In an exciting coup for this Sunday’s highly anticipated Grand Final between Blacktown City and Sydney United 58 FC is the news that PlayStation4 will beam the match live to all its consoles and network from around the world.
Joining in on the Live Stream produced by VPA Productions which will be commentated by leading Australian football pundit Mike Cockerill along with the very experienced Adam Santarossa to be beamed on Facebook Live and YouTube, has come the news that PlayStation4 will also assist in further promoting what will be a fantastic match.
The application is now live and functioning and will be online from 2:30pm on Sunday.
Purchase tickets to the Grand Final of the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s
Archives for September 2016
Sydney United 58 will face a familiar foe in Blacktown City FC in the big finale this Sunday at Leichhardt Oval for the right to be crowned PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Champions but one man that won’t be involved in the match will be club Vice-Captain Nick Stavroulakis.
‘The Little Warrior’ dubbed by his teammates, picked up a yellow card in the dying stages of the first half against the Bonnyrigg White Eagles in their epic 3-2 victory last Sunday, ruling him out of the biggest game of the season.
It was his second card in successive weeks after receiving one in the Major Semi against Blacktown City FC.
It’s not foreign ground for the combative midfielder, having suffered the same fate with the Sutherland Sharks in 2010 where he experienced the pain of missing a Grand Final.
It didn’t deter Stavroulakis from putting in a Roy Keane-esque performance, helping lead his team into the 2016 Grand Final, much like Keane helped Manchester United on a number of occasions during his time as a footballer.
Nevertheless, it hurt the United 58 midfielder.
“It was the first challenge I made in the game and there was no malice intended – I thought the yellow was harsh.
“It played on my mind for a couple seconds, I reacted…yelled and then got on with the job I was there to do for the team.
“I’ve been in these situations before; I hate missing any football game so it’s really upsetting, but it’s happened and we move forward not backward.”
Mark Rudan’s men had a stern opposition in front of them in the Bonnyrigg White Eagles and one of the most experienced coaches in the league in the opposing dug out, Brian ‘Bomber’ Brown – a face only too familiar for Stavroulakis.
“Playing against Bonnyrigg, I’ve always felt that fierce competition, especially against my old coach ‘Bomber’ who I experienced a number of good years playing under his guidance.
“They’re a tough team to play, no matter where or when because Bomber’s teams never give up and they have a knack of winning games late.
“The feel of a Sydney United 58 v Bonnyrigg White Eagles match has a little more of an edge than any other matches I have played – it was a real buzz being part of such a spectacle.
“But in the end we got the win and I was happy for the team.
“I was upset that I was set to miss the Grand Final but the boys are there so it was a massive positive to take from the emotion of missing out.”
Turn back the clock a year and 2015 was a season to forget for Stavroulakis who suffered a horrific head injury that required emergency surgery during a Westfield FFA Cup Preliminary round match against the APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
He showed fantastic character to come back when it looked as though he would not play football again.
“The first thing I said after I woke up from surgery was I wanted to go and play straight away.
“People thought I was nuts.
“Once I got the all clear I got straight into it.
“Football has given me everything in my life, my mates, work, contacts – everything – I love the sport and I’ve been blessed to be able to play it.
“I was lucky I had such a strong support group around me during that tough period, my fiancé, my brother, parents, close friends, Mark Milligan, all these people did a lot for me.
“I also had the backing of the entire football community which was something I will never forget. This sport has something no other sport has, when one of their players are down and out, we always help our own in times of need.
“Then my physios at Jubilee Sports, Kieran Rooney and Michael Gabriel and of course my conditioning coach Christian Miranda all played a crucial role in getting me playing the game I love once more.”
Despite not being available for Sundays game at Leichhardt Oval, Stavroulakis stressed his team would fight tooth and nail to lift that Championship trophy – which could well be their third piece of silverware this year after picking up the Premiership and Waratah Cup thus far.
“We couldn’t have mapped it out like this and it has been a massive year for myself and the team.
“I think on Sunday we will lift the trophy.
