rathfern Rangers, Northern Ireland), Michael Ord (Perth S.C.), Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights)
Out - Chris Boyle (Sydney United, New South Wales), Daniel Cagorski (Bayswater City), Gary Lynn (returned to Scotland), Kyle Stuart (Sutherland Sharks, New South Wales), Danny Taylor (work commitments), Richard Watson (retired)
The resurrection of STIRLING LIONS continues to gather momentum. But although Mike Lyons has assembled a very fine squad for the new season one gets the feeling they are still a little way from mounting a serious challenge for the title. Off-season departures have been kept to a minimum while some select recruitment has increased the Mike Lyons' match day options. With captain Darko Ilmanoski, Kevin Henderson and Steve Hesketh partnering Goalkeeper of the Year Phil Straker you can be assured the Lions defences won't be breached too many times. Jordan Rhodes, Ludovic Boi, Marc Anthony and Alan Muir will provide the ammunition for young striker Phil Arnold. A poor away record denied them a high finish last season while there's a lack of depth and experience brought on by the clubs strong policy. They may not yet be in quite the same field as Perth S.C. and Floreat Athena but Stirling are still very much a top five outfit
In - Marc Anthony (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jake Geddes (National Training Centre), Vlad Naumovski (Dianella White Eagles), Albert Osei-Tutu (Inglewood United), Luke Pavlos (Balcatta), Jordan Reid (Cove rangers, Scotland), Jordan Rhodes (Mandurah City)
Out - Keith Brown (Mandurah City), Ian Griffiths (Inglewood United), Tommy Jones (E.C.U. Joondalup), Daniel Micevski (Western Knights), Jamie Mitsopolous (Inglewood United)
The tone has been set for a difficult year at SWAN I.C. The Black and Whites limped into ninth place last season, and the loss of several influential figures combined with a less than inspiring pre-season campaign doesn't bode well. Paul Lincoln stepped into the coaching hot seat over the summer and has high hopes for his first season in charge. The defence leaked goals at an alarming rate last year so Lincoln will have his fingers crossed Cory Hugo, Aaron Cole, Paul Baczynski and David McNally will remain available throughout the year. David Perich has a big future ahead of him and partners Dom Ando and Brendan Knox across the middle of the park with club legend Damien Scali and Tom Shepheard operating in the final third. 2008 will be an important chapter in Swan's history and they should be pleased just to survive relegation.
In - Gary Andrews (Wanneroo City), Alex Cocking, Paul Lincoln (coach), Geoff Mason (long-term injury), Connor Mahady (Armadale)
Out - David Foster (Floreat Athena), Daniel Grosso (Ashfield), Trevor Hatton (Morley Windmills), Anthony McStea (work commitments), Rory Mouttet (Canning City), Carlo Scali (coach), Adrian Zonato (Balcatta)
It's been a summer of dramatic change at WESTERN KNIGHTS where over half of last years first eleven are no longer on the scene. In going about the task of re-building his squad Ronnie Campbell has promoted from within the clubs youth ranks with added depth coming through an active recruitment campaign. Kevin Miller and Jon Mathers performed admirably at the back last year and for the new season will be joined by Keith Butler and Ivan Zuvela. Dawson Cormac is likely to play a more creative role in midfield alongside Paul Cooke and David Micevski with the task of banging in the goals falling to newcomers Barry Devlin and Rory Grant. Where the Knights end the season will depend largely on how quickly they can start performing as a cohesive unit, but odds are they'll take a place somewhere in the lower mid-table.
In - David Annall, Keith Butler (Broadford, Scotland), Mitch Bryden (Lower Hutt, New Zealand), Barry Devlin (Bangor Celtic, Ireland), Stuart Ferguson (Hallum, Scotland), Rory Grant (Bayswater City), Daniel Micevski (Stirling Lions), David Micevski (Perth Glory), Ivan Zuvela (long-term injury)
Out - Aaron Badahori, Scott Bushby (E.C.U. Joondalup), Andrew Jennings, Andrija Jukic (Perth S.C.), Greg Montenegro, Shane McNally (Cockburn City), Stuart Montgomery (Sorrento), David Price (Perth S.C.), Ante Ramic, John Thornley (E.C.U. Joondalup)
Final Table Prediction 1 Perth S.C. 2 Floreat Athena 3 Sorrento 4 Stirling Lions 5 Cockburn City 6 E.C.U. Joondalup 7 Inglewood United 8 Western Knights 9 Fremantle Spirit 10 Mandurah City 11 Armadale 12 Swan I.C.
Promotion and relegation between the Saturday Premier League and First Division remains one-up, one-down as per last year. Balcatta, Bayswater City and Canning City have already singled themselves out as championship material but lining up behind them and waiting to pounce are a host of other contenders. Early indications suggest the battle to avoid the drop will be fiercely contested by Ashfield and Queens Park, however, a slow start could see any one of a number of clubs sucked into the relegation mire. This week Brett Klucznik takes a close look at each of the twelve clubs, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and makes a few predictions as to how the 2008 First Division season will pan out ...
