Gold Coast to get underway this weekend

 

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Representatives of the eight Men’s Premier League clubs at the season launch.

Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)

The BLK Gold Coast Premier League kicks off this weekend. Queensland Soccer News attended last Friday’s season launch where all eight clubs were in attendance.

Burleigh Heads make the jump back into the Premier League after a year spent in League One when relegated in 2014 while Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach look to be the early front runners for the title after all eight coaches tipped both clubs to make the final four.

The pre-season hasn’t been without its difficulties for Broadbeach though with coach Lee Vernon commenting that preparations have been disrupted with plenty of experience moving on from last year’s squad. The experienced Tommy Neilsen, Russell Miner and Justin Watmough remain at the club will be complimented by former NPL players Josh Riis and Ethan Grimley.

Surfers coach David Benigno enters his second year as a Premier League coach and feels he’ll be all the better with a year under his belt. His side has been very successful in pre-season winning all five matches but more importantly gaining valuable match fitness. Former Palm Beach NPL players Nikki Felizatto and Jack Boxell come into a squad bolstered by a number of other newcomers giving Benigno plenty of depth to work with.

Last year’s Premiers Magic United have had to deal with player losses over the off-season with several youngsters off to try their hand in the NPL. Coach Colin Phelan is another that has had to deal with a disrupted preparation with three of his side’s four pre-season matches called off but a competitive FFA Cup match against Mudgeeraba provided some valuable game time.

Another team that featured highly in the collective coach’s thoughts is Murwillumbah now with the added nickname ‘Warning’. The Hilton brothers, Matt, Levi and Clint all make the move across the border but coach Dean Milosevic is playing down success for the club this year, suggesting it will be one of consolidation after losing several key figures both on and off the park.

Despite winning all three pre-season matches, Burleigh Heads coach Keith Garland wasn’t necessarily happy with the performances of his side. Survival in the Premier League is the main objective of the club this year with Garland tipping lifelong Bulldogs player Luke Roiter as one to watch.

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John Duthie assumed the coaching role at Coomera late in the process but is pleased with the fitness of the squad he has taken on. Ballwork and structure have been his key priorities to date and his clear goal for the side is to make the finals. Getting off to a good start and getting early round points will be critical in order to achieve that aim.

Mudgeeraba coach Steve Beever says it as it is telling Football Gold Coast, “It’s been quite a revamp this year with old faces leaving to try and prolong their well overdue career and cashing in on a club with no direction and plenty of cash. I think we all sometimes forget that it’s just a sport we play on Saturday afternoon for fun. Too much cheating and backstabbing and downright disrespect to the game has been prevalent by certain clubs in the past few seasons but if that’s how they want to be remembered as winners that’s fine.” That leaves Beever in the position of promoting youth within the club so there should be no shortage of hungry youngsters willing to prove themself at the senior level.

Palm Beach survived last year’s relegation/promotion playoff to remain in the top flight. Despite the setback of a shortage in his goal keeping ranks due to injury, coach Joel Mulvenny has strengthened his squad with former Roar youth player Jordan Mason joining the club as well as a returning Nick Hulme who had NPL experience at the Sharks. Mulvenny has the benefit of retaining his entire squad from last year and with that stability comes the aim of a top four finish.

The opening round of matches are all to be played on Saturday:
4pm – Mudgeeraba v Surfers Paradise
5pm – Magic United v Murwillumbah
5pm – Palm Beach v Burleigh Heads
7pm – Broadbeach v Coomera.

Also, the Women’s Premier League kicks off this weekend with a launch to take place on Friday night. The round opens on Friday between Mudgeeraba and Kingscliff.

The remaining games will be played Sunday afternoon:
3:00 – Musgrave v Broadbeach
4:00 – Southport v Tweed United
4:00 – Robina City v Palm Beach

As always, QSN will keep you up to date throughout the year with all the scores from the Premier League as well as posting highlights produced by Football Gold Coast.

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