In 2019 the drought finally broke for Northbridge, securing their maiden NSFA Men’s Premier League title with three rounds to spare.
The team in red and white will be eyeing off back-to-back titles to hopefully start a dynasty to match their dominance in Women’s Premier League, but there is strong pack of teams looking to have their name engraved on the trophy at the end of the year.
Willoughby Dalleys – last season’s runner-up – are now led by Paul Orgad in his first year of senior coaching, keeping 2019 league MVP Sam Young and adding players with NPL experience to a strong core squad.
West Pymble may not have reached the level that saw them win four titles in a row between 2015 and 2018 with a third-placed finish last year, but the likes of Rob Tall, Keu Maralit and the Laming brothers will make the team a threat once again this year.
Despite boasting a strong record against the title winners, Lindfield found themselves in the middle of the table for much of the season, requiring a late equaliser over Old Barker in round 18 to secure fourth place. With injuries and player availability affecting the squad last year, the key will be fielding their best eleven on a regular basis this time around.
Old Barker were somewhat of a surprise packet in 2019, but their campaign ended in heart-breaking fashion with a last-minute equaliser against Lindfield to miss finals. In contrast, Chatswood Rangers finished the season with silverware after defeating Willoughby Dalleys in the NSFA Cup, but sixth place represented a disappointing finish given the talent at their disposal and decent record against teams in the top half of the table. Both teams will look to draw from the positives of their respective seasons in order to push towards the top four.
North Sydney United and Knox United will be looking to steer clear of the same relegation fight they endured in 2019 – both teams finished within four points of the bottom two. The new Division Championship factors in Reserve Grade points, but strong results in First Grade will be the easiest way to help avoid the drop.
The region north of Hornsby once again has representation in the top tier with the promotion of both Berowra and Mount Colah this season. Berowra makes their return after relegation in 2016 and stormed to the Division 2 title, only dropping four points all season. Mount Colah were made to work for hard their promotion by North Sydney and will be eager to expel the demons of 2017, which saw them relegated after a single season in Premier League and only 7 points in First Grade.
Round 1 Fixtures
Chatswood Rangers vs Willoughby Dalleys – Saturday 5pm at Chatswood High School
Knox United vs Berowra – Saturday 3pm at Blackman 2
Mount Colah vs Northbridge – Saturday 3pm at Parklands
North Sydney United vs Lindfield – Saturday 6:25pm at Cammeray
Old Barker vs West Pymble – Saturday 3pm at Koola 3.
18 rounds – complete home and away season. Relegation to Division 2 to be determined by Division Championship standings, which is calculated by tripling points accumulated in First Grade then adding points accumulated in Reserve Grade.