SA NPL off to a flying start

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The 2014 South Australian National Premier Leagues season has begun in a fast, furious and fascinating manner. The season has exploded into life with passionate local derbies and plenty of tense, hard fought football in the opening two rounds.

Defending champions Campbelltown City have begun their title defence in a stuttering manner, tasting victory and defeat in the opening two rounds. Last year’s Premiers, Metrostars, have also started the campaign in a consistent but unfruitful manner by drawing their opening two games.

The two new sides South Adelaide Panthers and West Adelaide have enjoyed differing results in the opening rounds, with West sitting in third place and undefeated after picking up four points from their two matches. The Panthers meanwhile have only secured the solitary point but they were dealt two very tough opening fixtures.

Adelaide Comets survived relegation last season by finishing five points above the bottom two, and their early season form suggests that they could be in the mix again. Back-to-back 3-0 defeats leaves them last on goal difference, and does not provide much hope for their fans. Significant improvement is needed if they are to stay in the top flight of South Australian football.

Croydon Kings finished only one place above Comets last season but have begun the new campaign in great form. Cruising past Comets in their opening match, they then bested Para Hills Knights 1-0. Yet to concede a goal and the only side with a 100% record, the Kings appear to be the team to beat at this early stage.

Cumberland United and Adelaide City have also made good starts, sitting alongside West Adelaide on four points and only goal difference separating the three clubs.

Rivals White City and Adelaide Raiders shared the points in their round two clash, as they did in their respective opening games. Both sides will be disappointed not to have posted their first wins yet, but can take solace from decent performances so far, as well as no defeats.

The race for the golden boot will be hotly contested as ever and no player has yet stood out, with no less than six players all sharing the lead with two strikes each. These players are listed below.



Matches played

Goals scored

Alemayo Kedebe

Western Strikers



Andreas Weins

Croydon Kings



Calvin Mbarga

Adelaide Blue Eagles



Michael Matricciani

Campbelltown City



Nicholas Bucco

Adelaide City



Ricardo Da Silva

West Adelaide



Despite Western Strikers slow start with two defeats, new signing Alemayo Kedebe has been in goal scoring form, finding the back of the net in both of their opening matches. The former Kings and Raiders player has hit the ground running at his new club and will be integral to their hopes this season.

The establishment of the FFA Cup has given the NPL a boost nation-wide as clubs are poised to receive more exposure from the competition.  New fans will be attracted to local football and supporters of traditional clubs now have the hope of securing glamour ties against A-League sides in meaningful competition.

The FFA Cup will take the A-League sides back to the communities and to many grounds that are significant in our football history. The new competition, along with the presence of the NPL finals series, gives state football a higher profile than it has enjoyed for some time. Community clubs are now covered and acknowledged on a national basis and this will only help the game in the long term.

Looking ahead to round three of the SA NPL, and Croydon will look to continue their strong start away to Western Strikers; while Comets face a tough trip to Para Hills as they look to post their first points and kick start their season.

Current second place side Adelaide City host last season’s runners up Adelaide Blue Eagles in a tasty encounter; while Raiders are at home to fourth-placed Cumberland United.

The full fixtures for round three, as well as the competition ladder* are listed below.

Adelaide City vs Adelaide Blue Eagles- 7.30pm, Friday 7 March, Adelaide City Park

Metrostars vs West Torrens Birkalla- 7.30pm, Friday 7 March, TK Shutter Reserve

Adelaide Raiders vs Cumberland United- 3.00pm, Saturday 8 March, Croatian Sports Centre

Campbelltown City vs White City- 3.00pm, Saturday 8 March, Steve Woodcock Sports Centre

Para Hills Knights vs Adelaide Comets- 3.00pm, Saturday 8 March, The Paddocks

West Adelaide vs South Adelaide Panthers- 7.00pm, Saturday 8 March, Adelaide Shores Football Centre

Western Strikers vs Croydon Kings- 7.00pm, Saturday 8 March, Carnegie Reserve

2014 South Australian National Premier League competition ladder

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Points
1 Croydon Kings 2 2 0 0 4 0 4 6
2 Adelaide City 2 1 1 0 4 1 3 4
3 West Adelaide 2 1 1 0 3 2 1 4
4 Cumberland United 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 4
5 Adelaide Blue Eagles 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
6 Campbelltown City 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
7 West Torrens Birkalla 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
8 Para Hills Knights 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 3
9 White City 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
10 Adelaide Raiders 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
11 Metrostars 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
12 South Adelaide Panthers 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1 1
13 Western Strikers 2 0 0 2 2 4 -2 0
14 Adelaide Comets 2 0 0 2 0 6 -6 0

*Ladder correct as of 03/03/2014

Andrew Cussen

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