Phil Watson has the difficult task of leading a radically different ASHFIELD into the new season. In the six months since last season closed out the team which ended 2007 runner-up to Mandurah City has slowly disintegrated with only a handful of those players still on the scene. As they embark on a re-building phase Ashfield will lean heavily on the leadership of captain Jamie Kumkar and loyal servant Martin Kelly. Gareth Williams, Jake Watson, Osman Conteh and Daniel Grosso also have big roles to play for a team that is but a shadow of their former self. Light on depth and experience, come the business end of 2008 expect to find Ashfield stumping up the First Division table.
In - Alisdair Annall (Morley Windmills), Adam Barbuzza, Osman Conteh (Dianella White Eagles), Daniel Grosso (Swan I.C.), Phil Haddock (Morley Windmills), Nick Hogg (England), Jamie Kumkar (Bayswater City), James Long (Fremantle Spirit), Mills Vere Bradley (Morley Windmills), Ryan Thomasz (Balcatta), Phil Watson (coach)
Out - Rydeen Botha (Balcatta), Alex Crooke (work commitments), Kenny Ftynohiannis (Balcatta), Tom Gaca (Balcatta), David Gordon (Morley Windmills), Oliver Langdale (work commitments), Chris McCulloch (Morley Windmills), Igor Novakovic (Balcatta), Andy O'Neill (Balcatta), Luke O'Neill (long-term injury), Julian Piromalli (Balcatta), Mark Purcell (Balcatta), Drazen Saric (Dianella White Eagles), Salv Todaro (coach), Damien Todorovic (Bayswater City), Jason Van Rooy (Balcatta), Daniel Webb, Chris Williams (Wanneroo City)
It appears BALCATTA may have finally got their act together enough to seriously challenge for top honours. The club has enlisted Salv Todaro, a coach who knows what it takes to win trophies, and he's left no stone unturned in overhauling the senior list in preparation for a long campaign. On paper they have the arguably competition's best squad with the like of Andy O'Neill, Igor Novakovic, Kenny Ftynogiannis, Julian Piromalli, Carlo Di Toro and Ogi Radonic all sure to earn their fair share of headlines. Balcatta are determined to make amends for a disappointing time last year and victory in the Night Series is only a taster of things to come.
In - Papy Angelo, Rydeen Botha (Ashfield), Adrian D'Adamo (Perth S.C.), Matthew Debarro (long-term injury), Alley Di Nuzzo, Carlo Di Toro (Forrestfield United), Kenny Ftynohiannis (Ashfield), Tom Gaca (Balcatta), Rob Hough (Bardsey, England), Michael La Cava, Igor Novakovic (Ashfield), David Moschilla (Dianella White Eagles), Andy O'Neill (Ashfield), Julian Piromalli (Ashfield), Adam Purcell, Mark Purcell (Ashfield), Ogi Radonic, Salv Todaro (coach), Jason Van Rooy (Ashfield), Adrian Zonato (Swan I.C.)
Out - Victor Bogos (Dianella White Eagles), Tony Cumace (Bayswater City), Peter Koidis (Bayswater City), Mark Humphries (Morley Windmills), Lewis Italiano (Inglewood United), Basil Lenzo (coach), Christian Melo (long-term injury), Luke Pavlos (Stirling Lions), Ryan Thomasz (Ashfield), Toby Wright (retired)
A strong pre-season suggests things are back on track at BAYSWATER CITY. Crushed by the burden of expectation last season, a lot of soul-searching went on during the summer months leading to the appointment of rookie coach Michael Di Fulvio. With the expressed aim of returning Bayswater to the top flight, Di Fulvio has re-vamped the squad with some experienced, well-chosen recruits. Giannia Papalia and Adrian Sutton retain their places in the line-up to form the backbone along with newcomers Daniel Cagorski, Scott Campbell, Paul Hickey and Damien Todorovic. A place in the last four of the Night Series indicates how far they come in the past few months and there's absolutely no reason Bayswater won't be amongst the leading pack come seasons' end.
In - Daniel Cagorski (Sorrento), Scott Campbell, Tony Cumace (Balcatta), Morgan Dendle (Wanneroo City), Michael Di Fulvio (coach), Mark Donnelly (Wanneroo City), Ahmed Hafez (Wanneroo City), Paul Hickey (Dianella White Eagles), Peter Koidis (Balcatta), Nick Paone, Costa Socratous (Perth S.C.), Damien Todorovic (Ashfield)
Out - Chris Beech (long-term injury), Kevin Carmona (Armadale), Rory Grant (Western Knights), Bobby Klenkoski (Inglewood United), Jamie Kumkar (Ashfield), Daniel Nauovski (long-term injury), Riste Stefoski (Dianella White Eagles), Wes Ryder (Inglewood United)
The third team with the potential of going all the way in 2008 is CANNING CITY. By retaining the bulk of last seasons' players and adding to it a few choice recruits Frank Longstaff has once again delivered a squad of great talent and depth. Imports Paul Harvey and Duaane Hepburn lead the attack and complement nicely a line-up which boasts the talents of Paul Oliver Paul Van Dongen, Duncan Hind and Garth Lecky. Strong all over the park and with the promise of a bucketload of goals, the crucial factor in their season will be how many points they let opponents take away from Willetton Sportsman Club. Canning possesses all the hallmarks of a team on the verge of greatness, and 2008 may just be their year.
