2009 marks the fiftieth season of semi-professional football in Western Australia and the race for the Premier League championship is shaping up to be one of the most compelling in memory. Front-runners Sorrento, Perth SC and Floreat Athena will face strong challenges from the rapidly improving Western Knights, a much underrated Inglewood United and the emerging power that is Mandurah City. The relegation battle is also difficult to predict with newcomers Canning City achieving respectable pre-season results and no glaring weaknesses amongst the existing teams.
Changes to the competition format will see the top five placed sides at the conclusion of the home and away season enter a play-off series, culminating in the Grand Final at the end of October when the champion will be decided. Tom Della Vedova takes a close look at each of the twelve clubs - in alphabetic order - including a summary of player movements and an assessment of squad strengths and weaknesses. The footballwa.net team then offer their thoughts on how season 2009 will pan out.
Now a well-established in the top flight, ARMADALE are full of optimism leading into the new season. After finishing amongst the bottom three for each of their four Premier League seasons, the well supported club are now looking to move up the table and make the yearly relegation battle a thing of the past. Coach Brad Hassell has set his team a simple challenge, “To improve on our performance last season and finish higher up the table,” he said. Cyril Sharrock is once again be between the sticks, and there are high hopes for Australian Under-17 player Liam Harvey to partner Matt Bennion, Shannon Dally and Andy Bowyer at the back. Midfield is arguably Armadale’s strongest area with Gary Faria, Kodi Madeley, Jason Goodwin and Peter Lord competing for starting berths. Armadale have once again cast their recruiting net offshore, and if a consistent goal scorer is amongst the newcomers then they should have enough fight to steer clear of relegation. One thing is for sure - their Army of loyal fans will follow their team around the grounds, urging them on every step of the way. With such fantastic support and some considerable talent, Armadale should begin their slow move up the standing in 2009.
In: Kevin Bissett, Gary Bunting (Wycombe Wanderers, England), Scott Daley (Cockburn City), Robbie Easton (Queens Park), Garry Guyan (Lewis United, Scotland), Liam Harvey (NTC / Perth Glory Youth), Ben Kelly (Fremantle Spirit), Peter Lord (Perth SC), David Nairn (Rockingham City), Ryan Pearson* (Perth Glory Youth), Peter Taylor, John Thornley (ECU Joondalup)
Out: Joseph Brunetto (Cockburn City), Adam Galvin (Dianella White Eagles), Craig Anderson (Forrestfield United), Scott Devine (Gosnells City), Daryl Platten (Sorrento), Trent Bushby, Darren Kingston, Oliver Hilton, John Lund (England), Nao Oishi (Japan), James Robinson (England)
There’s no shortage of confidence from newcomers CANNING CITY with the club aiming for finals football in their debut season of Premier League football. “Hopefully we can get into the top five,” said coach Frank Longstaff in pre-season. “I think it’s more about the mentality than the physical or skill side…we’ve got the ability, it’s just whether we’re mentally tuned in.” A club with lofty ambitions, Canning have embarked on a significant recruiting spree to add to the existing core group of hard working players that achieved promotion by going 2008 undefeated. Perth Glory Youth custodian Devon Spence sits in behind a defence featuring loyal servants Garth Lecky and Duncan Hind along with new signings Jon Mathers and Admir Mehic. The centre of midfield is patrolled by Paul Oliver and Rory Mouttet, while playing out wide are Simon Versaico and First Division Player of the Year Daniel Trevisiol, both of whom will cause headache for opposition players with their trickery and pace. The goal scoring responsibilities fall largely on Bolivian flier Roberto Lujan and the imported duo of Chaz Partridge and Floyd Duffy. A top five finish is not beyond the realms of possibility given their respectable Night Series results, however, this year is all about consolidation for Canning and building for the future.
In: Luke Doyle (Fremantle Spirit), Floyd Duffy (Tilbury FC, England), Roberto Lujan (Perth SC), Jon Mathers (Western Knights), Admir Mehic, Charlie Partridge (Folkestone Invicta, England), Michael Roger (Dalmuir United, Scotland), Devon Spence* (Perth Glory Youth), Chris Sweeney (Kilpatrick AFC, Scotland), Adam Thurston (Marine FC, England)
Out: Michael Van Dongen, Paul Harvey (Scotland), Dave Mahon, David Mickler (retired)
The task of moulding COCKBURN CITY into a majority force is the responsibility of coach Mirko Jelicic. One of the most underrated figures in Western Australian football, having been a member of the Uzbekistan coaching team for the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, Jelicic is doing a commendable job in bringing through Cockburn’s the next crop stars. The club is in the midst of a rebuilding phase following the departure of numerous senior players in recent years. A young defensive unit has Nick Feely flanked by Adam Surjan and Devon Gibson with Paul Natale providing leadership and experience. Jelicic can choose from Anthony Pereira, Llewellyn Blake, Josh Findlater, Jason Dos Santos and South Australian representative Gabriel Deng in midfield, and his options in attack include the ever-dangerous Johnny Mirco, Aaron Dos Santos and Giovanni De Bartolo. Other promising youngsters beginning to blossoming are Ryan Pretorius, Cameron Edwards and Ryan Edwards. A solid Night Series indicates Cockburn will be more than competitive, and with Jelicic’s expert guidance expect to see them emerge as a serious contender in the coming years. But this year a mid-table finish is the most likely.
In: Dejan Aleksic* (Perth GloryYouth), Llewellyn Bake (Fremantle Spirit), Joseph Brunetto (Armadale), Cameron Edwards (NTC), Jonathan Davite (Inglewood United), Gabriel Deng (Adelaide Olympic, South Australia), Jason Dos Santos (long-term injury), Renato Jelen (Macarthur Rams, New South Wales), Adam Luca (NTC / Perth Glory Youth), Daniel Markovic (Gwelup United), Jason O’Byrne (Forrestfield United), Craig Thompson (Western Knights), Kiel Weigel (Mt Gravatt, Queensland)
Out: Scott Daley (Armadale), Daniel Palermo (Fremantle United), Marko Aleksic (Mandurah City), Jason Godfrey (Mandurah City), Josh Kamasz (Melbourne Knights, Victoria), Dom De Felice (Perth SC), Peter Kuzet (Rockingham City), Mario de Felice , Shane McNally, Liam Lilly (long-term injury)
FLOREAT ATHENA are shaping up for another tilt at premiership glory. After finishing the past two seasons as champions then runners-up, Michael Roki has high expectations of the talented squad he’s pieced together during the past five years. “This playing group is at the part of the cycle where we expect to win things,” said Roki. “We’re aiming to finish in the top three at the end of the season and then with a bit of luck kick on and make the final.” Floreat’s squad is comprised chiefly of players in their early to mid-20’s highlighted by State representatives John Migas and Adam Bachillor and also including Daniel Niederberger, Paul Vatistas, James Isaia, Julian Madaschi and David Foster. Senior players Ante Kovacevic, Branimir Mikulic and Brad Scott add significant experience and are figures of much respect around the club and the league. Newly acquired youngsters James Sammut, Callum Roberts and Jason Barrera will provide the attacking spark in the final third that has arguably been lacking since the departure of Josip Magdic early last year. The squad appears to be a fine balance between youth and experience, grit and flair. It would be no surprise to see Athena crowned champions on the last day in October.
