It’s a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire for Melbourne City’s academy sides; City’s senior NPL and U20 sides jumping headfirst into the NPL Victoria season just weeks after the conclusion of the 2018/19 Y-League season.
Competing in NPL Victoria’s NPL2 Eastern Conference, City will be looking to back up a Y-League season that, unfortunately, ended in disappointment: City missed out on a third straight Grand Final after finishing second in Conference A to Brisbane Roar on goal difference.
Looking ahead, City brings a well-balanced mixture of experience and youth into the 2019 NPL Victoria season, combining a number of well-established youth players on the precipice of regular A-League football with a younger generation of talent eager to establish themselves in the club’s future plans.
Australian U20 Representatives James Delianov, Dylan Pierias, Josh Cavallo, Connor Metcalfe, Moudi Najjar and Ramy Najjarine highlight the senior squad of Head Coach Joe Palatsides, whilst talented U17 representatives Jordan Bos, Idrus Abdulahi, Luke Duzel, Josh Varga, Dalibor Markovic and Ahmed Taleb embody the next cohort of future stars.
Demonstrating their fantastic potential, Abdulahi, Duzel and Varga were on Thursday named as part of Trevor Morgan's Joeys squad that will travel to Turkey in March to take part in a youth tournament ahead of the U17 World Cup in October.
Palatsides’ group's first challenge will come in the form of Eastern Conference foes Langwarrin SC at their home of Lawton Park Reserve this Saturday.
Led by former Newcastle Jets Head Coach Scott Miller, ‘Langy’ feature the likes of solid NPL talent Wayne Wallace, Roddy Covarrubias, David Stirton, Damir Stoilovic, Johnny Kuol and Jordan Templin within their ranks and present a stern first test for City's youth.
City met Langwarrin twice during the 2018 NPL Victoria season, suffering a 3-1 defeat in the first meeting between the two sides at Lawton Park in round 13 before turning the tables on their south-eastern foes to win the rematch at Bundoora 1-0 in the final week of the season.
Those three points secured on the final day of the season secured City the sixth position on the final NPL2 Eastern Conference table, five points clear of eighth-placed Langwarrin.
NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round One
Saturday, 16 January 2019
Langwarrin SC v Melbourne City FC
Venue: Lawton Park Reserve, Barretts Road, Langwarrin South
Kick-off: U20s - 1:00pm | Seniors 3:00pm