In - Dave Evans (Nuneaton, England), Paul Harvey (Bonnyrigg Rose, Scotland), Duaane Hepburn (Downes Sports, England), Nigel Mann (Queens Park), Rory Mouttet (Swan I.C.), Phil Ragan, Quentin Sharpe (Forrestfield United), Michael Smerilli (long-term injury)
Out - Julio Barendilla (Morley Windmills)
There's been massive change at DIANELLA WHITE EAGLES in the few leading into the new season. Over a dozen of last years senior list is no longer with the club, a number that has been offset by a similar number of recruits as coach Glynn Shaw attempts to bring stability to the club. There's no questioning the quality of players such as hard-working captain Dragan Njegic and fellow veteran Riste Stefoski and Aaron Moschopoulos along with the attack minded trio of Zoran Delov, Dimce 'Jimmy' Taneski and Alan Crofts. However, consistency has always been a major problem for Dianella and there's also the question of how quickly players old and new will start working as a cohesive unit. With consolidation the name of the game Dianella are being tipped for a spot around the middle of the table.
In - Mohamed Bangura (Queens Park), Stephen Bettella (Floreat Athena), Victor Bogos (Balcatta), Matthew Butler (Waikoto, New Zealand), Matthew Battigelli (Queens Park), Alan Crofts (Queens Park), Zoran Delov (Queens Park), Sasha Killy, Gavin Oakes (Queens Park), James McPhail (Floreat Athena), Jimmy Taneski (Queens Park), Mark Terry (Queens Park), Drazen Saric (Ashfield), Glynn Shaw (coach), Riste Stefoski (Bayswater City), Peter Vukmirovic (Wanneroo City)
Out - Keegan Ashley (retired), Peter Barley (retired), Osman Conteh (Ashfield), Harry Freeman (Queens Park), Paul Hickey (Bayswater City), Stefan Jelisic, Peja Kalezic (Floreat Athena), Pavle Kuvelakovic (work commitments), Ramadan Lebib, Michael Maine, David Moschilla (Balcatta), Vlad Naumovski (Stirling Lions), Pedro Pavez, Milan Peric, Jimmy Pearson (coach), Ray Rose, Blaine Slater (Wanneroo City), Graham Wells
A Night Series semi-final appearance provided us with just a glimpse of what FORRESTFIELD UNITED can achieve when they put their mind to it. The clubs faith in youth will pay off in years to come as coach John Hunter continue to build on the solid foundations of past seasons. Captain Ashley Otte and Nathan Watkins have accepted the challenge of tightening up a defence whose ability to concede goals cost the side a much higher placing last time out. Midfield terriers Matt Harold, Trent Wood and Rhys Loxley will no doubt provide an endless supply of ammunition for exciting young striker Jordan Hart. Although thin when it comes to experience, Forrestfield's prospects are very good and if they play their cards right should end in the top half of the table.
In - Johnny Carling, Glen Noblett (long-term injury), Nathan Watkins
Out - Phil Bell (retired), Carlo Di Toro (Balcatta), Leith Hinds (Queens Park), Jason Kingdon, Andrew McGettrick, Raph Mahoney (retired), Peter Raynor (work commitments), Steve Roberts (work commitments), Quentin Sharpe (Canning City), Lucas Whitehouse (retired), Grant Williamson (long-term injury)
There's not going to be a great deal of change when it comes to the fortunes of GOSNELLS CITY. On their day the eastern corridor club is capable of playing some very good football, however, a tendency to throw points away has left them wallowing the lower half of the table for much of the past decade. Darren Francis leads the way in the final third with support coming from Ian Maguire and Graham Herd out wide. They are underpinned by a one of the league's tightest defences in which captain Aaron Nadin, Ciaran Allen and Sam Maguire are prominent. Their season hinges on being able to perform at home where Gosnells have managed just six wins in two seasons. Gosnells have on board enough talent to steer well clear of the drop zone this year.
In - Adam Bremner (Queens Park), Tony Campbell (coach), Graham Herd (Armadale), Brian Robertson, Luke Woodward (Cockburn City)
Out - Brian Cairney (Wanneroo City), Jon Cook, David Kelly, Craig McGill (retired), Brian Murphy, Mark Scanlan
MORLEY WINDMILLS are very much the dark horse of the First Division field. The club made great strides last year to claim their highest placing in a decade and new coach Tom Kilkelly will be pulling out all the stops to made sure they remain in the top half of the table. Summer departures have been balanced by sound recruitment that sees veteran sweeper Trevor Hatton and Simon El Chami relocate to Wotton Reserve. Chris Ramsey occupied the spot between the posts, Joe Woodin's imminent return from injury will add creativity to a midfield that includes David Gordon with Farrell Hedges once again spearheading the attack. If the pieces all fall into place Morley could go all the way this year, however, a more realistic target would be a top five placing.
