BAYSWATER City are firm favourites to win the National Premier Leagues WA (NPL WA) in 2017, according to the competition’s coaches.
Eight of soccer’s top-tier coaches rated Bayswater the team to beat with defending champions Perth SC the next strongest contender.
Last year’s runners up Inglewood United were among the title tips, while ECU Joondalup and Floreat Athena are also fancied to perform well this season.
Perth SC skipper Clark Keltie, experienced defender Adrian Madaschi and striker Gustavo Catarcione will be crucial to Perth’s chances as Ramon Falzon’s side chase back-to-back titles.
Perth clinched the title last season on a dramatic final day with a 1-0 win over Sorrento, while Inglewood United, who had been in pole position to win the title, lost to ECU.
Falzon, whose team takes on newly promoted Mandurah City in its season opener at Dorrien Gardens tomorrow night, is prepared for another long haul towards success.
“Our players know from the experience we gained last year that we cannot focus or be emotional on our position on the standings after three or seven or 20 games,” he said.
“The only standing that matters is the one after 26 games.”
Bayswater, who won the NPL WA in 2014 and 2015, fell off the pace last year after losing star striker Gustavo Giron Marulanda early in the season when he signed to play in Indonesia.
Giron Marulanda has returned to the club to send its prospects soaring.
Newly promoted clubs Mandurah City, who reached the Night Series grand final, and Joondalup United are prepared for their first season in the NPL WA.
The NPL WA league winner will compete in the first round of the NPL National Finals Series against the champion Victorian team.
NPL WA Round 1 Fixtures:
Friday, February 17
Floreat Athena v Stirling Lions (Litis Stadium, 8pm)
Sorrento v Balcatta (Percy Doyle Reserve, 8pm)
Saturday, February 18
Armadale v Perth Glory (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 7pm)
Cockburn City v Subiaco (Dalmatinac Park, 7pm)
Perth SC v Mandurah City (Dorrien Gardens, 7pm)
Sunday, February 19
Joondalup United v ECU Joondalup (Percy Doyle Reserve, 7pm)
Inglewood United v Bayswater City (Inglewood Stadium, 7pm)