The wait is finally over, the 2022 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Team of the Year has officially been announced in what has been a stellar season for all clubs and players involved in the state’s Premier competition.
As it has been traditionally done for the past fourteen seasons, Football NSW journalists have been awarding their 3,2,1 player ratings for each of the respective 131 matches played in the regular NPL NSW Men’s season.
Unfortunately, we’ve had the issue of two interrupted seasons due to COVID but thankfully 2022 allowed us to play a full compliment of matches which has brought back this popular segment,
The below is a starting eleven and substitutes line-up that is sure to threaten any side across Australia both at state and A-League level.
Blacktown City FC’s Alex Robinson has been one of the finds of the season. The Springwood resident hit huge heights after taking charge of a heavy number 1 keeper number following Tristan Prendergast’s season ending injury during preseason this year. Although a tough loss, City moved on with Robinson announcing himself to the NPL family that at 17, he had what it took to be one of the best. His fantastic performances caught the attention of the Young Socceroos coaching unit and has since been invited to a training camp hoping to crack a permanent national team spot. Another long list of high-quality keepers coming through the City ranks hoping to emulate one of their greatest in Matt Ryan.
Manly United’s great season has come down to a few players but none more so than captain Jimmy Oates. The 31-year-old was in red-hot form not only by marshalling his fellow defensive troops in keeping clean sheets but also scoring important goals having popped up four times this season. His experience and calmness led to Manly having the best defensive record of the league only conceding 24 goals all year.
On the theme of captains, Sydney Olympic’s Michael Glassock also stood out in what was a superb year for the former NSL giants. Glassock led his Blues to Premiership glory and that was thanks to a big season from the 22-year-old who will only get better as the years progress.
Rounding up the trio defensive unit was a familiar NPL NSW Men’s figure in APIA’s tall timber, Themba Muata-Marlow. The 28-year-old has been one of the league’s most consistent defenders for the last several seasons and 2022 showed that he was still hungry for more success having put on some impressive performances that earned him ‘Man of the Match’ plaudits keeping things tight at the back.
Following in his father’s footsteps Angelo who was a prominent player at the Marconi club during the NSL era, 20-year-old livewire midfielder Domenic Costanzo quite truly was one of the pick ups of the 2022 season. Costanzo was a constant pest for opposing sides and proved deadly on set-pieces combined with his trickery that saw him rise as one of the Stallions’ most potent weapons.
Three quality import players then made up the rest of what was a highly talented midfield line-up.
Manly United’s Brazilian maestro Bruno Mendes created a storm with his samba skills, flair and ability on the ball that made it tough for opponents to tackle the 28-year-old attacking midfielder. Having featured in a number of the ‘Goal of the Week’ segments, finding the net was never an issue for this star who finished up with 12 goals for the season.
Mendes was able to run the Manly United midfield because of his fellow partner in crime in Japanese star Seiya Kambayashi who was the engine room of Adam Griffiths’ side. Having originally signed on as an attacking defender, the 24-year-old’s ability was then seen in midfield, and it was there he showed more of his class and was statistically noted as the player who had the most touches on the ball in this year’s NPL NSW Men’s competition.
Finally, APIA Leichhardt FC’s prized U.S star Jason Romero was in a league of his own. The 27-year-old was the assist king of the NPL NSW Men’s competition coming in hot with 11 for the season while bagging 11 goals if you don’t mind. Another player who oozes style, class and finesse with the ball, he was a joy to watch as he took the NPL NSW Men’s league by storm after playing a few seasons in the tier below.
The NPL NSW Men’s competition was blessed with some quality strikers this year and the first player that seemed to grab the headlines each week was the league’s newly crowned Golden Boot winner, former A-League star, and Irishman Roy O’Donovan. The 36-year-old played an integral role in bringing the Premiership back to Belmore thanks to his 21 goal haul this season in his first year with the club. You can’t buy experience and the Irishman used that and more in his drive and determination to win matches at all costs as he instantly became an Olympic fan favourite.
Ilinden may have had a disappointing end to its 2022 season failing to make the finals but one player that once again stood up was ace marksman Alec Urosevski. The ‘Baker’ delivered in style this year as he almost grabbed the golden boot but was beaten on the last day with 20 goals. The 28-year-old has become one of the most consistent goalscorers this competition has ever seen having scored some spectacular ones along the way which is why he’s gained the reputation of being Rockdale’s number one threat.
Wrapping up the ‘Team of the Year’, the league was blessed to see yet another shining rising star utilise the NPL NSW Men’s competition as a platform to spearhead his footballing journey with 20-year-old Jaiden Kucharski getting the spot. The Sydney FC gun striker was tremendous for Jimmy Van Weeren’s men and proved to be a handful for opposing defenders. Hitting the back of the net 18 times, it came as no surprise to us all the young gun finally cemented a full-time first grade contract in Steve Corica’s squad thanks to his superb performances.
Special mentions to Ilinden keeper David Bradasevic, Stallions’ bearded assassin Marko Jesic, Mt Druitt Town Rangers star striker Jack Stewart, Wolves front man Lachlan Scott, Blacktown City’s reliable defender Grant Lynch and Olympic midfielder Darcy Burgess for earning spots on the substitutes list.
Congratulations to everyone who won selection into this year’s NPL NSW Men’s Team of the Year.