A man recently linked to the Perth Glory coaching job believes no-one will go close to beating Bayswater City to the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA title.
Inglewood United coach Graham Normanton, whose name was thrown into the Glory mix before Alistair Edwards’ appointment last year, has written off the chances of any team upsetting Bayswater this season.
“Bayswater will win it by a large margin and the rest of us are playing for second,” said Normanton, whose team kicks-off its NPL season against Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium tomorrow.
Former Glory defender Chris Coyne kicked off his coaching career with Bayswater last season and has since led the team to successive Night Series victories, a Cool Ridge Cup triumph and grand final success last year.
But Stirling Lions beat City in the race for top spot over the home-and-away season in 2013, which is the prize clubs will covet this season. The league winner will qualify for the NPL National Finals Series, which will be contested by the top clubs from the eight major competitions around the country.
Despite losing out to Stirling in the league, Normanton believes Bayswater will be even better equipped to top the standings this season.
“I think they’ve learnt from last year when they got complacent at times,” he said.
Coyne is most wary of Sorrento, who will be co-coached by another former Glory player, Jamie Harnwell, and Trevor Morgan, whose coaching resume includes a spell as an assistant at English Premier League club Hull City.
“I think Sorrento will go close this year,” Coyne said. “If they keep people fit, Trevor and Jamie Harnwell will have them super-organised and I think they will be hard to break down.”
The NPL WA competition will include an age-restricted Glory team.
NPL WA - Round One
Saturday, March 8: ECU Joondalup v Cockburn City (ECU Sports Ground, 3pm); Bayswater City v Armadale (Frank Drago Reserve, 3pm); Perth Glory v Perth SC (Intiga Stadium, 3pm); Subiaco v Stirling Lions (WA Athletics Stadium, 3pm); Floreat Athena v Inglewood United (E&D Litis Stadium, 7pm). Sunday, March 9: Sorrento v Balcatta (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm).