Edgeworth v Western Sydney Wanderers: Eagles pleased with trial performance ahead of NPL title decider

Damian Zane

Damian Zane

EDGEWORTH came through a 4-0 trial game loss to Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday night unscathed and buoyed by the performance ahead of their NPL premiership push.

The ladder-leading Eagles played the A-League outfit at Pluim Park, Lisarow, in a closed trial and back up at home against Lake Macquarie on Sunday potentially needing a result to win a third consecutive premiership.

Eagles coach Damian Zane was thrilled with the performance, especially given Josh Evans, Dylan Holz, Dom Bizzarri and Daniel McBreen were missing.

“It was only 1-0 at half-time and we had some chances, too. We played really well,” Zane said. “We threw our young players on, and they had a really good side on at the end, but our young guys did well. Overall, it was very positive, they were happy with the hit-out and it was played in the right spirit.” 

Meanwhile, Hamilton have questioned rules on age eligibility after their NPL 18 years side’s likely loss of the premiership because of breaches from other clubs.

Hamilton led the competition before the Emerging Jets 16 years side, which play in the 18 years league, were handed five points and two 3-0 wins because of regulation breaches. Hamilton were informed of the pending changes late last week. The Emerging Jets are now even with Hamilton on points and four goals ahead with a round to play.

The changes came after Edgeworth were penalised for fielding a suspended player in a win over the Jets and Broadmeadow were found to have played an ineligible 15-year-old three times, including in a 1-1 draw on May 13 with the Jets.

Northern NSW Football regulations state that players must be at least 16 that year to play in senior grades, which include 18 years. The Emerging Jets, though, given they are a 16 years side, regularly field younger players. 

Hamilton technical director Alex Tagaroulias said his 18 years side were disappointed and many “wondered about the equity of things” in relation to the Magic sanction.

“Parents and players are asking why [the Jets] can field 15 year olds?” he said. “And it's not as if [Magic] are bringing an older player down. Usually you punish a team for trying to gain an advantage but they’ve done the opposite of stacking a team.”

NNSWF operations manager Alan Nisbet said the Jets play an age division up, meaning the minimum age rule cannot apply to them.

Nisbet said it was unfortunate the breaches had impacted Hamilton but the federation had to impose the set sanctions.​

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