Club: Campbelltown City
Colours: Red and White
Home ground: Steve Woodcock Sports Centre
Recent Honours: 2013 FFSA NPL Champions; 2007 FFSA Presidents Cup Champions; 2003 SA Soccer Federation State League Premiership and State Top Five Series
Head Coach: Joe Mullen
Key Players: Shaun Harvey, Vas Parhas (c), Oliver Totani, Les Pogliacomi (gk)
Campbelltown City claimed the final spot at the National Premier Leagues Finals Series, following their 2-1 grand final victory over Adelaide Blue Eagles. The club will be Football Federation South Australia’s representative in the inaugural competition by virtue of the fact they are the only association to select their grand final winners as opposed to their minor-premiers for the national competition.
The “Red Devils” from the north-east of Adelaide were borne out of a group of Italian locals wanting to take their social game to the next level. The club was officially formed in 1963 and were accepted into South Australia’s “Third Division” competition the following year. The club adopted red and white as its colours in keeping with another local sports club in the area and took the name of the local district, when deciding what banner to play under.
Half a century later Campbelltown are celebrating their 50th anniversary and now have a second Premier League championship to add to their trophy cabinet. According to head coach and former Socceroo Joe Mullen the experience is one that has been felt across the whole club and is a fitting reward for those who’ve donated their efforts to Campbelltown cause over the years.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Mullen said with satisfaction upon reflecting on his side’s achievement. “It’s been a long time coming, being 27 years since our last title but is just reward for all the players, volunteers and coaches at our club.
“Our opposition were excellent, they really came at us hard in opening exchanges but we were able to weather the storm and in the end I think we were deserved winners.”
Campbelltown followed up their winning celebrations with the club’s annual presentation night the following night. Shaun Harvey was voted the Premier League side’s best and fairest, while goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi, who was the victor in two penalty shoot-outs en route to the grand final, was named players' player.
After the weekend’s celebrations it was back to the training paddock for Campbelltown as they prepare for their clash against South Hobart, who did the double in Tasmania's Premier League. The side will send a 16-player contingent to Hobart for the semi-final and according to Mullen are confident of doing well.
“Now that we've got a birth in the NPL finals we go in with one objective – and that’s to win it,” he said. “South Hobart will be an unknown quantity for us but we’ll stick to what’s been successful for us and we’ll have every chance of doing well.”
Assistant coach Joe Lagana, who will lead preparations while Mullen makes a trip to China to see his son Daniel play in the Chinese Super League, was similarly ambitious about Campbelltown’s prospects in the national finals series.
“We’ll be sending our full-strength contingent to Hobart, minus one player’s unavailability and certainly the message is we’re not going there to make up the numbers,” said Lagana.
“The boys will need to refocus at training over the next fortnight, so as to ensure we give a good account of ourselves. We'll have three sessions this week to get the boys back on the ball so it's business as usual."
The NPL 2013 Finals Series schedule is as follows:
Elimination Final 29 September 2013
Game 1 Sydney United 58 FC vs Canberra FC (3pm kick-off)
Semi Finals 5/6 October 2013
Game 2 (5 October) Olympic FC vs Winner of Game 1 (6pm kick-off)
Game 3 (6 October) South Hobart FC vs Campbelltown City (12pm kick-off)
Grand Final 12/13 October 2013
Game 4 Winner of Game 2 vs Winner of Game 3