NPL NNSW and Northern League One Mid-Season Review
Halfway through the season, the two premier competitions in the Northern NSW football pyramid are shaping up nicely.
We delve deeper into the recent results and the ladder of both in our mid-season review.
Football in Northern NSW has no direct promotion and relegation between the Northern NSW NPL and Northern League One.
This omission leaves a significant gap between the two, especially in youth football.
Promotion and relegation have been teased to those in Newcastle and the surrounding regions.
Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) boss David Eland is open to increasing the number of teams in the topflight and de-coupling the youth and senior leagues.
The idea behind this is to reward the more successful youth programs if promotion and relegation are brought in.
Eland and Northern NSW Football also recently introduced the Youth Premier Cup.
In this 9v9 competition, the top four of the Northern League One's youth from under 14’s and 15’s will play the bottom four of the NPL.
The rest of the NPL Youth in the same age groups have a round-robin style cup.
So, in terms of senior football, who sits atop the NPL Northern NSW and Northern League One?
NPL Northern NSW:
1. Broadmeadow Magic – Points 29, Games Played 12
Arguably the biggest club in NPL NNSW, boasting a significant history in the league and holding a spot in the FFA Cup R32.
Magic currently sit one point above Lambton Jaffas and the Maitland Magpies.
2. Lambton Jaffas – Points 29, Games Played 12
Lambton struggled last season, failing to make the semi-finals and finishing in a lowly sixth place.
But, they have found form even after losing their head coach shortly into the season.
3. Maitland Magpies- Points 28, Games Played 13
In recent years, Maitland has dominated with two successive Grand Final appearances but fell short to Edgeworth Eagles twice.
The Magpies sit seven points clear of the fourth-placed Eagles.
4. Edgeworth Eagles- Points 21, Games Played 13
Edgeworth is a side who have faced difficulties this season, losing head coach Damion Zane to Magic.
They had to bring a new face in Michael Bridges.
The Eagles arguably have the best side on paper, with former Newcastle Jet Jeremy Brockie starting at striker.
They are also in talks with signing former Jets Nigel Boogaard and Roy O’Donovan.
Former Central Coast Mariners defender Josh Rose also captains the side.
Who will win the NPL NNSW?
My hot take is that Maitland will finally get over their woes of losing two successive Grand Finals.
They will defeat Broadmeadow Magic in the NPL NNSW Final, despite Magic claiming the minor premiership.
Image from NPL Northern NSW
Northern League One:
1. Cooks Hill United Points 35, Games Played 14
Cooks Hill sits atop the Northern League One ladder, only ahead on goal difference by two goals.
Their team features former NPL NNSW starter, Cody Carroll.
This name would be familiar to those in the Hunter region.
2. New Lambton FC Points 35, Games Played 14
The Eagles are red-hot this season.
Their standing shows they are still favourites to take out the minor premiership and championship at the end of the season.
3. Thornton Redbacks Points 26, Games Played 15
The rejuvenated Redbacks side sits third after 15 games.
They are being chased heavily by West Wallsend SFC and Belswans United FC.
They were firm favourites to give New Lambton a fight for the title.
4. West Wallsend SFC Points 25, Games Played 14
West Wallsend arguably has the strongest side on paper in the Northern League One.
Still, with significant injuries to regular starters, head coach Darren Sills has been forced to revamp his side.
Now that some players have returned from injury, the team looks unbeatable and could be a dark horse for the finals race.
Who will win the Northern League One?
West Wallsend has looked sharp in recent weeks, dismantling Kahibah FC 4-1, followed by the thrashing of Cessnock City FC 6-1.
They also defeated the 2020 Champions, Singleton Strikers, 3-0 at home.
West Wallsend players celebrate. (Thomas Pombart)
I see them defeating Cooks Hill in the final 2-1 after extra time.
Cooks Hill United will win the minor premiership on the final day, as the two sides go neck and neck in the regular season title race.