Melbourne City’s Youth will return to action on Sunday, taking on Nunawading City in round one of the 2018 NPL2 Season at Mahoneys Reserve.
Coming off a Y-League season that concluded with a Grand Final defeat at the hands of the Western Sydney Wanderers two weeks ago, NPL Head Coach and Head of Academy Joe Palatsides’ will be hoping that his side will be able to improve on their exceptional performance in last years NPL season, where they finished in third position in the NPL2's Eastern Conference behind the Dandenong Thunder and Dandenong City.
City, who boast superior match fitness to their opponents by lieu of entering the NPL season almost immediately after the conclusion of the Y-League season, have a history of starting strongly in NPL season’s gone by, having lost only once in the first five weeks of the season for two straight years.
This year’s NPL squad will feature some of the most exciting young talent in the country, with three players – Dylan Pierias, Connor Metcalfe and Denis Genreau – having already appeared in A-League competition for City.
They will be joined by the likes of Australia U19 representatives Josh Cavallo and goalkeeper James Delianov, newly signed scholarship player Moudi Najjar and returning 2017 Rising Star Award Winner Yusuf Ahmed as part of a strong City squad.
Opponents Nunawading City come into Sunday’s season opener off a year in which they finished ninth in the ten team NPL2 Eastern Conference, only securing their survival in the second tier in the second last week of the season.
They made a significant recruiting splash this offseason however, recruiting the likes of former Perth Glory forward Borbor Sam, former West Sydney Wanderer Tahj Minniecon and former City star – and reigning FFV Gold Medal winner - Massimo Murdocca to their squad.
The last time City and Nunawading clashed was in round 25 of the 2017 NPL2 season.
On that day an undermanned City, which handed senior NPL debuts to a number of youngsters, went down 4-1 to Nunawading, with Nuna striker Mitch Cooper – now at Green Gully – scoring a 60-minute hattrick to put City to the sword.
Sunday’s game will take place at Nunawading’s home ground of Mahoneys Reserve, with kick-off set for 3.00pm.
An U20s curtain-raiser is set for a 1.00pm kick-off, with City’s U20s under new Head Coach Petr Kratky looking get their pursuit of a three-peat of U20 titles off to a good start against the U20s of Nunawading.
Elsewhere, City’s new U15 and U18 sides will get their first NPL hit outs on Sunday, February 25; with both traveling to Gardiners Creek Reserve to take on the Eastern Lions, with kick-off set for 12.00pm and 1.30pm respectively.
National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 1
Nunawading City v Melbourne City
Sunday, 18 February 2018
Venue: Mahoneys Reserve, Forest Hill, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 1pm, Seniors – 3pm