Victorian Premier League kicks off
The 2011 Alanic Victorian Premier League season is shaping up to be one of the most highly anticipated in recent history.
The gauntlet has been thrown, and defending champions Green Gully Cavaliers, under the helm of newly appointed coach Lubo Lapsanski, will be doing everything in their power to retain the crown of Victorian champions.
Throughout the course of the season we will witness 138 ardently contested fixtures which will determine the 2011 VPL champions. New players will make a name for themselves, extravagant goals will be scored, uproar and controversy will be evident, coach’s will come and go and fans will be holding their breath with anticipation and tension. This is the glamour of the beautiful game.
Last season was a clear illustration of how even the competition has become in the top flight of Victorian football. With only nine points separating the finals contenders, and furthermore a mere 21 points is what separated minor premiers to relegation seller dwellers.
On the final day of the home and away season, playing for top position, Richmond claimed the minor premiership by defeating Hume City. While at the other end of the scale the relegation battle went down to the final minutes – Sunshine and Altona Magic narrowly falling short of enduring another season in the top flight.
This season we witness the introduction of the St Albans Saints and Springvale White Eagles to the VPL. In a remarkable turn of events the top six clubs in State League One were only separated by three points.
The promoted outfits accumulated the same number of points, 39, at the conclusion of the season. St Albans triumphed to win the title scarcely on goal difference. It was a wonderful finale and further exemplifies the growing competition to ply one’s trade at the pinnacle of Victorian football.
Do we expect the newly promoted clubs to prosper and cause headaches for the heavy weights of Victorian football? If we go by recent years, it’s quite possible. Last season we saw the newly promoted Northcote City appear in the finals series following a decorated campaign finishing fifth on the table and Trent Rixon grabbing the Golden Boot, with a notable 19 goals in the process.
No doubt club and player will be looking to have a similar impact this season. The aurora of promotion allows clubs to strengthen their playing stocks, and St Albans and Springvale are not too dissimilar and have done just that with some key signings.
In contrast to the many football leagues around the world, the VPL allows the competition to have an even playing field. It’s not only an exciting prospect for the football community; however it allows all competing clubs to stamp their authority during the year.
While it’s a difficult task predicting who will flourish throughout the season, it would be impractical to discount some of the well performed clubs of Victorian football, namely Green Gully, South Melbourne, Melbourne Knights and Richmond to name a few.
Expectations are also high at Oakleigh Cannons after a frenzy of transfer activity just before the deadline.
Following a season which saw the South Melbourne miss the play-offs by a whisker, newly appointed coach Eddie Krncevic will be seeking to redeem the club’s fortunes by making a solid tilt at the championship this season.
Anything short of a finals birth will be considered a failure given the statue and history that the club endorses on football within Australia. With so much to play for, many clubs will be attempting to stake an early claim on the competition.
The commencement of the 2011 Alanic VPL season is upon us. Will we see some of the old foes of Victorian football claim the honours once again, or will this season be a revolution where a changing of the guard is imminent?
As the VPL enters its second year of the five year sponsorship with Alanic, come Saturday 3rd September, this season’s fate will be decided and one team will stand alone and be $30,000 the richer.
Robbie Di Fabio is a writer for Goal Weekly.
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