The inaugural Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) Far North & Gulf Men’s competition kicks off this weekend, with eight teams across the region vying for the top spot.
The newly structured FQPL Far North & Gulf competition replaces the previous FNQ Premier League, in which Edge Hill United won both the Premiership and Grand Final titles in 2021.
Established in 2022 as part of the Future of Football 2020+ reforms, the new competition sits within the Northern Conference and features clubs across Cairns, Innisfail and Mareeba.
For 2022, the FQPL Far North & Gulf Men’s league includes Edge Hill United, Innisfail United, Leichhardt FC, Mareeba United, Marlin Coast Rangers, Southside Comets, Stratford Dolphins and the new addition of Redlynch Strikers.
In the 2021 edition of the FNQ Premier League, Edge Hill United was the team to beat as they recorded 16 wins and just one loss. Finishing the season as Premiers and Grand Final winners, Edge Hill’s Crios O’Hare snagged the top spot in the Golden Boot race, with 37 goals to his name across 17 matches. Jesse Casson and Joshua Taylor also contributed to the team’s attacking strengths with both recording 12 goals in 18 matches.
O’Hare has come back for another season as player-coach to lead the line for the Tigers in a relatively unchanged squad moving into the 2022 campaign.
Edge Hill has also demonstrated their attacking prowess throughout the Australia Cup as they triumphed over Stratford Dolphins in a 3-0 preliminary round win. Considering the team’s performance so far, it will be intriguing to see whether they can continue their winning form throughout the FQPL season.
Mareeba United has also showcased their strong form throughout the Australia Cup as the team recorded wins against Leichhardt FC and Innisfail United. They now look toward the Australia Cup Far North & Gulf decider against Edge Hill United next Thursday, 14 April. Bulls’ talisman Wayne Srhoj has re-signed for another campaign and will look to help mould the next generation of players coming through.
Another Far North & Gulf side that has displayed its talent during the Cup competition is Stratford Dolphins who progressed through to Round 4. Despite losing their Round 4 match against Edge Hill, the team will look to make an impact in the upcoming FQPL season.
Leichhardt FC will also be a key contender this season as the team continues to build upon their strength in the attacking third. Following their second-place finish last season, the team has started with a bang this year in the FQ Far North League Cup. Leading Group B in the cup with two wins so far, the team’s attack can rely on Alex Russell, Declan Mcalister and new signing Dylan Gawronski, who all found themselves in the top ten leading goalscorers last season. The biggest ace up the Lions’ sleeve though may be the signing of former NPL player Jamie Gosling.
Marlin Coast Rangers meanwhile has also shown strong form during the League Cup and currently sit in second place in Group B, with their next match-up against Leichhardt set to take place at the end of May. New coaching staff Alistar Pavey and Jeffery Lassache have worked hard over the off-season to put together a new squad made up of Rangers juniors and seniors who all want to play for the name on the front of the shirt.
The first round of the FQPL Far North & Gulf Men’s kicks off this Saturday with Mareeba United taking on Leichhardt FC, Stratford Dolphins versing Southside Comets while Marlin Coast Rangers will play Innisfail United. On Sunday, Edge Hill United will go head-to-head with the new boys on the block, the Redlynch Strikers.
Edge Hill United: Crios O’Hare, Joshua Taylor, Josh DeNittus, Jesse Casson
Leichhardt FC: Alex Russel, Declan Mcalister, Dylan Gawronski, Jamie Gosling
Mareeba United: Wayne Srhoj, Darcy McCormack, Dylan Cummings
Stratford Dolphins: Mattew Murray, MAttew Harwood, Jordan Mchugh
Innisfail United: Alick August, Ricky Tuigaloa, Jayden Zecchinati
Southside Comets: Dylan Soares, Zeca Soares, Luke Paron
Marlin Coast Rangers: Jeffrey Lassche, Geoffrey Bulkua, Darcy Fitzroy
Redlynch Strikers: Cole Junna, Santiago Cifuentes-Sanchez, Likto Kotera