2016 Roar NPL Season Preview

With the 2016 NPL season kicking off tomorrow I thought id write a brief preview of the Young Roars prospects ahead of the new season. If you’re interested, I’ve written a more in depth preview of the league as a whole which you can read here.

The Roar’s 2016 season starts with a local derby against the Strikers at Perry Park tomorrow evening, and after suffering two losses from two last season, a win in the opening round would double as both a good start to the new season and some bragging rights.

Player wise, the squad is largely the same as the one which competed in the NYL over the summer, with just a handful of changes. New signing Joe Caletti is set to make his first appearance for the Roar, and will potentially be joined by fellow new recruit Aidan Fetahagic who arrives from Western Pride after originally agreeing a move to Bosnia. Joseph Champness and Jayden Prasad, who made their Young Roar debuts in the NYL will also be embarking on their first NPL campaigns with the club.

Just today the club confirmed the arrival of former Adelaide United midfielder Nathan Konstandopoulos to complement the groups midfield. Konstandopoulos, now 19, made a couple of appearances in the A-League for Adelaide back in 2014 and has played three seasons of youth football for the South Australian club.

Brisbane this week named a 30 player group which I assume is meant to cover both their senior NPL side and the u/18’s group for the upcoming season, and there’s one or two surprises which we’ll get to. Firstly though- here’s the playing group by position.

Goalkeepers– Tomislav Bilic, Andre Jannese, Finn Matheson.
Defenders– Cameron Crestani, Tom Jarrard, Mark Rodic, Matthew Schmidt, Jaiden Walker.
Midfielders– Joe Caletti, Jesse Daley, Daniel Driver, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Thomas Miller, Adam Sawyer.
Forwards– Joseph Champness, Nicholas D’Agostino, Aidan Fetahagic, Dane Ingham, Jayden Prasad, Dylan Wenzel-Halls.
Unknown– Jamie Dimitroff, Henry Hore, Danny Kim, Nathan Konstand, Daniel Leck, Connor O’Toole, Nicholas Panetta, Aaron Reardon, Lachlan Strogosz, Lachlan Weier.

Most of those I’ve listed as unknown are likely to be apart of the u/18’s side, although we’ll no doubt get to see some if not all of them in the NPL senior side as the season unfolds.

Amongst the most notable not named in the squad which took part in the NYL are big striker Harrison Sawyer, who famously netted six goals against Adelaide in the 10-0 romp at the Cleveland Showgrounds in December and Mitch Hore, who captained the side throughout the campaign.

That takes the number of players who left the youth setup at the end of the 2015 NPL season to 15 players, and when you include players who departed mid-season and the elevation of Shannon Brady to the A-League squad the number rises to 19.

The full list for those who missed the October news is:

Released mid-season 2015– Fraser Chalmers, Ben Litfin, Lachlan Jackson.

Released October 2015– Denver Crickmore, Jordan Lampard, Lachlan Gorry, Austin Ludwik, Conor O’Neill, Stephen O’Neill, Luke Pavlou, Samuel Sibatuara, Patrick Theodore, Alex Krisic, Shelford Dais, Abrahim Yango and Josh Grommen.

Released January 2015– Mitch Hore, Harrison Sawyer.

Promoted to A-League– Shannon Brady.

The above illustrates that this is a transitional season for the clubs youth side, with the focus on younger players who have the potential to grow in the future, rather than retain players who the coaching staff feel are not good enough for the first team squad.

Despite that however, there are some interesting prosects in the 2016 group worth keeping an eye one, with striker Nicholas D’Agostino at the head of the bunch. After making his A-League debut in November, he’s definitely on the radar of head coach John Aloisi and with Devante Clut and Jean Carlos Solórzano likely to leave at seasons end- a strong run of NPL form could propel him into the first team.

Others worth keeping an eye on are Joe Caletti and Andre Jannese, both of whom were poached by Aloisi from the FFA Centre of Excellence and Melbourne Victory respectively, and if they develop as predicted they could prove to be long term replacements for the ageing Michael Theo and Corona- whose contracts both expire in May 2017.

Also at the back are full-backs Jaiden Walker and Matthew Schmidt, both of whom have been in the side for a while and have improved gradually. Schmidt in particular could mount a strong case at left back with Stefanutto retiring at seasons end and Corey Brown yet to cement a spot.

In the midfield, Jesse Daley has emerged as a potential option for the Roar in the future with a solid NYL campaign and is worth keeping an eye on, as is Dane Ingham whose performances on the flanks have moved him up the pecking order.

It promises to be an interesting season for the Young Roar, with plenty of potential within the squad. Kick-off in the first game of the new season is set for 6.00pm at Perry Park, however be warned that this week it clashes with the A-League side’s trip to Adelaide.


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