The BDAFA Umbro Men’s Premier League season is back with 9 teams from our 2022 season returning and 1 stalwart Premier League Club re-joining the 2023 competition to make this year one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory.
The BUPL Champions of 2022, Padstow Hornets, will have a target on their back as they were able to claim their 4th title out of the last 5 seasons. With Bankstown Sports Strikers raising to the summit alongside the Hornets in recent years, the question around Bankstown will be who will the challengers be to de-throne the two most recent leaders of the competition.
Bass Hill Rangers will have a point to prove this season as they make a return to the Premier League competition after finishing last place in the 2021 season.
Let’s look at how each side is shaping up heading into the competition kicking off this weekend.
Bass Hill Rangers
Returning to the competition having not participated since the 2021 season, Bass Hill rangers’ squad has been completely revamped. They have signed a mixed combination of their own talented local junior players who have returned to the club or been out having not played.
The club has completely overhauled their coaching staff, with a new Head Coach, Technical Director and the Club President and other members of the club giving their full support to the development of the team, not just short term but for the years to come.
Bass Hill head coach is excited with how his side is coming together.
“It’s exciting to see the squad coming together nicely having started later in the off season”
“The club is not setting the bar too high this year after sitting out last season. Our main goal is to be competitive each week and always put in a good performance.”
“Bass Hill are flying under the radar and that’s how we like to be. Let’s see what happens come the end of the season.”
Bass Hill Rangers will have to do it tough in the first round to claim 3-points as they play the reigning Premiers Bankstown Sports Strikers at Jim Ring Reserve.
Bankstown Sports Strikers
Last Season: First Grade 1st (Runners-up), Reserve Grade 5th (Runners-up)
Bankstown Sports Strikers will be coming into the 2023 competition as one of the teams to beat having won the First Grade Premiership in 2022 as well as both their First Grade and Reserve Grade finishing runners-up in their respective competitions in the 2022 MPL Finals.
Head Coach Ali Hassan returns for the 2023 season after guiding the squad to win the MPL Club Championship in 2022.
Bankstown Sports Strikers are expecting a very competitive premier league competition in 2023 and have made some changes to their squad to remain competitive and reach their goal of making finals in both First grade and Reserve Grade in 2023.
Whilst still maintaining a good numbers of players who have played for Bankstown Sports Strikers as juniors, they have also brought in a few marquee signings to continue to strengthen the squad. One notable key signing Rajniel Chand looks to add depth to the squad having played in the NPL throughout his youth and senior career as well as his home country, Fiji National Team for their U20s and U23s.
Bankstown Sports Strikers will welcome Bass Hill Rangers back into the MPL competition in round 1 and be looking to start off their 2023 campaign with 3-points.
Central Sydney Wolves
Last Season: First Grade 11th, Reserve Grade 4th
Central Sydney Wolves look determined to prove the doubters wrong and begin on the path back up the table after finishing bottom of the First Grade table in 2022.
2023 is a rebuild year for their MPL squad which will see a lot of fresh new faces feature in their 2023 season. Their most exciting signing being the return of life member Bill Karafotias, who will take the reigns as MPL head coach for the 2023 season and look to guide his side to their goal of both their First Grade and Reserve Grade in the 2023 MPL finals.
Central Sydney Wolves had a number of trials over the off-season seeing some very positive results and good momentum leading into round 1 of the 2023 competition.
Central Sydney Wolves are optimistic about the 2023 season. “Based on last year, the only way is up for us.”
Central Sydney Wolves will take on Greenacre eagles in a local derby where they will be hoping for a positive start to their season.
Georges River Thistle
Last Season: First Grade 9th, Reserve Grade 6th
This season the Georges River Thistle side will be looking for an improved position on the table after a 9th place finish in the 2022 season.
The Club will be looking to re-find their Premiership contending history and put behind them a difficult last season where the team from Coleman Park finished well considering they a few disruptions during their 2022 campaign with players stepping up to coach for three-quarters of the season. However they look to be a much steadier ship heading into 2023.
Georges River Thistle have brought in new coach Gian Thaphanous, who will look to the guide their squad into a positive 2023 season.
The Georges River squad for 2023 has a fresh mix of new players joining to add depth to the squad as well as a solid amount of last year’s core retained.
Georges River Thistle executives are excited for the season heading into round 1 this weekend and are looking forward to a promising year stating they will be the team to watch.
Georges River Thistle will take on Panania Diggers at home in round 1 hoping to turn Coleman Park into a fortress during the season.
Last Season: First Grade 4th, Reserve Grade 1st (Champions)
Greenacre Eagles are looking forward to an exciting 2023 season after both their First Grade and Reserve Grade competed in the 2022 MPL finals series.
After winning the Reserve Grade Competition and losing out in the Semi-Finals of the First Garde competition, much work will be needed for Greenacre to reach the highs of 2022.
With a high volume of player turn over, the club has promoted within, with many key players from their all-conquering All Age Men’s team earning their deserved promotion into their First-Grade team.
The club has also thrived in the last 4 years which has led to promoting many local juniors into their Reserve Grade side for the 2023 season.