“I have confidence that if we are switched on we will win.
“There is no room for errors. I think we unlocked a key in the semi on their method and we know how to do the job on them.
“When we play football and to our strengths, we score goals and dominate, as long as there are no silly mistakes or bad calls we will win.
“I think we deserve it and have been the most consistent side throughout the whole season – a lapse in concentration or a bad call can undo everything in a final which I know the boys will be very weary of.
“Blacktown City will no doubt provide a massive test for us, they have some quality players so it will be a spectacle not to be missed by anyone.”
It has been a long and arduous season for Stavroulakis, playing over 30 games after having almost a whole season off in 2015, but the body has adapted once again to playing the sport he adores.
“I’ve missed three games all year.
“We try to take semi-professional football to a professional level by training right and taking care of our bodies.
“I have an old school mentality and put in 100% all the time and give everything I have in the tank and I’ll be like that till I finish my career.”
The season isn’t over yet for the combative midfielder, despite missing Sunday’s Grand Final, the 31-year-old will play a pivotal role in Sydney United 58’s PlayStation4 National Premier League Finals Series match up against South Australian Premiers Adelaide City on Sunday 18th September at the Sydney United Sports Centre (2pm kick-off).
These Finals Series matches alone mean a lot to the former Australian youth international for a number of personal reasons and goals.
“I’m really excited about the PS4 NPL Finals Series, it’s really like the Champions League for State League football across Australia.
“We are facing a very tough and well drilled Adelaide City side and the last time they mentioned a match that involved Sydney United and Adelaide City was way back in the National Soccer League days.
“Then when you look at the bench, it’s two guys that used to play against each other on the pitch now taking on each other from the dugout in Mark Rudan and Damian Mori.”
On a personal level, winning the PS4 NPL Finals Series would be the icing on the cake for the tough tackling midfielder.
“I’ve won everything there is to win in the league in NSW bar the PS4 NPL Finals Series. There’s been four Waratah Cups, two Premierships and One Championship.
“This will be my first PS4 NPL Finals Series match and it’s certainly something I have very high on my list of goals and objectives and I will do what I can with the team to achieve this.”
Season 2016 is something that Stavroulakis will remember for the rest of his life, giving him so much and allowing him to take a different approach to the game he loves.
“I looked at it week by week and never further than that.
“It’s helped me so much and I’ll take it till I finish up, it’s important that I’ve concentrated on me first and then my job.
“It was a real eye opener of how lucky I am to be able to play this wonderful game still and to do it with some of the best friends I have made for life.
“This game is my life and just that buzz you have when you play it with your mates as well as that rush you get when you are in the dressing sheds with your teammates along with the banter that flows is something I will miss terribly when I finally hang the boots up.”
Stavroulakis has not closed his chapter on football just yet.
Only a year ago when many thought that was it for him, his will-power, spirit and determination spurred him on to conquer and achieve something more powerful than any Championships and Premierships won and that was living life to its fullest.
-By Nikola Pozder
Purchase tickets to the Grand Final of the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s
The biggest game of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s season has arrived and months of blood, sweat and tears will culminate with what is set to be a blockbuster clash of the titans.
After 22 rounds and three weeks of finals, Blacktown City and Sydney United 58 will go head to head to decide who is this season’s PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s Champions.
Blacktown and United 58 have played in some of the season’s best matches and it is only fitting the top two sides can settle the equation of who is the true champion on grand final day.
Neither side is a stranger to the big stage.
Blacktown City is the reigning PlayStation®4 NPL champion as the best state league club side in Australia and will be contesting their third straight PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s Grand Final. The Mark Crittenden coached side has had an incredible run in this season’s Westfield FFA Cup and are set to face A-League side Sydney FC in the quarter finals later this month.
Sydney United 58 on the other hand has been the benchmark this season. Finishing the season on top of the premiership ladder to secure the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s Premiership as well as a win in the Waratah Cup final, Mark Rudan’s squad is playing for an incredible treble of titles in 2016.
On the park both teams have squads bristling with talent with neither side possessing any glaring weaknesses.
