NPL/WSL season launch
Statewide football will return to Tasmania this weekend for its biggest season ever, with more top-flight teams and more regions of the state represented than ever before.
15 teams from 10 clubs will compete in 144 matches across the MyState Bank Women’s Super League (WSL) and National Premier Leagues Tasmania (NPL) this season, all aiming to be crowned the best team in the state.
Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley said after an interrupted season in 2020, it was fantastic to kick off 2021 with the biggest ever season across the NPL and WSL competitions.
“With an expanded WSL now including teams from Devonport, Launceston and as far south as Kingborough, and the NPL retaining all eight teams from last year, our statewide competitions are both looking strong,” Mr Bulkeley said.
“This is a tremendous achievement from all clubs in involved, who have worked extremely hard to ensure football fans from across the state can enjoy an exciting year jam-packed with Tasmania’s best players, even after the challenges brought by COVID last year.
“Given the fact that our leagues are expanding, more teams are joining and our player numbers remain strong it’s little wonder that football is Tasmania’s most popular team sport.
“In fact, one of the biggest challenges this year was finding enough grounds and venues to play all of the games, which is a great sign for a healthy, growing competition.
“The growth of the WSL is particularly good to see, and comes at an exciting time for the women’s game in Tasmania with the potential for 2023 World Cup matches and training camps, and a Tasmanian state side set to play Calder United in April as part of Western United’s visit.
“We’re also honoured to have MyState Bank come on board as naming rights sponsors of the WSL and help us continue to grow the World Game for women and girls even further.
“Football Tasmania is looking forward to another strong season for both our male and female top-flight competitions and wishes all NPL and WSL teams the best for the 2021 season.”
In the NPL, Devonport Strikers will be hoping to continue their recent dominance and make it five NPL titles from the last six, commencing their campaign with an away trip to Launceston City.
A number of teams will be hoping to push Devonport all the way in 2021, with Summer Cup champions Kingborough Lions, last season’s runners-up Glenorchy Knights and perennial achievers South Hobart looking likely to be hot on the champions’ heels.
In the other opening round fixtures Kingborough will welcome Riverside Olympic to Lightwood Park, Glenorchy Knights will tackle Olympia at KGV and South Hobart will host Clarence Zebras at D’Arcy Street.
In the WSL, Taroona FC and Launceston United can expect a tough introduction into the top flight, with the league newcomers respectively hosting last year’s champions and second place getters, Olympia FC and Clarence Zebras in their first fixture for 2021.
In the other opening match, fellow newcomers Devonport Strikers travel to D’Arcy Street to take on South Hobart, while Kingborough Lions have the bye.
Opening round fixtures:
South Hobart vs Devonport Strikers – 2pm, Saturday 20 March – D’Arcy Street, South Hobart
Launceston United vs Clarence Zebras – 2.15pm, Saturday 20 March – Birch Avenue, Launceston
Taroona FC vs Olympia Warriors – 2.15pm, Sunday 21 March – Kelvedon Park, Taroona
Kingborough Lions (Bye)
Kingborough Lions vs Riverside Olympic – 2.15pm, Saturday 20 March, – Lightwood Park, Kingston
Launceston City vs Devonport Strikers – 4.30pm, Saturday 20 March – Buckby Motors Park, Prospect
Glenorchy Knights vs Olympia Warriors – 4.30pm, Saturday 20 March – KGV, Glenorchy
South Hobart vs Clarence Zebras – 2pm, Sunday 21 March – D’Arcy Street, South Hobart