Eagles soar into 2016

TOP OF THE TREE: Edgeworth Eagles celebrate their grand final-clinching goal against Hamilton Olympic last year. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Nanjing Night Net

FOR the first time in the NorthernNSW NPL’s short history, finishing last will not necessarily equal relegation, but that has not stopped clubs going all out to stay well away from the cellar inthe league’s third season. Clubs will be assessed on all aspectsfor the second three-year NPL licence period, which starts in 2017. On the field,Edgeworth, Hamilton, Broadmeadow and Jaffas look the teams to beat again.

EDGEWORTH2015: 1st(Major premiers)

Coach: Damian Zane

INS:Daniel McBreen (South China), Keigo Moriyasu (Ryutsu Keizai Uni),Daniel Minors (Charlestown).OUTS: Luke Walker (Green Gully), Brenton Olzomer (Valentine), Bray Smith, Justin Tannock. KEY:The Eagles have lost some of the depth that lifted them to the premiership double, and theexit of Walkeris a blow, but the return of favourite son McBreen,addition ofMoriyasu and Zane’s eye for talentensure Edgeworth are the top pick.TIP: 1st

HAMILTON2015: 3rd

Coach: Michael Bolch

INS: Leo Bertos (East Bengal), Tom Spencer (Mariners Academy), Daniel Bird (Charlestown),Marcus Duncan (Mariners Youth), Sam Parker (South Cardiff).OUTS: Greg Anderson (Weston), Mason Campbell (work), Alex Tserepas (Valentine),Matt Harper, Jason Korotkich.KEY:Like their grand final foes, Hamilton have bolstered their attack with a big-name signing but have lost depth in defence. Kiwi internationalBertos, Spencer and Bird give Olympic extra up front butthe loss of Campbell and exitof Tom Davies after round six will hurt Hamilton at the back.TIP: 2nd

BROADMEADOW2015: 4th

Coaches: Robert Virgili, Bob Naumov.

INS: James Virgili (Newcastle Jets), Michael Kantarovski (Jets Youth), Jarryd Johnson (South Cardiff), Shane Paul (Belmont Swansea), Nick Hartnett (Kahibah).OUTS: Chris Berlin (Adamstown), Rhys Tippett (Jaffas), Nathan Archbold (Charlestown), Callan Lewis (Jaffas),Ko Sanjin.KEY:The injection of Virgili and Kantarovski alongside the likes of Haynes, Pettit, Bradbery, Finlayson and Fajkovic in attackshould make Magic contenders again. The key will be whether they can keep so much talent on the same page and happy. If they do, watch out.TIP: 3rd

LAMBTON JAFFAS2015: 2nd

Coach: James Pascoe

INS: Joel Wood (Maitland), Callan Lewis, Rhys Tippett(Magic), Ben Hay (Jets Youth), Alex Johnson-Young.OUTS: Hakan Canli(Adamstown), Michael Bridges (retired), Tom Smart (overseas).KEY:The Jaffas have lost only oneregular starter, Smart, and added to their roster. The likes of Wheelhouse, Remington and McPherson remain to make Lambton a top side but how they will go under a new coach, who came in at the 11thhour, makes them anunknown.TIP: 4th

MAITLAND2015: 8th

Coach: Steve Piggott

INS: Dean Heffernan (Bankstown), Matt Crowell (Mariners NPL), Carl Thornton, Liam Thornton, Brock Oakley (Weston), Nick Russell (South Cardiff), Matt Trott. OUTS: Joel Wood (Jaffas), Benn Kelly (Weston), Alex Read (Adamstown), Corey Fletcher(Lakes), Ryan Clarke (suspended),Denis Fajkovic,Harry Maguire, Chris Broadley, Justin Broadley. KEY:With Heffernan, Crowell and Trott joining Matt Thompson as national league players at the Magpies, expectationsare high they can climb the ladder. But a lot of new faces, stalwarts leaving and a new coachmeans they will need time to gel.TIP: 5th

ADAMSTOWN2015: 6th

Coach: Graham Law

INS: Daniel Johnson(South Cardiff), Hakan Canli (Jaffas), Chris Berlin (Magic), Alex Clarke, Dylan Schauder (Singleton), Alex Read (Maitland). OUTS:Aaron Niyonkura (Jets Youth), Kim Tae-sung, Nic Bale,Travis Cooper, Chris Dale.KEY: Instead of cameos from internationals Guy Bates andGarry Kenneth, Adamstownhave recruitedexperienced local talent this year. They look more settled but a similar result appears likely.TIP: 6th

JETS YOUTH2015:7th

Coach: Clayton Zane

KEY:Always the hardest team to predict given their focus on development. They lack defenders and size this yearbut have the likes of Pawiak, Crowley, Burke and Joice in attack.TIP: 7th

WESTON2015: 5th

Coach: Trevor Morris

INS:Mick Ryan (retirement)Greg Anderson (Hamilton),Benn Kelly (Maitland), Mitch Wallace, Ash Balcomb, Lee Ashton, Nathan Stevens(South Cardiff).OUTS: Carl Thornton, Liam Thornton, Brock Oakley (Maitland), Jamie Subat (Thornton), Wilson Edwards (Valentine), Paul Clout,Troy Hearfield, James Monie, Jason Cowburn.KEY:The Bears narrowly missed finals last year andwith theloss of several top players,especially Carl Thornton,it’sunlikely they’ll do any better.TIP:8th

CHARLESTOWN2015:9th

Coach: Shane Pryce

INS:Nathan Archbold (Magic), Todd McSorley (South Australia), Matt Wilesmith (South Cardiff), Ryan Frame, Andy Klijn, Sam Hudson (Central Coast), Sam Bradshaw,Josh Maguire. OUTS: Daniel Bird (Hamilton), Daniel Minors (Edgeworth),Matt Tull (injured),Damian Cox,Paul Bitz,Joel Witherdin.KEY:The Blues battled last year after key players left and 2016 looks like a repeatafter the loss of Bird, Tull, Cox and Witherdin.TIP: 9th

VALENTINE2015:Promoted

Coach: Darren Sills

INS: Beyhan Irmako, Josh Swaddling,Ridge Mapu (Central Coast), Wilson Edwards (Weston), Reece Pettit (Jets Youth), Brenton Olzomer (Edgeworth), Alex Tserepas (Hamilton), Will Kam (Tamworth). OUTS:Damien Lobb, Brett Adcock, Ben Glachan, Mitch Harper.KEY: Valentine will rely on youngstersand fringe players from other clubs hungry for first grade.TIP: 10th

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