Western United NPL Preview: Semi-Finals and key fixtures

Western United Academy

As is often the case, it’s a big weekend in NPL Victoria football with finals kicking off this weekend across the state.

Western United’s Under 21’s will take on FC Bulleen Lions in an NPL 2 Preliminary Final on Sunday after Calder United does battle with Bulleen in the NPLW Preliminary Final on Saturday.

Calder’s junior teams each play their final matches of the regular season looking to wrap up finals positions, while the Western United juniors will each head on the road in the third last round of fixtures.

Match Details

NPL 2 Victoria Under 21’s Preliminary Final

Western United vs FC Bulleen Lions

Sunday, 3 Septmber

Kick-off: 5:30pm AEST

City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field, Fraser Rise

Regular season wrap up

Vaughan Coveny’s Under 21’s side has continued to develop across the 2023 season, picking up where it left off in NPL 3 Victoria last season and excelling in a higher division.

Engaged in a race at the of the table with Melbourne City all season, the Green and Black finished second on the table and thus earned a week off to begin the finals series.

The biggest success story for the Under 21’s was the number of players that progressed through the ranks and into the Under 23’s side.

Oliver Lavale started the season in the Under 21’s and quickly progressed into the Under 23’s before his stunning senior debut in the Australia Cup on Wednesday night.

Thomas Alisandratos and Luke Vickery scored 29 goals between them for the Under 21’s and featured prominently in Diogo Ferreira’s NPL 2 senior side, while Michael Vonja shone in goal and took his opportunity when selected for the Under 23’s.

United had the best attack and the best defence in the league, ending with a remarkable goal difference of 85.

Coveny will hope to see that ruthlessness continue into the finals as the side looks to go one better than its Preliminary Final defeat to City in NPL 3 last season.

The Opponent

FC Bulleen Lions have proved to be Western United’s nemesis in the Under 21’s this year, defeating the Green and Black in both meetings during the regular season.

At the halfway point of the season, Bulleen inflicted the first defeat on United before they held onto their bragging rights in the final round of the campaign.

Attacker Benjamin Davine led the league with 24 goals with teammate Phineus Harbinson not far behind on 20 as the duo formed a formidable partnership up front.

United’s defenders will have to be switched on to stop them from scoring, especially after Davine netted a hat-trick two weeks ago in the final round of the season.

Calder United chasing third straight NPLW Grand Final appearance

Calder and Bulleen will add another chapter to their enthralling battles on the pitch as they prepare to lock horns again for a place in the 2023 NPLW Victoria Grand Final.

This will be the third time the teams have faced one another in a matter of weeks following a 0-0 draw in the league and Calder’s 2-0 triumph in the NIKE F.C. Cup Final last month.

It looms as another cutthroat finals tie between the two sides, replaying last season’s NPLW Victoria Grand Final, which Calder also won by a 2-0 scoreline.

Calder will be hoping its seven-game unbeaten run will continue, a streak during which Nathan Maiorana and Helen Winterburn’s side has not conceded a single goal.

Fresh from signing for Western United’s Liberty A-League Women side, Keiwa Hieda will hope to have an impact again after winning the Teresa Deas Medal for the player of the match against Bulleen in the cup final.

Alana Cerne, Natasha Dakic, Julia Sardo and Alyssa Dall’Oste will all hope to feature as they prepare to meet a Bulleen side that is also littered with Liberty A-League talent.

Bulleen are on a high coming off the final round of the season where their win over Southern United and Boroondara Carey Eagles’ defeat to South Melbourne handed them the Premier’s Plate.

Calder United Senior’s Match Details

NPLW Victoria Senior’s Preliminary Final

FC Bulleen Lions vs Calder United

Saturday, 2 September

Kick-off: 4:00pm AEST

Veneto Club – David Barro Stadium, Bulleen

Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on NPL.tv

Calder United Under 19’s also chasing Grand Final spot

Calder United’s Senior’s will be kicking off just as the Under 19’s finish their Preliminary Final against South Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium.

Andy Burnett’s side finished third on the table at the end of the regular season and will hope for a big win away from home in order to book a spot in the Grand Final.

Calder’s Under 19’s side boasts young gun Fiorina Iaria who is fresh off an international camp with the Young Matildas, while Mia Daskalovska top scored with 15 goals across the season.

Calder United Senior’s Match Details

NPL Victoria Women Under 19’s Preliminary Final

South Melbourne vs Calder United

Saturday, 2 September

Kick-off: 2:00pm AEST

Lakeside Stadium, South Melbourne

Western United Junior Academy sides hit the road

All four of Western United’s Junior Academy sides face a long trip to the east in their third last fixtures of the JBNPL 1 seasons.

The Under 14’s and Under 16’s will both take on Dandenong City while the Under 15’s and Under 18’s are each set to play Bentleigh Greens.

A win for the Under 14’s would take them above Dandenong City on the table with all four sides eager to pick up maximum points and either move into or maintain positions in the top four in their respective divisions.

Western United Junior Academy Match Details

JBNPL 1 Round 20

Sunday, 3 September

Under 14’s: Dandenong City vs Western United, 10:00am kick-off, Frank Holahan Soccer Complex

Under 15’s: Bentleigh Greens vs Western United, 11:45am kick-off, Kingston Heath Soccer Complex

Under 16’s: Dandenong City vs Western United, 1:15pm kick-off, Frank Holahan Soccer Complex

Under 18’s: Bentleigh Greens vs Western United, 11:30am kick-off, Kingston Heath Soccer Complex

Calder United juniors close out the season against Heidelberg United

Calder United’s three junior teams will bring a close to their regular seasons with an away trip to face Heidelberg United.

The Under 13’s and Under 15’s are both set for finals football while the Under 17’s will need to win and rely on South Melbourne losing to second-placed NTC U15.

Calder United Juniors Match Details

NPL Victoria Girls Round 27

Heidelberg United vs Calder United

Saturday, 2 September

Kick-off: 9:00am (Under 13’s), 10:15am (Under 17’s), 12:00pm (Under 15’S)

Olympic Village, Heidelberg West