Summer is just about to get that little bit hotter with the first round of the 2013-14 Futsal NSW Premier League kicking off this weekend.
There’s always a lot of guess work when it comes to a new club entering the fray and Mountain Majik makes an intriguing addition to the premier league fold.
Majik won four of the nine State League titles on offer last summer, finishing losing grand finalists in two other grades to pack a real punch across all age groups.
On the open men’s front, Dural Warriors will be hot favourites yet again following two successive premiership-championship doubles (and an F-League trophy) under their belt, but they can expect stern opposition from powerhouse club Inner West Magic.
Boomerangs have also developed into a strong force and along with Campbelltown Quake will push for top-three status, leaving Enfield Rovers, Mascot Vipers and Phoenix Futsal Clubs to assume dark horse status what promises to be a very competitive year of Futsal.
This Saturday’s opening round sends Campbelltown to Hawkesbury Indoors Stadium for a match-up with premier league newies Mountain Majik, Dural Warriors face Boomerangs at mpowerdome, Inner West Magic host Enfield Rovers at the Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Stadium, and Phoenix welcome Mascot Vipers to Ryde Sports and Community Centre.
Please check the footballnsw.com.au website for full details (scroll down the ‘Competitions’ bar to ‘Futsal Premier League’).
Boomerangs co-coach Kristian Collins said his squad was similar to the one that did well in this year’s F-League, with the handy addition of Ryan Keir.
“We’ve been building with same group of guys for three years and developed a style of play,” he said. “The youth team has provided a good footing for us, but we will rely on the leadership of Thomas Zeitlhofer and Jake Wilsner. We’ll cause a few upsets like we usually do.”
Collins said Inner West and Dural would be the favourites again this season, with Campbelltown thereabouts. He also tipped Majik to perform strongly across all junior grades. “You never know from season to season where players have gone… we’re just looking forward to a great competition.
Campbelltown Quake team manager Carlos Martinez welcomed back some old faces with national goalkeeper Gavin O’Brien and former Futsalroo Miles Downie joining new signing Jordan Mundell (from Maccabi). And with wily veteran Simon Keith at the helm, Quake have an extra shiver about them this summer.
“There’s no doubt those guys will be very beneficial to us; add them to our team list and we have a very competitive team,” he said. “What we’re looking for is more consistency and a better start to the year. We’re really looking forward to the season getting started.”
Martinez said Dural and Inner West would be the pacesetters because they had the most national representatives, and backed Boomerangs to build on their F-League success, but he didn’t mind slipping back into the shadows. “It’s good that we’re under the radar. I like to think we can be top three, but it all comes down to getting players to the game.”
Dural Warriors coach Rob Varela didn’t expect anything less than a tough summer of love. “It’s going to be a hard year. We’ve won last two grand finals but that counts for nothing once a new season starts as it’s a different challenge each year,” he said.
“We know we have a target on our backs and every Saturday will be like a final for us; whoever we play on a Saturday night will be our toughest opponent.
“But we’re confident. We know that our best game will do well against everybody but if we’re not on our game that gives everyone a chance and that applies to every team. We have a good squad but we’re not silly enough to think we just have to take the court, we know we have to work hard for every win.”
Varela counted every club as a threat given “anyone can beat anyone on any given night, and every club has good players”.
Enfield Rovers coach Lachlan Wright will be switching from winning the State League 2 premiership-championship double with Stanmore Hawks to a fresh indoor challenge.
“It is difficult coming from outdoor into a Futsal season because you have to change your fitness. The game’s a lot faster, sharper and there’s nowhere to hide,” he said.
“It will be a transition year for the club as we bring our juniors up through the system but our aim is to do well and make the finals in several grades.”
Wright said Dural’s deep squad would make them the frontrunner again, while Magic would be club championship favourites.
“Our [open men’s] team over the years have always flown under the radar a little bit, so we don’t mind that.”
The Magic will once again be one of the teams’ to watch out for as Club President Matteo Maiorana has stated that his team will be out to challenge for the title this season.
The Magic, last season’s runners up have strengthened with the signing of Futsalroo Adam Cooper from Victoria to go along with fellow International Representatives Daniel Fogarty, Marino Musumeci and Ediz Alpkaya.
To add to the quality Magic side reigning Goalkeeper of the year Roberto Maiorana will once again try to keep the opposition at bay.
Mascot Vipers club president Zvi Ben David has changed his mind about his club’s chances this summer. “Before pre-season I would’ve thought the club might have been weaker than last year but the games so far has showed something different, and if we can have all our players available we should do well,” he said.
“We’ve recruited a few players including Tim Mascarello, former Futsalroo Tuan Cao, Miloslav Radulovic and Gui De’Sousa, and they bring a lot of experience to the club, so I’m excited to see what will happen, especially with the junior sides.”
Ben David said Inner West would be strong this summer and ready to topple Dural. Mascot’s open men’s side will be coached by Nick Hanna.
Phoenix coach Chris Crawley said the open men’s side would be an unknown entity until a few rounds into the competition. “We’re not sure how we’ll do. We picked up a couple of new players and we want to be competitive from the start as last year we started well but finished poorly, but we’ll see how we go with a year of premier league under our belts,” he said.
“The club wants to establish itself in premier league and do better each year, so that’s the main aim.” Crawley also backed Dural and Inner West to be the main title contenders.
Mountain Majik coach Fabio Macerola was realistic about the open men’s chances against some red-hot experienced opposition, but he knew the club was optimistic about its overall premier league standing.
“We’re not coming in expecting to do a lot, but we’re not just there to make up the numbers,” he said. “There’s a lot of quality players in the squad and it’s whether they come together early or not.”
“It was never going to be easy to begin with, but we’re not looking to our men to keep us in premier league, we want to be competitive as a club, and there’s an abundance of talent at the club. Our 16 boys recently won the state title and many of our other teams did very well, so we’re very confident of staying in premier league.”
Macerola admitted he knew little about the opposition clubs and they were going into the early games with no expectations. “We have some good players in Raymond Miller, Greg Kondek and goalkeeper Ricky Kurmi, who have played at the highest level in the past, so it’ll be interesting. We’ll cause some surprises during the year.”