NPL Preview: First Team target Balcatta double

The PGFC Academy First Team will be targeting their first double of the season on Saturday when they welcome Balcatta Etna to Lark Hill (kick-off at 3pm).

John Walmsley’s side began their 2023 NPL WA campaign with a hard-fought victory over the northern suburbs club at Grindleford Reserve, Corey Sutherland bagging what proved to be the winner in stoppage-time.

Both sides have enjoyed similar fortunes since that Round One clash and are currently separated by just one point in what is a remarkably congested NPL WA table.

Current pace-setters Perth Red Star have accumulated just six more points than tenth-placed Inglewood United and if Glory manage to claim the spoils on Saturday, they could finish the day in third spot.

The youngsters will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at the hands of Floreat Athena, a result which ended their 100% record at Lark Hill.

And with seven of their next eight games scheduled to take place at the Port Kennedy venue, home form is set to determine whether they can consolidate their place in what is shaping up to be a fierce battle for the top four.

Ahead of the First Team game on Saturday, the Under-18s will be out to extend their lead at the top of the table by securing a fourth consecutive win and a third consecutive clean sheet.

Santiago Flores has been a key part of their success thus far this term, scoring 14 times to lead the race for the Golden Boot, while Chulu Johnson took his tally for the campaign to eight when he found the net in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Floreat Athena.

The Under-20s have also been among the goals, notching a total of 43 in what is developing into an epic tussle with Perth SC for top spot in their competition.

Seb Despotovski (10) and Royie Rahamim (9) have led the way on the goalscoring front, while Khoa Ngo’s eye-catching form has seen him thrust into the First Team ranks in recent weeks.

In addition to their impressive league form, the Under-20s have also reached the last four of the State League Reserves Cup.

Daniel Adesina scored both goals as they downed Perth SC 2-0 in Wednesday evening’s quarter-final tie.

Returning to Saturday, the Under-18s’ game gets underway at 11am, followed by the Under-20s at 1pm and the First Team at 3pm and admission is FREE, so do get along and support the lads if you can.

(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)