In - Julio Barendilla (Canning City), Simon El Chami (Armadale), David Gordon (Ashfield), Trevor Hatton (Swan I.C.), Gareth Healy, Craig Highet (E.C.U. Joondalup), Mark Humphries (Balcatta), Tom Kilkelly (coach), Chris McCulloch (Ashfield)
Out - Alisdair Annall (Ashfield), Andy Bowyer (Armadale), Russell Denholm, Danny Evans (Queens Park), Phil Haddock (Ashfield), Brad Hassell (coach), Seita Hamamoto (returned to Japan), Adrian McCann (Armadale), Remo McCann, Peter Noiszewski, Mills Vere Bradley (Ashfield)
The impact of a mass walkout in pre-season is going to have far reaching ramifications for QUEENS PARK. Caretaker coach Mike Brazil has done a fine job in steadying the ship, but by his own admission his young and largely inexperienced squad will need a good few months to really find their feet. The contributions of veteran centre-half Brian Kinson will be vital to how their year pans out, likewise new goalkeeper Robbie Easton who has already turned in some impressive performances. Ian McKean, Stephen Cowborough and Grant Learmont pull the strings across the middle with recent arrival Colin Hodge handed goalscoring responsibilities. Queens Park will have done well if they end the year outside the drop zone.
In - Mike Brazil (coach), Daniel Capellaro (Armadale), Stephen Cowborough (Western Knights), Robbie Easton (Armadale), Danny Evans (Morley Windmills), Harry Freeman (Dianella White Eagles), Leith Hinds (Forrestfield United), Colin Hodge (Scotland), Pedro Mastrogiacomo (ASD Bromer, Italy), Cameron Richens (Armadale)
Out - Mohamed Bangura (Dianella White Eagles), James Bartlett, Adam Bremner (Gosnells City), Mathew Battigelli (Dianella White Eagles), Alan Crofts (Dianella White Eagles), Zoran Delov (Dianella White Eagles), Nigel Mann (Canning City), Gavin Oakes (Dianella White Eagles), Glynn Shaw (coach), Brian Stuart, Jimmy Taneski (Dianella White Eagles), Mark Terry (Dianella White Eagles)
Having moved into the new digs at Lark Hill Sports Complex ROCKINGHAM CITY are keen to make a fresh new start. Last season was nothing short of a disaster for the club who managed just a single victory and remain a semi-professional club only because amateur champions Shamrock Rovers declined a move to Saturday football. Paul O'Brien has put in a lot of long hours to totally re-vamp the line-up for 2008. Craig Olenjik remains between the posts with Andrew Keary and Luke Rennie on hand to stem the flow of goals against. Calling the shots going the other way are Adrian Mulholand and Stuart McCall while Craig Howard has already shown he knows how to score goals. Somewhere in lower to mid-table seems to suit Rockingham.
In - Craig Howard (Floreat Athena), Stuart McCall (Mandurah City), Fraser Marr (Mandurah City), Adrian Mulholland, David Nairn (Arbroath, Scotland), Ryan Stewart (Mandurah City)
Out - Mark Boyham, Paul Colkin, Shane Crampthorn, Scott Grieves, Anthony Harris, Lloyd Humphrey, Greg Hyde, Karl Marwood, Sean Maye, Shaun Meehan, Adam Perry, John Whittaker, James Wilde
The slow evolution of SOUTH WEST PHOENIX into a major power continues in Bunbury. Rival teams would be wise not to read too much into a disappointing Night Series which coach Mickie Cairns used to experiment with line-ups and playing formations. Gareth Johnston and club legend Andrew Cowley provide some very solid defensive foundations with the drive through midfield coming via captain Greg Hayes, David Murphy and 17-year old sensation Jonathon Krawec. Opposition sides will be kept on their toes by the familiar pairing of Steve Suttie and Gary Mayers, who last year shared in excess of forty goals. They aren't in quite the same class as Balcatta, Bayswater City and Canning City, but that's not going to stop Phoenix from pushing for a place amongst the top three.
In - Alex Dawson, Jason Glass (Enniskillen Rangers, Ireland)
Out - D.Armstrong, Gino Comito, Kris Braekman, Marc Kavanagh, James Monks, Patrick Quinn (Mandurah City), Steven Rooke, Seb Trim, James Turbitt, Luke Utterson
After a couple of very difficult years in the top flight WANNEROO CITY make their way back to the second tier where the process of re-building has already begun. The line-up is almost unrecognisable to that of twelve months ago with only a smattering of those players who saw out the season still with the club. Gerry McEwan is back at the helm and will rely heavily on the leadership and goalscoring abilities of Brian Cairney. Jay McDonald, Chris Pugh and Rowdy Yates go into the new season with another years experience under their belts and are complemented by new arrivals Danny Glasspool and Tom Orme. Not likely to the vying for the title and safe from relegation, Wanneroo will wisely use 2008 to prepare for the future.