Rudan’s squad was in inspired form this season to notch the Premiership three weeks before the end of the season. The Reds had the best defence in the competition conceding only 21 goals including a four game run without a goal scored against them. Their attack wasn’t too bad either, tying with Manly United for the highest scoring offence in the competition with 58 goals. Striker Chris Payne is the competition’s golden boot with 22 goals while teammate Panny Nikas is not far behind in second with 18 goals.
While Sydney United 58’s stats are impressive, Blacktown City’s efforts aren’t to be scoffed at. The Seven Hill’s based outfit has the second best defence in the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s with only 26 goals conceded while their attack finished third in the rankings with 46 goals in the regular season. Unlike Sydney United 58, Blacktown shared the goal scoring load with six players scoring six goals or more.
The key match-ups of the match will feature some of the league’s biggest stars going head to head.
Can Tomislav Uskok and the Sydney United 58 defence hold out the relentless attack of Blacktown’s quartet of Joey Gibbs, Patrick Antelmi, Mitch Mallia and Danny Choi.
Will Travis Major be able to continue his impressive form in his new found defensive midfield position against the tricky Glen Trifiro and Panny Nikas?
How much impact will the absence of Sydney United 58’s formidable midfielder Nick Stavroulakis, who will miss the game through suspension have on the match and can Peter Triantis fill the big shoes of his inspirational team mate?
In four matches this season, Blacktown City lead with three wins to Sydney United 58’s one including an incredible 6-2 flogging in the Westfield FFA Cup.
While the record between the two sides so far this year is against Mark Rudan’s side, United 58 have been the benchmark with only two losses in the regular season.
Whatever the outcome this afternoon, goals, excitement and entertainment seem likely.
However when it’s all said and done, only one team can be Champion.
All eyes will be fixed at Leichhardt Oval this Sunday, be sure not to miss what will be one of the best spectacles this state has ever seen at NPL level.
Sunday 11th September
Blacktown City v Sydney United 58
3pm kick off
In keeping with what has been a thoroughly unpredictable campaign in the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20’s competition, Leichhardt Oval will host two sides for whom a Grand Final meeting would have appeared near unthinkable at various stages throughout the year.
Although it will come as little surprise to see Premiers and competition frontrunners Manly United competing for their second trophy of the campaign, the emergence of Sydney Olympic holds true as one of the surprises of the season, making the 2016 Grand Final a hugely intriguing affair.
The Blues secured their seventh win in a row against Bonnyrigg White Eagles in last weekend’s preliminary final in Edensor Park, a match that has seen Olympic’s late season resurrection come full circle.
Close to two months earlier, John Theodoropoulos’ Olympic side found themselves in tenth position after falling to the White Eagles 2-1 at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
Olympic would go on to claim all twelve points from their final four games, pipping reigning champions Blacktown City, Wollongong Wolves and Hakoah Sydney City East into fifth position.
The prevailing emotion is still one of surprise for the former Canterbury-Marrickville product who says he is finally reaping the rewards of consistency.
“We knew then it would have to be a massive run to make something of the season.
“We said we just need to take it one game at a time, we’ve done that every single week since then and it’s got us to the Grand Final”
“I’m not surprised because of the calibre of players that we’ve got are good enough to be at the Grand Final and win it, I strongly believe that.”
It won’t be easy for Olympic to maintain their incredible run of form – not especially against a Manly side who have played with the intensity of champions consistently throughout the year, and who have an array of formidable attacking weapons across a talented squad.
“Manly have some really fast players, they are so quick on the counter-attack especially – they’re clinical too”, says Theodoropoulos.
“Their front three are very good, the two sixes in the middle of the park work really hard and get the ball to their wide men.
“But we’re doing a lot of things right at the moment, we’re moving the ball quickly and finding space – we need to continue doing these things right and we won’t be focussing too much on what they can do.
A former long-serving manager at Stanmore Hawks, Theodoropoulos took the reins of Olympic in mid-May, where the Blues were languishing at the foot of the table with just seven registered U20’s players available.
