NPL Match Preview: Western United vs Eastern Lions

Zac Kocankovski Western United Academy

Western United will begin life in NPL 2 Victoria on Sunday with a home fixture against Eastern Lions kicking off a blockbuster 2023 season.

Match Details

NPL 2 Victoria Round 1

Western United vs Eastern Lions

Sunday, 19 February

Kick-off: 3:00pm (Under 23’s), 5:30pm (Under 21’s)

City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field, Plumpton

A new dawn for the Western United Senior Academy

Sunday will see Western United’s Senior Academy sides embark on a new journey after securing promotion to NPL 2 for the 2023 campaign.

It came after a long and difficult 2022 season with plenty of ups and downs, but one in which Western United found itself at the top of the table for its entirety.

Ultimately, a third-placed finish at the end of the home and away season set up a promotion play off for the Green and Black and a famous result for the Academy, with the 6-0 triumph seeing United earn promotion at the first time of asking.

The change of division won’t be the only thing that is new for the Western United Academy this year with the Under 23’s side set to be spearheaded by Diogo Ferreira for the first time.

The former Isuzu UTE A-League Men midfielder was the assistant coach last season but with Anthony Frost moving solely into his Academy Director role, Ferreira has now taken the reigns as the head coach.

Ferreira will be supported by Western United legend Andrew Durante, while Vaughan Coveny has a new assistant coach in the Under 21’s in the form of Nikola Markovski.

The Opponent

Eastern Lions will provide Western United with a difficult test to begin the season and will have plenty of motivation having been relegated from NPL Victoria last season.

Eastern finished the 2022 season on the bottom of the table with just one win throughout the campaign and were relegated as a result.

Despite the disappointment of that campaign, Eastern will remain a high-calibre team and will be a very difficult opponent for Western United’s Under 23’s side.

Eastern’s Under 21’s side had a better time of it in 2022, finishing in seventh place in the NPL Victoria competition.

Junior Academy sides back at home for Round 3

After two rounds of the Junior NPL Victoria season, Western United’s brand new junior teams remain unbeaten and will return home for Round 3 on Sunday.

The four junior outfits will take on Werribee City at Saltwater Reserve as all four teams look to continue their strong starts to the season.

The Under 16’s and the Under 18’s have both won their opening two games without conceding a goal and sit on top of their respective divisions, while the Under 14’s and Under 15’s are each in fourth place on the table.

Western United Junior Academy Match Details

Sunday, 19 February

Western United vs Werribee City

Kick-off times: 9:30am (Under 14’s), 11:10am (Under 15’s), 1:00pm (Under 16’s), 3:00pm (Under 18’s)

Saltwater Reserve, Point Cook