We are under way again for another year with all clubs having a big pre season behind them. The Hudson cup is won and gone and also the N/W games are over.
Let the real games start.
There are a few early favourites out there and they will be looking to flex their guns early.
The Northern Rangers NPL side is looking really strong along with Burnie and Devonport. Also chuck in last year’s winners Somerset and you might well have the top four.
Somerset V Prospect 2:30 pm Shark Park.
|Prospect will look to youth in 2014.|
Somerset host their first home game for the year and will be looking to get off to a great start and sending a message the rest of the field.
The Sharks have lost 4 senior players from last year but have regrouped and recruited well, Picking up Keegan Wells, Garry Hamilton and Tom Luckman. Coach Jeremy Debomford said that his team was starting to get back together as cricket and injures have plagued their pre season.
Elliot Stewart comes straight back in and also James Nettleton who will add size and experience to the team.
Somerset will still be without coach Jeremy DeBomford, Garry Hamilton (work) and Kirien Whitehouse injured.
The Sharks are hoping to iron a few things out tonight and will be looking for the win Saturday.
Prospect Knights have been hit hard this year after losing 8 senior players off their list from last year. With Ray Heald in charge I’m sure that the Knight s will still be very competitive and had this to say "We Lost 8 senior players from last year three to victory league, Mitchell Dent (Rangers) Andy Compagne (City) Toby Omenihu (City) one (player is) interstate for work, two out still injured in Trent Mitchell and Mitch Duffy and Andy Robinson still focusing on his Running”
“Club has filled most senior spots this year with under eighteen players and a mixture of young reserves players.”
“We have two International students from Asia that will play seniors unfortunately not available this week, along with four reserves players, not available, which will stretch the reserves group for numbers this week.”
“Under eighteens are looking much more advanced this year than last, some quality players with potential in this group, Greg Duffy coaching again the club is expecting a much better showing from the lads this season, again unfortunately a couple missing this week.”
“Not to forget the ladies which as always have good numbers a new coach and are expected to improve on last year’s finish”
Ulverstone V Devonport 2:30pm Ulverstone Show Grounds
|Dallas Baldock is among the next crop of players to leave|
Ulverstone for the Victory League.
The Reds will be out to get redemption after being beat by the Strikers V League side last week 6-0. As I have had no contact from either side I am not sure where both clubs are at but I’m sure it will be a very physical typical derby.
Ulverstone have had a worrying start to the year, but have sides on the park and were competitive in patches last week. Devonport will need to find their next crop of young players quickly, with Mann, Stone and Gorrie all out of the Victory League, players from underneath will need to step up. A match worth paying the entry fee.
Riverside V Burnie United 2:30pm
Riverside will host Burnie this week, and with the West Tamar club turning on their new lights this week, one can expect a refreshed team this year, with full training under match facility lights available to them, a higher level of engagement can be expected.
Mathew Youd has returned to play, one of the most exciting young players a couple of years back, took some time off to focus on Uni, and Riverside look to have some fantastic young talent coming through.
Burnie have had some players return, and competition for spots has been built, which always brings results, expect a frequent return to the winners list for both of these clubs, though Riverside might be too strong at home.
Launceston City V Northern Rangers 3:30pm
|DeGetto and Headland will be key|
young players in Saturdays NPL
It derby day with both sides playing each other in four grades this weekend.
Neither side will want to lose any of the fixtures on the day, and early season form is important to building a top four finish.
City can only be stronger this year across the board, with many inclusions into their top tier, their Hudson Cup form was average, but showed glimpses of promise.
Rangers will be without Yitay Towns who was injured during the week, and Ash Fisher who is interstate, but should still bring a strong side.
Northern Premier League Coach Brendan Lichtendonk said before this weeks game “Its great to get the season underway in a gala day with our rivals Launceston City, and it would set the tone for the season ahead to get off to a win, with a real tough game the following week against Somerset.”
“We have our sights in winning the NPL, and everyone would back themselves at round one, but I do think we have enough quality to realistically aim at the top two, it will be a tight season with Burnie on the improve, and all Launceston clubs showed good signs in the Hudson Cup, so we expect 16 tough games to come.”
“As a club we have had some great results against City so far, but they are always really tough battles in the League Season, City have some very strong young players, who are technically sound, Lino plays a physical brand of football and seems to get the best out of the players he has, so we won’t be expecting anything but a tough and physical hit out.”
The club is at near full strength this week, I think only one player out of our entire Victory League 20 is not available, and everyone in the NPL make up knows that competition for spots is fierce, that is evident with Isa Dumbuya starting on the bench with John Wani and Mohammad Alkhazraj, all of these guys, 4 weeks ago I would have thought would be starting for me for certain.
We have Josh Burk all year this year, as study commitments have prevented him from putting his hand up for Victory League and he will be pivotal in our defence this year, he must have put on 10 kgs of pure muscle in the off season and doesn't mind a tackle.
We are also looking forward to seeing what our next crop of state league players can offer, with Chris Collins, Dylan Headland and Daniel Sparrshot all looking to lock themselves in at this level, and I wouldn't be surprised if they get the call up to the Victory League during the year.
Yitay Towns and Dylan Headland were just sublime last week in the U20s State Cup game, but Yit damaged his ankle during the week and will be out for some time which is a real shame for him and the club.”
Feel free to post your tips, and good luck to all this week.