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National Premier Leagues

National Premier Leagues
First season2013
CountryAustralia
ConfederationAFC
DivisionsACT
NSW
Northern NSW
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
Victoria
Western Australia
Number of teams94 clubs (from 8 divisions)
Level on pyramid2 (3 from 2025)
Domestic cup(s)Australia Cup
Current championsWollongong Wolves (2019)
Most championshipsSydney United 58 (2 titles)
Websitenationalpremierleagues.com.au
Current: 2024 National Premier Leagues

The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a men's national association football competition in Australia which acts as the second tier of the sport in the country below the A-League. The NPL consists of the highest level state league in each state-based federation within Australia. In total the NPL is contested by clubs from eight divisions; these are ACT, NSW, Northern NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The NPL is overseen by Football Australia, in partnership with participating state-based member federations.

Up to the 2019 season, one representative from each regional participated in the NPL Championship, a knock-out competition to determine a national champion.

History

In October 2010, Football Federation Australia (FFA) commenced a National Competition Review, its main objective being to review the current structure of soccer competitions in Australia, and to monitor and improve elite player development.[1] By May 2012 the results of the National Competition Review were released. In it, a proposal to re-brand and revitalise state-based competitions in Australia.[2]

On 13 February 2013, the establishment of the National Premier Leagues was announced. As a direct outcome of the National Competition Review, the league would rebrand the premier league in each state under a single banner.[3] Originally named Australian Premier League but due to a violation of naming rights held by Lawn Bowls Australia the original name was scrapped and replaced with National Premier Leagues.[4]

The inaugural season of the NPL began in March 2013. It included teams from five of the nine state-based federations:[3]

The other four of the nine state-based federations joined the NPL in 2014:

Those federations who joined in the 2014 season, were expected to adopt a partial model at some time in the future.[5][6] Although Victoria initially announced their teams would enter in 2014, a deferral was later announced in November 2013, after several clubs objected to the process for selecting teams. However, by December 2013, a resolution was reached whereby Victorian teams participated in the 2014 season.[7][8]

FFA announced their intentions of a promotion and relegation structure between the first tier A-League and second tier working title Australian Championship from late 2022 but move to 2025.[9]

The finals series for the 2020 competition was cancelled on 3 July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia,[10] and has not been held since.

Competition format

A diagram showing the state member federations of FFA.
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Map showing the location of teams in the National Premier Leagues.

The NPL competitions in each state and territory are run by the member federation, with a national playoff tournament at the end of each season.[3] Each member federation, or 'conference' contains various numbers of teams, and they play a full season with no inter-conference matches (an identical format to the individual State Leagues that preceded the NPL). The winner of each division is determined by the club in first position of each conference table at the end of the regular season, rather than the winner of the various state-based finals series.

Former NPL finals series

Up to the 2019 season, the winners of each respective Federation league (the regular home and away season) competed in a finals playoff tournament. These were all single match knock out matches. Between 2013 and 2015 the match ups were based on predetermined geographically adjacent Federations, with hosting rights for the quarter-finals alternating each year. From 2016 to 2019 the match ups were determined by an open draw.[11] The hosts for the semi-finals and Grand Final were determined by a formula based on the time of winning of the previous NPL Finals matches (normal time, extra time or penalties), goals scored and allowed, and yellow/red cards.

The finals series culminated in a Grand Final, where the winner was crowned National Premier Leagues Champions.[12] From 2014 to 2019, the NPL Champion also qualified for the following years' FFA Cup round of 32.

Promotion and relegation

Depending on the State Federation in charge, teams may be relegated from the NPL to a third-tier league in the same state (and vice versa), but there is currently no mechanism for a team to be promoted to the first tier of Australian soccer, the A-League. The number of teams promoted and relegated from third-tier leagues per state has varied over the existence of the NPL. The table below details the number of teams relegated automatically from the NPL at the end of the season and the number of NPL teams which go into a relegation playoff against a lower league team (subject to those lower league teams meeting additional eligibility criteria to be able to be promoted to the NPL).

