The 2019-20 Futsal Premier League sure has a bit of zing to it this summer as several clubs eye-up a potential title hilt.
There were remarkable scenes at Valentine Sports Park last summer when premier league legend Shervin Adeli rubberstamped his name in folklore with a last-gasp winner to help Enfield Allstars edge perennial winners Dural Warriors 3-2 and lift the club’s first championship trophy in nine years of trying, and their first accolade since claiming a promising 2011/12 premiership.
But while Enfield whet their lips with a possible follow-up strengthened by Dural’s demise from this season’s top flight, that scenario rings true for every club shaded by the red Warriors colours hoisted in victory so many times over the past decade – a definitive six championships (including five straight) and six premierships, a mind-blowing five doubles.
Dural’s dusty exit leaves the saloon door swinging wide open and a long line-up of slingers in the street itching for their shot at trophy glory.
Inner West will of course be frontrunners and desperate to atone for a three-point penalty and late-season fumble that gave up a finals spot to long-time rivals Mascot.
It was a total season slip-up following Magic’s breakthrough 2016/17 premiership-championship double (they also won the inaugural Futsal Cup that year), and with a couple of not-so-secret additions to the line-up they’ll be primed for the upcoming season-start.
Mountain Majik enjoyed unprecedented success with their best-ever men’s finish three points off premiers Dural, before they were dumped in the finals by eventual champions Enfield; but a first-up finals dash should only galvanise Majik for further achievements, particularly considering they’re now one of the elder statesmen in the gentlemen’s club.
Now in their seventh season the Mountaineers are the sixth-longest serving premier league club behind Magic (13), Vipers (13), Quake (12), Warriors (10) and Enfield (10). UTS will contest their sixth straight summer to draw alongside historic Sydney City Eagles, with Boomerangs lining up their fifth run in Australian Futsal’s biggest race.
Another name in the mix is Mascot who turned the tables on rivals Inner West in a final-round 3-2 upset – their first win over Magic since September 2011 – that leapfrogged them into the playoffs for the first time in three years where they were edged out of the running by premiers Dural 3-2.
Sixth-placed UTS Northside were thwarted yet again to keep their debut playoff place at bay, the northerners finishing between fourth and sixth in each of their five campaigns to date.
Eastern Suburbs Hakoah showed plenty of promise but ultimately lacked consistency in a decent first-up premier league effort that can only provide vital experience necessary to compete at the highest level.
Wooden-spooners Campbelltown were well below their best despite dazzling Dural mid-season to lift the 2018 Futsal Cup, but a club-low seven straight defeats completely derailed any league aspirations; they may find themselves in a rebuilding phase with the exit of a couple of key players.
And that leaves Boomerangs who return to the premier’s table boasting the league’s second-best home record (a 64% winning rate in the ACT short of Dural’s 77% success at The Centre and ahead of next-best Inner West’s 59%), but they also haven’t won an away fixture since early 2014 – a dismal competition-low 14-game stretch (their first road trip is to Hakoah in round three).
Last summer was the closest men’s comp of all time as 18 points separated top from bottom (beating the previous year’s mark of 21, which had bettered the 24 points record from the season before), and with Dural out of the picture that figure might be broken again this season.
Six teams in the current line-up have played finals futsal in the past three years, while Hakoah and UTS chase a maiden playoff spot.
The 2019-20 Futsal Men’s Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, September 21, with a classic match-up between Inner West and Mascot. The remaining three round one fixtures will be played on Sunday, with grand final day scheduled for December 21.
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