#1. Eagles fly high over Magic in Grand Final Rematch
It was an almighty start for the Edgeworth Eagles as they defeated last year’s Champions Broadmeadow Magic 6-1 in a National Premier Leagues (NPL) NNSW Grand Final rematch at Magic Park.
That mammoth score-line is a talking point in of itself, and although Ruben Zadkovich and his Magic side won’t be too fazed as they know they have the quality in the team to bounce back quickly, the result does show that the Eagles definitely mean business once again and will be extremely hard to beat.
As we know, Edgeworth’s defence is their strength, but after scoring six against one of the title contenders of the competition, players like Josh Cairelli, Will Bower and Oliver Smith (who scored the fastest hat-trick in NPL NNSW history on the weekend) may be their key players in 2019.
#2. New Lambton conquer the Champions
Having only spent one full season in the Herald Women’s Premier League (WPL), New Lambton have already stamped their claim as a premiership contender after defeating last year’s champions, and probably 1st place favourites heading into the new season, 4-2 on Sunday.
Newcastle Jets Westfield W-League star Tara Andrews proved to be the difference with her two goals, and if she can continue that form into the season, she may not only go back-to-back as Player of the Year, she might also help her side achieve a historic title.
If you’re a Merewether fan though, there’s no need to panic as the side still showed lots of evidence that they’re still one of the teams to beat this year. They will need to tighten up their back-line and defence though for when they come up against some of the top sides.
#3. Cooks Hill still atop of the mountain
The NEWFM Northern League One season kicked off with what was expected to be a close encounter between defending premiers Cooks Hill United and last year’s 2nd place Thornton. The Cookers, however, made short work of the Redbacks winning 4-0, and proving that they haven’t dropped off at all from their dominating season last year.
What makes matters even scarier for opposing teams is that they were without their new star signing Marty Raines and didn’t have Graham Law on the bench who was serving a suspension.
Make no mistake, Cooks Hill are the team to beat this year and may even begin making a case for an undefeated, ‘Invincibles’-type season.
#4. Warners Bay not lost a step
During the Herald WPL off-season, there were talks that with a change-over in coach and after losing a few of their key players that Warners Bay may not be able to reach the same heights of recent years, however after putting on a 9-1 demolition over Adamstown Rosebud on Sunday, that rumour should be dead in the water.
Jenna Kingsley, Nadja Squires and Tara Pender all picked up hat-tricks proving that they have the ability to score goals all over the park.
Although the Panthers took on an extremely young Adamstown who likely going through a transitional year, those expecting Warners Bay to not challenge for the top spot this year will be cruelly mistaken.
#5. Jets Youth a possible contender
There were plenty of shocks and surprises from the first round of the NPL NNSW season, but one of the most interesting, and exciting ones, was that of the Newcastle Jets Youth who stunned Charlestown with a solid 3-1 performance in the opening match.
After retaining most of the core group from last year, and also spending a whole year together (including the 2018 NPL NNSW season and the National Y-League), the side looks to have improved a great deal right across the park.
Angus Thurgate, Maki Petratos and Noah James all had superb showings in the Thursday night match, as did captain Keiran Hayes and midfielder Pat Langlois and if those guys can continue to perform well individually and as a unit, they may trouble the top teams.