There will be plenty of A-League and Westfield W-League experience on show when the NPL All-Stars face Brisbane Roar at Dolphin Stadium tonight – and not just among those wearing orange.
From former internationals to Grand Final winners, there are leaders throughout the Queensland State Teams who bring with them invaluable tips and tricks from the top, augmenting a standard of Queensland football that is ever-improving.
Get up to speed with some of the former professionals that will be strutting their stuff in Saturday’s huge double-header and don’t forget to book your tickets online before heading to the ground!
NPL ALL-STARS WOMEN’S SQUAD
Amy Chapman (Capalaba FC)
Chapman was held in such high regard in her youth that she made her Westfield Matildas debut while still at the AIS. Starting her Westfield W-League career with Canberra United, the incisive attacking midfielder went on to play an integral role in the early success of the Roar, winning multiple trophies during her seven-year spell with the club including the Championship in 2010/11. Chapman’s class has shone through since arriving in the NPL Women’s competition, first with Souths United and more recently Capalaba FC.
Stephanie Latham (Capalaba FC)
Enjoying the most prolific goalscoring spell of her career at age 34, having netted 16 goals for Capalaba this term, Latham continues to showcase all the nous that caught Roar’s eye 11 years ago. Breaking onto the scene as a bustling midfielder, the then 22-year-old played a pivotal part in their Championship-winning 2008/09 campaign. Over the past three years, Latham has cemented herself as a focal point for Capalaba.
Shea Connors (Logan Lightning)
Hailing from the college ranks of the United States, the speedy Connors has been a revelation since making the journey down under. Hitting 25 goals in 15 games in her first campaign with Logan Lightning, her form earned her a chance with Roar at the back end of last season, and Connors chipped in with one goal from her two appearances as she introduced herself to the top tier of Australian football.
Sofie Persson (Mitchelton FC)
Swedish striker Persson also counts a Roar stint on her resume, having stepped up to the top level in 2015, beginning with a debut against Western Sydney Wanderers. With eight Westfield W-League appearances under her belt, Persson has established herself as one of the classiest operators in the NPL Women’s competition. Her goals helped Lions FC to a double in 2019 and led the way for Mitchelton FC in 2020.
Tegan Riding (Lions FC)
A highly competitive handful on the pitch, attacker Riding was always going to give her all to carve out opportunities in Australia’s top flight. First turning out for Adelaide United in 2013-14, Riding later made the switch to long-time contenders Canberra United, where she formed part of the high-class group that claimed Grand Final glory in 2014/15. Returning to Queensland initially with Eastern Suburbs and now with Lions, Riding’s intelligence and industry has been a thorn in the side of opposition defences as she’s struck double figures in her past five seasons.
Natasha Wheeler (Capalaba FC)
Inking a deal with Roar as a 19-year old, Wheeler’s five Westfield W-League appearances in season 2013-14 and Young Matildas background have held her in good stead. The defender made the move from Mitchelton to Capalaba in 2020 and added a clinical attacking edge to her game, contributing five strikes as Capalaba reached the Semi-Finals.
NPL ALL-STARS MEN’S SQUAD
Michael Thwaite (Gold Coast United)
A household name in Australian football, Thwaite has carved out an illustrious career following humble beginnings in Cairns. Racking up 204 appearances spanning a 10-year A-League career, plus stints in Romania, Poland, Norway and China, Thwaite featured in the Socceroos setup over the course of an eight-year period. He has since returned to Gold Coast United, for whom he became a cult figure during his three-and-a-half season A-League spell.
Abrahim Yango (Eastern Suburbs)
The twinkle-toed Yango burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced 18-year-old at the Roar in 2015. After lighting up Young Roar games with his flair and quality around the box, he went on to make three senior appearances for the club before making the switch to Eastern Suburbs via a stint in Victoria. Known around the grounds as a dazzling attaking talent, his A-League experience helps make him a force to be reckoned with for defences across the NPL Men’s competition.
Cameron Crestani (Peninsula Power)
Hailing from Stanthorpe in South West Queensland, Crestani brought all of his tenacity to Roar’s defence when he made his professional bow in 2016/17. Excelling in their youth squad, Crestani was brought into the fray for three A-League appearances as the club secured a Semi Finals spot, while he also notched three AFC Champions League starts. Creastani was a key cog in the Peninsula Power side that kept 11 clean sheets en route to their first NPL Men’s Premiership this season.
Brendan White (Brisbane Strikers)
Highly regarded in the semi-professional ranks of Queensland and Victoria, it took an opportunity with Roar for White’s professional career to take flight at age 25. Initially playing supporting the then reigning A-League Goalkeeper of the Year in Jamie Young, suspensions paved the way for White to make four appearances between the posts in season 2018/19. Picked up on a short-term contract by Melbourne Victory at last season’s inception, he made a return to his roots when he joined Brisbane Strikers in 2020.
Words: Angus Barnes
🗣️ “They’ll be really hungry and wanting to put one over us”@brisbaneroar star @ScottyMcD83 is prepared for a tough game against his former @Socceroos teammate Michael Thwaite and the #NPLQLD All-Stars tomorrow.
— Football Queensland (@FootballQLD) December 4, 2020