Brisbane Strikers have claimed their first piece of silverware in the NPL Queensland era by winning the 2016 Premiership.
Coupled with second placed FNQ Heat drawing 1-1 against last seasons double winners Moreton Bay, Strikers 6-1 thumping of Northern Fury in Townsville was enough to secure the silverware.
The Premiership win for the Strikers doesn’t just put make them the to seed for the upcoming finals series, it also catapults them onto the national stage to participate in the NPL national finals series next month.
Joining Brisbane Strikers in the National Finals include Sydney United 58, Edgeworth FC and Adelaide City while teams from the Victorian, Tasmanian, ACT and Western Australian leagues are still fighting it out to qualify for the 8 team tournament.
With a spot in the 2017 FFA Cup Round of 32 up for grabs for the winner there will be plenty to play for, for the eight sides who end up in the finals series.
Back in the NPL Queensland the states Finals Series is beginning to take shape with Strikers set to host one of the two Semi-Finals and potentially the Grand Final should they progress.
The second Semi-Final is likely to be held in Cairns by FNQ Heat, although should Gold Coast City defeat the Young Roar this afternoon they would close to within two points of the Heat with one round remaining. Either way those two sides look destined for a meeting in week one of the Finals.
The fourth and final spot in the finals series is going to go right down to the wire with three teams still in the running for a spot. Last nights enthralling 2-2 draw at Spencer Park between Brisbane City and Redlands United keeps City in the pole position ahead of the final round.
Depending on their result this evening against Sunshine Coast, Olympic FC could also join the duo on 34 points entering the final round of the season. That Olympic are even in contention is a surprise in itself after their sluggish start but strong form in the second half of the season has them in contention for a 4th straight finals series appearance.
Elsewhere in round 21 of NPL Queensland action there was a home win for Western Pride, who picked up a 3-0 win over SWQ Thunder at Briggs Road.
Round 21 Results
Moreton Bay United 1-1 FNQ Heat
Brisbane City 2-2 Redlands United
Western Pride 3-0 SWQ Thunder
Northern Fury 1-6 Brisbane Strikers
Still to play
Gold Coast City- Young Roar
Olympic FC – Sunshine Coast FC
Looking ahead to round 22 action and the game of the round is on Saturday night at Perry Park with the newly minted Premiers Brisbane Strikers set to take on a Brisbane City side who will need a result to secure a spot in the finals series.
Elsewhere Redlands United will have the opportunity to put pressure on both City and Olympic with a Friday night fixture against lowly Young Roar, while Olympic will have to sit back and wait to see the results from the earlier games before they kick off the final game of the regular season on Sunday evening against Western Pride.
Goal difference could prove to be decisive in the race for 4th and on that score it’s a clear advantage to Brisbane City whose +7 differential is vastly superior to both Redlands United +2 and Olympic FC -2 although Olympic do have a game in hand. That however puts the onus on Redlands and Olympic to pile on the goals in their remaining fixtures to have a chance at qualifying.
Round 22 Fixtures
Redlands United v Young Roar. 7.00pm Cleveland Showgrounds.
Sunshine Coast FC v Gold Coast City. 2.00pm Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Brisbane Strikers v Brisbane City. 6.00pm Perry Park.
Moreton Bay United v Northern Fury. 6.00pm Wolter Park
FNQ Heat v SWQ Thunder. 6.30pm Barlow Park.
Olympic FC v Western Pride. 6.00pm Goodwin Park.