The eighth edition of the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland Men’s will kick off this weekend in a new-look competition featuring an updated logo and naming conventions.
14 teams will compete in the 2020 season, and the stakes will be high as ever with two sides to be relegated come season’s end.
The much-anticipated 2020 NPL Queensland Men’s season will see Queensland teams welcome former A-League stars and international talent in what is set to be an exciting year of competition.
All NPL Queensland Men’s First Grade fixtures will again be live streamed this season on FQ YouTube, so you don’t have to miss a second of the action.
Ahead of Round 1 this weekend, let’s take a look at the 14 teams that will contend for the NPL Queensland Men’s title in 2020.
After finishing last season in sixth position in the league, Brisbane City have added five new players to their roster to try and bridge the gap to a Finals finish in 2020.
With Captain Jesse Rigby firing on all cylinders last season, and the club’s ability to retain key attacking players while adding to their ranks, City are sure to bring an exciting brand of football to the league in 2020.
The addition of former Gold Coast Knights players Shannon Brady will see City looking to pick up where they left off at the end of last season after securing two wins and a draw in their final three matches.
In a major boost for the club, former skipper Sam Sibatuara will also return to the league following a stint in the NPL Victoria while Ipswich Knights’ Chris Parsons joins the club.
Key players: Jean Carlos Solorzano, Alex Fiechtner, Jesse Rigby
Brisbane Roar Youth
In addition to being active in multiple leagues, Brisbane Roar Youth have also been active in the transfer window, bringing in nine new signings to bolster their squad and improve on their mid-table finish last season.
Roar have no doubt been watching over their opposition with a keen eye last season, with most of their additions coming from fellow NPL Queensland clubs. By strengthening their own squad with signings including Keegan Jelacic from Lions FC, Cai Tipaldo from Gold Coast Knights and Brisbane City’s Marquez Walters, time will tell if they have managed to weaken their opposition as a result.
Two players that have left Roar include Jyi Oakes and Eze Hawkins, who incidentally will face off against their former side in Round 1 of the competition as Roar take on 2019 FQPL Premiers and newly-promoted Sunshine Coast Wanderers this Saturday.
Key Players: Mirza Muratovic, Keegan Jelacic, Cai Tipaldo
It’s safe to say 2019 was a memorable and even record-breaking year for the Brisbane Strikers, who became the first NPL Queensland club ever to reach the FFA Cup Semi Finals.
Another impressive record was Andy Pengelly’s remarkable 41 goals in 26 league games, although it wasn’t quite enough to get Strikers into the top four, as they finished the season in fifth place – just outside a Finals position.
With seven departures, including Pengelly to the Singapore Premier League on a professional contract, and only two confirmed signings so far in former Roar player Emilio Martinez and Edgeworth FC’s Oliver Smith, Strikers will be relying on many familiar faces to help improve their league finish this year.
It won’t be an easy start for the Brisbane side, as they come up against Championship winners Gold Coast Knights in a blockbuster Round 1 fixture.
Key Players: Bon Scott, Jake McLean, Fraser Hills
One of two newly-promoted teams in this coming season’s NPL Queensland Men’s competition is FQPL runners-up Capalaba FC.
Following their successful 2019 season in the FQPL, Capalaba appear happy to trust the core squad that helped them gain promotion last season. With three signings and only one departure announced, the Bulldogs have had one of the more modest transfer windows in comparison to other sides.
One signing who will draw on his NPL experience to strengthen his new side this season though is former Peninsula Power player Alex Warrilow. After helping his former club to the FQPL Premiership in 2018, the winger could be key to Capalaba’s success as they look to establish themselves as contenders in the 2020 NPL Queensland Men’s competition.
Key Players: Ryo Ono, Jake Sherwood, Kurtis Goodwin
Eastern Suburbs will no doubt enter the 2020 season with ambitions to finish higher than the ninth spot they claimed last year in their first season in the NPL.
Unfortunately for Easts, they will have to do so without the help of their 2019 leading goal scorer Jordan Farina, who scored 23 goals in his 24 matches last year.
With Farina heading to Premiers Lions FC for the 2020 season, Easts will rely on new signings Delors Tuyishime and Daeyoo Kim to add the extra fire power needed to improve on last year’s league finish.
Key Players: Hyeongjoon Son, Matthew Byrne, Preston Hugo
Gold Coast Knights
After finishing their 2019 campaign with a Grand Final victory, last year’s Champions Gold Coast Knights will be eager to emulate their success in 2020 and look favourites to take out the league in 2020.
The side that finished second in last year’s competition behind Premiers Lions FC will have to do so without one of their most impactful players though after the departure of defender Oskar Dillon to Hyundai A-League side Western United.
The NPL Queensland Young Player of the Year is one of six departures from the club over the summer including the loss of captain Sam Smith to rivals Gold Coast United, while the same number have signed on including former Lions FC midfielder Jheison Macuace, Heidelberg United’s Paul O’Brien and Guilherme Desouza from NPL Tasmania.
Key Players: Matthew Schmidt, Max Brown, Mitch Nichols.
Gold Coast United
A seventh-place finish in the league for Gold Coast United last season has led to a busy transfer window for the club, with seven new arrivals and eight departures from the club.
