Crestani joins Western Pride

CAMERON-CRESTANI-700x700

(Western Pride FC)

Former Brisbane Roar defender Cameron Crestani has joined NPL Queensland side Western Pride for the remainder of the 2017 NPL Queensland season.

Crestani, 21, was recently released by Brisbane Roar at the end of the season after five years as part of the youth set-up.

After patiently waiting for his first team opportunity, Crestani made his senior debut for the Roar as a late substitute against Perth Glory in Round 20.

A first start followed in the next match against Muanthong United in the AFC Champions League, with Crestani going on to make six appearances for the first team last season.

The young defender will not have to wait long to take on his former teammates, with Western Pride playing host to Brisbane Roar Youth tomorrow night at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex in Round 13 of the NPL season.

While Crestani will be going up against his old side, he will be joined in battle by former Young Roar teammates Harrison Sawyer, Joe Duckworth, Hayden McHenery and Dylan Wenzel-Halls, who all made the move to the Ipswich based side in recent times.

When these two sides met the first time back in round two, it was a high scoring game up in Redcliffe, with the Young Roar proving victorious 3-2. Tomorrow night’s game is set to start at 7.00pm.

Western Pride v Brisbane Roar Youth
Saturday June 3- 7.00pm
Briggs Road Sporting Complex

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Winger joins Young Roar set-up

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New Young Roar winger Finn Beakhurst

Moreton Bay United winger Finn Beakhurst will join the Young Roar set-up ahead of the 2017 NPL Queensland campaign.

Beakhurst, 18, made his debut for Moreton Bay back in 2015 in the NPL Finals Series before making 17 appearances in last years NPL competition.

The Young wingers performances were impressive enough to earn an invite to play the Roar in pre-season as part of the NPL Queensland u-23 all-stars.

Beakhurst joins the set-up at the same time that another former Moreton Bay winger departs the Roar, with Joseph Champness moving to Newcastle Jets on an 18 month scholarship deal.

Beakhurst now joins Jayden Prasad, Daniel Leck and fringe first team winger Shannon Brady in  competition for the two wide spots in James Robinsons starting line-up.

This is the first addition to the Young Roar squad ahead of the 2017 NPL Queensland season and there figures to be a couple of other changes to the squad before the new season gets underway.

Brisbane’s 2017 NPL Queensland campaign gets underway February 25th with a game against Olympic FC at Goodwin Park. Here’s the Young Roar fixture list for the upcoming season.

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2017 NPL Queensland Draw

Late last week the draw for the 2017 NPL Queensland was released, with the Young Roar starting their season at Goodwin Park against Olympic FC on February 25th.

This seasons home fixtures have followed the NYL home games to the Peninsula, with A.J. Kelly Park in Redcliffe set to host the Young Roar’s 11 home games, the first of which is in round two against Western Pride.

Attention is always given to the derby fixtures against Brisbane Strikers, with the two fixtures scheduled for May 13th (home) and August 12th (away).

The season concludes on August 20th with a home clash against Redlands United.

After the Young Roar’s solid season in the National Youth League, the squad now turns it’s attention to the state competition, and for the squad it’s another chance to catch John Aloisi’ eye and push for a first team place.

There is also likely to be a couple of changes to the Young Roar squad between the seasons as is the norm, although the addition of a side in the u-20’s could change that.

Here’s the full schedule

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NPL u-23 All-Stars game squad announced

The NPL Queensland u-23 All-Stars squad which will take on the Roar later this month was announced today and it brings together some of the most talented footballers in the state.

Gold Coast City and Brisbane City are the two most represented clubs in the 18 man provisional squad with four players a piece from each side, while Premiers Brisbane Strikers.

One of the big features of the squad is the presence of a number of players who’ve previously represented the Roar’s youth side with six players in the provisional squad.

Jaiden Walker, Sam Cronin, Benjamin Lyvidikos, Luke Pavlou, Mitchell Hore and Benjamin Litfin will all definitely get the chance to play their former side, while Samuel Sibatuara finds himself on the stand by list.

Perhaps surprisingly, just the one player who played in Saturday nights season finale –Cameron Nucifora of FNQ Heat- has been selected in the provisional side, while Kai Halliday from Redlands is one of the players on the stand by list.

That stand by list could come into play, depending on the result of Brisbane Strikers’ participation in the 2016 NPL Finals Series, which will see the Queensland Premiers host ACT Premier Canberra Olympic at Perry Park on September 17th.

A win in that game would then see the Strikers play in a Semi-Final the following week, a game which would clash with the All-Stars clash with the Roar.

Goalkeepers- Samuel Nickolls (Sunshine Coast FC), Shane Vitikangas (Gold Coast City) Defenders: Scott Halliday (Brisbane City), Jake Marshall (Brisbane Strikers), Kai Smith (Brisbane City), Jaiden Walker (Gold Coast City).

Midfielders- Finn Beakhurst (Moreton Bay United), Matthew Capelo (Moreton Bay United), Sam Cronin (Olympic), Benjamin Lyvidikos (Gold Coast City), Cameron Nucifora (FNQ Heat), Luke Pavlou (Brisbane City), Mitchell Hore (Brisbane City), Benjamin Litfin (Gold Coast City).

Forwards- Joseph Duckworth (Western Pride), Fraser Hills (Brisbane Strikers), Luke Marsh (Brisbane Strikers), Bonventure Thomas-Remijo (Western Pride).

Shadow Players- Kai Halliday (Redlands United), Mustafa Jafari (SWQ Thunder), Mory Kone (Gold Coast City), Samuel Langley (Redlands United), Samuel Sibatuara (Brisbane City), Martin Vazquez (Gold Coast City)

Brisbane Roar vs. NPL Queensland/23
Saturday September 24th. 3.00pm
Queensland Sports & Athletics Centre


2016 NPL Queensland Grand Final

It’s Grand Final week for the 2016 NPL Queensland season with Far North Queensland Heat and Redlands United set to battle it out for the title.

For both Redlands and FNQ, this is a first trip to the season decider and shapes as the fourth different winner of the NPL in Queensland in as many years. Previous winners include Olympic FC -2013-, Palm Beach -2014- and last seasons winners Moreton Bay United.

In the first Semi-Final a rule where finals venues being decided at the discretion of Football Queensland worked in the favour of third placed FNQ, who played host to second placed Gold Coast City after the higher rank sides ground was deemed unsuitable to host the Semi-Final.

The home ground advantage made the difference for the Heat, who qualified for the decider thanks to the only goal of the game from Christopher O’Hare in the 32nd minute.

In the second Semi-Final, Premiers Brisbane Strikers played host to Redlands United with both sides looking to pick themselves up after disappointment on the National Stage in the FFA Cup midweek.

The game was an evening and entertaining encounter with Trent Clulow giving the home side the lead inside the opening 20 minutes. Redlands fought back in the second half with their season on the line, and talisman Graham Fyfe levelled the scores to send the game to extra time.

With no goals in the extra period the game went to penalties and it was the visiting side who secured a birth in the Grand Final on the back of two saves from goalkeeper Brendan White.

In the two meetings in 2016 it’s incredibly even between the two sides, with both sides winning their home games against one another 2-0.

Redlands season started off extremely strongly with the Devils winning seven of their opening ten games which saw them sit in the top two at the halfway point, and it’s the form which propelled the club onto the national stage in the form of the FFA Cup.

Since then however Redlands form has been inconsistent with a mixed bag of results through the middle third of the season, before things picked up towards the end with the team going unbeaten in the last month of the season to narrowly secure a finals berth.

FNQ meanwhile have been a model of consistency with their defensively solid style bearing fruit in 2016. The Heat were unbeaten until their round 8 loss at the Cleveland Showgrounds against Redlands. The returned the favour on Redlands in round 19, but late season losses to Brisbane Strikers and SWQ Thunder saw the Heat relinquish their top two spot.

Perhaps tellingly for the boys from the north, their form down here in the South East has been strong in 2016, with five wins, four losses and a draw from 10 trips, although perhaps tellingly one of those losses was against Redlands, with another of the four occurring at Perry Park.

Looking at the two sides in depth and the key man for the Heat is Jamie Carroll, whose 15 goals this season have played a big part in propelling FNQ to the decider. With just 27 goals conceded –the second fewest in the completion has also been a staple of the Cairns side success this season.

For Redlands, their talisman Graham Fyfe will be key as usual with his creativity and knack for a goal a vital part of the side. The likes of Stephen Green, Paul O’Brien and Michael Lee will also be important to the Bayside teams’ chances, as will Iago Sao Jose who brings a spark off the bench.

Kick-off in the 2016 NPL Queensland Grand Final is set for tomorrow evening at Perry Park. It shapes up as a fitting conclusion to the 2016 campaign with two of the best teams over the season fighting it out for the title.

 


NPL Queensland Update

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**Originally published over on the Football Central website

It’s been an interesting and competitive winter of football across the state with some good football played. As things stand, there’s just five rounds remaining in the 2016 Regular Season, and FNQ Heat have a one point lead at the top of the table, while early pace-setting Redlands United falling to fifth.  There are also at least six genuine contenders for finals places, with two others perhaps considered outsiders at this stage which should ensure that there’s plenty of excitement to come. Here’s the current table ahead of this weekends games.

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1st- Far North Queensland Heat (35pts)
Recent form- DWLWW.
Run in- Roar Youth (a), Redlands United (h), Brisbane Strikers (a), Moreton Bay United (a), SWQ Thunder (h).

Leading the way going into the final weeks of the season, the Heat have been consistent and currently hold the leagues second best defensive record with five clean sheets so far. Striker Jamie Carroll also leads the race for the Golden Boot with 13 goals for the season. Form on the road this season has been a big part of the Heat’s success this campaign with five wins out of seven, and they’ll need to continue that form away from home to hold onto the top spot with big clashes against the Strikers and Moreton Bay to come between now and the end of the season.

This weekend sees FNQ travel down to the Cleveland Showgrounds tomorrow afternoon to take on the Young Roar in a game which is a must win for the visitors. In the first meeting this season the Heat won a tight contest at Barlow Park 2-1, and if they’re going to maintain the charge towards home field advantage in the finals they have to avoid any slip-ups against a young Roar side which has been depleted in recent weeks due to call-ups to the A-League squad.

2nd- Brisbane Strikers (34pts)
Recent form- LWDWW
Run in- Sunshine Coast (a), Western Pride (h), FNQ Heat (h), Northern Fury (a), Brisbane City (h).

Despite going on a strong run of form over recent months where the Strikers became a genuine chance to take out the Premiership, they lost last weekend to the rapidly improving Olympic at home. Their strong form has been built upon having the leagues best defence this season, while the 12 goals from off-season recruit Rhys Meredith have ensured plenty of wins from the Albion based club.
The Strikers chances of picking up their first piece of silverware in the four seasons of the NPL Queensland are boosted by a favourable draw which will see them play three of their final five games at home. The round 20 clash against FNQ could well end up being the Premiership decider, while this weekend they face a potentially tricky trip up to Kawana to take on the stubborn yet inconsistent Sunshine Coast.

3rd-Gold Coast City (30pts)
Recent form- DLWWW
Run in- SWQ Thunder (a), Brisbane City (h), Olympic FC (a), Young Roar (h), Sunshine Coast (h).

City are arguably the inform team currently with a string of impressive wins in the last month, headlined by a comprehensive 4-0 score line against league leading FNQ. Results like that are a big part of the reason why they have the best attack in the league with 42 goals so far this year. The form of ex Brisbane Roar midfielder Ben Litfin -11 goals in 16 games- this season ensures that Gold Coast have one of if not the best player in the league this season.
Despite being five points back of FNQ with as many games to play, the remaining games offer great opportunity for City push for at worst a top two finish with just the one game against a side currently in the top 4 between now and the finals. This weekend’s trip to the improved but slumping SWQ Thunder who haven’t won in their last five games should result in three points which will push them closer to the top two

4th- Brisbane City (28pts)
Recent form- DWLLW
Run in- Northern Fury (h), Gold Coast City (a), Young Roar (a), Redlands United (h), Brisbane Strikers (a).

It’s been a mixed season for fourth placed Brisbane City who were expected to be amongst the contenders at the start of the season followed by a strong off-season recruitment campaign which included manager John Kosmina. While they still may end up playing in the finals series, their participation is less than certain, with City having Redlands sharp decline in recent weeks for the current presence in the top four.

City’s presence in the finals is even less certain when you look at their run in, with clashes against Gold Coast and the Strikers –both on the road- to come between now and the end of the season. The crunch game however could be the penultimate clash for the season when City host 5th placed Redlands.


5th Redlands United (27pts)

Recent form- LLWLL
Run in – Western Pride (h), FNQ (a), Northern Fury (h), Brisbane City (a), Young Roar (h)

Redlands season started off in spectacular fashion with seven wins from the opening eleven games which saw the Bayside club top of the table and into the FFA Cup for the first time. Since they clinched qualification last month against BPL side Rochedale Rovers they have won just one of their last five games, a run which has seen them drop out of the top four.
Despite being on the outside looking in before the round got underway, the chances that Redlands move back into the top four are strong. Clashes against Pride, Northern Fury and the Young Roar offer chances to accumulate points, while the penultimate round clash against Brisbane City could seal their spot.

