Friday, March 3, 2023

2023 NPL season launched in Launceston this morning

Photo: The captains or player representatives of the eight 2023 NOL Tasmania clubs at the season launch in Launceston today. [PlessPix]

Matt Bulkeley, the CEO of Football Tasmania, officially launched the 2023 NPL Tasmania season in Launceston this morning.

All eight NPL clubs were represented by players and officials at the launch, which was held at Peppers Silos Hotel beside the Tamar River.

Bulkeley said the launch was held in Launceston in recognition of the fact that NPL history was being made as, for the first time ever in the NPL Tasmania competition, there were four northern clubs involved, in addition to the four southern clubs. 

The 2023 NPL Tasmania season will involve Launceston City, Launceston United, Riverside Olympic and Devonport Strikers from the northern half of the State, and South Hobart, Glenorchy Knights, Clarence Zebras and Kingborough Lions United from the southern half of Tasmania.

Photo:  Players, coaches and club representatives of the eight NPL Tasmania clubs at today’s season launch in Launceston. [PlessPix]

He acknowledged that in previous versions of State League competitions before the foundation of the NPL in 2013 (as the Victory League), there were more northern clubs involved.

At one stage, the State League included clubs such as Burnie United, Ulverstone and  George Town, which made for very exciting competitions involving many parts of Tasmania.

Photo: Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley launches the 2023 NPL Tasmania season. [PlessPix]

Bulkeley said the 2023 season would traverse new territory in the sense that it would comply with international transfer windows and encompass professional players, some of whom were imports.

Tasmania would have to fall in line with rules and regulations that apply to all NPL competitions in all States.

He also said the winner of the home-and-away 21-game competition would be the champions, but that there would also be a finals series in all leagues to determine a finals winner at the end of the season.

The Under-21 competition would underpin the senior NPL competition. 

Photo: Representatives from Launceston United, the new kids on the NPL block. [PlessPix]

Bulkely also announced a new competitions management system for football, namely the DRIBL app, that Football Tasmanian was investing in.

"The old one was well past its best and we're hoping this one will make life easier for everyone," Bulkeley said.

"It's exciting for the future." 

Photo: Today’s 2023 NPL season launch in Launceston. [PlessPix]

I spoke to Devonport coach Tom Ballantyne at the event and he said his side had not been at full strength for any of its three games in the Summer Cup.

He said some players were still to arrive and that he'd be missing as many as eight first-choice players  for tomorrow's NPL Summer Cup Final, scheduled for 3pm at Windsor Park 1 ground. 

I don't know what South Hobart coach Ken Morton would say about this.

He has had scouts watching Devonport regularly and providing reports to him.

South Hobart will have a team lunch in Launceston tomorrow before the final.

I had a look at Windsor Park today and its a venue of vast open expanses and spectators will need to bring sunscreen and seating, I'd say.

It's going to be a long day. 

Photo: Players and officials at the launch function. [PlessPix]

Sunday’s two games between Launceston United and Kingborough Lions United at Birch Avenue have been cancelled.

Kingborough said a late change of schedule from Saturday to Sunday made it impossible for them to field teams as players had already made other arrangements. 

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