MATCH OF THE ROUND
The Entrance v Terrigal
The first match of the round for the 2021 season has The Entrance hosting Terrigal at Pat Morley Oval this Sunday at 2:45pm. These two sides faced twice last year in the shortened season and would go on to split the points between them. The Olads got the best of The Entrance in their first clash (3-0) before the Reddies got their payback in round 15 (2-0) to knock Terrigal off the top of the ladder.
The Entrance have made quite a few changes to their squad for the upcoming year, losing 4 first graders but bringing in 6 or more players to replace them. New additions Steven Grimmitt, Michael Dalton, Bradley Smythe, Todd Tipping, Matthew Johnson, David McPherson, and Samuel Bettison all fighting for First Grade spots.
Coach and Player Matthew Page will be leading his side from on the field once again this year and knows how important it will be for these players to get off to a positive start against last year’s Premiers. Page states, “Recruiting a multiple Golden Boot winner, a multiple Player of the Year winner, and an A-League player to their Grand-Final winning side probably makes Terrigal the most formidable side on paper in my recent memory”.
As for Terrigal, they also have had a busy off season recruiting even more class players to their team. Terrigal coach Martyn Griffiths has added Jacob Melling, Stuart Adams, Robbie Walton, Jonah Walker and Daniel Bird to his side for 2021. Terrigal who won the 2020 BPL Grand Final over League Champions Killarney (1-0) will look to do one better as they set their eyes on League Champion status this year.
Martyn knows it is never an easy task to beat The Entrance especially at Pat Morley and is anticipating a very tough match-up. He also notes “It’s always a tough game at Pat Morley, and The Entrance were one of the teams to turn us over last year, and we must be at our best to get anything out of this one”.
“As always, all teams look to get off to a good start and I’m expecting The Entrance to be amongst the mix at the end of the season, so I’m looking forward to an entertaining and tough game”.
Avoca v Woongarrah
Avoca welcome Woongarrah to Erina High School for their Round 1 clash, and the two sides will be looking for better things come 2021. Avoca and Woongarrah only faced once in 2020 as they split the points on that occasion (1-1).
Avoca who finished in 8th last year, will be looking to turn things around for the season ahead. Coach Neal Hide is looking forward to this round one clash and he expects “Woongarrah to play their usual high-quality football and it should be a highly entertaining match. We’ve lost several senior players, mainly due to retirement, but as always the development of our young squad promises much,” Neal said.
Woongarrah on the other hand only just missed out on finals football on goal difference, but for Coach Luke Rogers that was likely a disappointment after his side made the Grand-Final the year before. Rogers is looking forward to the start of the season but knows Avoca away is never an easy game. “Avoca away on a difficult surface like Erina High will be a tough match, they have a lot of young talented players and I’m sure Neal will have them firing”.
“The camaraderie and vibe in our squad has been the best this season since I’ve been here so while it might be a slow start to the season results-wise, we are excited for what 2021 has to offer” Rogers stated.
Berkeley Vale v Wyoming
Berkeley Vale will do battle against Wyoming come round 1. Two sides capable of playing a very high quality of football, it is sure to be a great showcase of football on Sunday at Mingara Oval. Due to last years shortened season, the two teams only faced once, and Wyoming was able to get the win away (1-0) in a very close battle.
Like many other BPL sides, the Wombats have made a few changes to their squad come 2021. Berkeley Coach Mark Pratt has seen a lot of movement from players both away and to the club. “We have had a lot of player movement this year compared to others, with 25 plus new players” Pratt stated.
Pratt is well aware of the dangers of Wyoming, “Wyoming this weekend will be a test to our overall strength of squad as they are particularly strong throughout all 3 grades with their youth”.
Wyoming who finished in 6th last year, will feel like they deserved to play finals football and will be looking for revenge come this season. Wyoming Coach Ian McAndrew says his squad has had “a very up and down pre-season, hopefully it all comes together come Sunday against Berkeley Vale”.
McAndrew knows of the dangers Berkeley Vale have in their arsenal, “Berkeley Vale is always a tough opponent and well coached by Pratty, so I expect a hard-fought contest”.
Kariong v Southern & Ettalong
Newly promoted Kariong will play the clubs first ever BPL match come Sunday at they host Southern & Ettalong at Kariong Oval. Kariong will look to kick-off their BPL campaign with a win, while Southern will look to do the same as they failed to play Finals for the first time since 2018.
The most difficuly part of being promoted into BPL is to stay there, as we saw last year when newly promoted Woy Woy and Umina both faced relegation at the end of the year.
Kariong Coach Mark Owen, who successfully led his squad to promotion last year say’s he and his squad are excited and looking forward to the challenge that is BPL. “Exciting and challenging times from the top of the hill as the club competes in the BPL for the first time, our youthful squad is looking to the challenge of staying up”.
Southern & Ettalong welcome back coach Dale Eggleton who will also been accompanied by Mark Webb and Andrew Ollier for the 2021 Season. Southern who failed to make finals last year will focus on playing consistent football for the upcoming season starting round 1 against Kariong. “We will be focused on our own performance and looking to for consistency over the 90 minutes”, Dale said.
Dale knows what this game and occasion means for Kariong, “Our first-round opponents are an unknown quantity but I’m sure they will be keen and enthusiastic to start their season on a good note”.
Killarney v Kanwal
5-time BPL League Champions Killarney will look to make it 6 in a row this year as they start their 2021 campaign hosting Kanwal at Edsaac Field. Killarney and Kanwal did battle twice last year as the League Champions came out victorious on both occasions (6-3), (3-1). Kanwal who has now finished 8th and 9th in their last two season will look to turn a new leaf come 2021.
Killarney who are undoubtedly the greatest squad in BPL history, have lost a few key players from their squad for the upcoming year. Killarney Coach and last year Coach of the Year Chris Ackerley knows the dangers of Kanwal and how they can’t show up and expect to walk away with the 3 points. “Kanwal are always a hard team to play against, they are a very well organised and dangerous on set pieces so we will have to be at our best to get the points”.
Killarney who has had a target on their back for the last five years know that every team, every week wants to be able to say they beat the League Champions and will look to start their year proving they are once again the best side in the competition.
As for Kanwal and their Coach Ryan Walker, they will be looking put last year behind them. Walker who took over for Brad Porter last year will now have experience under his belt and what it’s like to coach while playing in a BPL squad. Walker says that his team’s mindset will be one of the biggest factors going into every game this year. “We are going into every game this year with the mindset of expecting to win and this Sunday will not be any different”.
“We expect Killarney to be tough as they have won the comp for the last 5 years, but the whole squad is keen to get the season underway and can’t wait for Sunday”.