In - Josh Booysen, Brian Cairney (Gosnells City), Michael Carroll, Chris Donnelly, Daniel Glasspool, Callum Goodwin, David Herety (England), Beau Hindmarsh, Gary Kent, Gerry McEwan (coach), Michael McEwan, Thomas Orme, Ollie Patterson, Blaine Slater (Dianella White Eagles), Danny Taylor Sorrento), Chris Williams (Ashfield)
Out - Dinko Ahmetanovic, Gary Andrews (Swan I.C.), Demir Arslanoski (work Commitments), Craig Bowman (long-term injury), Mike Brazil (coach), Craig Cheeseman (work commitments), Jordan Conti, Morgan Dendle (Bayswater City), Mark Donnelly (Bayswater City), Peter Dunn, Ahmed Hafez (Bayswater City), Carl Harrison, Daniel Hendley, David Houston (Inglewood United), Patrick O'Boyle, Aaron Olow, Peter Vukmirovic (Dianella White Eagles), Simon Ward (returned to England)
Final Table Prediction 1 Balcatta 2 Bayswater City 3 Canning City 4 South West Phoenix 5 Morley Windmills 6 Forrestfield United 7 Wanneroo City 8 Dianella White Eagles 9 Rockingham City 10 Gosnells City 11 Queens Park 12 Ashfield
Final Table Prediction 1 Perth 2 Floreat Athena 3 Sorrento 4 Stirling Lions 5 Cockburn City 6 ECU Joondalup 7 Western Knights 8 Fremantle Spirit 9 Inglewood United 10 Armadale 11 Mandurah City 12 Swan IC
Final Table Prediction 1 Bayswater City 2 Canning City 3 Balcatta 5 Forrestfield United 5 Morley-Windmills 6 Wanneroo City 7 Dianella White Eagles 8 South West Phoenix 9 Gosnells City 10 Rockingham City 11 Queens Park 12 Ashfield
The Amateur Premier League has been strengthened from sixteen to twelve clubs for the 2008 season and once again a number of teams will fancy themselves in with a chance of holding the championship trophy come September. The reductions of clubs means the old format of one single league rather than two conferences will be used. Interest will also be increased in 2008 as this season it will be known that the top eight teams will qualify for the State Cup in 2009 in which amateur teams will have the chance to play the big guns of Western Australian football in the state's premier knockout competition.
MURDOCH UNIVERSITY has undergone a few changes in the off season. The club has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to secure the club's future growth and prosperity with its successful integration into Melville City Soccer Club and its home ground at Len Shearer Reserve. Murdoch played some excellent football at times in 2007 but conceded too many goals to be a real threat for the title. Recruiting players for this season has gone well for the club, with the introduction of some excellent new players from all across the world, the club has plenty of depth this year with many in the squad competing for first team places. Andrew Barrett continues in his role of first team coach, while new faces include Andrew Jennings (Western Knights), Luiz Drummond (Brazil), Dwain Fernandez (Gosnells City), Darren McDonald (Scotland), Thomas Parayil (Subiaco United), David Hattis (USA) and the return of Sverre Hannshuus (Norway) after his short spell with Spearwood Dalmatinac last season. Flavio L’Abatt will play more of background role, and is expected to be a regular in the reserves this season, but will no doubt fill the void up front in the first team if injuries are a problem. There will be no surprises if there is purple glory this year.
Despite losing both the league and cup finals, FREMANTLE UNITED went through the regular 2007 season unbeaten and will be eager to go one step better in the race for the championship this year. Rob Pagnoni will once again take the reigns as head coach. Seasoned campaigners Matt Favazzo and Mal Bosco return to lead the team on the park. Last season’s Premier Leagues top scorer Felim Rugel will look to continue his scoring domination however he will be without last season's strike partner David Onoforo after the forward returned to Saturday football with Perth over the summer. Former Cockburn City and Fremantle City player Roberto Colalillo is one of a host of new faces that have joined the club. United will also be boosted by their current youth stocks yet again after the youth side made it to the final of the State First Division Reserves Night Series. Fremantle United have had a successful pre-season by beating Mandurah City reserves 3-2, Cockburn City reserves 6-0 and Floreat Athena reserves 5-0. Expect another title challenge by the black and whites.
Defending champions SHAMROCK ROVERS will find it hard to win back-to-back titles this season, due to a host of key players leaving the club. The biggest loss is Paddy O'Boyle, who has joined newly promoted Joondalup United. Aaron Cowdrey and Dean Carey have moved interstate, Lachlan Conboy and Colin Rafferty have returned to Ireland, while Brian Dunne, Marcus Jordan and Kaz Yokayama have all retired. Justin Lupini and Keith Roche have also left the club. Several new faces have joined the East Victoria Park based outfit, but it will be difficult to replace the quality of players leaving. In comes Doug Rockell (Nottingham University), Anthony Gurr (Curtin University), Pat Barrett (Ireland), Martin Ireland (Floreat Athena), Brian Murphy (Gosnells City), Rory Hollingum (Inglewood United), James Rose (Gosnells City), Mark Tapper (Gosnells City), Sean Turner (Kalamunda United), Joe Healy (Forrestfield United), Mark Lilley (Wanneroo City), Dane Gaunt (Curtin University), James Bongiovanni (ex Swan IC), Sean Donnelly, Joshua Piper and Simon Highland. Even though it seems unlikely the club will repeat their success from last season, no one should ever underestimate the hoops.
With five teams going down last season due to the league restructure, KINGSWAY OLYMPIC managed to miss relegation by the skin of their teeth. The club managed to stay up thanks to the return of experienced Saturday players Derek Cooke and Sota Iwasaki plus the talented Ryan Newhill, who all joined just prior to the transfer deadline in 2007. With these players expected to play for Olympic for the entire year, plus with the likes of Danny Trandos, Aaron Lickiss and Jason Stern in the line up, Olympic should have a much better season. Over the summer the team have brought in some quality players such as Leon Russell (ex Western Knights), John Nanini (CN Canning International), Andrei Sarpe (Bayswater City), Brett Columbera (Wanneroo City), Sheldon Jacobie (Wanneroo City), Keith Roach (Shamrock Rovers), Craig Jones (Shamrock Rovers), Marc Albernetti (Balcatta), Rory McDonough (South Perth United) and and a few of the clubs promising juniors to help their development and the team. Out goes Matt Battigelli (Dianella White Eagles), Lee Thomas (Morley-Windmills), Joe Wright (Hamersley Rovers), Richard Broxton (Joondalup United), Stephen Beesley (Work/Family), Scott Evans (Work/Family), Oli Forster (long term injury), Luke Armstrong (Work) and Craig Lewis (Travelling). Kingsway Olympic wont be an easy side to beat, and should finish in the top four.
