After the heartbreaking defeat in the 2016 FFSA NPL Grand Final at the hands of Campbelltown City, there is a sense of eagerness and excitement at Adelaide City. Is 2017 the year the NPL SA trophy comes back to Oakden for the first time since 2010?
By Michael Barbaro
Player movement has seen a number of first team regulars leave the club to pursue careers elsewhere, with star players Nikola Mileusnic (Adelaide United) and Joel Allwright (Newcastle Jets) being offered A-League contracts while veteran Shane Tobias has departed the club.
Allwright’s transfer to the Jets is a loan move, and he could still rejoin his Adelaide City teammates following the conclusion of the 2016-17 Hyundai A-League season.
However, the club have also made a number of key signings to bolster their attack for the upcoming season; former Adelaide United winger Evan Kostopoulos joins the club, while former Reds teammate Joseph Costa returns to City after spending the last campaign at the Adelaide Comets.
20 year-old former Adelaide United attacker Dylan Smith also joins the club, on the back of an exciting stint with the Young Reds, which saw him become a vital player for his squad.
Costa is poised to rejoin brother Anthony in the black and white, while striving to help his club regain some silverware.
Kostopoulos scored nine times for his club last season, and is sure to help his new club in their attacking third.
The moves are set to boost City’s already-potent attack, after their league-high 62 goals last season, 43 of which were scored by the attacking trio consisting of league top goalscorer Anthony Costa (19), Mileusnic (15) and Nicholas Bucco (9).
While senior coach Damian Mori’s primary focus will be on giving the City faithful a state championship for the first time of the NPL era, he will no doubt be eyeing off a preliminary-round Cup victory which would see them enter the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32.
The Black and Whites will look to their history books in 2014, where they were the first member-federation side to defeat an A-League club, after Thomas Love’s splendid solo effort was enough for City to see off the Western Sydney Wanderers, just months before the latter were crowned Asian champions.
Mori’s squad are well underway with their preparations for the 2017 season as City attempt to go one better than last year, kicking things off in the PS4 NPL SA Season Opener Grand Final rematch away at Campbelltown on this Thursday, February 16 with kick off slated for 7:30pm.
There is no doubt that the #ACBoys will be eager to bring another trophy back to the already-decorated trophy cabinet at Adelaide City Park, and the team will look to get off to a flying start from the first whistle