In: Jason Barrera (Fremantle Spirit), Simon Elton-Bott (Fremantle Spirit), David Foster, Callum Roberts (Fremantle Spirit), Tiago Rodrigues (Queenstown, New Zealand), James Sammut (Inglewood United / Perth Glory Youth), Jamie Trandos
Out: Peja Kalezic (Dianella White Eagles), Rafael Insaurralde (Mandurah City), Theemo Georgiou (University of WA)
Lee Bamber’s fine work of reviving the fortunes of INGLEWOOD UNITED looks set to continue with their early season form suggesting the club can better last season’s fourth place. The coach will be working with largely the same group of players as last year with the major additions being forwards Rory Grant, Dannie Richman and Australian under-17 representative Louis Parkinson, who returns from two injury plagued seasons. In Oliver Taseski they possess one of the finest goalkeepers in the State League behind a defence marshalled by veteran Shane Pryce and heart-and-soul man Danny Kovacevic. Michael Baczynski provides fire in centre midfield with support from the likes of State representative Jason Colli, last season’s leading scorer Mladen Kovacevic and the silky skilled Jamie Mitsopolous. The addition of former Ipswich Town player Kenny Weston and exciting youngsters Marco Miraudo and Sandi Loncar compensate for the loss of Player of the Year James Sammut. The only minor concern is in the striking department where Bamber is hoping the newly acquired strike force can forge an immediate understanding with their team mates. Stability and strength in every position are Inglewood’s major assets and it’s a safe bet they’ll qualify for the play-offs. Anything is possible from that point on, especially if a regular goalscorer can be found.
In: Alex Cocking (Swan IC), Rory Grant (Western Knights), Sadmir Jakupovic (BB United), Sandi Loncar (BB United), Patrick Marshall, Marko Miraudo (Perth SC), Albert Osei-Tutu (Stirling Lions), Louis Parkinson (long-term injury), Dannie Richman (Stirling Lions), Rikki Smith, Kenny Weston
Out: Ian Griffiths (Bayswater City), Jonathan Davite (Cockburn City), Rodrigo Aguirre (Dianella White Eagles), Wes Ryder (Dianella White Eagles), Brendan Craig (Swan United), David Houston (Queensland), David Whiteside, James Sammut (Floreat Athena)
It’s shaping up to be a difficult season for ECU JOONDALUP, who have already endured an unexpected change of coach, a poor Night Series and a dramatic player clearout - all of which suggests that the campus based club will not be among the front runners this year. Welsh import Dafyyd Jones and Perth Glory Youth player Alex Pearson will battle it out for the spot behind a defence composed of new arrival Charlie Comyn-Platt, Scott Blackmore, Lewis Hall, Darren Quinncroft and Martin Ashworth. Across the middle coach Syd Amphlett can call upon Steve Porter, Scott Bushby, Jake Benson-Cooper, John Higgins and Garin Collins while team captain Ian McMurray and youngster Tommy Amphlett lead the attack with support from Ryan McDarby and import Adam Pygrum. Joondalup’s commitment to youth development has been reaffirmed by the inclusion several players from the National Training Centre and the club’s own junior set-up in the senior squad. The ability of the new playing group to gel and quickly start producing results will be crucial to the success or failure of their season. There’s an overwhelming feeling Joondalup are too good to go down, but if they fail to hit the ground running they may find themselves battling relegation as the season unfolds.
In: Charlie Comyn-Platt (Weston-super-Mare, England), Lewis Hall (NTC / Perth Glory Youth), Damien Houston (Stirling Lions), Dafyyd Jones (Milwaukee Waves, USA), Greg Josling (Sunning Hill, England), Dale McCulloch (Mandurah City),
Ryan McDarby (Mandurah City), Alex Pearson (NTC / Perth Glory Youth), Steve Porter (Stirling Lions), Adam Pygrum (AFC Marton, England), Darren Quinncroft, Josh Risdon (NTC / Perth Glory)
Out: John Thornley (Armadale), Anthony Jones (Bayswater City), Kevin Carmona (Dianella White Eagles), Darren Broxton (Mandurah City), Craig Young (Mandurah City), Adam Taggart (NTC), Carlo Coelho (Perth SC), Craig Simpson (Perth SC), Jason Mirco (Stirling Lions), Zoran Vrteski (Stirling Lions), Tommy Jones, Bobson Koroma, Denis Mitrevski, Tom Nicholson, Andrew Durkin (Ireland), Chris McCrone (retired)
MANDURAH CITY will find it tough to match last season’s exceptional Premier League debut when they exceeded most people’s expectations by finishing in fifth place. The club was busy in the summer transfer market, strengthening the existing squad and bringing in the quality to take the next step. Arguably the most impressive signing was that of Goalkeeper of the Season Phil Straker, while the addition of Jason Godfrey and Darren Broxton bolsters the backline. The acquisition of Argentinian Rafael Insurralde brings some Latin flair to a team that generally plays a direct style of football. Boasting players of the calibre of Ryan Townsend, Jeff Bright, State team captain Andy Brown and 2008 Golden Boot winner Phil O’Callaghan, Mandurah certainly have the potential of making the top five. However, Stuart Currie has his work cut out in avoiding any ‘second year blues’ as the underdog tag wears off and opposing teams become more familiar with their approach. A mid-table finish is predicted although an appearance in the finals is not beyond the Dolphins.
In: Marko Aleksic (Cockburn City), Darren Broxton (ECU Joondalup), Tom Cullen (Queens Park), Jason Godfrey (Cockburn City), Leith Hinds (Queens Park), Rafael Insaurralde (Floreat Athena), Daniel Macklin (Rockingham City), Steven Payne (Scotland), Phil Straker (Stirling Lions), Craig Young (ECU Joondalup)
Out: Dale McCulloch (ECU Joondalup), Ryan McDarby (ECU Joondalup), Robbie Cuthbert (Wanneroo City), Gary Collins (retired), Shane Crampton (retired), Mike Green (retired), Jake Loreto (retired), Graeme Matthews (long-term injury), Stuart Young (retired)
Fresh from claiming their fourth consecutive Night Series, PERTH SC are once again amongst the favourites for regular season honours. Coach Graham Normanton, in his eleventh season in charge, is desperate to capture the championship that has eluded the club since 2005, and has at his disposal a squad which is second to none in the State League. Simon Madaschi will be first choice goalkeeper in front of a defence anchored by veteran Gianfranco Circati and that also features youngsters Trent Kay and Craig Simpson. Gold Medal winner Antonio Naglieri runs the show from the centre with exciting 18-year old Michael Black, new recruits Dom De Felice and Marco Pelosi and wide players Todd Howarth and Matt Danskin. Although likely to be without key striker Andreas Oliveira for the duration, Normanton can still draw on the goal scoring abilities of David Onoforo, Phil Arnold and Greg Sharland. With a squad of such depth and quality assembled the feeling is that only the championship will satisfy the Blues, and after being second best in 2007 and unhinged by injuries last season many will suspect that 2009 will again be Perth’s year.
