It will be a new-look Heidelberg United that heads into the 2020 NPL season. New skipper, Reuben Way will lead an outfit that still boasts an experienced core group of players mixed in with some new faces with varying degrees of top flight experience.
Whist the three successive Victorian NPL Premiers Plates and a 2018 Grand Final victory are fond memories for ‘Berger faithful, season 2020 brings with it a whole new perspective.
The action kicks off with a Round 1 visit to the home of arch-enemy South Melbourne this Friday night. Whilst it may happen to fall on St. Valentine’s Day, there’s sure to be no love lost in a highly-anticipated Greek derby.
Heidelberg United clinched its third successive Premiers at the same venue in the last Round of 2019, and can be sure that South will be doing its utmost to exact revenge on a ‘Bergers outfit that will be from now on without its “Twin Towers” at the back.
With the departures off-season of Luke Byles and Steven Pace following stellar careers at the heart of the defence, seasoned campaigners like Josh Wilkins, Les Doumbalis and ‘keeper Chris Theodoridis will look to usher in a new era with the additions of Lachlan Barr (from SA), Ajdin Fetahagic (from Kingston City) and Deion Nicolaidis. Lewis Hall will look to bounce back from his knee injury in 2019, and mid-2019 signing Christopher Dib will be striving towards a greater senior role during 2020.
Last year’s Arthur McMillan Award winner, Adrian Zahra will be a lynch pin in the engine room for the ‘Bergers, along with the redoubtable wild man, Harry Noon. Wily veteran Jack Petrie, another player recovered from 2019 injuries, will be another looking to rediscover his best form. Skipper Reuben Way will look to lead by example, using his power, skill and speed to break the lines and create goal scoring opportunities.
The front line in the ‘Bergers attack also sees changes with the addition of experienced strikers James Demetriou and Dusan Bojnak . With the continued development of Lucas Derrick and Luka Ninkovic, and newcomer Amar Abdullah who have both now have solid pre-seasons behind them. The ‘Bergers will again look to the silky smooth skills of Sean Ellis to unlock opposition defences.
What better way to launch int the 2020 season than with a clash against the old enemy? The cliché that ladder positions stand for nought when it’s the Derby is perhaps moot for a Round 1 match, but it’s a sure bet that it would be a tremendous boost to either side to grab early season bragging rights over the old rival.
The match kicks off at 7:30PM this Friday (February 14th) at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park.