LYNWOOD COLTS have been a strong and consistent side since entering the Premier League ranks a few years ago, and should again be in the top four or five come September.
SPEARWOOD DALMATINAC will once again be another solid performer in 2008. The club have signed John Ferreira from Southern Spirit, and he will no doubt help put the ball in the back of the net during the year. Other new players are Nuno Loreto from Fremantle Spirit and Dave Twentyman from Albany. Leaving the club is Rob Santich (retired) and Sverre Hannshuus (Murdoch University). Dallies have had a good pre-season after finishing third in the Spanish Cup Night Series where they fielded a mixture of first team and reserves players. The team beat Subiaco United, Gosnells City Amateurs and lost to North Lake, Stirling Panthers and Ballajura. More recently Dalmatinac beat the Cockburn City Reserves 1-0. Justin Vanderhoek has moved up to coaching the seniors after being in charge of the Reserves last season, while former first team coach Steve Mirco is now the new team manager. Expect a mid-table finish with a top four position not out of the question.
2007 wasn’t a great year for UNIVERSITY OF WA but a new coaching team made up of Andy Dickinson and Jon Pfaff, along with a number of new signings, mean the club will hope to be looking at going up the table rather than down this season. The arrivals of Marcus Lee (overseas student), Marc Sim (Fremantle Spirit), Marc Nauer (ex-Floreat Athena), Dean Sinno (ex-Inglewood United), Weikang Chen (Canning City) and the return of Matt Hill (work) and Marc D’Ascanio (Balcatta) should add a depth to the squad which was lacking last season. With a number of other new signings playing their first season in WA, who include Neil Yates, Adriano Digiuleo, Scott Bedward, Gordon Brown and Paul Hayman, University will be an unknown quantity whose success will depend on how quickly they can start to gel as a team. Players that have left over the summer include Bryn Griffiths, James Purtill, Al Trewthoran and Liam Sharp. The "students" should finish mid-table at the very least.
HAMERSLEY ROVERS did much better than expected last season and should easily avoid the drop once again. Rovers have retained most of last season's players, those that have left is centre-back, Nathan Orzhi, who is moving back to Sydney. Orzhi was the scorer of Hamersley's second goal in their cup final win last year. He has been adequately replaced by Craig Rogers, who took last season off. Joe Stocker, Tony Odundo and Joe Wright, who has returned from Kingsway Olympic, will be the candidates to lead the attack this season, whilst the bulk of the midfield work will once again fall to Ian Bunton and Martin Shirwin. Pre-season has seen some mixed results, using a combination of first team and reserves, Hamersley beat Kingsway Olympic 2-0, lost 4-2 to University of WA, and easily beat Belmont Villa 4-0. The Carine based outfit will push for an all important top eight spot to qualify for next year's State Cup competition.
It will be the first season in the Amateur Premier League for JOONDALUP UNITED after winning the First Division in 2007. Coaches Mark Cox and Rudy Proctor are looking to carry on their good work in the top flight. United's first aim will be to avoid relegation, but with signings such as Paddy O'Boyle (Shamrock Rovers) plus Scott Wyeth and Steve Mills who have Saturday football experience, the club should be good enough to stay up. Centre forward Andy burrell is looking very sharp and will run a few defences ragged with his energy and pace. Ninth place beckons for the northern suburbs club.
PERTH AZZURRI surprised many by their good season in 2007 when most pundits predicted certain relegation. The squad's average age has certainly reduced in comparison to recent years, though the experience players such as Charlie Jensen, Luciano Ferrone, Kevin Pope, Geoff Hogan and Jimmy Vassilliou still form the core of the team. Several news players have joined the club this year, and this can only help the depth of the squad. The Sky blues in their pre-season beat Morley-Windmills Amateurs 3-0, lost to State League Reserves side, Perth, by 8-2, and then only lost to the Perth first team by 3-0 in a recent mid-week fixture. Azzurri should do enough to stay up.
SOUTHERN SPIRIT will be one of the sliders this season after losing a couple of key players over the off-season. John Ferreira has left to joined Spearwood Dalmatinac, Damien Pescud will be playing Aussie Rules to have a season off with his brother, while goalkeeper Bobson has returned to the State League with ECU Joondalup. Spirit's main problem last year was a leaky defence, and with main striker Ferreira having left, it will mean the club will have to find solutions at both ends of the pitch. Spirit have picked up Fab De’Oliveria from Cockburn City. A relegation fight beckons.
It will be a difficult season for WA MACCABI in 2008. With so many competitive teams in the league this year they will have to be at their best if they are to avoid the dreaded drop.