In: Phil Arnold (Stirling Lions), Andrew Bourakis (South Melbourne, Victoria), Million Butshiire (NTC / Perth Glory Youth), Carlo Coelho (ECU Joondalup), Daniel Colletta (Balcatta), Dom De Felice (Cockburn City), Gary Greenhill (Berwick Rangers, Scotland), Marco Pelosi (Hearts, Scotland), Robbie Puca (long-term injury), Craig Simpson (ECU Joondalup)
Out: Peter Lord (Armadale), Roberto Lujan (Canning City), Marko Miraudo (Inglewood United), Andrija Jukic (Perth Glory), Darren Lawler (Rockingham City), David Price (Western Knights), Steven Campbell (long-term injury), Gareth Deeg (retired), Michael Icanovski (retired), Andreas Oliviera (long-term injury), Brendan Ross
Everyone at SORRENTO is desperate to avoid a repeat of their disastrous 2007 campaign when, just twelve months after being crowned champions, they plummeted down the standing to eleventh. Coach Steve Neville recruited a remarkable array of talent over the summer - a move that has led some to wonder if the unity of the playing group has been compromised. The core squad remains much as last season - Neil Young, Shaun Kilkelly, Michael Ord, Stuart Banks, Brodie Martin, Glen Thomas, Todd Harnwell and Stuart Montgomery - to which talented young defenders David McNally and Daryl Platten and the raw talent of Ciaran Hughes have been added. The is a big question mark over whether the brand of football played at Sorrento is compatible with finals success, but with a squad of immense depth Neville has set his players the challenge of winning consecutive championships. “We’re aiming to finish on top again and then go back to back by winning the finals,” said the coach. Despite missing out on the Night Series play-offs, expect the Gulls to be around the top three come the end of the regular season.
In: Daniel Darras (Club Deportivo Union Espanola, Chile), Leo Harman (Stirling Lions), Ciaran Hughes (Hamersley Rovers), Ross Laing (Lunicarty FC, Scotland), Michael Lawson (Hamersley Rovers), Reece Vittiglia (National Training Centre / Perth Glory), David McNally (Swan IC), Daryl Platten (Armadale), Joe Stocker (Hamersley Rovers), Simon Woodward (Wanneroo City)
Out: David Ashworth (Kingsway Olympic), Glen Campbell, Anthony Cochrane, Callum O’Connell (Sydney), Scott Neville (Perth Glory), Jason Trpevski (Stirling Lions), Glen Moore (Wanneroo City)
Forget a disappointing Night Series - STIRLING LIONS will be a force to be reckoned with in 2009. The club’s strong youth policy means coach Mick Lyons is working with a fine crop of youngsters balanced by a number of vastly experienced senior players. Veteran goalkeeper Dino Pacella is a splendid choice to fill the void created by Phil Straker’s departure. The defensive ranks are bulging following the recruitment of Daniel Stoitis and Igor Illikj and the return of Darko Ilomanoski and Kevin Henderson from injury. Such depth may allow Lyons to push State representative Michael Pugliese and Perth Glory player Dean Evans into midfield alongside Marc Anthony, Alan Muir, Jordan Rhodes and Ludovic Boi. Goal scoring responsibilities fall to the young trio of Jake Geddes, Rory Feely and Keith Clevenger along with towering Afghani import Mohamed Sadiqi. Stirling possess the ability to mount a serious challenge for top honours but may find the going difficult in the latter stages of the season, especially if key players are again lost to the national leagues. Definitely the dark horse of the field.
In: Marc Anthony* (Perth Glory), Ludovic Boi* (Perth Glory Youth), Rick Brewer (Ilkeston Town, England), Jamie Brooks (Newark Town, England), Dean Evans* (Perth Glory Youth), Steven Hesketh* (Perth Glory Youth), Igor Ilijic (Makedonia Gorce Petrov FC, Macedonia), Darko Ilmanoski (long-term injury), Jason Mirco (ECU Joondalup), Dino Pacella, Murtaza Sadiqi (Homa, Iran), Danny Stiotis, Jason Trpevski (Sorrento), Zoran Vrteski (ECU Joondalup)
Out: Ashley Rosendale (Balcatta), George Nelson (Dianella White Eagles), Kris Spaseski (Dianella White Eagles), Albert Osei-Tutu (Inglewood United), Dannie Richman (Inglewood United), Damien Houston (ECU Joondalup), Steve Porter (ECU Joondalup), Phil Straker (Mandurah City), Phil Arnold (Perth SC), Leo Harman (Sorrento), Chris Rutherford (long-term injury)
The new season will be the debut of SWAN UNITED, a club formed by the off-season merger of Swan IC and Swan Districts. A respectable seventh was gained last year but that should have been better had the club managed to earn more points away from Francis Street. Swan’s record of just a single point from five Night Series games does not bode well for the coming season, however, Paul Lincoln can take heart from the fact that a number of key players were absent throughout the pre-season. Chris Ramsey will be first choice goalkeeper while Cory Hugo recovers from injury, with club Best and Fairest Aaron Cole once again marshalling the defence along with fellow veteran Dom Ando. The midfield features the creative talents of Brendan Knox, John Mansaray, Trent Wood and new recruit Costa Socratous, while last season’s leading scoring Damien Scali, club favourite Tom Shepherd and Victorian import Matthew Xerri are the focal points in attack. Although there is sufficient talent in the first eleven to ensure top flight survival, a lack of depth is of genuine concern. If they can keep their mainstays on the pitch and improve their away record then Swan should be safe, but injuries to one or two key players could see the black and whites flirting with relegation.
In: Brendan Craig (Inglewood United), Julian Coletta (Balcatta), Stephen Guest (Shamrock Rovers), Ben Lees (Mundaring), Christian Lopez, Bryan McDonald (Ashfield), Chris Ramsey (Morley Windmills), Costa Socratous (Bayswater City), Tom Shepheard (long-term injury), Matthew Xerri (Green Gully, Victoria)
Out: Damien Catalano (Bayswater City), Alex Cocking (Inglewood United), Dejan Djukanovic, Daniel Agudelo (long-term injury), Cory Hugo (long-term injury), Justin Hugo (retired), Geoff Mason, Michael Tronchin, David McNally (Sorrento)
2009 season marks the beginning of a new era for WESTERN KNIGHTS, who parted company with Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly soon after winning the Soccer Pools Cup at the end of last season. The Knights have been in electrifying pre-season form under new coach Paul Price, who will be looking to replicate the success he enjoyed at youth level with the club in 2007. New goalkeeper Fraser Siddall impressed during the Night Series, and stands behind a defence consisting of David Annall, Stuart Ferguson, Okwy Diamondstar and David Warmt-Murray. Their major strength is in midfield, where David Micevski, Daniel Micevski, David Price, Luka Jukic, Seb Trim and Aaron Badahori play some eye-catching football. The Knights weakness is a lack of depth up front where young pair Mario Marcinko and Anthony Skorich are the only recognised finishers, although Barry Devlin and Anthony Campbell can also play the part when required. After a disappointing ninth last season, they will be the big improvers with an attacking brand of football. A final’s appearance may be just out of reach, but the Knights are definitely a club on the rise and important foundations will be laid this season for future assaults on the championship.
