Momentum behind Young Reds for NPL Finals

AUFC membership 23/24 sign up now

It’s been another busy week for Adelaide United’s youth, ending the 2023 RAA NPL regular season with a clean sweep, and appearances in the Australia Cup.

It builds towards another big weekend, when the NPL Finals kick-off on Saturday at ServiceFM Stadium. 

Youth Head Coach, Airton Andrioli reflects on a strong month to date for the Reds, which has seen the Reserves unbeaten in five, and the Seniors in two. 

“We were happy to get the two results in the last game against West Adelaide and they were young teams playing again,” he said. 

“It was nice to consolidate those finals positions and there’s a fair bit of momentum behind us now.

“Quite a few of the boys travelled for the Australia Cup as well so I’ll have to take stocks late in the week with Carl (Veart) as well and see how we can best prepare for the weekend.”

The Reserves ran out comprehensive 3-0 winners to West Adelaide in the final round, with Mohammed Hassan, Ruben Lawrie and Luka Blazevic on the scoresheet. 

The Seniors also won 3-1 thanks to a Patrick McGregor double that was sandwiched by a Ryan White finish. 

Comets – and Stars – in scope
Adelaide United’s Reserves will first play on Saturday at 12:30pm against MetroStars, before the Seniors take on Adelaide Comets at 3:00pm at ServiceFM Stadium.

United’s staunch supporters will be set for a big day out at the State Centre of Football and Andrioli has called on the fans to create that ‘finals atmosphere’.

With more and more gaining first team exposure, these finals serve as a perfect precursor to the upcoming Isuzu Ute A-League season. 

“It is important we have that finals experience and I’m looking forward to a great occasion and a great crowd all day Saturday to hopefully cheer us over the line,” Andrioli said.

“Especially at Reserves level but actually both levels, we won’t be looking into previous results or form lines of the other teams – we’re mostly looking forward to more Finals fixtures and the experience that comes with it.

“We’ll focus on our game and our style and hopefully that’s good enough on the day to progress and go a bit further than we did last year.”

Comets are coming into this first final with back-to-back victories against South Adelaide and Modbury Jets respectively, while Metro’s Reserves have lost five on the trot. 

The stage is set for an exhilarating weekend of football. 

Developmental Gains
Regardless of the impending finals results, it’s been a successful year for United’s youth program and their NPL stalwarts.

Luka Jovanović and Jonny Yull have signed senior contracts and right-back, Giuseppe Bovalina made his maiden first team start in a solid 90-minute showing against Northcote City FC in the Australia Cup on Monday night.

“I’m very pleased that Giuseppe got a full game in the Australia Cup and he’s a boy who works extremely hard, like Fabian (Talladira) and Bailey (O’Neil) who were also in the squad,” Andrioli said. 

“They will get their opportunity too and now they are all training with the first team, along with Panagiotis Kikianis, which is how we judge ourselves as youth development coaches.

“I’d like to make note also that this has been an outstanding year regarding the football that our young boys in the Reserves have played and it’s rewarding to see just how far they have come in a short period of time.”

The A-League squad arrived back on Tuesday for a recovery session and subsequent rest day, which will allow Andrioli and Veart to assemble the squads for the weekend. 

AUFC membership 23/24 sign up now