The National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland competition has just passed the halfway mark, and there’s already been plenty of action in the first 15 rounds!
The story so far
The 2019 season saw the introduction of Peninsula Power and Eastern Suburbs to the competition as the promoted teams from the Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL), while Gold Coast Knights also entered the state’s premier football competition.
After 15 rounds of football, it is Power who sit at the top of the table after continuing their unbeaten streak which started in the opening game of the FQPL back in 2018.
Power haven’t dropped points since Round 11 of last year when they were held to a draw with Logan Lightning.
WATCH: Highlights from Peninsula Power’s win over Olympic
READ: NPLW mid-season review
READ: FQPL mid-season review
The big question for the second half of the season is ‘who can stop Power?’
Top four spots up for grabs
Peninsula Power may be eight points clear at the top of the table, but it’s not over until the final whistle.
Lions FC who are currently sitting in second need to find their 2018 Premiership form, that saw them only drop points in one match in the second half of the season and hope other results go their way if they are to secure back-to-back Premierships.
This year’s top four at the halfway point sees last season’s grand finalists Lions and Olympic alongside two of the new teams to the league in Knights and Power.
Lions have the best defensive record in the league, conceding just eight goals so far, which is the exact same number as they had conceded after 15 rounds last season.
There is a distinct top four currently, but movement inside this group is likely with both Knights and Olympic having a game in hand, while just three points separate second-placed Lions and fourth-placed Olympic.
Gold Coast United sit just outside the four, seven points behind Olympic, but have two games in hand so could put some pressure on the top four if results go their way for the remainder of the season.
Six teams in relegation battle
While the focus may be on those who will make up the top four come finals time, another battle is forming at the other end of the table.
Three teams may be relegated to the FQPL at season’s end, so the next 15 weeks will be important in determining which clubs remain in the NPL Queensland next season.
Western Pride, Sunshine Coast, Magpies Crusaders, SWQ Thunder, Redlands United and Brisbane Roar Youth are in a tight relegation battle with just four points separating 13th placed Magpies and 10th placed Brisbane Roar Youth.
Brisbane Strikers kick-started their season and distanced themselves from the relegation zone, having only lost one match in their last five, while Brisbane City have won their last three matches in a row to move up the ladder.
Currently sitting bottom of the ladder, last season’s semi-finalists Pride have just seven players from their 2018 squad remaining with two of those currently out injured and they now face a tough challenge, playing the four teams above them in their next eight games.
Sunshine Coast sit just one point ahead of Pride, with their last win coming against them in Round 8, but they’ve had some nail-biting losses in recent weeks. They’ll be hoping to convert these narrow losses into points for the rest of the season.
Magpies Crusaders and SWQ Thunder meanwhile both sit on 10 points, but both sides will have a tough finish to the season so will be looking to pick up points when they meet in Round 20.
- There have been 134 different goalscorers as of Round 15
- 400 goals have been scored so far this season
- Lions have kept the most clean sheets this season with eight recorded
- Nine players have scored hat-tricks this season, with three of them scoring two or more hat-tricks in just the first half of the season
- The biggest winning margin saw Knights defeat Redlands 8-0 in Round 4
Team to watch
Due to where they sit on the table, being clear of the relegation zone but still seven points from fourth, Eastern Suburbs could hold the key to where teams finish on the table at season’s end.
Their run this season has seen mixed results with close losses to heavyweights and top four sides Olympic, Knights and Peninsula Power which could make for an interesting battle when they meet again in the second half of the season.
The East Brisbane side, who are still new to the league and finding their feet, have exciting players including Golden Boot contender Jordan Farina who could be a point of difference for the team.
Round 16: Peninsula v Lions FC and Brisbane Roar v Western Pride
Round 19: Magpies Crusaders v Western Pride
Round 21: Gold Coast Knights v Peninsula Power and Magpies Crusaders v Redlands United
Round 22: Peninsula Power v Olympic FC and Gold Coast United v Gold Coast Knights
Round 23: Western Pride v Sunshine Coast and Olympic v Gold Coast United
Round 24: Lions FC v Gold Coast Knights
Round 25: Olympic FC v Lions FC
Image: Albert Perez/Eastern Suburbs