In: Aaron Badahori (Fremantle Croatia), Anthony Campbell (Moat FC, England), Okwy Diamondstar (Persis Solo, Indonesia), Robert Pedri, David Price (Perth SC), Paul Price (coach), Seb Trim, Fraser Siddall (Wanneroo City)
Out: Jon Mathers (Canning City), Craig Thompson (Cockburn City), Rory Grant (Inglewood United), Cormac Dawson, Matt Allen (long-term injury), Keith Butler (Ireland), Ronnie Campbell (coach), Paul Cooke (retired), Kevin Miller (long-term injury), Mitch Brydon (Morley Windmills)
|Premier League table||Premier League table||Premier League table||Premier League table|
|Floreat Athena||Perth SC||1||Sorrento||Floreat Athena|
|Perth SC||Floreat Athena||2||Floreat Athena||Sorrento|
|Inglewood United||Sorrento||3||Perth SC||Inglewood United|
|Sorrento||Mandurah City||4||Inglewood United||Mandurah City|
|Stirling Lions||Western Knights||5||Western Knights||Perth SC|
|Western Knights||Inglewood United||6||Mandurah City||Western Knights|
|Mandurah City||Stirling Lions||7||Stirling Lions||Stirling Lions|
|Cockburn City||ECU Joondalup||8||Cockburn City||ECU Joondalup|
|Armadale||Swan United||9||ECU Joondalup||Canning City|
|Canning City||Cockburn City||10||Swan United||Cockburn City|
|Swan United||Canning City||11||Canning City||Armadale|
|ECU Joondalup||Armadale||12||Armadale||Swan United|
|Grand Final||Grand Final||Grand Final||Grand Final|
|Inglewood United v Perth SC||Floreat Athena v Perth SC||Perth SC v Sorrento||Perth SC v Floreat Athena|
|Perth SC||Perth SC||Sorrento||Perth SC|
|Cup Winners||Cup Winners||Cup Winners||Cup Winners|
|Floreat Athena||Sorrento||Perth SC||Inglewood United|
|Gold Medal winner||Gold Medal winner||Gold Medal winner||Gold Medal winner|
Promotion and relegation between the Premier League and First Division remains one-up, one-down as per last year. Bayswater City and South West Phoenix have been singled out as early favourites for promotion, however, lining up behind them and waiting to pounce are a host of other contenders. Indications suggest the battle to avoid the drop will be fiercely contested with Ashfield and Queens Park again in the mix, but a slow start could see any one of a number of clubs sucked into the relegation quagmire. This week Brett Klucznik takes an in-depth look at each of the twelve clubs, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each before the footballwa.net team make a few predictions as to how the 2009 First Division season will pan out …
Had it not been for Fremantle United’s last minute decision not to accept promotion ASHFIELD would be playing Sunday football in 2009. A heavy recruitment drive during the summer has swelled the clubs playing ranks, much as coach John Castrilli had planned. Jon Greenwood is a proven goal scorer at this level while the experience of Jason Van Rooy and Aaron Moschopolous will be crucial in how their season pans out. And the same can be said of Daniel Grosso, athletic midfielder Ibnen Charming and goalkeeper Matt Darling. What they lack in depth is more than made up for by a strong motivation to climb their way up away from the drop zone. If everyone is willing to pull together, run themselves into the ground and grind out results then Ashfield should be able to achieve their season objectives.
In: Simon Barber (Fremantle Spirit), Jon Greenwood (Dianella White Eagles), Gareth Healey (Morley Windmills), Mick McGrath (Morley Windmills), Gary McGregor (Morley Windmills), James McPhail (Dianella White Eagles), Sal Marrapodi (Bayswater City), Aaron Moschopolous (Dianella White Eagles), Alex Novatsis (long-term injury), Jason Van Rooy (Balcatta)
Out: Aaron Holloway (Morley Windmills), Bryan McDonald (Swan United), Christian Merry (Wanneroo City), Edin Abraham, Anthony Zinga, Mark Davis (retired), Chris Ferguson, Adam Hayton, Jamie Kumkar, Keith Power (Ireland)
Rival teams would be wise not to read too much into the disappointing Night Series of BALCATTA, who won just once in five pre-season outings. Injury and other absences have sidetracked their title aspirations in previous seasons but if they can pick up a few more points at home there is no reason why Salv Todoro’s side can’t propel themselves into the top half of the table. Kenny Ftynogiannis and Tom Gaca provide some very solid defensive foundations with the drive through midfield coming via Juliam Piromalli and exciting left-sided player Andy O’Neill, who returns from a spell at Swan United. Strongly built striker Bobby Klenkoski bagged eleven goals last season, a tally which would have been much greater if not for a lengthy suspension, and is bound to keep opposition sides on their toes once again. They aren’t quite the same class as Bayswater City and South West Phoenix but that is not going to stop Balcatta from pushing for a place not too far from the top.
In: Chris Beech (Bayswater City), Steve Cowbrough (Dianella White Eagles), Carlo Di Toro (long-term injury), Paul Dundo (Morley Windmills), Paul Huckett (United States of America), Andy O’Neill (Swan United), Luke O’Neill (long-term injury), Ashley Rosendale (Stirling Lions), Damien Todorovic (Bayswater City), Drazen Saric (long-term injury), Jimmy Taneski (Dianella White Eagles)
Out: Jason Van Rooy (Ashfield), Daniel Colletta (Perth SC), Matthew De Barro (Perth SC), Mark Humphires (Queens Park), Shane Mitchell, Julian Coletta (Swan United), Rob Hough, Alex Bili, Danny Causerano (retired), Edin Mehic, David Moschilla (retired), Igor Novakovic (Serbia), Adam Purcell, Mark Purcell (retired), Ogi Radonic (retired), Daniel Riccardello
With pre-season upheavals behind them, BAYSWATER CITY are now looking to get on with the job and win their way back into the top flight. Jamie Goodman has a very well balanced squad at his disposal, one blessed by an abundance of quality and experience, and very much capable to going all the way. What hampered them last season was an inability to collect maximum points at home brought on by a shortage of quality finishers. The arrival of Ryan Jeans and Damien Catalano appears to have rectified that problem, and with the likes of Paul Hickey, Anthony McStea, captain Jason Lawton and Gianni Papalia operating elsewhere on the park it ready is difficult to see them being bettered in 2009. Bayswater are determined to make amends for last yeas under-achievements by bringing silverware back to Frank Drago Reserve.