6th- Olympic FC (25pts)
Recent form- WWLWW
Run in- Moreton Bay (a), SWQ Thunder (a), Gold Coast City (h), Sunshine Coast (h), Western Pride (h)

Olympics’ season is best categorised in two parts- pre Kirkham and with Kirkham. After Olympic spluttered out of the game with just two wins from the opening eight games, manager Jim Bellos moved into an front office role which allowed the club from Brisbane’s South Side to appoint BPL winning manager Terry Kirkham as manager.
With Kirkham at the helm, Olympic have gone from the basement of the table to sixth and a genuine chance of fourth straight finals berth, with the side winning six games out of nine since his appointment. The run in is also favourable for Olympic, with just one clash against a top four side between now and the finals and three straight home games to end the campaign. Tomorrow nights trip to Moreton Bay could be pivotal in outlining their finals hopes.

7th- Moreton Bay United (24pts)
Recent form- LWLLD
Run in- Olympic FC (h), Sunshine Coast (h), Western Pride (a), FNQ Heat (h), Northern Fury (h).

Last seasons defending Champions have played some good football at times this campaign, consistency however is what sees United on the outside looking in at the finals race. Just two wins from seven home games and five from 16 all told this season outlines the lack of consistency, while star striker Royce Brownlies’ lack of goals this season –just five this season compared to 14 in 2015- is also a factor in Moreton Bay’s malaise.
Despite their inconsistency they still remain a chance of defending their title due to their favourable schedule with four of their final five games at their Wolter Park base. There is however little room for error, and anything less than a win over 6th placed Olympic tomorrow night will likely end their finals hopes.


8th- Sunshine Coast FC (24pts)

Recent form- LDWWW
Run in- Brisbane Strikers (h), Moreton Bay United (a), SWQ Thunder (h), Olympic FC (a), Gold Coast City (h).

After undergoing a coaching change right on the eve of the season, Sunshine Coast have performed admirably this season, with results improving along the way. Despite their three straight wins and being just four games behind 4th placed Brisbane City they remain an outsider in terms of a top 4 finish with a tough run in to close out the season including a home game against second placed Brisbane Strikers on Sunday.

9th- Brisbane Roar Youth (22pts)
Recent form- DLWWW
Run in- FNQ Heat (h), Northern Fury (a), Brisbane City (h), Gold Coast City (a), Redlands (a).

Development and results are of course the primary goal of the Young Roar who are ineligible for the finals series, and in terms of player development it’s another strong campaign for the Roar with seven members of the Roar NPL side are currently training with the A-League side.

Striker Nicholas D’Agostino, whose 10 goals this season ranks him amongst the leaders in the Golden Boot chase sees him as the most likely to earn a professional contract with the Roar, while the likes of Mark Rodic, Joseph Champness and Jayden Prasad are also in contention. Result wise it’s been a solid year for the Roar, whose form at their nominal home Cleveland Showgrounds has been particularly strong.

10th- South West Queensland Thunder (20pts)
Recent form- LLLLD
Run in- Gold Coast City (h), Olympic FC (h), Sunshine Coast (a), Western Pride (a), FNQ Heat (a)

Despite being 10th on the table, this is already the best season to date for the Toowoomba side with six wins a vast improvement on previous seasons. Most of those victories however occurred in the early phase of the season, with a form slump which has seen the Thunder go on a five game winless streak to end any hopes of a push for the finals.

11th- Western Pride FC (15pts)
Recent form- DLDLD
Run in- Redlands United (a), Strikers (a), Moreton Bay (h), SWQ Thunder (h), Olympic FC (a).

It’s been another below average season to date for Western Pride, who are destined to miss finals for a fourth successive season. While the Pride’s away form has solid, it’s at home where they’ve let themselves down with just one win from nine home games this season which has left them in the bottom two this campaign. Pride however could play a big part in the finals race with clashes against Redlands, Strikers, Moreton Bay and Olympic to come before the end of the season.

12th- Northern Fury (2pts)
Recent form- LDDLL
Run in- Brisbane City (a), Young Roar (h), Redlands United (a), Brisbane Strikers (h), Moreton Bay (a)

Rounding out the table is Townsville based Northern Fury who’ve had by far their worst record in their four season existence in the competition. While Fury have never previously contended for a finals berth, they had however been improving in previous seasons, with a respectable 8th placed finish last campaign. This season however they are the only winless side in the competition, and with a tough run in, it’s unlikely to change between now and the end of the season despite being on a two game unbeaten run.

It’s shaping up as an interesting conclusion to the 2016 season and the race to see who will represent the state in the national NPL Finals Series at the conclusion of the season is hotting up. Over the course of the remainder of the season, we’ll keep you up to date as the business end of the season approaches.


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.