The acquisition of Sam Smith, Euan Thum-Davidson and Aniss Lagha’i from local rivals Gold Coast Knights is a clear sign of United’s intent to improve on last year’s league position and push for a lucrative top four finish in 2020, while the addition of former A-League star Shane Smeltz will further bolster their squad for this season.
Their steel will be tested from the get go, with a first round away trip to meet last year’s Grand Finalists Olympic FC.
Key Players: Michael Thwaite, Shane Smeltz, Sam Smith
After claiming back-to-back Premierships in the last two years, Lions FC have set the bar of expectations high – something new Head Coach Darren Sime is not unfamiliar with thanks to his many years as an Assistant Coach to now Brisbane Roar Academy General Manager Warren Moon.
In addition to Moon’s departure from the club, 2019 Team of the Season player Marek Madle has also left in favour of a move to Peninsula Power. Lions look to have found a fitting replacement though in the form of new signing Jordan Farina who will bring firepower to their attack in 2020.
The reigning Premiers have also managed to retain the services of three other Team of the Season players, and further bolstered their squad with the acquisition of Zach Maltby from Brisbane Strikers.
Considering this, Lions will no doubt be aiming to secure their third straight title in 2020, but it remains to be seen if their new coach will lead them to similar success this year.
Key Players: Tommy Jarrard, Mitch Hore, Danny Kim
Magpies Crusaders United
Magpies Crusaders has been the busiest NPL Queensland team in this year’s transfer window with 14 new recruits – most of whom have arrived from interstate teams or abroad.
After escaping relegation by just one point secured in their final match of the 2019 season, the Mackay side look to be doing everything they can to ensure they don’t find themselves in a similar position come the end of their 2020 campaign.
With the addition of Head Coach Tom Ballantyne alongside their multitude of player signings, the new-look side will be one to keep an eye on this season to see if the movements in the off season pay dividends.
Key Players: Jordy Vleugels, Kyren Walters, Dylan D’Agostino
Moreton Bay United
Moreton Bay United is one of a number of clubs who have made significant changes in preparation for the 2020 season.
After finishing in eleventh spot on the table in 2019, Moreton Bay have turned to former captain and Logan Lightning coach Royce Brownlie to strengthen their NPL Queensland campaign in 2020.
Some key players are amongst eight new signings for this season, including Mitchelton FC’s Carter Glockner and Emryn Donnelly-Fagen and Brisbane Premier League Team of the Season player and Albany Creek Excelsior skipper Sean Lewis.
Moreton Bay’s new signings will need to make an immediate impact as they take on Premiers Lions FC in Round 1 who look a tough side to beat.
Key Players: Riley Campbell, Carter Glockner, Declan Smith
Another of the sides many may consider favourites for the title in 2020 is Grand Finalists Olympic FC. Having appeared in the last two NPL Queensland Grand Finals and falling to defeat in both, Olympic will be aiming to improve on last season’s fourth-place finish.
They’ve managed to hold onto the majority of their squad, however the loss of attacking players Chris Lucas to NPL Victoria’s Dandenong City and retired Alex Smith may have a significant impact in 2020.
As they vie for another Finals appearance this season, Olympic have signed some key players including Holland Park Hawks’ Frederick Yinka-Kehinde, Lachlan Hunter from Brisbane Roar Youth and Daniel Leck from the NPL Victoria.
Key Players: Jez Lofthouse, Steve Whyte, Frederick Yinka-Kehinde
After a strong league campaign in 2019 in their first season in the NPL Queensland, Peninsula Power will want to build on their third place finish in the league and continue to establish themselves as one of the big names in Queensland football.
2019 Team of the Season player Dean Briggs is a substantial loss for this season following his return to England so Power will need someone to lead the line, which they’ve found in Lions FC’s Marek Madle.
The signing of Western Pride captain Cameron Crestani meanwhile will bolster their backline this season as the former FQPL side challenges for the title in 2020.
Key Players: Marek Madle, Tom Strickland, Cameron Crestani
Redlands United were a team that had an up-and-down season in 2019. While they escaped the jaws of relegation with relative comfort, they were also a considerable distance away from playing Finals football.
Over the summer they’ve boosted their squad, attaining a number of players from relegated NPL Queensland sides Western Pride and SWQ Thunder including Kimba Kimbombo, and also securing the services of Englishman Rory Smith.
With the changes made going into the new season, it will be fascinating to see whether Redlands United can break out of the mid-table trap in 2020. Their first challenge will be at home to Brisbane City this Saturday evening.
Key Players: Kado Aoci, Shuto Kuboyama, David Salin
Sunshine Coast Wanderers
The second newly-promoted team in the league Sunshine Coast Wanderers enter the NPL Queensland after finishing last season’s FQPL competition as Premiers.
Unlike Capalaba FC, Wanderers confirmed a large number of transfers both in and out in preparation for their debut season in the NPL Queensland.
Among their 13 player additions is a host of young talent from the Sunshine Coast leagues, as well as four players who featured in the NPL Queensland last season including Brisbane Roar Youth’s Jyi Oakes and Eze Hawkins.
With a young side boasting less experience than many of their NPL Queensland opponents, it will be very interesting to see if last year’s FQPL Premiers can cause a stir in Queensland’s top league this season. Wanderers will get their NPL Queensland campaign started when they take on Brisbane Roar Youth this Saturday.
Key Players: Jeremy Stewart, Taylor Walkinshaw, Jyi Oakes
Words: Darren Newell