With the 2019 BPL season Kicking-Off tomorrow, now’s the time to look ahead at what we can expect from the coming season, and where each side is placed heading into the opening weekend of competition. The 2019 season will see the addition of both Woongarrah and Wyoming after successfully gaining promotion from ‘Division One’ last season. They will take the place of both the Kincumber Roos and Umina United, after they were unable to retain their top flight status, slipping into Division One for the coming season. 2019 will once again see a twelve team BPL competition, meaning a twenty-two round regular season and five team finals series for the second year running.
Avoca Football Club will be looking to build on last season’s 7th place finish, after a disappointing end to what was looking like a very promising 2018 season. After an incredible start in which they managed to win 6 of their first 9 matches, Avoca then snapped into a four-game losing streak, of which three of the sides finished below them in the final standings. On a positive note, the club have managed to secure the services of key players Shane Knight, James Monie, and reigning two-time CCF POTY Stewart Adams for the 2019 season. This is sure to help them in their inevitable push for a finals position at the end of the up-coming season.
Berkeley Vale SC:
Berkeley Vale will be looking to go one better in the 2019 season, after extending their incredible record of 6 Grand Final losses in as many appearances in last years decider. However, the addition of Reece Caira to a rather unchanged squad is sure to fill them with belief that they can go on and break their hoodoo in the 2019 season. Berkeley Vale have also managed to get competitive game time under their belts already this pre-season, after dispatching Holroyd Rangers 2-1 to advance to the third round of the FFA Cup.
The Rams will be looking to make a push for the finals in 2019 after falling one point short in 2018. A lacklustre finish to the season cost them in the end, picking up 5 points from a possible 12 in the last four games of the season, all against teams who finished below them. They start the season with matches against both the promoted sides Woongarrah and Wyoming before a trip to Avoca in Round Three.
Gosford City FC:
After a mid-table finish in last season’s competition, Gosford City will be looking for improvement heading into 2019, however significant personnel changes may prove too big a challenge for them to overcome. There has been a large player turnover throughout the off season, losing a number of first grade players to newly promoted Wyoming, as well as the loss of 2018’s Player/Coach Reece Caira to Berkeley Vale. New Coach Errol Baker has reportedly recruited a number of Woy Woy First Graders from his DIV 1 squad last season, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust to the increased quality and competitiveness of the BPL.
Kanwal will be looking to build on an impressive fifth place finish in last season’s BPL competition. Although they’d be disappointed in bowing out in the first week of the 2018 finals to Southern & Ettalong United, the Bulls have managed to assemble a rather unchanged first grade squad heading into the 2019 season. With coach Brad Porter back for another season the club will be looking to improve on their 5th place finish and make a run into the later rounds of the BPL finals series.
2018 champions Killarney will have their eyes on a 4th straight championship as they kick off their 2019 BPL title defence against Gosford City. The Terriers have retained a relatively deep and settled squad for the 2019 season, and with coach Chris Ackerley returning once again it seems that Killarney are going to head into the new season as the team to beat.
Southern & Ettalong United FC:
Southern & Ettalong United experienced a greatly improved 2018 BPL campaign as they secured a berth in the finals series after a disappointing 2017 season. The Lions will be looking to continue their upwards trend and mount a serious charge for a top three finish in 2019. After initial reports suggested striker Keith Gumbs had announced his retirement after the Semi Final loss to Terrigal last season, we’re hearing that he is back on board for the coming season, a huge boost for the club.
Terrigal United proved to be the surprise packet of the 2018 season, as they turned a 9th place finish in 2017 (10 team competition) into a 2nd place finish in 2018 (12 team competition). Although they fell narrowly short of the 2018 Grand Final, falling to eventual champions Killarney 3-2 in the final, there is certainly an air of optimism surrounding the club as they head into the new season. Coach Martyn Griffiths returns with a young and talented side at his disposal, as they’ll inevitably look to push for a Grand Final appearance in 2019.
The Entrance Bateau Bay FC:
The Entrance will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2018 campaign that saw them finish 8th, 15 points outside the last BPL finals position. The club have recruited strongly for the 2019 season, welcoming back the Blunden brothers Adam and Nathan from Central Coast United. Coach Andrew Ollier is also returning for a third season, as the club looks to make a push for finals football this season.
After a horrendous start to the 2018 BPL season in which the club lost their first 9 matches of the season, Toukley managed to salvage their season to the extent that they avoided the drop by a mere 4 points. It looms as another tough year for Toukley, as squad additions appear limited and the two promoted sides look to have assembled quality squads, making the relegation battle look all the more difficult this season.
Woongarrah are coming off the back of a phenomenal season in Division One in which they only dropped three points all year, conceding just 10 goals in 18 matches. Like Berkeley Vale, the Wildcats have also managed to get some competitive game-time under their belts in pre-season, as they dispatched Sydney based side Macquarie University 5-0 in their Round 2 clash in the FFA Cup. Led by Luke Rogers in his third season at the helm, Woongarrah won’t just be there to make up the numbers, they’ll be looking to be competitive at the business end of the season.
After finishing 2nd in last seasons Division One competition and gaining promotion to the Battlewin Premier League, Wyoming FC will be looking to establish themselves as a competitive force. They will make their return to CCF’s premier Mens competition on Friday night, with a tough first round fixture against last seasons grand finalists Berkeley Vale, before facing the two Gosford based sides in the following weeks. The Round Three clash against Gosford City in particular could be one to watch, with as many as 5 Gosford City players making the switch to Wyoming for the coming season.
All the Battlewin Premier League action for 2019 kicks off on Friday the 22nd of March and Saturday the 23rd of March at Pluim Park. Fixtures are as follows:
Friday 22nd: Res K/O 6:30pm, Firsts 8:15pm: Avoca FC vs Killarney DSC, Woongarrah FC vs East Gosford FC, Wyoming FC vs Berkeley Vale SC
Saturday 23rd: Res K/O 5:30pm, Firsts 7:30pm: Toukley FC vs The Entrance FC, Terrigal FC vs Gosford City FC, Southern & Ettalong FC vs Kanwal FC