Prior to his arrival, Olympic were outgunned 4-3 by Manly United in the second weekend of the season before the Belmore outfit delivered one of the surprise results of the campaign by beating the Premiers by the same score line in the reverse fixture at Cromer Park.
Manly manager Andrew Christiansen says there’s coincidence the two grand-finalists have played their part in a pair of seven goal thrillers over the course of the regular season, but expects a much sterner contest on Sunday.
“We both play attacking football and both have goalscoring threats up top, Olympic have several threats out wide and we’re exactly the same”, says Christiansen.
“I think that’s a good thing to not have to rely on one person each week to score all your goals – it makes you harder to contain and places a little bit less pressure on each player.
“The Grand Final might be a bit different because Grand Finals are typically nervy and low scoring games but I think there’ll be plenty of chances.”
Christiansen stands to claim a sensational premiership and championship double in what has been an outstanding debut season in top level management.
Formerly on the books of Manly until a slew of knee reconstructions cut his playing career short at the age of 20, Christiansen says the camaraderie between his young squad and faith in his ideals have led the charge towards the double.
“I consider myself lucky that the whole squad bought into what I was trying to get from them.
“The boys are all best mates and I think that’s an underestimated asset.
“They all fight for each other and play for each other and that’s not a coincidence, it’s something that Manly as a club try to do.”
Sunday 11th September
Manly United v Sydney Olympic
12:30pm kick off
Purchase tickets to the Grand Final of the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s
-By Jacob Windon
After the best part of a decade leading Hakoah Sydney City East FC from strength to strength, Mark “Robbo” Robertson is bidding farewell as head coach to pursue a growing work career in the UK.
When Hakoah Sydney City East FC began its journey to once again become a competitive force in football in 2011, its success hinged on bringing in a head coach that was charismatic, competitive and lived and breathed football.
Robertson has these attributes on all fronts, and along with assistant coach Hayden Foxe, Hakoah Sydney City East FC won the Grand Final and missed out on promotion by the slimmest of margins in their maiden season.
Following this Hakoah Sydney City East FC won promotion in every year it was offered, and went on an unprecedented run from the fourth tier to the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s.
However, it is not just his contribution to the success of the club at senior level in which Robertson has left an indelible mark, he has also been a huge influence on every young man that has come through the ranks at Hakoah Sydney City East FC .
Robertson has been a presence at every junior match he could attend, and this approach is one of the key reasons behind the unique culture and atmosphere at Hakoah Sydney City East FC where boys of all ages join the senior team in walking onto the pitch and singing the team song.
Looking ahead to the future, the club is very excited to announce the appointment of Gavin “Guv” Rae as the new head coach for 2017.
Rae came to Sydney from a two-decade professional career in the UK which included playing for Scotland, captaining Glasgow Rangers and playing in an FA Cup Final.
Despite his glittering career, Rae was the hardest working man in the team as soon as he joined Hakoah Sydney City East FC in 2014, and has been an integral part of the club since.
This is not Rae’s first foray into coaching, having won promotion to the Scottish Premier League with Dundee as player/coach in 2013 and also working as Robertson’s assistant coach at Hakoah Sydney City East FC.
Rae has an exciting vision for 2017, and the club look forward to seeing him continue to drive the club’s success in the coming years.
In addition, the club welcome new U20s coaches for the 2017 season.
Paul Hubbard coached the Sutherland Sharks 18s to Grand Final success in 2014, and six players in that squad went on to play in the Hyundai A-League National Youth League and three to represent Australia Under 19s, showing the focus on development.
Paul is an FFA ‘A’ licensed coach, with UEFA level 3 diploma, UEFA ‘B’ licence and FA Youth modules 1, 2 & 3, as well as having his NSCAA national diploma from USA.
His assistant Andy Norman played under the likes of Harry Redknapp and Tony Pulis at AFC Bournemouth’s Youth Academy, before embarking on his coaching career with Paul.
The club are very excited to see what these two men can do in regards to both 2017 success as well as player development.
-Hakoah Sydney City East Press Release