2016 Season In Review – Part 1

The pre-season competitions set the tone for the regular season.

In what would turn out to be a positive indicator for Toowong, they would claim the Capital 3 Veto Cup in a 3-2 win over AC Carina.

Peninsula Power looked like they were going to be in for a great year when they accounted for near-neighbours Moreton Bay in a comprehensive 4-1 victory in the Macron Cup final.

On the same night, North Star took out the Gorilla Challenge with a 2-1 win against fellow Brisbane Capital 1 club Pine Rivers.

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To round out the pre-season action, Nathan Reardon scored a late winner for Lions to take the BLK Silver Boot against Brisbane Strikers. The match was unfortunately marred by a season-ending injury to defender Matija Simic.

The final would be upstaged though by the 3rd v 4th playoff between Gold Coast City and Holland Park Hawks. The Hawks were comfortably leading 6-1 before a host of key City players were introduced to the game leading to a frenetic final 30 minutes where Gold Coast forced the match into extra time at 6-6. Two more goals to the NPL side in extra time saw the match end 8-6 City’s way in a game that went viral around the world.

Drama at the Sunshine Coast Fire when head coach Paul Arnison left the club just a week out from the start of the NPL season in a dispute with club owner Noel Woodall. The well-credentialed Sam Saif took over the reins but still couldn’t prevent another disappointing year for the club, finishing second-last on the table.

A major upset in the first round of the Brisbane Premier League where underdogs UQFC defeated the reigning champions Peninsula Power 2-1 in what would prove to be worrying signs for the Redcliffe-based club.

A further big result the following week when Holland Park Hawks recorded their first ever Premier League win after being promoted as they accounted for the reigning Premiers Lions in a 2-1 stoppage time victory.

Jubilation in Toowoomba where after two winless seasons, the SWQ Thunder finally claimed their first ever NPL victory in defeating the Northern Fury.

The FFA Cup continued to grab the football community’s imagination and the magic continued on a Wednesday night in March at Teralba Park. Mitchelton substitute Steven Chester scored what is reportedly the fastest hat-trick in the competition, completed in just 2 minutes 47 seconds in his side’s 8-1 win over Wolves.

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‘Cupsets’ abounded in April where NPL powerhouses were dumped out of the competition. A determined Surfers Paradise Apollo eliminated Gold Coast City 1-0 at the first hurdle while Olympic’s poor start to the season as Moggill defied all the pundit’s expectations in a 4-1 win.

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That loss by Olympic sparked the coaching merry-go-round into full swing. After a less than impressive start at the Brisbane Premier League’s Peninsula, Terry Kirkham departed the club to go cross-town to Goodwin Park. Mitchelton assistant Aaron Philp then took the reins at AJ Kelly Park.

The FFA Cup continued to provide the narrative mid-way through the year. All looked lost for Rochedale in their round six tie against Moreton Bay but what wasn’t counted on was the Rovers spirit with Greg Cheshire scoring two late goals to keep their run alive.

The Underwood Park outfit continued to spring the surprises, lobbing up to their round seven tie at the Cleveland Showgrounds against Redlands with former Brisbane Roar striker Jean-Carlos Solorzano as a part of their squad. It looked good for the visitors when they took a 1-0 lead into halftime in atrocious conditions but enter Redlands perennial Graham Fyfe from the bench to score two second-half goals to see his side go through to the round of 32.

In the other Brisbane qualifier, Brisbane Strikers travelled to Lions Stadium for a rematch of the BLK Silver Boot final to see which side would make another appearance in the round of 32. A lone goal to Rhys Meredith in the first half would seal the Strikers third appearance at that stage of the competition.

The two regional qualifiers would be FNQ Heat who also made their third appearance in the round of 32 in a 4-2 defeat of Central Queensland Premier League’s Frenchville who made it to round seven for the second year in a row. While in the southern zone, Surfers Paradise Apollo took out their third NPL opponent. After tasting victory against SWQ Thunder in round six, the giant-killers defeated Sunshine Coast Fire 2-0 on the Gold Coast.

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