In: Damien Catalano (Swan IC), Michael Fillipou, Ian Griffiths (Inglewood United), Ryan Jeans, Anthony Jones (ECU Joondalup), Anthony McStea
Out: Sal Marrapodi (Ashfield), Chris Beech (Balcatta), Damien Todorovic (Balcatta), Costa Socratous (Swan United), Scott Patterson, Frankie Ternell, Daniel Cagorski (long-term injury), Scott Campbell (retired), Peter Koidis (retired), Adrian Sutton (retired), Phil Clarke (Morley Windmills)
Another club who’ve been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons is DIANELLA WHITE EAGLES. Glynn Shaw left at the end of last season, his replacement Paul Simmons lasted just a couple of months before a change of president lead to the installation of Petar Drca - and amid this uncertainly over a dozen players opted to move on. Club stalwarts Dragan Njegic and Goran Radinovich, veteran defender Riste Stefoski and young goalkeeper Matt Battigelli are among those who remain and a much depends on how quickly they gel with the club’s numerous newcomers, including attack-minded Wes Ryder and Stefan Smiljanic. A Jekyll and Hyde persona always makes it difficult to predict how Dianella’s season will turn out, but in 2009 it’s hard seeing them claiming a spot anywhere above mid-table.
In: Rodrigo Aguirre (Inglewood United), Kevin Carmona (ECU Joondalup), Nick Davies, Stefan Drca, Adam Galvin (Armadale), Peja Kalezic (Floreat Athena), Ognjen Kotur, Ozren Kotur, Dragan Milankovic (Fremantle Spirit), Christian Melo (long-term injury), Danijel Narancic, Predrag Narancic,
George Nelson (Stirling Lions), Sinisa Relic, Wes Ryder (Inglewood United), Justin Scarvaci (Morley Windmills), Stefan Smiljanic, Kris Spaseski (Stirling Lions)
Out: Jon Greenwood (Ashfield), James McPhail (Ashfield), Aaron Moschopolous (Ashfield), Steve Cowbrough (Balcatta), Jimmy Taneski (Balcatta), Sladjan Glavovic, Alan Crofts (Morley Windmills), Daniel Herman (Springvale White Eagles, Victoria), Daniel Herman (Springvale White Eagles, Victoria), James Bartlett, Gavin Oakes, Mark Terry, Mohamad Bangura, Mellad Sakhie, Mladin Gligoroski (retired)
FORRESTFIELD UNITED were on fire during the Night Series but there are still doubts whether they are capable of producing that same form consistently enough to climb out from the bottom half of the table. The tremendous potential Forrestfield have displayed for several years just hasn’t translated into on-going success and, while there’s no doubting the calibre of players at the club, it’s hard to believe this will be their year. In Brad Eiffe they have a quality goalkeeper and the addition of Craig Anderson brings further experience to the backline. Exciting teenager Kynon Melling and Scottish import Donald Sutherland pulls the strings across the centre of the park with young gun Jordan Hart leading the attack. While their youngsters have developed well over recent seasons under John Hunter, Forrestfield still lack depth and should brace themselves for a fifth successive low mid-table placing.
In: Jules Barrindillo (Morley Windmills), Craig Anderson (Armadale), Rydeen Botha (long-term injury), Darren Kingston (Armadale), Johan Svean (Norway), Donald Sutherland (Scotland), Luke Woodfin
Out: Jason O’Byrne (Cockburn City), Glen Noblett, Ryan Corp, Dean Dalby, Jason Kingdon, Nathan Watkins, Joel Zappacosta, Craig Ruthven (retired)
It’s highly unlikely FREMANTLE SPIRIT will be able to repeat the achievements of 2006 when they bounced straight back into the Premier League at the first attempt. This time around the port side have to contend with a rash of quality departures - Jason Barrera, Callum Roberts, Simon Elton-Bott and Llewelyn Bake in particular - which leaves them considerably less threatening to opposition sides. Dale Wingell makes a welcome return from long-term injury to partner Irish import Allan Carroll in midfield with support from Adrian McBride and David Araya. Tom Straker and Lee Hallum run the show in defence, but their biggest problem is at the other end of the park where the lack of a recognised finisher is going to be a major hindrance. Fremantle won’t struggle but they do not have what it takes to be one of the top four.
In: Alan Carroll (Ireland), Roberto Colalillo, Nuno Loretto, Dale Wingell (long-term injury)
Out: Ben Kelly (Armadale), Simon Barber (Ashfield), Luke Doyle (Canning City), Llewellyn Bake (Cockburn City), Dragan Milankovic (Dianella White Eagles), Jason Barrera (Floreat Athena), Simon Elton-Bott (Floreat Athena), Callum Roberts (Floreat Athena), Michael Draper, Chris Holland (Gosnells City), Matthew Leckenby (Rockingham City), Cameron McLean (Rockingham City), David Rodgers (South West Phoenix), Chris Holland, Cisco Jorquiera, Craig McLean, Vas Kalogeracos (long-term injury), Joe Moffat (England)
There has been little indication that 2009 holds anything different for GOSNELLS CITY to any other year in the past decade. With much the same list as last year, Gosnells first eleven is relatively strong but scratching the surface does reveal some issues with experience and depth. The success of their season hinges on how quickly Darren Francis and Scottish import Stuart Aitkens strike up their goal scoring partnership. New arrival Scott Devine adds much needed bite in midfield alongside captain Ian Maguire, while defensively they are underpinned by Aaron Nadin and Ciaran Allen. Although very difficult to beat on home soil, the eastern corridor club last season threw valuable points away when on the road and if that is not corrected then another season spent in middle third of the table is what they should expect.
In: Stuart Aitkens (Tower AFC, Scotland), Scott Devine (Armadale), Fraser Glennie (Queens Park), Chris Holland (Fremantle Spirit), Arthur Majewski (long-term injury)
The slow burn resurrection of MORLEY WINDMILLS continues to gather momentum. But while Tom Kilkelly has assembled a fine squad for the new season one gets the feeling they are still a little way from mounting a serious title challenge. There should be no difficulties in the goal scoring department where Mitch Brydon benefits from the creativity and non-stop efforts of Farrell Hedges, Joe Woodin and teenager Mitch Castrilli. However, they do have a few problems at the opposite end of the park where the contributions of Mark Walsh and Martin Sherwin will be a significant factor in how high they end this year. Morley showed glimpses of what they are capable of in pre-season but a lot will need to go in their favour in 2009 for them to be one of the leading pack.
