State League Division 1 Preview


The smell I am referring to is that of freshly cut grass, as there is nothing like the look of a flat, green football pitch to conjure up visions of your favourite football team in action.
With the pre-season well and truly over, the fitness drills thankfully complete, new players becoming accustomed to their new team mates, and brand new playing strips uncovered from their packaging, the time has finally come to kick off the NSW State League Division One.
Round One kicks off with three matches on Saturday evening, all commencing at 7-00pm.
Arguably the match of the round will be played at Cook Park, with Mounties Wanderers hosting Inter Lions.
Both clubs have new coaches at the helm, with Anthony Crea taking charge at Mounties, hoping to emulate the club?s Grand Final success of 2009, but also hoping to go one step better, and take out the premiership and possible promotion to the Super League.
Inter Lions have acquired the services of ex-Blacktown City coach, Nick Tarquinio, and he has put a broom through the playing services of the first grade squad, hoping the new blood can inject the necessary impetus to take the Lions higher than last season?s elimination semi final placing.
Blacktown Spartans and UNSW will meet in an intriguing match up at Francis Park No.2.
The Spartans had a fantastic start to 2009, but faded in the latter stages to eventually miss the finals series. Consistency is what the team will be looking for this season, along with some luck in terms of injuries, and a few new signings should mean they will be there or thereabouts come season end.
The ?students? are keen to continue their momentum from 2009, and it will be interesting to see how well coach Luke Andrews has recruited to counter the loss of their ace marksman, Stuart Meney, who was transferred to Spirit FC in the off season.
The final match will see Schofields Scorpions tackle Hurstville ZSC at CSI Sport Ground, with both teams hoping that this season brings them better fortunes than what they achieved last year. The Scorpions, especially, were early competition favourites, but dropped points at crucial times to drop out of contention nearing the finals series.
One of the competition?s newcomers, Gladesville Ryde Magic, make their debut at Norford Park when they visit Fairfield City Lions on Sunday, the match kicking off at 3-00pm.
Up after a successful stint in Division Two in 2009, the Magic will be hoping to kick off their season on a bright note at the home of the Lions, who themselves have promised bigger and better things after a disappointing debut season last year in Division One.
Camden Tigers and Balmain SC renew acquaintances at Ron Dine Reserve on Sunday at 3-00pm, following some real ding dong battles in 2008 in the Conference League. Both clubs will be extremely proud to have been collectively promoted, given it was merely a sudden death penalty that separated the two when they clashed in the promotion decider a couple of seasons ago.
Some great news to come out of the Balmain camp is the return of the mercurial Johhny Buonavoglia, one of the best strikers to come out of NSW, and ?jockey? will be keen to torment opposition defences and make up for lost ground, given he missed the 2009 season.
The final game of the round will be played at Arlington Oval on Sunday evening, kicking off at 7-00pm, as Stanmore Hawks welcome the visit of Hills Brumbies.
I officially declare the games of the 2010 NSW State League Division One competition open?.let the football begin!
-By Frank Speranza