After a long off-season the 2016 NPL Queensland season gets underway this weekend, with some tasty fixtures to kick things off including the Brisbane derby and the Champions trip to the new looked City.
2016 NPL Queensland Mens- Round 1 fixtures
Gold Coast City vs. Redlands United.
5.00pm- Mallawa Complex.
A tasty fixture to kick-start the new season with the newly rebranded Gold Coast City making their NPL debut at home to Redlands. City, who won the competition in 2014 as Palm Beach Sharks, are desperate to return to the finals, while Redlands second half surge last season saw them win nine straight games before losing in the finals to the Strikers.
Brisbane Roar vs. Brisbane Strikers
6.00pm- Perry Park.
Two games are set to kick-off at 6.00pm, with the Brisbane derby between Roar and Strikers arguably the pick of the opening round. The Young Roar have spent the last six weeks training since the end of their NYL commitments, while the Strikers have been active in their pre-season campaign, making it to the final of the BLK Silverboot before losing to Lions. Strikers claimed bragging rights in 2015 with two wins from two, including a 5-1 romp in round 4 so the new looked Young Roar side will be desperate to atone.
South West Queensland Thunder vs. Northern Fury
6.00pm- Clive Berghoffer Stadium
The second of the Saturday 6.00pm kick-offs features two sides who will be looking for improved fortunes in 2016 in the shape of SWQ Thunder and Northern Fury. Thunder have recruited well in the off-season and will no doubt be looking at this clash as a fantastic opportunity to break their duck and win their first game in the NPL. Fury for their part will be looking to improve on an inconsistent pre-season, and have the weight of history on their side as they banked two wins from two against the Thunder last season including a 3-1 win in Toowoomba.
Brisbane City vs. Moreton Bay United
6.30pm- Spencer Park.
If the local derby down the road at Perry Park isn’t the pick of the round, this match is, with the defending champion Moreton Bay making the trip to Newmarket to take on the revamped Brisbane City. Both of these sides have undergone extensive changes in the off-season, but with both sides expected to be there fighting for honours come seasons end, there’s a sense of anticipation around this clash on Saturday evening. Moreton Bay picked up maximum points last season in the clashes between the two, but with City a totally different proposition these days you can discount that.
Western Pride vs. Sunshine Coast
7.00pm- Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Rounding out the Saturday fixtures is the clash between Western Pride and Sunshine Coast, a clash which figures to be a keenly contested one. It’s been a turbulent week up on the Coast, with Sam Saif coming in as manager on Monday, and the playing group will be out to show the new boss what they’re capable of. Pride meanwhile will be looking to capitalise on the uncertainty and long trip south for the visitors. Both of these sides will be looking for a positive start to the season, with Pride winning the corresponding fixture last season 3-0.
Olympic vs. Far North Queensland Heat
3.00pm- Goodwin Park.
Rounding out the opening weekend of fixtures is an intriguing clash at Goodwin Park where Olympic will host the Heat. Olympic enter the season with question marks over their squad in the face of a quiet off-season and a 6-0 loss to Gold Coast just last weekend. FNQ for their part will view this as a good chance to make a fast start to the new season, with the boys from the far north seeking a return to the finals. Both sides picked up wins on the road in this fixture last season, so the Heat will no doubt be looking to keep that run going.
2016 NPL Queensland Womens- Round 1 fixtures
The 2016 women’s season was plunged into uncertainty with the news yesterday that Moreton Bay United had withdrawn their side from the competition, citing difficulties in fielding a competitive side. The late withdrawal drops the competition from 12 teams down to 11, creating a bye week for the other clubs.
On the field all teams will be trying to catch last seasons Champions from The Gap, who face a trip to St. Lucia against the University of Queensland on Sunday in what shapes as the match of the round.Elsewhere in round one there’s home games for Easts, Peninsula, Western Pride and Olympic, while the new looked Souths United will be forced to wait a week for their season debut following the withdrawal of Moreton Bay.
Eastern Suburbs vs. South West Queensland Thunder
5.00pm- Heath Park.
Peninsula Power vs. Sunshine Coast
7.00pm- A.J Kelly Park
Western Pride vs. Redlands United
3.00pm- Briggs Road Sporting Complex
University of Queensland vs. The Gap
4.00pm- University of Qld Field 7
Olympic FC vs. Gold Coast City
5.00pm- Goodwin Park.
Bye- Souths United.