In: Mitch Brydon (Western Knights), Phil Clarke (Bayswater City ), Alan Crofts (Dianella White Eagles), Stewart Delgardo, Aaron Holloway (Ashfield), Alan Nanini, Martin Sherwin, Steven Skilandis (long-term injury), Lee Thomas, Mark Walsh
Out: Jules Barrindillo (Forrestfield United), Gareth Healey (Ashfield), Mick McGrath (Ashfield), Gary McGregor (Ashfield), Paul Dundo (Balcatta), Justin Scarvaci (Dianella White Eagles), Chris Ramsey (Swan United), Chris McCullough
The prime candidates for stumping up the 2009 First Division table are QUEENS PARK. In the months since last season closed out the club has parted company with numerous key players and coach Mike Brazil. In his place comes Peter Johnston who used the pre-season to become familiar with those who reminded at the club and trial potential newcomers, all of which resulted in a squad largely unfamiliar to playing at this level. As Queens Park attempt to end several years of disappointment they’ll lean heavily on the leadership of Daniel Brown with big striker Mauro Capitani, speedy 17-year old Tyrone Woodfin and goalkeeper Brad Parfitt playing roles of equal importance. But nothing can change the fact Queens Park are light on for depth as well as experience which tends to indicate anything above last place should be considered good enough for those who call Coker Park home.
In: Simon Baah, Mauro Capitani, Laurence Flomo, Josh Gowland, Farah Handule, Asef Hashim, Mark Humphires (Balcatta), Travis Loveridge, Awes Mohamud, Bright Ofori, Nicholas Ofosu, Brad Parfitt, Josh Rebello, Abdirizaq Shaqlane (Wanderers FC, New Zealand)
Out: Robbie Easton (Armadale), Fraser Glennie (Gosnells City), Tom Cullen (Mandurah City), Leith Hinds (Mandurah City), Michael Jennings, Chris Platt, Danny Evans, Grant Learmont, Toby Omeniha, Lucas Whitehouse
There is little doubt that big improver will be ROCKINGHAM CITY. Fourth from bottom last year, the southern suburbs outfit kicked-off 2009 with a barnstorming Night Series campaign that has some questioning whether they can push on and win the championship. Paul O’Brien has put in the hard yards since being appointed coach in 2007 and for the new season has at his disposal a very talented group of players. A woeful defensive record last year resulted in the recruitment of Darren Lawler and Peter Kuzet, who’ll form an imposing wall in front of Craig Olenjik. Team captain Jon McCreery has an important role in midfield alongside Andy Keary and Adam McLeod, while the task of converting chances into goals falls to Craig McCreery. But the truth of the matter is Rockingham are still a few years away from reaching their potential and for 2009 an upper mid-table placing looks most likely.
In: Roy Hissey (long-term injury), Luca Ivancic, Peter Kuzet (Cockburn City), Darren Lawler(Perth SC), Matthew Leckenby (Fremantle Spirit), Cameron McLean (Fremantle Spirit)
Out: David Nairn (Armadale), Daniel Macklin (Mandurah City), Paul Johnson, Adrian Mulholland
It’s a pretty safe bet SOUTH WEST PHOENIX will be close to the top of the First Division table for the majority of the season. Formed in 2001, the club has come a long way in a very short time and last year chased eventual champions Canning City all the way only to slip up in the closing weeks of the season. Their greatest strength is undoubtedly in the final third where Steve Suttie, scorer of 143 goal in 190 games, re-kindles his partnership with dual First Division Leading Goalscorer David Rodgers. Patrick Quinn and James Bergin will be hard at work in the engine room for a team anchored by Greg Hayes, Andy Cowley and goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. Admittedly they do have to contend with the burden of travel, but Phoenix are a much stronger team today than this time last year and no one should be surprised to see them sitting on top of the pile come the end of September.
In: Danny Abiss, Graeme Copeman, Henry Enwere (Champions FC, Nigeria), Gareth Harker, Jamie Oakey, David Rodgers (Fremantle Spirit)
Out: Greg Murray, Gary Mayers (retired)
WANNEROO CITY has adapted well to life in the First Division following their demotion from the top flight at the end of 2007. The club’s strong emphasis in youth is already bearing fruit with the young Roos starting this year by making the Night Series semi-finals, complementing the third place gained last term. Patrolling the centre of the park are Guy MacDonald and Chris Pugh, whose steady supply will again result in a bagful of goal for Brian Cairney. Tom Orme and team captain Jay MacDonald play anchoring roles at the back with both key figures in Wanneroo’s ongoing development and success under Gerry McEwan. While they aren’t yet in a strong enough position to win this league, Wanneroo are very much a top-five club and could go higher with an improved home record.
In: Sam Cornwell, Robbie Cuthbert (Mandurah City), Ben Davis-Smith, Christian Merry (Ashfield), Glen Moore (Sorrento)
Out: Ben Yates, Simon Woodward (Sorrento), Fraser Siddall (Western Knights), David Herety, Cameron Lyon, Cesar Meylon
|First Divison table||First Divison table||First Divison table||First Divison table|
|FremantleSpirit||Bayswater City||1||Bayswater City||Bayswater City|
|South West Phoenix||Morley Windmills||2||South West Phoenix||Wanneroo City|
|Forrestfield United||South West Phoenix||3||Balcatta||South West Phoenix|
|Wanneroo City||Fremantle Spirit||4||Morley Windmills||Balcatta|
|Bayswater City||Wanneroo City||5||Forrestfield United||Fremantle Spirit|
|Dianella White Eagles||Dianella White Eagles||6||Wanneroo City||Morley Windmills|
|Rockingham City||Balcatta||7||Rockingham City||Rockingham City|
|Morley Windmills||Rockingham City||8||Fremantle Spirit||Gosnells City|
|Balcatta||Gosnells City||9||Dianella White Eagles||Dianella White Eagles|
|Gosnells City||Forrestfield United||10||Ashfield||Forrestfield United|
|Ashfield||Queens Park||11||Gosnells City||Ashfield|
|Queens Park||Ashfield||12||Queens Park||Queens Park|
The Amateur Premier League continues in its current format, with State League promotion once again offered to the champions. A number of clubs this season will have a good chance of taking out the title, while the fight will be on for the other clubs in the league to make the top eight and quality for the 2010 State Cup.
Reigning champions FREMANTLE UNITED will be favourites to go back to back this season after declining the offer of promotion. The club have had a very good pre-season with over seventy players turning out on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The majority of the winning squad from last season returns apart from midfielder Matty Woods and Winger Paul Neff. The team has been strengthened by former Cockburn City midfielder Daniel Palermo along with a handful of new players from the club's youth setup and also from abroad. The large number of players has also bolstered the Reserves side by providing much needed depth and experience. Come September, the trophy should once again be with the black and whites.
KINGSWAY OLYMPIC look set to fight tooth and nail with Fremantle United for the title. Promotion is Olympic's number one aim, and this has been shown with the number of new recruits that coach Steven Dimitrovich has signed. Into the squad comes Jamie Kuzmanovich (Stirling Lions), Danny Dimitrovic (Arena Joondalup United), Danie Lemos (Maccathur Rams), Andy Thomas (Holeywell Town/Wanneroo City), Danny Taylor (Sorrento), Jess Higgins (Hamersley Rovers), David Ashworth (Sorrento), Ben Conneally (Wembley Downs), Luke Armstrong (Years absence), Ian White (Morley-Windmills) and Joe Armitage (Away on travel). Out goes Kieth Roche (Reitrement), Alan Nanini (Morley-Windmills), Lee McGuinness (Arena Joondalup United), Niel Horgan (UK) and Scott Klimcke (Work). Expect a top two finish by the green machine this season.
