NPL Draw Analysis

The NPL Queensland 2014 season draw has been released seeing an expanded league with 14 teams competing over 26 rounds.

The draw includes 3 new teams. Toowoomba-based South West Queensland Thunder was announced as a new entrant prior to the 2013 Grand Final, the Brisbane Roar with their National Youth League squad and Harimau Muda, the Malaysian under 23 national team, have come from left of left field to complete the compliment of competing clubs.

As per last year, the majority of matches will be played on a Saturday but Sundays will feature more prominently with Brisbane Strikers, Redlands and Northern Fury shifting the majority of their home matches from Saturday nights to Sunday afternoons. There will be only 8 Friday night matches; the majority hosted by Brisbane City who also stage a rare Thursday night in Round 8 on 24 April, the night before ANZAC Day.

Other than a break over Easter, no other pauses have been built into the draw. With Cup Match commitments also factored in, the weather will need to be kind to avoid a glut of late-season midweek catch-up matches.

Double headers in south-east Queensland will continue. In Rounds 6, 18 and 24, double headers will be staged at Perry Park and in Round 12 at Wolter Park where Olympic v FNQ Heat and Moreton Bay v Palm Beach fill the schedule.

There will be a ‘Super Saturday’ in round 6, where all 7 matches will be played on that day. Rounds 2 and 16 will see 6 of the 7 matches played on the Saturday.

The season opens on Saturday March 1 with the highlights being the ‘Northern Derby’ between Northern Fury and FNQFC Heat in Townsville and a grand final rematch between Olympic and Brisbane City.

The other Round 1 matches are:

  • Second-year clubs, Moreton Bay Jets and Western Pride meet at Wolter Park.
  • South West Queensland Thunder, in their inaugural match in the top flight, will travel to Rockhampton to take on CQFC Energy.
  • A battle of the coasts between Sunshine Coast and Palm Beach.
  • Redlands and Brisbane Strikers clash again for the 2nd year in a row in the opening round.
  • Brisbane Roar and Harimau Muda will have their debut performances delayed by a week as the Roar Youth Team will be finalising their commitments in the National Youth League on the weekend of Round 1.

Here’s the full draw, it can also be found on our National Premier Leagues sub-page. The story continues after the graphic with a club by club analysis of the draw.

2014 npl drawpng

Brisbane City –

  • Will play 4 home matches on a Friday night and 1 on Thursday night.
  • Their long-haul travel commitments all occur in the second half of the season. There’s back to back trips to North Queensland (Northern Fury in round 15 and FNQ Heat in round 16) and to CQFC Energy in the final round of the season round 26

Brisbane Roar –

  • Home matches will be played at Perry Park spread across Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.
  • Their first match will see them travel to FNQ Heat in round 2. Other trips north will be to CQFC Energy in round 19 and Northern Fury in round 21.
  • Will resume hostilities against previous A-League rivals, Northern Fury, in round 8.
  • Have a tough run of games at the start of the season, meeting 3 of 2013’s top 5 in Redlands (Rd 4), Sunshine Coast (Rd 5) and Olympic (Rd 7)

Brisbane Strikers –

  • Will play 11 of their home matches on Sunday afternoons at 2pm, including 4 consecutive matches at Perry Park between rounds 11 and 14, one of those an ‘away match’ to Brisbane Roar.
  • Opening home match in Round 2 is against traditional rivals, Sunshine Coast.
  • Get their longer travel commitments over and done with early in the season (CQFC Energy in round 3, Northern Fury in round 5 and FNQ Heat in round 9).
  • Countering that, meet 3 of their fellow 2013 NPL top 5 in the first 4 rounds (Redlands, Fire, Olympic).

CQFC Energy –

  • All home matches on Saturday nights at 7pm.
  • 2 consecutive home games in rounds 9 and 10.
  • Will play host to SWQ Thunder in their inaugural NPL Senior Mens’ match.