Federation Number of clubs
Automatic
relegation
Relegation
playoffs
ACT 1 0
NSW 1 1
Northern NSW none
Queensland 2 0
SA 2 0
Tasmania none
Victoria 2 0
WA 1 1

Current clubs

Below are listed the National Premier Leagues clubs in each respective state member federation from the 2023 season.

In total, there are 94 clubs that compete in the top tier of the National Premier Leagues each season. Most NPL divisions involve promotion and relegation to leagues below the NPL and so participating clubs change annually.

Australian Capital Territory
Canberra Croatia FC
Canberra Olympic FC
Cooma Tigers FC
Gungahlin United FC
Monaro Panthers FC
HNK O'Connor Knights
Tuggeranong United
West Canberra Wanderers
New South Wales
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC
Blacktown City FC
Central Coast Mariners Academy
Manly United FC
Marconi Stallions FC
Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC
Northbridge Bulls FC Academy
North West Sydney Spirit
Rockdale Ilinden FC
St George City
Sutherland Sharks FC
Sydney FC Youth
Sydney Olympic FC
Sydney United 58 FC
Western Sydney Wanderers Youth
Wollongong Wolves FC
Northern New South Wales
Adamstown Rosebud FC
Broadmeadow Magic FC
Charlestown Azzurri FC
Cooks Hill United FC
Edgeworth Eagles FC
Lake Macquarie City FC
Lambton Jaffas FC
Maitland FC
New Lambton FC
Newcastle Olympic FC
Valentine Phoenix FC
Weston Bears FC
Queensland
Brisbane City FC
Brisbane Roar FC Youth
Eastern Suburbs FC
Gold Coast Knights F.C.
Gold Coast United FC
Lions FC
Redlands United FC
Rochedale Rovers FC
Moreton Bay United FC
Olympic FC
Peninsula Power FC
Sunshine Coast Wanderers
South Australia
Adelaide City FC
Adelaide Comets FC
Adelaide Olympic FC
Adelaide United FC Youth
Campbelltown City SC
Croydon Kings FC
Modbury Jets SC
FK Beograd FC
North Eastern MetroStars FC
Sturt Lions FC
South Adelaide Panthers FC
West Adelaide SC
Tasmania
Clarence Zebras FC
Devonport City FC
Glenorchy Knights FC
Kingborough Lions United FC
Launceston City FC
Olympia FC Warriors
Riverside Olympic FC
South Hobart FC
Victoria
Altona Magic SC
Avondale FC
Bentleigh Greens SC
Dandenong Thunder SC
Eastern Lions SC
Green Gully SC
Heidelberg United FC
Hume City FC
Melbourne Knights FC
Moreland City FC
Oakleigh Cannons FC
Port Melbourne SC
South Melbourne FC
St Albans Saints SC
Western Australia
Armadale SC
Balcatta Etna FC
Bayswater City SC
Cockburn City SC
Floreat Athena FC
Inglewood United FC
Olympic Kingsway
Perth SC
Perth Glory FC Youth
Perth RedStar FC
Sorrento FC
Stirling Macedonia FC

Honours

NPL Finals

Season/s Champions Score Runners-up Venue Attendance
2013 New South Wales Sydney United 58 2–0 Tasmania South Hobart KGV Park 1,150
2014 South Australia North Eastern MetroStars 1–0 New South Wales Bonnyrigg White Eagles Lambert Park
2015 New South Wales Blacktown City 3–1 Western Australia Bayswater City Dorrien Gardens
2016 New South Wales Sydney United 58 4–1 New South Wales Edgeworth FC Sydney United Sports Centre
2017 Victoria (state) Heidelberg United 2–0 Queensland Brisbane Strikers Perry Park 1,105
2018 South Australia Campbelltown City 2–1 Queensland Lions FC Steve Woodcock Sports Centre 1,518
2019 New South Wales Wollongong Wolves 4–3 (a.e.t.) Queensland Lions FC Albert Butler Memorial Park 1,362
2020 Cancelled[a]
2021 Not held
2022 Not held
2023 Not held

