NNSW NPL: National stage hopes suffer blow after draw to play Victorian champions

THE Northern NSW premiers face a massive task to progress in the the nationwide stage of the NPL after drawing Victoria on Tuesday.

The NNSW winners were locked in to play the Queensland champions over the first two years of the National Premier Leagues but an open draw was done this year. Weston (2014) and Edgeworth (2015) lost to Queensland rivals, and the Victoria champions, likely to be Bentleigh Greens, look an even tougher ask.

** Toronto junior Luke Callen had his first start in the Under-16 ASEAN Football Federation Championship when Australia beat Malaysia 7-1 to progress to the semi-finals in Cambodia.

The win on Monday night (AEST) meant the Joeys finished second in Group A and they will face Thailand on Thursday night (AEST).

Callen, a wide defender, won a scholarship to the FFA Centre of Excellence this year. Emerging Jets goalkeeper Noah James has started in two matches for the Joeys, in wins over Singapore 6-2 and the Philippines 7-0. The other Hunter member of the FFA Centre of Excellence squad, Kaleb Cox, started against Singapore, in the 3-0 victory over Vietnam and 1-1 draw with Myanmar.

** Former Wallsend coach Josh Rufo will take over at Belmont Swansea. Brad Paul, who took back the reins at Belswans in pre-season after Graham Jones left, confirmed Rufo would coach the First Division club next season and join them for the rest of this year.

Rufo took Wallsend to grand final victory last year but quit midway through this season. Belswans beat Cessnock 3-0 on Sunday and are away to West Wallsend on Wednesday night.

Source: The Herald

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