The Greenacre Eagles coaching staff are optimistic about the 2023 season with the quality of the competition continuing to grow.
“As with everyone else in the competition, Greenacre aim to be there at the business end of the season. But with the quality of competition increasing, this will be a tough challenge. One we are ready for.”
If Pre-season form is anything to go by then Greenacre will definitely be one Club to watch this season.
Greenacre Eagles will play at home against Central Sydney Wolves in a local derby where they will be aiming to start their season on a good note looking to have both of their sides in the 2023 finals series.
Last Season: First Grade 2nd (Champions), Reserve Grade 3rd
The 2022 MPL First Grade Champions, Padstow Hornets, will not be looking to take their foot off the throttle as they look to secure their 5th MPL title in 6 years. (The 2021 year they didn’t win was due to the season being cancelled).
Although Padstow Hornets were crowned champions in 2022, this season they will be aiming not only to be champions again, but also secure Premiership as Bankstown Sports Strikers beat them to it in 2022.
Padstow Hornets are known for their dangerous attacking threats up front as they scored 96 goals in the 2022 season which was the most goals scored in the competition. The reigning BUPL top goal scorer, Neil Philippou, will also feature in their 2023 season where he will look to continue his form in front of goal.
Padstow Hornets will start their season off with a local derby against Padstow United which will be played at Bankstown’s Football’s newest synthetic, Padstow Park.
Last Season: First Grade 3rd, Reserve Grade 10th
Padstow United will be aiming to be one of the front-runners once again in the 2023 season after finishing 3rd in the competition and proving to be one of the stronger teams in the competition.
With their goal being to improve on their 3rd place finish in the 2022 season, Padstow United has been able to retain most of their squad from their 2022 campaign whilst also adding some young players to their squad. This season will see 15 players of their squad being aged under 25 years old who are keen to cement their spot in Padstow United’s First Grade side.
Padstow United have also picked up some interesting new acquisitions in midfield workhorse Yusuke Shiota and club veteran Dean Webb. Webb, a member of many premiership winning Padstow sides in the past, returns to add some steel in defence.
Padstow United strikers Rafa Coutinho and current BUPL player of the year, John Martinez, will also feature in 2023 after a successful 2022 campaign with Padstow United. The duo combined for many goals last season and always look dangerous when linking up together on the pitch.
Padstow United will start their season off with a local derby against reigning First Grade champions Padstow Hornets which will be played at Bankstown’s Football’s newest synthetic, Padstow Park.
Last Season: First Grade 7th, Reserve Grade 2nd
Panania Diggers are back for the 2023 season and will be looking for a spot in the finals for both their first grade and their reserve grade as they are a very young squad with an eye on the future.
This year, Panania Diggers has picked up a few new faces with a number of players moving up from their 2022 Under 21’s squad who were champions of their respective competition.
The Panania Diggers coaching staff have been delighted with how well their new signings have performed in the off season.
“These new signings have brought some fresh enthusiasm to the team, and we’re looking forward to the season ahead.’
Although they have struggled to get all of their players on the field at the same to help establish some of their new combinations in their trials matches, the diggers coaching staff is confident that their few trial matches has set a good foundation for the squad leading into round 1.
Panania Diggers will play away from home in round 1 against Georges River Thistle as they aim to start the season off on a positive note.
Last Season: First Grade 6th, Reserve Grade 7th
Revesby Workers were one of the unluckier sides in the competition last year, missing out on finals for First Grade by a handful of points.
After finishing 6th in the 2022 Premier League competition, Revesby Workers are geared up and excited for the 2023 season where we will see their PL return to wearing their traditional club strip.
This year will be a fresh start for the club with a lot of new faces in their 2023 coaching staff and squad due to the retirement of their Head Coach of the last 5 years and many of their players.
However, club RWFC coaching staff are optimistic heading into round 1 after a positive pre-season.
“The boys have enjoyed 4 trial games over the last month and are starting to gel as a new squad with many new players. The Premier league squad are excited to test themselves in the 2023 season.”
Revesby Workers will take on Yagoona Lions in round 1 at Middleton Park hoping to push for a finals series spot in 2023.
Last Season: First Grade 5th, Reserve Grade 8th
Yagoona Lions will be looking to pick up where they left off in 2022 as they were able to win 4 out of their last 5 games during the 2022 season to earn a spot in the finals before narrowly falling short in the second week of finals to Padstow United in a penalty shoot-out.
The club has retained coaches Zarko Paskoski and Vlade Ristevski after a successful 2022, which saw the club compete in finals for the first time since 2017.
Majority of their squad from 2022 has been retained with some new players added to bolster the squad whilst adding some much needed depth.
Jamie Bazevski joins the club from Bankstown Strikers, while the club has been able to add depth across the park with Stefan Talevski, Benne Owusu, Hassan Hallak, Andrew Spiropoulos and Prince Benneh giving the Lions plenty options in 2023.
With one of the proudest history’s in our Premier League competition the Lions will be aiming for a top 3 finish in 2023 with their eyes set on a grand final appearance for the first time since 2011.
Yagoona Lions will take on Revesby workers in round 1 of the competition where they hope to take a valuable 3 points to start of their season.