Clubs reaching the finals

Team Champions Runners-up Semi-finalist Quarter-finalist Finals appearance/s
New South Wales Sydney United 58 2 (2013, 2016) 2
South Australia Campbelltown City 1 (2018) 1 (2013) 1 (2019) 3
Victoria (state) Heidelberg United 1 (2017) 1 (2018) 1 (2019) 3
New South Wales Blacktown City 1 (2015) 1
South Australia North Eastern MetroStars 1 (2014) 1
New South Wales Wollongong Wolves 1 (2019) 1
Queensland Lions FC 2 (2018, 2019) 2
New South Wales Edgeworth 1 (2016) 1 (2017) 2 (2015, 2018) 4
Queensland Brisbane Strikers 1 (2017) 1 (2016) 2
Western Australia Bayswater City 1 (2015) 2 (2014, 2017) 3
Tasmania South Hobart 1 (2013) 2 (2014, 2017) 3
New South Wales Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (2014) 1
Western Australia Perth SC 2 (2016, 2019) 1 (2018) 3
Victoria (state) South Melbourne 1 (2014) 1 (2015) 2
South Australia APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (2017) 1
New South Wales Maitland 1 (2019) 1
Queensland Moreton Bay United 1 (2015) 1
Tasmania Olympia 1 (2015) 1
Queensland Olympic 1 (2013) 1
Queensland Palm Beach 1 (2014) 1
New South Wales Sydney Olympic 1 (2018) 1
Australian Capital Territory Canberra Croatia 3 (2013, 2015, 2018) 3
Australian Capital Territory Canberra Olympic 3 (2016, 2017, 2019) 3
Tasmania Devonport City 3 (2016, 2018, 2019) 3
South Australia Adelaide City 2 (2016, 2017) 2
Victoria (state) Bentleigh Greens 1 (2016) 1
Australian Capital Territory Cooma 1 (2014) 1
South Australia West Adelaide 1 (2015) 1
New South Wales Weston Workers 1 (2014) 1

Federation Premiers by season

Season ACT New South Wales Northern
New South Wales
Queensland South Australia Tasmania Victoria Western Australia
2013 Canberra Croatia Sydney United 58 [b] Olympic FC Campbelltown City [c] South Hobart [b] [b]
2014 Cooma FC Bonnyrigg White Eagles Weston Workers [d] Palm Beach North Eastern MetroStars South Hobart South Melbourne Bayswater City
2015 Canberra Croatia Blacktown City Edgeworth FC Moreton Bay United West Adelaide Olympia Warriors South Melbourne Bayswater City
2016 Canberra Olympic Sydney United 58 Edgeworth FC Brisbane Strikers Adelaide City Devonport City Bentleigh Greens Perth SC
2017 Canberra Olympic APIA Leichhardt Edgeworth FC Brisbane Strikers Adelaide City South Hobart Heidelberg United Bayswater City
2018 Canberra Croatia Sydney Olympic Edgeworth FC Lions FC Campbelltown City Devonport City Heidelberg United Perth SC
2019 Canberra Olympic Wollongong Wolves Maitland FC Lions FC Campbelltown City Devonport City Heidelberg United Perth SC
2020 [e] [f] Rockdale City Suns Edgeworth FC Peninsula Power Adelaide Comets Devonport City [g] [h]
2021 Cooma FC [i] [j] Lambton Jaffas [k] Peninsula Power Adelaide Comets Glenorchy Knights Oakleigh Cannons [l] Perth SC
2022 Canberra Croatia Sydney Olympic Maitland FC Lions FC Adelaide City Devonport City South Melbourne Floreat Athena
2023 O'Connor Knights APIA Leichhardt Lambton Jaffas Gold Coast Knights North Eastern MetroStars Devonport City Avondale FC Perth RedStar

