National Premier Leagues
The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a national association football competition in Australia which acts as the second tier of the sport in the country below the A-League. The NPL consists of the highest level state league in each state-based federation within Australia. In total the NPL is contested by clubs from eight divisions; these are ACT, NSW, Northern NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The NPL is overseen by Football Australia, in partnership with participating state-based member federations. Since 2014 it has been sponsored by PlayStation 4 and thus officially known as the PS4 National Premier Leagues.
|Number of teams||90 clubs (from 8 divisions)|
|Level on pyramid||2|
|Domestic cup(s)||FFA Cup|
|Current champions||Wollongong Wolves (2019)|
|Most championships||Sydney United 58 (2 titles)|
|Current: 2021 National Premier Leagues|
In October 2010, Football Federation Australia (FFA) commenced a National Competition Review, its main objective being to review the current structure of soccer competitions in Australia, and to monitor and improve elite player development. By May 2012 the results of the National Competition Review were released. In it, a proposal to re-brand and revitalise state-based competitions in Australia.
On 13 February 2013, the establishment of the National Premier Leagues was announced. As a direct outcome of the National Competition Review, the league would rebrand the premier league in each state under a single banner. Originally named Australian Premier League but due to a violation of naming rights held by Lawn Bowls Australia the original name was scrapped and replaced with National Premier Leagues.
The inaugural season of the NPL began in March 2013. It included teams from five of the nine state-based federations: Football Queensland, Football NSW, Football Federation South Australia, Football Federation Tasmania, and Capital Football. The FFA member federations that did not join the NPL in 2013, Football West, Northern New South Wales Football and Football Federation Victoria joined in the 2014 season, with Football Federation Northern Territory expected to adopt a partial model at some time in the future. Although Victoria initially announced their teams would enter in 2014, a deferral was later announced in November 2013, after several clubs objected to the process for selecting teams. However, by December 2013, a resolution was reached whereby Victorian teams participated in the 2014 season.
The NPL competitions in each state and territory are run by the member federation, with a national playoff tournament at the end of each season. Each member federation, or 'conference' contains various numbers of teams, and they play a full season with no inter-conference matches (an identical format to the individual State Leagues that preceded the NPL). The winner of each division is determined by the club in first position of each conference table at the end of the regular season, rather than the winner of the various state-based finals series.
NPL Finals SeriesEdit
At the completion of the regular home and away season, the winners of each respective Federation league compete in a finals playoff tournament.
The finals are all single match knock out matches. Between 2013-2015 the match ups were based on predetermined geographically adjacent Federations, with hosting rights for the quarter-finals alternating each year. From 2016 the match ups are determined by an open draw. The hosts for the semi-finals and Grand Final are determined by a formula based on the time of winning of the previous NPL Finals matches (normal time, extra time or penalties), goals scored and allowed, and yellow/red cards.
The finals series culminates in a Grand Final, where the winner is crowned National Premier Leagues Champions. Since the 2014 season, the NPL Champion has also qualified for the following years' FFA Cup round of 32.
Promotion and relegationEdit
Depending on the State Federation in charge, teams may be relegated from the NPL to a third-tier league in the same state (and vice versa), but there is currently no mechanism for a team to be promoted to the first tier of Australian Football, the A-League. The number of teams promoted and relegated from third-tier leagues per state has varied over the existence of the NPL. The table below details the number of teams relegated automatically from the NPL at the end of the season and the number of NPL teams which go into a relegation playoff against a lower league team (subject to those lower league teams meeting additional eligibility criteria to be able to be promoted to the NPL).
|Federation||Number of Clubs|
Current clubs (2021)Edit
Below are listed the National Premier Leagues clubs in each respective state member federation from the 2021 season.
In total, there are 94 clubs that compete in the top tier of the National Premier Leagues each season. Most NPL divisions involve promotion and relegation to leagues below the NPL and so participating clubs change annually.
|Season||Champions||Score||Runners-up||Venue||Crowd||Result in following FFA Cup|
|2013||Sydney United 58||2–0||South Hobart||KGV Park||1,150||Round of 161|
|2014||North Eastern MetroStars||1–0||Bonnyrigg White Eagles||Lambert Park||-||Round of 16|
|2015||Blacktown City||3–1||Bayswater City||Dorrien Gardens||-||Quarter-finals|
|2016||Sydney United 58||4–1||Edgeworth FC||Sydney United Sports Centre||-||Round of 16|
|2017||Heidelberg United||2–0||Brisbane Strikers||Perry Park||1,105||Quarter-finals|
|2018||Campbelltown City||2–1||Lions FC||Steve Woodcock Sports Centre||1,518||Round of 32|
|2019||Wollongong Wolves||4–3 (a.e.t.)||Lions FC||Albert Butler Memorial Park||1,362||– 2|
- 1 For the 2014 FFA Cup, Sydney United 58 were not given an automatic FFA Cup berth, however they qualified via the FFA Cup qualifying rounds.
