The Football NSW Men’s State League 3 is kicking off this weekend after an extended break, with some exhilarating fixtures set to light up round 1 after a stormy weekend in Sydney.
Revolutionised teams will begin their campaigns, while old rivalries will be reignited.
League 3 Men’s will kick off with UNSW hosting Hawkesbury City at Fraser Park before a trio of Saturday 7pm games and one on Sunday at that same time see us through to the end of the first weekend of action.
But let’s not focus on ending too soon, because for now, it’s pure excitement at the beginning of what’s set to be a thrilling year of football in League 3 Men’s.
UNSW FC vs Hawkesbury City FC – Friday, 8:15pm, Fraser Park
Hawkesbury City FC will begin their season in a crunch match to kick off the campaign, facing off against UNSW FC.
UNSW has maintained the majority of their same squad for this campaign but will have a few players missing to kick off round 1.
Hawkesbury have set the goal as finals for this season and will be looking to state their intent with a win over the New South Wales University side, who finished 5th in a shortened campaign last year.
It’s been a tough time for the Hawks as the club was hit hard from the recent deluge that hit Sydney the past fortnight. We want to wish the club and players a speedy recovery as they slowly pick up the pieces on what were tragic events.
Hurstville FC vs Camden Tigers – Saturday, 7pm, Penshurst Park
Hurstville will be hosting Camden Tigers at their new facility at Penshurst Park to begin their campaign, as they look to complete their grand opening of the stadium with a victory over their opponents.
The Tigers will be prowling in the background, more than happy to play the spoiling role to Hurstville’s opening, with the formidable away force ensuring that the Australian-Croatian club won’t be taking their opponents lightly.
As expected, both sides are keen to make a good start to the league after a big layoff from competitive football.
COVID and weather have caused a disrupted preseason for Hurstville FC according to captain Paul Gagro, but his side is just excited to resume the normality of football and back themselves to come away with three points to begin their campaign.
Gagro was quick to cite that a win isn’t vital for their finals goal, but it would be a statement start to their season for both sides to take three points in a crunch match to begin the campaign.
Hurstville has a fully fit squad with one player possible in doubt and will unveil their new stadium first in the Under 20’s match at 5pm, followed by the 1st-grade match two hours later.
South Coast Flame FC vs Western Rage – Saturday, 7pm, Ian McLennan Park
South Coast Flame will host Western Rage to begin their season at Ian McLennan Park as part of the trio of Saturday 7pm kickoffs.
Western will be raring to go under new coach Jarrod Carluccio, who incidentally made his second appearance in the A-League Men for the Western Sydney Wanderers in their derby win over Sydney FC; The 21-year-old will be looking to make it another positive weekend with a victory over Flame in his first match in League 3 Men’s.
Meanwhile, Flame has assembled what they believe to be the best squad in their short history under coach Darren Jones, with a plethora of new signings set to take centre stage.
Nepean FC vs Fraser Park FC – Saturday, 7pm, Cook Park
Nepean will start their campaign at their home ground Cook Park in a crunch match against Fraser Park, with both sides overseeing significant squad turnovers in the offseason.
Fraser will begin their first competitive game under new coach Emanuel Pais, who are focusing on top four for the season.
Nepean is setting a similar goal, with coach Joe D’Ermilio suggesting that anything short of a finals place will be considered a failure; if goals are to go by, this is set to be a game of competitiveness and quality at Cook Park.
Newcastle Jets vs Parramatta FC – Sunday, 7pm, Lake Macquarie Regional Facility
Newcastle Jets will face off against Parramatta in a blockbuster game at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility – a 1st vs 4th clash from the table last season.
Newcastle will be looking to stamp their intentions once again for the campaign with victory over Parramatta, who have had a positive run in preseason.
Parramatta could be one of the sides joining Newcastle in the trophy hunt this season, stating that they want to go beyond competing for top four this campaign.
Bye: Prospect United
-By Jack George