Performance by Federation

Federation Best Performance Multiple Champions
Football NSW Champions (4) Sydney United 58 (2)
Football South Australia Champions (2)
Football Victoria Champions (1)
Football Queensland Runners-up (3)
Football Tasmania Runners-up (1)
Football West Runners-up (1)
Northern NSW Football Runners-up (1)
Capital Football Quarter Finalists (7)

Individual honours

The John Kosmina Medal is presented to the best player in the NPL final and is named in honour of former Australian international John Kosmina.[21]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The 2020 Finals Series and the 2020 FFA Cup were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. Wollongong Wolves had already qualified for the 2020 FFA Cup prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so were given an automatic entry into the 2021 FFA Cup.[13]
  2. ^ a b c Northern NSW, Victoria and Western Australia were not part of the inaugural NPL finals series.
  3. ^ North Eastern MetroStars won its league season, but did not proceed to the NPL Finals series (that year's Champion qualified instead).
  4. ^ Newcastle Jets Youth team won its league season, but were ineligible for the NPL Finals series (the runner-up qualified instead).
  5. ^ Competition Premiers only, as finals series cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.[10]
  6. ^ No Premier declared.
  7. ^ 2020 for Victoria cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[14]
  8. ^ No Premier declared.[15]
  9. ^ Season cancelled, but Premier declared.[16]
  10. ^ 2021 for NSW cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17]
  11. ^ Season cancelled, but Premier declared.[18]
  12. ^ 2021 for Victoria initially cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] However, as a result of a court challenge involving Avondale FC and Football Victoria, it was agreed that eight rounds of games from the 2022 NPL Season would also count towards the 2021 NPL league table, enabling sufficient matches to be played to "complete" the season, and be able to declare a Premier for 2021.[20]

References

  1. ^ Siokos, Anthony (28 May 2012). "Analysis: Review gives FFA clear signal of how they must spread the love". Sport Business Insider. Sports Business Insider Group. Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  2. ^ "FFA releases outcomes of National Competitions Review". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "FFA launches National Premier Leagues". Football Federation Australia. 13 February 2013. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Wolves could move into A-League under new changes". Illawarra Mercury. 12 February 2013. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Gallop aims for Aussie FA Cup". The Australian. AAP. 14 February 2013. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Second Division 'By 2022'?". Australian FourFourTwo. Sportal Australia. 3 October 2012. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  7. ^ "NPL update – message from FFV Board". Football Federation Victoria. 8 November 2013. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  8. ^ "National Premier Leagues confirmed for Victoria in 2014". Football Federation Australia. 6 December 2013. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Australian Premier League Announced". sportingpulse.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2023. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Coronavirus forces FFA Cup to be cancelled". The World Game. SBS. 7 July 2020. Archived from the original on 30 October 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Matchups for 2016 Finals Series take shape". 18 July 2016. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  12. ^ "FFA unveils National Premier Leagues". Australian FourFourTwo. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  13. ^ Football Federation Australia (1 December 2020). "Stand-alone Final and AFC Champions League prize to headline rebooted FFA Cup in 2021". Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Grassroots football temporarily suspended". Football Federation Australia. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Competition Rules – National Premier Leagues WA" (PDF). Football West. 11 June 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  16. ^ "CAPITAL FOOTBALL WINTER COMPETITION UPDATE". Capital Football. 7 September 2021. Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Football NSW Cancel 2021 National Premier Leagues Season". Football NSW. 12 August 2021. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Northern NSW Football announces conclusion of 2021 Premier Competitions". Northern NSW Football. 9 September 2021. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Metro Melbourne 2021 season status". Football Victoria. 3 September 2021. Archived from the original on 3 September 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Outcome of legal proceedings between Avondale FC and Football Victoria announced". Football Victoria. 28 January 2022. Archived from the original on 4 February 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  21. ^ John Kosmina. "The NPL demonstrates its true value". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
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