FNQ Heat –

  • All home matches on a Saturday night spread between Barlow and Endeavour Parks.
  • Travel to Townsville in the opening round for the Northern Derby against Northern Fury before hosting the return leg in the traditional Queen’s Birthday slot.
  • Will host Brisbane Roar in their first ever NPL match in round 2.
  • Travel to south-east Queensland in successive weeks (Brisbane City in round 3, Moreton Bay in round 4 and SWQ Thunder in round 5).
  • Have successive home matches in rounds 6 and 7 and 5 home matches between rounds 13 to 18.

Harimau Muda –

  • Will play all of their ‘home’ matches away at their opponents.
  • Their inaugural match is against Moreton Bay in round 2.
  • Will play 3 of the 2013 NPL top 5 between rounds 3 and 6 (Redlands, Sunshine Coast and Olympic).

Moreton Bay –

  • 9 of their first 12 matches will be at Wolter Park.
  • Host a double header in round 12.
  • Travel commitments are to CQFC Energy in round 7, Northern Fury in round 9 and FNQ Heat in round 17.
  • Host Sunshine Coast in round 6 who they defeated on both occasions last year.

Northern Fury –

  • With the exception of the opening round against FNQ Heat (7pm Saturday), all games played at 3pm on Sundays.
  • Host the Brisbane Roar for the first time since 18 December 2010 in round 22.

Olympic –

  • Host Brisbane City in a grand final re-match in round 1.
  • Play Brisbane Roar at home in round 7 in ‘The Coffee Club Derby’.
  • Retain their traditional Sunday night slot for home games with the exception of rounds 11 and 26 which will be played at 3pm.
  • Play a ‘home’ game against FNQ Heat at Wolter Park as part of a round 12 double header.
  • Have the honour of being the first club that SWQ Thunder will host.
  • Long travel commitments will see them go to Northern Fury in round 13, before back to back road trips to CQFC Energy in round 24, then FNQ Heat in round 25.

Palm Beach –

  • All home matches at 5pm on Saturday afternoon.
  • 10 of their final 15 matches will be at the Mallawa Complex, including a run of 4 consecutive home matches between rounds 20 and 23.
  • Travel to FNQ Heat in round 7, CQFC Energy in round 15 and Northern Fury in round 17.

Redlands –

  • Home matches move to the Sunday afternoon slot with the exception of round 2 which will be played on a Friday night.
  • First 3 matches are at home.
  • Travel to FNQ Heat in round 6 and two late-season trips to CQFC Energy in round 21 and Northern Fury in round 23.

SWQ Thunder

  • Play their first match in the Senior Mens’ competition away against CQFC Energy.
  • Host Olympic in their opening home match in round 2.
  • Majority of home matches played at Clive Berghofer Stadium, Saturdays at 5pm.
  • Host FNQ Heat in round 5 in what becomes the new NPL Queensland ‘Distance Derby’.
  • 5 of 8 matches at home between rounds 2 and 9 before 5 consecutive matches at home between rounds 21 to 25

Sunshine Coast –

  • Retain the traditional 2pm Sunday afternoon slot for home matches with the exception of round 7 against Redlands which will be played on Saturday afternoon.
  • Take on traditional rivals, Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park in round 2.
  • 5 of 6 matches in a row to be played at Stockland Stadium between rounds 3 and 8.
  • Long-haul travel commitments to CQFC Energy in round 9, Northern Fury in round 11 and FNQ Heat in round 21.

Western Pride –

  • Home matches on Saturday nights at 7:00pm at North Ipswich Reserve and Briggs Road but won’t play at home until round 4.
  • 8 of 9 matches at home between rounds 8 and 16.
  • Travel to FNQ Heat in round 11, CQFC Energy in round 17 and Northern Fury in round 19.
  • Will meet 3 of last year’s top 5 in rounds 2, 3 and 5 (Redlands, Sunshine Coast and Olympic).