- 2 The 2020 Finals Series and the 2020 FFA Cup were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. Wollongong Wolves had already qualified for the 2020 FFA Cup prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so were given an automatic entry into the 2021 FFA Cup.
Clubs reaching the finalsEdit
|Sydney United 58||2 (2013, 2016)||—||—||—||2|
|Campbelltown City||1 (2018)||—||1 (2013)||1 (2019)||3|
|Heidelberg United||1 (2017)||—||1 (2018)||1 (2019)||3|
|Blacktown City||1 (2015)||—||—||—||1|
|North Eastern MetroStars||1 (2014)||—||—||—||1|
|Wollongong Wolves||1 (2019)||—||—||—||1|
|Lions FC||—||2 (2018, 2019)||—||—||2|
|Edgeworth||—||1 (2016)||1 (2017)||2 (2015, 2018)||4|
|Brisbane Strikers||—||1 (2017)||1 (2016)||—||2|
|Bayswater City||—||1 (2015)||—||2 (2014, 2017)||3|
|South Hobart||—||1 (2013)||—||2 (2014, 2017)||3|
|Bonnyrigg White Eagles||—||1 (2014)||—||—||1|
|Perth SC||—||—||2 (2016, 2019)||1 (2018)||3|
|South Melbourne||—||—||1 (2014)||1 (2015)||2|
|APIA Leichhardt Tigers||—||—||1 (2017)||—||1|
|Moreton Bay United||—||—||1 (2015)||—||1|
|Palm Beach||—||—||1 (2014)||—||1|
|Sydney Olympic||—||—||1 (2018)||—||1|
|Canberra||—||—||—||3 (2013, 2015, 2018)||3|
|Canberra Olympic||—||—||—||3 (2016, 2017, 2019)||3|
|Devonport City||—||—||—||3 (2016, 2018, 2019)||3|
|Adelaide City||—||—||—||2 (2016, 2017)||2|
|Bentleigh Greens||—||—||—||1 (2016)||1|
|West Adelaide||—||—||—||1 (2015)||1|
|Weston Workers||—||—||—||1 (2014)||1|
Federation Finalists by seasonEdit
|Season||ACT||New South Wales||Northern NSW||Queensland||South Australia||Tasmania||Victoria||Western Australia|
|2013||Canberra FC||Sydney United 58||— 1||Olympic FC||Campbelltown City 2||South Hobart||— 1||— 1|
|2014||Cooma FC||Bonnyrigg White Eagles||Weston Workers 3||Palm Beach||North Eastern MetroStars||South Hobart||South Melbourne||Bayswater City|
|2015||Canberra FC||Blacktown City||Edgeworth FC||Moreton Bay United||West Adelaide||Olympia Warriors||South Melbourne||Bayswater City|
|2016||Canberra Olympic||Sydney United 58||Edgeworth FC||Brisbane Strikers||Adelaide City||Devonport City||Bentleigh Greens||Perth SC|
|2017||Canberra Olympic||APIA Leichhardt Tigers||Edgeworth FC||Brisbane Strikers||Adelaide City||South Hobart||Heidelberg United||Bayswater City|
|2018||Canberra FC||Sydney Olympic||Edgeworth FC||Lions FC||Campbelltown City||Devonport City||Heidelberg United||Perth SC|
|2019||Canberra Olympic||Wollongong Wolves||Maitland FC||Lions FC||Campbelltown City||Devonport City||Heidelberg United||Perth SC|
|2020 4||— 5||Rockdale City Suns||Edgeworth FC||Peninsula Power||Adelaide Comets||Devonport City||— 6||— 7|
- 1 Northern NSW, Victoria and Western Australia were not part of the inaugural NPL finals series.
- 2 North Eastern MetroStars won its league season, but did not proceed to the NPL Finals series (that year's Champion qualified instead).
- 3 Newcastle Jets Youth team won its league season, but were ineligible for the NPL Finals series (the runner-up qualified instead).
- 4 Competition Premiers only, as finals series cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.
- 5 No Premier declared.
- 6 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.
- 7 No Premier declared.
Performance by FederationEdit
|Federation||Best Performance||Multiple Champions|
|Football NSW||Champions (4)||Sydney United 58 (2)|
|Football South Australia||Champions (2)|
|Football Victoria||Champions (1)|
|Football Queensland||Runners-up (3)|
|Football Tasmania||Runners-up (1)|
|Football West||Runners-up (1)|
|Northern NSW Football||Runners-up (1)|
|Capital Football||Quarter Finalists (7)|
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