Final Table Prediction 1 Murdoch University 2 Fremantle United 3 Shamrock Rovers 4 Kingsway Olympic 5 Lynwood Colts 6 Spearwood Dalmatinac 7 University of WA 8 Hamersley Rovers 9 Joondalup United 10 Perth Azzurri 11 Southern Spirit 12 WA Maccabi
With five of last season's Premier League clubs being relegated, the 2008 Amateur First Division promises to be a tough and exciting season. Back to a two up and two down promotion system after last year's league re-structure, Division One will no doubt be close at both ends of the table.
SUBIACO UNITED will be one of the favourites to win the league this season. After finishing fifth bottom of the Premier League in 2007, the maroons would have normally been preparing for another season in the top flight, but due to the re-structure the club will have to do to it the hard way to get back to where they belong. Ian Munro is back as first team coach after a season at Wanneroo City. Munro's first task was to retain the majority of last season's players, which he managed to do. Munro also convinced a few players back after their retirements at the end of the 2006 season. They include Max Wright, plus brothers Dan and Marc Meunier. The club have also signed Lee Mackie from Wanneroo City. Out goes Shakyr Hamzar, Adam Parrella and Greg Slater. If Subiaco get a good start, they might be hard to stop.
NORTH LAKE have worked their way up the leagues since re-starting a senior team in the Fourth Division back in 2005, where they also managed to win the Amateur Cup. The former Saturday league outfit will be hoping for a fourth straight promotion spot. It wont be easy with the number of competitive clubs in the First Division this season but they will fancy themselves for a strong promotion push.
After a fairly successful 2007 campaign, GWELUP UNITED are aiming to go one step further and push for promotion to the Premier League. Former Shamrock Rovers coach and state league player Alex Vagliviello is in charge of trying to achieve this in his first year at the helm. Gwelup looked like early relegation candidates last season, and they must avoid another slow start which is what ultimately cost the side promotion. There is a good indication it won’t happen again this season after some strong pre-season results. United lost in their first hit out against the Western Knights Reserves 3-1, then disposed of Amateur Second Division side Kingsway Olympic 3-0 before winning the inaugural Gwelup United Carnival, where they beat Fremantle Croatia and the Balcatta Reserves and also drew with Shamrock Rovers. Not much has changed in the form of playing stocks with the core of the impressive 2007 side remaining and barring any major injuries except Gwelup to finish in the top four and perhaps have a serious tilt at the First Division title. Into the squad come Steve Barna, Steven Cikara (injury), Steve Gavran (Golden Lily), Senna Ghiassi (Stirling Panthers), Mirko Grgurinovic (Bayswater City), Vlade Jelas (Fremantle Croatia), Sime Lozic (Bayswater City), Ivica Markovic, Alberto Medrano (Kingsway Olympic), Darko Nenadic (injury), Rodney Njirich (injury), Mate Peric and Toby Prosinecki. While leaving is John Bezich (injury), Ivica Kalic (Fremantle Croatia), Steven Kovacevic (work commitments), Jose Lopez, Oscar Lopez (Kingsway Olympic), Mario Mrkic, Daniel Puclin (work commitments) and Mario Zubonja.
NORTH BEACH and the STIRLING PANTHERS should have strong seasons and might push for promotion if they get a good start. The Panthers welcome back Tristan Xavier from long term injury, Nuno de Pinho (year off) and Tony Aleksovski who has joined the club from Balcatta. Players that have left are Simon Madaschi (Perth), Nick Paone (Bayswater City), Marco Serra (retired) and Dean Scarporolo (retired). The Panthers have had a good pre-season and competed in the recent Spanish Cup Night Series. The team made the final after wins against Ballajura, North Lake Reserves, Colo Colo and Spearwood Dalmatinac before losing 4-2 to North Lake in the decider.
BB UNITED flirted with relegation for most of 2007, but good signings over the summer should prevent any such battle this season, while KINGSLEY and CN CANNING INTERNATIONAL should not be far behind.
SOUTH PERTH UNITED and SUBURBS UNITED were both relegated from the Premier League last season, and might once again be in for another relegation fight. BELMONT VILLA did well last season and will have to do better than expected once again to stay up.
MORLEY-WINDMILLS AMATEURS have lost coach Mark Webb to Fourth Division club Bassendean Caledonian and several key players have followed him over. A host of first team and reserves players have also left to join Saturday club Ashfield. Windmills have had to start from scratch to get two teams on the park in 2008. The emphasis is based on youth, with many of the squad having come through the ranks of the youth policy at the club. Pre-season so far has seen defeats by Perth Azzurri 3-1 and a 5-0 loss to the Balga Masters team, however this is not viewed by new coach Andrew Waters as a negative start to the campaign. He will know that there is much work to be done, and the squad of players is likely to start the season slowly before they can work as a team. Players also added to the squad come from Brazil, China and Ireland giving the team an international flavour. It will be a tough season for the Windmills Amateurs, but if the new players can gel quickly, then perhaps the team can avoid the drop to the Second Division.