Victoria Park based SHAMROCK ROVERS had a poor year by their standards last season. The 2008 champions will be hoping for better things this year, with new coach Glynn Shaw bringing some players from Dianella White Eagles across with him. Rovers have lost a number of faces over the summer, however a large amount of players have joined the club from Ireland, and will no doubt raise the standard in 2009. The hoops will make the top three, but it would not surprise if they go all the way.
UNIVERSITY OF WA have seen the departure of a number of players this year including last season's top scorers Marc Sim (Triathlon) and Chris Stone (return to UK), while Dean Sinno's involvement will be limited as he is now working in the mines and defender Paddy Coughlin is currently back in the UK and unlikely to feature this season. Despite the departures the club remains optimistic about the season ahead following an influx of new players, which include Diego Garcia (Clube Athletico Taboao da Serra), Gerard Murphy (Ballyphehane Celtic), David Bason (University of Manchester), Philip Page (Havant), Tristan Scott (Stirling Lions), Connor Fisher (SWP) and Themo Georgiou (Floreat Athena). Coach Andy Dickinson will be expecting a good season by his squad, and promotion to the Saturday competition after a 12 year absence is a possibility.
Northern suburbs outfit ARENA JOONDALUP UNITED will be another contender for the title in 2009 after an active recruitment drive over the summer. A number of players have joined from the successful Hamersley Rovers team of last season, including Ian Bunton, Paul Bunton, Danny Smith, Liam Moorhouse and Aiden Cusack. Joondalup should make the top five this year.
MURDOCH UNIVERSITY have approached the 2009 season with a change of coaching staff and an emphasis on injecting youth into the squad. Ian Potter takes the helm as first team coach with Flavio L'Abbate, resisting the desire to play on despite a hat-trick in the final game of last season, assisting him. Dave Kindness has been appointed reserve team coach. The club have lost the playing services of Stewart Delgarno to State League team Morley-Windmills, Rowen Cross to the Cayman Islands and Flavio L'Abbate to retirement. As compensation, Murdoch have recruited the youthful playing services of Jamie Nugent and John Brennan (South Wales,) Ryan Birbeck (England), Steve Stuart (Scotland,) Vedran Kitic (Western Borders), Elliott Klass (Melville City), Sasa Slavujevic (Cockburn City), Andrew Larkins (Western Knights) and Daniele D'Ulisse (Fremantle United). Murdoch finished third last season, and if the new squad is able to gel, could reach those heights again.
Following a successful off-season merger between Subiaco United and their junior arm that was Subiaco City, SUBIACO AFC are back in the Amateur Premier League at the first time of asking. Coach Ian Munro is focused largely on consolidation, with essentially the same squad of players that were desperately unfortunate to be relegated fifth-from-bottom in the year of re-structure that was 2007 under the stewardship of John Thornley. With the merger now in place, expect the average age of Subiaco to drop dramatically on occasions. Into the squad comes Keith Bradford, Matt Sweeney, Sheldon plus a number of juniors. Out goes Harry Johnson (retired). A mid-table finish beckons for the maroons.
2008 was a mixed season for LYNWOOD UNITED in terms of performance and results. During the off-season the committees of Lynwood Colts and Lynwood Junior Soccer Club tirelessly worked together and merged the two clubs into one. With new ideas, funds and players, 2009 is looking as being a turnaround season for Lynwood United. Returning coach Damien Pugh brought his players back early to work on fitness. He is looking for the team to continue playing their hard and competitive style of football and proving to the league that this is a team that can go places in season 2009 and improve on last season's disappointed 10th place. Lynwood wont win the title, but should have no relegation worries this time around.
This season will be a rebuilding year for SPEARWOOD DALMATINAC, with the introduction of several youth players being brought into the reserves and first team. With an ageing side and average age of 30 to 31, Dallies will struggle to compete for honours, and will be lucky to make the top half. The loss of first team influential players, Nuno Lorente and Johnny Ferreira has left a huge void to fill, and with the loss also of Jason Faria and Sebastian Kresling, this will mean several first team fringe players will have to make the step up and prove themselves. Ex-national defence force goalkeeper Jamie Ridley and team mate Scot Harding has joined the club, and the return of Darren Pesich from a year off with injury will boost the Dalmatinac midfield. Damien Pescud has rejoined Dallies after a season playing Australian rules and will provide much needed goals and Steven forzatti has also returned to the side coming out of retirement. Dalmatinac should be good enough to stay up.
SOUTHERN SPIRIT had a poor season last year, and a top eight place will be their aim in 2009. A relegation struggle might be on the cards though.
HAMERSLEY ROVERS will have to work hard this year if they are going to avoid relegation for the first time in two decades. The club have lost a host of players, including Michael Lawson, Joe Stocker, Ciaren Hughes who have joined Sorrento. Ian Bunton, Paul Bunton, Danny Smith, Liam Moorhouse, Aiden Cusack have left to play for Arena Joondalup United, while Stuart Brett is having a year off and Matty Baker has retired. A number of new players look set to join the club. They are Daniel Scudder (UK), Nick Spalone (Canada), Dave Coster (year off), Shaun O'Connor (UK), Ruban Mangjang (Sudan), Htin Aye (Chindits), Mark Lipari (Wanneroo City Amateurs), Alex Dudek (Stirling Lions) and Will Cruz. Anything but relegation should be good enough for new coach Alex Vagliviello.
Newly promoted STIRLING PANTHERS will have to be at their best if they want to avoid going straight back down. The majority of the promotion winning squad has remained, and they have added former Fremantle Spirit and ex-state defender Craig Surtees out of retirement, Shane Mitchell from Balcatta, Hussein Awada from Golden Lily, while Chris Weaver has joined from Arena Joondalup United. Out goes Nuno de Pinho (Study) and Laz Ladislav (Overseas). Moving into a tough league will make life hard for the Panthers in 2009.
Final Table Prediction 1 Fremantle United 2 Kingsway Olympic 3 Shamrock Rovers 4 University of WA 5 Arena Joondalup United 6 Murdoch University 7 Subiaco AFC 8 Lynwood United 9 Spearwood Dalmatinac 10 Southern Spirit 11 Hamersley Rovers 12 Stirling Panthers
The 2009 First Division is set for another exciting year. NORTH LAKE only just missed out on promotion last season, and this year will be the favourites to not only go up, but to win the championship. Close behind should be newly promoted FREMANTLE CROATIA, who dominated the Second Division in 2008.
