Story via The Leader

The St George Football Association’s 2019 premier league season kicks off this weekend. Banksia won the men’s and women’s competitions last season and will be out to repeat their success. But there are a number of clubs looking to knock them off their perch.

Men’s Premier League 1

BANKSIA TIGERS

Coach – Wassim Hijazi

SGFA men's premier league teams. Picture: Chris Lane

 SGFA men’s premier league teams. Picture: Chris Lane

Captain – Mudrek Abaid

Key signings – Mustafa Elmadhoun, Ibrahim Haydar

Last season – first (champions)

Banksia’s goal is to again play finals football having kept the core of their title winning side despite losing some key players. Have also added some younger players to their squad. They finished two points clear at the top of the table last season before going on to beat Arncliffe on penalties in the grand final.

ARNCLIFFE AURORA

Coach – Hassan Reda

Captain – Hussein Jaaffar

Key signings – none

Last season – second (runners-up)

Arncliffe will look to bounce back from their second consecutive grand final defeat to finally bring the trophy back to Arncliffe Park. They host Rockdale City in the opening round.

ROCKDALE CITY SUNS

Coach – Jim Eleninovski, Steve Pilovski

Captain – Peter Apolevski

Key signings – Alex Ralevski, Josh Tasevski, Michael Sterjovski

Last season – fourth

The Suns are aiming for consistency and have their sights set on another top four finish as they look to build on a promising 2018.

SANS SOUCI FC

Coach – Simon Verrender

Captain – Jason Pitcher

Key signings – none

Last season – sixth

A top four finish and finals football is the goal for Sans Souci who finished four points adrift in 2018. They host Kogarah Warath in the opening round.

CARLTON ROVERS FC

Coach – Tony Hilas

Captain – Remy Blatch-Williams

Key signings – None

Last season – ninth

An inaugural premier league club having featured in the top tier in 38 of its 40 seasons, Carlton will look to celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary in style this season. Rovers will also return to their refurbished home at Harold Fraser Oval.

SCOTS FC

Coach – Gilles Tour

Captain – George Nastevski

Key signings – None

Last season – third

Scots will look to build on their third-placed finish in 2018 before they were eliminated in the first weekend of the finals in an upset by Rockdale. They host newly-promoted Hurstville Zagreb in the opening round.

HURSTVILLE ZAGREB

Coach – Richard Plesa

Captain – Anthony Majetic

Key signings – Marko Banic, Marko Kraljevic, Kreso Terkes

Last season – AAA1 first (champions)

Hurstville won the All Age A competition minor premiership and grand final last season and have strengthened their squad for the jump to the premier league.

FOREST RANGERS FC

Coach – Manuel Leon

Captain – Steve Donofrio

Key signings – Ziad El Masri, Jonathon De Lyall, Sean Hickey, Anthony Mekhaiel

Last season – seventh

Forest Rangers are aiming for the top half of the table this season – and potentially a tilt at finals football with their young squad. They face Carlton Rovers in the opening round.

KOGARAH WARATAH FC

Coach – George Maglis, Maurizio Balzarano

Captain – Aleksandar Mitkovski

Key signings – Nathan Ristevski

Last season – eighth

Kogarah have kept the core of their squad from last season as they pursue a top four finish in both grades and the development of their youth players with the return of Maglis as coach.

CONNELLS POINT

Last season – fifth

Connells Point have arguably the toughest assignment of the opening weekend as they travel to Gardiner Park to take on defending champions Banksia.

Women’s Premier League

BANKSIA TIGERS

Coach – Hussein Darwish

SGFA women's premier league teams. Picture: Chris Lane

 SGFA women’s premier league teams. Picture: Chris Lane

Captain – Tina Petrou

Key signings – None

Last season – first (champions)

Banksia have appeared in the last four grand finals, winning two premierships. The Tigers will again be the favourites, with the players determined to make it a hat-trick of titles.

LUGARNO FC

Coach – Ivan Jersek

Three-peat: Banksia downed Dolls Point on penalties in last season's women's Premier League grand final and will be looking for a third title in a row. Picture: SGFA

 Three-peat: Banksia downed Dolls Point on penalties in last season’s women’s Premier League grand final and will be looking for a third title in a row. Picture: SGFA

Captain – Nicola Jersek

Key signings – none

Last season – second

A difficult pre-season training situation with Gannons Park’s unavailability is expected to hurt Lugarno’s start. The team are aiming for another top four finish after they were unexpectedly bundled out in straight sets in the finals last season.

FOREST RANGERS FC

Coach – Michael Rees

Captain – Laura Mackie

Key signings – none

Last season – fourth

Rangers built one of the best defensive records of last season and expect to challenge Banksia for top spot. They will have an early chance to prove it as they face the Tigers in the opening round.

PEAKHURST UNITED

Coach – Perry Taylor

Captain – Jessica El-Gawly

Key signings – Lisa Brodie, Selen Santoro, Elena Randall

Last season – N/A

Many of Peakhurst’s players won the all age minor premiership with Bexley North last season before losing the grand final to Oatley. They have since joined United, who have been promoted to the premier league, where they are aiming to be competitive in the new-look eight team competition.

CONNELLS POINT

Coach – Andy Hall

Captain – Laura Appleton

Key signings – Toni Sharp, Julia Glavencevski, Nicola Little

Last season – fifth

Connells Point enjoy a good mix of youth and experience in their squad and will look to reach the finals this season having only missed out on the top four by three points in 2018. Host newly-promoted Peakhurst United in the opening round.

SCOTS FC

Coach – Aleks Mitkovski, Peter Amed

Captain – Georgia Kriaris

Key signings – none

Last season – sixth

Finished last in 2018 and will look to improve this season. Host newly-promoted Oatley in their first round clash.

DOLLS POINT FC

Coach – Daniel Burton

Captain – Olivia Gammone, Lauren Gardner

Key signings – none

Last season – third (runners-up)

Dolls Point pushed Banksia all the way in the grand final last season before losing on penalties and believe they have the squad capable of going one step better in 2019. They host Lugarno in the opening round.

OATLEY FC

Coach – Matt Jones

Captain – Amie Hibbard

Key signings – none

Last season – AAWA second (champions)

The second newly-promoted side in the expanded competition, Oatley finished runners-up in all age last season before their talented young squad went on to win an epic grand final.