Final Table Prediction 1 Subiaco United 2 North Lake 3 Gwelup United 4 North Beach 5 Stirling Panthers 6 BB United 7 Kingsley 8 CN Canning International 9 South Perth United 10 Suburbs United 11 Belmont Villa 12 Morley-Windmills Amateurs
After narrowly missing out on promotion in 2007, FREMANLTE CROATIA will be looking to go one better with the strengthening of its squad and will be the team to beat in 2008. Coming into the squad are ex-Western Knights utilities Aaron Bahadori and Sime Kristicevic, who are both capable of playing in a number of key positions. Stjepan Beretovac's lightning speed will keep opposition defenders on there toes. Striker Stipan Majic returns to the club after a season at Southern Spirit and will be looking forward to a big season in front of goals. Roko Skender has also joined the squad and is a skilful attacking midfielder with an eye for goal. Daniel Kacunic has signed from Canning City and is a hard working midfielder who has impressed during the pre-season, while Stjepan Beretovac is also a new addition. Club fairest and best winner and playmaker Anielo D'Angelo is still undecided about his future due to increased work commitments and 2007 leading goal scorer Damir Mikulic is struggling with a chronic groin injury which has affected his pre-season training program. Croatia have the squad to win silverware this September.
BALLAJURA should be the big improvers of 2008 and will likely be neck and neck with Fremantle Croatia for the title. Signing proven goal scorer Ray Rose from State League club Dianella White Eagles would have to be the coup of the year. Rose should score a bag of goals that will help them in their push for promotion. Other new players include Dave Haddock (Morley Windmills Amateurs), Scott Corduroy (Torquay - English Conference League) and Samuel Chea (Sydney). There is a good feeling at the club, and First Division football in 2009 will be their aim.
The FLOREAT ATHENA AMATEURS will also be fighting it out for promotion. Croatia and Ballajura will have to look behind their shoulders, as Athena will pounce on any slip-up.
BALGA are looking for a positive season in 2008 to rebound after the disappointment of season 2007, which started so well but ended with tears of relegation. Despite picking up thirty two points last season and with the club's highest finish for several years, the Black and Greens still ended up being relegated. Jorge Da Silva is Balga's new coach after moving from Kingsway Olympic to steer the ship at Princess Road Reserve. Arriving with an impressive CV amongst lower league clubs, Da Silva aims to revitalise the team in order to push to the upper echelons of the Second Division. To assist with this, several new players have been recruited including the return of Tim Zachariah who played the second half of the season leading the attack at State League First Division side Queens Park. Trent Singleton has returned from last season to share the workload up front with him. In midfield, last season's best player winner Dale Watson has rejected a move to Dianella White Eagles in order to continue with Balga, whilst skipper Anthony Banham hopes for a better year after an injury wracked 2007 limited him to only fifteen games. Shane Atkinson is back and looking to continue last season’s improvement, whilst several exciting youth players have joined from Inglewood United to push for spots in the club's midfield. Tiago Duque, who was runner-up Best player last season is on an extended holiday in his native Brazil but is expected to return to training soon and commence playing. In the defence, the club has also retained the services of last season's playing stocks with Laze Taneski, Craig Dunbar and Goce Blazeski expected to shield the opposition forwards. On the debit side the loss of Zoran Delov (Queens Park) will be felt whilst Cory Herrington’s move to Darwin mid-season will also leave a gap in the goal keeping ranks. Balga will be looking for a top four finish, with promotion not out of the question.
KINGSWAY OLYMPIC are looking to regroup and refocus for 2008. With the majority of the relegated side remaining together, the team has been bolstered by a mass influx of new talent as well as the return of several players from both injury and European travel. New players include Aaron Olow (Wanneroo City), Paddy McCrory (return from travel), Lee Grainger (return from injury) Dale Teague (return from injury), Johnny Pavlovich (aussie rules convert) Alberto Medrano (Gwelup United) and Lee Hayter (Floreat Athena). Expect a much better season for the green machine in 2008.
KWINANA UNITED, newly promoted WHITFORD CITY and INTERNATIONAL CALCIO should be good enough for mid-table, while FREMANTLE COLO COLO, CURTIN UNIVERSITY and NORTH PERTH UNITED are expected to struggle.
The FORRESTFIELD UNITED AMATEURS will be up against it this year after losing a number players. Di Petro, Jamie Davis and Leigh Martin have all left to Queens Park, while Craig Sharp has moved to Canning Citiy. If Forrestfield can manage to stay up this year, it will be considered a good season.
Final Table Prediction 1 Fremantle Croatia 2 Ballajura 3 Floreat Athena Amateurs 4 Balga 5 Kingsway Olympic "B" 6 Kwinana United 7 Whitford City 8 International Calico 9 Fremantle Colo Colo 10 Curtin University 11 North Perth United 12 Forrestfield United Amateurs
Final Table Prediction 1 Perth Royals 2 Heathridge Soccer 3 Golden Lily 4 Kalamunda United 5 Rockingham City Amateurs 6 Wembley Downs 7 Wanneroo City Amateurs 8 Port Kennedy 9 Gosnells City Amateurs 10 Armadale Amateurs 11 Beldon 12 Carlisle
Final Table Prediction 1 Maddington Eagles 2 Nedlands 3 Melville City 4 Leeming Strikers 5 Bassendean Caledonian 6 Southern Force 7 Canning United 8 Subiaco United "B" 9 UWA "B" 10 Kelmscott Roos 11 Mandurah City Amateurs
Final Table Prediction 1 Carramar Cougars 2 Kingsley "B" 3 Kingsway Olympic "C" 4 Mirrabooka Lions 5 Bayswater City Amateurs 6 Subiaco City 7 Stirling Lions Amateurs 8 Swan Districts JSA
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This page was last updated on the 6th April 2008