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Opinion

The excitement of the NPL WA

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Roar Rookie
22nd September, 2020
8

The recent news announcing the creation of the Championship – a national second tier in Australia – is long overdue.

The two participants from Western Australia will be Perth SC and Bayswater.

Both sides have shared the top state honours recently, winning three WA titles each in the NPL era.

Perth SC are by far the most decorated club in WA football history, previously known as Perth Azzurri and Perth Italia due to a complicated history of mergers and demergers. In total, they’ve won 24 championships and 13 state cups.

Bayswater do not quite share as rich a history, but their recent success indicates that they are currently set up as well as anyone, as they were WA champions in three of the first four NPL seasons (2014, ’15 and ’17).

However, neither of these sides will become 2020 champions due to the coronavirus causing a change of format in the WA NPL.

Instead of the usual home-and-away round robin, in which the 12 sides play each other once, in 2020 the WA clubs played each team once across 11 games throughout July and August with the table then being split into an upper and lower contest. Each team then played five more games in a condensed league, with the winner of the upper league becoming state champions.

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Perth SC lost five of their 11 games and only won three, while Bayswater won four matches, but also lost four. This places both sides in the bottom six, and the six teams that won five or more games – Floreat Athena, ECU Joondalup, Cockburn City, Gwelup Croatia, Armadale and Sorrento – qualified for the upper league.

This is turning out to be an exciting competition as after three games, five sides are still in with a chance of glory. Only Armadale have lost all three games and are out of contention.

Sorrento, Gwelup Croatia and ECU Joondalup all sit on four points after winning one, drawing one and losing one each.

Stan Lazaridis’ former club, Floreat Athena, are in with a better chance as their opening loss against Sorrento was followed up by last-minute victories against Armadale and ECU. Their next game against Gwelup Croatia will keep them in contention if they can secure a win, as they host Cockburn City at the famous E&D Litis Stadium.

Cockburn City – who are in the prime position after winning their opening two and drawing their last match against Sorrento – have to navigate a tricky fixture against ECU Joondalup, who are managed by former Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe.

If they are to win this, then they will simply need to avoid defeat against Floreat on the final day to become champions.

However, if both Floreat and Cockburn lose in Round 4, and Sorrento win, then it would open up a scenario where any one of the five could win it and make for a very exciting finale.

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