Wanneroo City coach Tim Kantor believes his team will be facing the State League Division One champions-elect when they kick off their Night Series against Gwelup Croatia at Wanneroo Reserve tonight.
Gwelup won State League Division Two last season to earn promotion and Kantor expects their hot form to continue this season.
“Gwelup are a quality outfit and the inclusions of a number of NPL players will make them an even more formidable opposition,” he said.
“I think Gwelup will make history this year going from Sunday League football to NPL in three seasons.”
Kantor is expecting City to gel over the first few games of the season after a number of new signings joined the team over the break.
“I think the inclusion of Ash Corker, Jody Thomson, Gareth Lloyd and Scott Johnston will hopefully help us go the next step this year,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to tomorrow night as we start preparations for the season.”
The teams form part of Group B in the competition, along with Balga and Joondalup City who go head-to-head on Friday night, and Quinns FC and Morley Windmills who meet on Saturday afternoon. All of the Group B matches will take place at Wanneroo Reserve.
In Group A, Murdoch University Melville meet Kelmscott Roos with coach Gavin Brown using the match to scope out players as they prepare for the season.
“It will be an experimental line up,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of new players in and a few older ones out. We hope to start the competition on a positive note.”
Mandurah City will entertain Rockingham City at Securitas Protect Stadium on Friday evening and Gosnells City will host South West Phoenix at Walter Padbury Reserve on Sunday night.
In Group C, Western Knights will face Curtin University on Sunday at Walter Padbury Reserve, with new signing Tom Kennedy enthusiastic about his team’s potential.
“A lot of new boys have come into the squad, with only a few leaving so there’s a lot of depth and quality,” he said.
“The boys are buzzing to fire in to a few competitive games. Curtin should be a good challenge first up and I’m sure they will be up for it, so we’re not expecting an easy game in the slightest but we will definitely be ready to go.”
Other teams in Group C include Canning City and Shamrock Rovers who will meet on Saturday night at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, and Fremantle City who will have a bye in round one.
Mike Ford will take the reins at Swan United for the first time when his Group D team takes on Olympic Kingsway at Wanneroo Reserve.
Winger Brennan Borzecki is confident the team is progressing, despite a number of player missing.
“Pre-season with Mike has been really good but we’ve been missing some of our key players,” he said. “I’m sure it’s been hard for him to work without a full complete squad but we’re looking forward to the Night Series.”
Other games in Group D include Ashfield and Dianella White Eagles, who will battle it out at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday evening, and UWA Nedlands who will have a round one bye.