The weekend we have all been waiting for has finally arrived!
The NSW Men’s National Premier Leagues 3 competition returns and we could not be happier as we prepare for another six month rollercoaster.
The newly rebranded Inner West Hawks will take to the pitch for their first match on Saturday night as they face off against Gladesville Ryde Magic with kick off set for 7pm at Arlington Oval.
The new look Inner West side will have a tough proposition on their hands as they come up against the might of Magic – one of the most consistent sides in the competition.
The Gaitatzis brothers will once again be leading the line for Magic while supporters will get the first chance to see Pana Gotsis in action as he gears up for his debut.
Heffron Park will be the venue for Dunbar Rovers’ clash against Macarthur Rams which is set to get underway from 7pm.
The eastern suburbs outfit have assembled a strong squad for the upcoming campaign, which is bolstered by English targetman, Tod Bamber, and the returning Conor Earley who has scored more than the occasional screamer throughout his time.
The Rams will be able to call upon trusted goalscorer, Mark Symington, who returns as captain for the 2021 season.
The men from Lynwood Park were not shy in the goals department last season and could cause a headache for Dunbar’s defence if they come out firing.
The headline fixture that stares out at us this weekend is of course the Bankstown derby which pits fierce rivals, City and United, against each other.
Both sides had what could only be described as contrasting seasons last year with City falling short in the Grand Final while United picked up the unwanted wooden spoon.
To add to the spectacle, there has also been some movement between the two clubs in the offseason with Stefan Dubocanin joining Scott Belgre’s United.
Inter Lions will be welcoming Rydalmere Lions to Majors Bay Reserve for their round 1 fixture with kick off scheduled for 7pm on Saturday.
A raft of astute signings by John Theo has placed Inter in firm contention for title honours which will be tested instantly as they go head-to-head against the reigning champions.
The poster boys of last season, Rydalmere, will have a tough task on the horizon as they aim to consolidate their standout 2020 season this time around.
Will they keep the same style of play or will Gavin Rae change it up and ensure that the championship stays at Rydalmere Park for a second successive season?
The final match scheduled for the standard 7pm time slot will take place at Crest Athletic Centre between Canterbury Bankstown and Dulwich Hill.
An inspired 4th placed finish last season means that expectations are on the rise for Canterbury Bankstown in 2021.
The departure of Andrija Mandic may be a blow to Wally Savor’s side but his smart recruitment drive may have just done the job as they look to go one better and make it to the showcase event this time around.
The experienced Anthony Foti will add to what was already a potent Dully attack as they look to muscle their way into one of the highly prized finals positions this season.
First round proceedings will come to a close on Sunday night when Sydney University host Central Coast United at Strathfield Park at 7:30pm.
A second season in the NPL 3 competition awaits Central Coast who will be sporting a similar line-up to 2020.
Goal threat and club stalwart, Daniel McFarlane will be looking to torment opposition defences while young gun Mason Wells will be hoping to outdo last season’s total which saw him grab three goals for the Pirates.
Uni have added to their defensive stocks with the signature of Jordan Barrett as they look to shore up their backline.
The men from Camperdown will be hoping to avoid last season’s scenario which saw them just scrape away from the bottom of the table on the final matchday.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)