Sydney United 58 FC’s charge to the 2013 IGA National Premier League NSW Mens 1 Minor Premiership was largely due to their impressive back-half of the season where the Edensor Park-based side stormed home to win nine of their last 11 regular season games to snare the title.
The feat itself was a remarkable one given that the side did not play a home game for the first ten rounds of the season as they eagerly awaited the opening of their state-of-the-art artificial surface at Sydney United Sports Centre which will play host to the maiden match of the inaugural NPL Finals Series on Sunday 29 September when Sydney United 58 FC take on Canberra FC (Capital Football).
With the 2013 IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 competition one of the most tightly contested in recent years, Sydney United 58 FC’s bid to add the ‘Champions’ title to their Minor Premiership suffered a cruel blow when they were bundled out of the preliminary final in a penalty shootout loss to Rockdale City Suns just one game shy of the grand final.
Although ‘United 58’ will be without regular goalkeeper Liam Reddy who has already joined the Central Coast Mariners in preparation for their upcoming A-League season campaign, the team still boasts an impressive line-up with the likes of star striker and Club Captain Luka Glavas who recently broke Graham Arnold’s long-standing goal record for the United outfit. Linking with Glavas all season long has been talented midfielder Glen Trifiro who in his second stint with the club has shown yet again that he is one of the most creative players in the league.
Coached by former Sydney FC and Adelaide United A-League defender Mark Rudan who, in his initial year of coach at the club where it all began as a senior player 20 years earlier, is more than adamant that his side will be striving hard to be the first-ever NPL Finals Series Champions.
“We’re very proud to be taking part in the inaugural NPL Finals Series as the NSW representative side,” claimed Rudan.
“It’s like anything when it’s the first of its kind. I remember back at Sydney FC when it was the first year of the A-League and we played in the grand final and all of the pride that was associated with it. Our mantra was that ‘if we win we’ll be the first-ever and that can never be taken away from us’.
“I’m sure all of the teams and the participants are just as privileged as we are to be a part of the initial NPL Finals Series and will be trying to take out the title. It’s only going to get bigger and better – similar to what has happened with the A-League, and without a shadow of a doubt our aim is to win this competition.”
Following his side’s shock exit from the 2013 IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 competition finals in early September, Rudan gave his players a much-needed rest from the rigors of an exhausting season of football that began well before the mid-March opening round kick-off.
“We had a full nine days off from training and only recommenced this week with a light session to get the legs moving,” explained Rudan.
“We set down the laws and the rules in terms of achieving our next goal and that is obviously to win the NPL Finals Series. The break has worked really well as the spirits are high and the motivation is certainly there.”
Rudan is by no means taking his side’s first-up clash against Canberra FC lightly, having already lined up his former club Sydney FC for a friendly this weekend.
“It will be good to get some momentum heading into our game the following Sunday and there are a few things we need to work on after having watched Canberra FC play, so we’ll be using the game against the Sydney FC youth side this weekend to work on those things and try to improve in some other areas of our game.
“It will be our last hit out before the game against Canberra FC so this friendly has really come at a good time for us – we’ll certainly be looking to put it to good use.”
-By Gary McDonald