After top four finishes in each of the past two First Division seasons there is no doubt GWELUP CROATIA will want promotion to the Premier League in 2009. New first-team coach Andrija Zuvela brings State League experience to the club as part of the coaching staff that helped guide Western Knights' reserves side to Soccer Pools Cup glory last season. Zuvela has a wealth of talent at his disposal with most of last season's playing stocks staying on and some exciting new additions arriving at Wishart Street. Promising teenagers Andrej Balic and Marco Correia should add some pace to the midfield with Michael Kirou, Andelko Drlja and Ivica Kalic strengthening the backline, the latter returning to the club after a season with rivals Fremantle Croatia. Of those who remain from last season expect plenty of goals from Ivica Njirich and Vlade Jelas with youngsters Maks Luburic and Adam Segon challenging for first team striking positions. Last season's Fairest and Best player Elvis Skundric will pull the strings in the middle of the park with assistance from the hard working Sveto Njirich. Young guns Romano Franulic and Joseph Brommel will provide strength and excitement through the midfield. In goals is the young but impressive Mirko Grgurinovic who will make the first team goalkeeping position his own in 2009. In front of him the rock solid Marko Markovic will spearhead the defence and is well supported by the talented Sime Lozic, as well as the experienced duo of Nihad Dzelilovic and Laurie Bezic. Perennial leading goal scorer Nicky Kalic will be a huge loss for Gwelup in 2009 as will the long serving Alan McSevich who has returned to former club North Lake. Into the squad comes Andrej Balic (Inglewood United), Musamba Chalwe (Belmont Villa), Marco Correia (Ajax Cape Town, South Africa), Ivan Deak (free agent), Ivica Kalic (Fremantle Croatia), Michael Kirou (Bayswater City), Mark Tambuli (Belmont Villa), Adam Turnbull (free agent) and Andrija Zuvela (Western Knights). Out goes John Bezich, Nikola Kalic, Sebastian Tomic (all retired), Istvan Barna (Hungary), Danijel Markovic (Cockburn City), Alan McSevich (North Lake), Alberto Medrano (Hamersley Rovers), Mate Peric (work overseas), Tobias Prosinecki (Sweden) and. Omid Salimi. With plenty of depth Gwelup should counter any injury worries and pick up enough points to challenge for the top four again in 2009.
KINGSLEY have been a consistent performer in the First Division over a number of years, and will once again be up there come the end of the season. BELMONT VILLA signed several new players and retained most of last years squad and look in a stronger position than last season. New signings at the club includes players from Saturday level and the Amatuer Premier League as well as some handy players picked up during the annual summer competition. With serious training commencing in early January, new coach Fred Boulding has rejoined the club after a spell in the semi-professional competition and will want a rise up the league table for Villa this season. Pre-season results included big wins over Bassendean Caledonian 15-2, Arena Joondaup United 5-2 and Perth Royals 8-1.
Bill Bryne will expect big things from his newly promoted BALLAJURA side in 2009. The club has retained the majority of first team players from last season, and have added Aidan O'Donnell (ex Shamrock Rovers and Lynwood Colts) and Paul Friel (ex pro from Bangor City in the UK). Bryne has also signed 4 Brazilians plus quality defender Joe Austin and goalkeeper Adam Dassie. Two big losses will be Ray Rose, who is out for the season with a serious injury, but will remain as assistant coach, plus Leo Perrotta , who is also out due to injury. Expect a top 5 finish for the boys from Ballajura.
Last season WA MACCABI were relegated from the Premier League, and will hope for a much better season this year. Former Kingsway Olympic coach Bobbie Trajkovski has taken up the new role, and will also be the team's goal keeper. Strikers Shaune Same and Daviod Siano have the quality to score the goals in 2009, and with players such as Hadley Missell, David Atkins and Jared Dimbleby, the Yokine based club should finish no lower than mid-table.
SOUTH PERTH UNITED and NORTH BEACH have the quality to finish in the top half of the table, however good starts will be needed by both clubs in such a tight league to achieve this. CN CANNING INTERNATIONAL and SUBURBS UNITED will battle it out for the drop, while it looks all gloom and doom for BB UNITED, who are only in the First Division in 2009 due to Perth Azzurri's demise.
Final Table Prediction 1 North Lake 2 Fremantle Croatia 3 Gwelup Croatia 4 Kingsley 5 Belmont Villa 6 Ballajura 7 WA Maccabi 8 South Perth United 9 North Beach 10 CN Canning International 11 Suburbs United 12 BB United
The FLOREAT ATHENA AMATEURS have the quality to go all the way this season, and deserve to be favourites to win the title. However they will be looking over their shoulders as a number of clubs will give them a good run for their money.
Compared to 2008, BALGA, will be a much a different side this season. Heathridge coach Joe Sweeney has taken over the reigns at the black and greens, with up to 25 former Heathridge players following him to Princcess Road. With the new additions, plus with the core playing group already established, Balga will be one of the favourites for promotion, and have a good chance of being champions come September. The club has also recently started making further investments in the infrastructure to match the ambition of the players. Confidence is high at moment as players try to stake their places in the first team. All bodes well for a great year in 2009 for Balga.
WHITFORD CITY and NORTH PERTH UNITED will battle it out with Floreat Athena and Balga for this year's promotion race, while expect a better season by KINGSWAY OLYMPIC, who have a much different side compared to 2008.
CURTIN UNIVERSITY and HEATHRIDGE should both finish around mid-table. Heathridge have lost most of their squad to Balga, however rebuilding has already started with new coach Mark Cox, and he has signed many new players.
FREMANTLE COLO COLO, KWINANA UNITED, GOLDEN LILY and INTERNATIONAL CALCIO will be hoping to avoid the dreaded drop, while the MORLEY-WINDMILLS AMATEURS will more than likely face successive relegations unless their new squad of players can gel together quickly under new coach Chris Jeffrey.
Final Table Prediction 1 Floreat Athena Amateurs 2 Balga 3 Whitford City 4 North Perth United 5 Kingsway Olympic "B" 6 Curtin University 7 Heathridge 8 Fremantle Colo Colo 9 Kwinana United 10 Golden Lily 11 International Calcio 12 Morley-Windmills Amateurs
Final Table Prediction 1 Beldon Thistle 2 Maddington Eagles 3 Wanneroo City Amateurs 4 Perth Royals 5 Kelmscott Roos 6 Armadale Amateurs 7 Forrestfield United Amateurs 8 Subiaco AFC "B" 9 Rockingham City Amateurs 10 Kalamunda United 11 Port Kennedy 12 Gosnells City Amateurs
Final Table Prediction 1 Bassendean Caledonian 2 Carramar Cougars 3 Leeming Strikers 4 University of WA "B" 5 Subiaco AFC "C" 6 Melville City 7 Wembley Downs 8 Kingsway Olympic "C" 9 Nedlands 10 Stirling Lions
Final Table Prediction 1 Quinns FC 2 Perth Hills United 3 Canning City Amateurs 4 Wembley Downs 5 Morley City 6 Fraser Park 7 Swan United Amateurs 8 Bayswater City Amateurs 9 Kingsway Olympic "D" 10 South Perth United "B"
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This page was last updated on the 9th April, 2009