This year’s Namoi Soccer League season was cut short before a finals match could be played due to stay-at-home orders put in place for regional NSW as a result of growing concerns about COVID-19.
Four teams contested both grades’ competitions this year.
The 15th and final round of the 2021 regular season was played on Saturday, August 14, with Narrabri FC (first grade) and Moree Services FC (reserve grade) being crowned minor premiers after finishing on top of their respective points ladders.
Given that no finals matches were played, no champions were crowned in 2021.
The Courier watched each first grade team closely across several games during the 2021 competition and has decided to pick a team of the season.
The Courier encourages anyone who would like to have a crack at a team of the year, decade or even century – from any code – to send it through to [email protected]
Just make sure that you include each player’s name, position and a little blurb about them, similar to what we have done here with the Namoi Soccer League team.
The Courier’s 2021 Namoi Soccer League team of the season is as follows:
Steve Phelps (goalkeeper, captain):
Wee Waa’s gun shot stopper and clear on-field leader. Phelps has great vision with and without the ball, which means he more often than not plays the right pass and also consistently flies out of his box to successfully cut out opposition through balls. Tough to beat from the set piece and plays the game with passion it deserves.
Izaac Jeffries (right back):
Jeffries forms an effective partnership on the right edge for Narrabri FC with centre back Nathan Trindall. He consistently wins headers and also makes crucial interceptions. He is hands down the best executer of the slide tackle in the competition – an underated aspect of the game, but one that brings great success for his team’s defence. If an attacker gets past him they can never forget about him as he’ll always chase and has the pace to catch them.
Nathan Trindall (centre back):
For years, Trindall has been the rock at the back for Narrabri FC. When the ball does get past the midfield, the team is comfortable knowing their centre back will be there to win the ball back. He is a tall, physical defender whose desire to win both the contest and the game is second to none. He’s also an outstanding teammate who spreads positivity to his side from the first whistle to the final one.
Adam Pryor (centre back):
Pryor is one of Narrabri FC’s newest additions in 2021. Brilliant with the ball at his feet and also reads the game well without it. Pryor instantly formed a solid defensive partnership with Nathan Trindall that proved so difficult to crack, which resulted in the team conceding just seven goals in 2021. A man of few words on the field, but says exactly what needs to be said.
Dean Hamblin (left back):
Wee Waa’s key defender. You know what you get every week with Dean – a hard-worker who never complains, he just gets in and gets the job done. Unlike the other players in this backline, he’s not the tallest or most physical defender, but what he may not have in strength he makes up for with his determination and attitude. He reads the game well in defence and attack, and can also find the net at the other end of the field when he goes forward.
Bailey Campbell (left midfield):
The Elevens FC attacker scored more than half of his team’s goals in season 2021 – eight of the 11, to be precise. When things aren’t going his way, he keeps his head up and continues to work hard. He is a pacey attacker, who can use both feet, and more often than not makes the right run. He would be a golden boot threat if he played a full season in the number nine role.
Cooper Brayshaw (centre mid):
The first player picked in the starting 11, for both this one and the minor premiers Narrabri FC each week. Cooper sets the standard on the field for not only his team, but the entire competition. He covers every blade of grass every single game and still managed to finish the season as the joint golden boot winner with 15 goals. He also stepped up for his club as far as leadership is concerned in 2021 after being named captain at the start of the year.
Matt Urquhart (centre midfield):
The Moree Services FC ‘Mr Fix It’. Plays any position on the park that his side requires him to. One week he will be scoring a hat-trick up front, and the next he will be fighting to keep the ball out of his own net as a fullback. However, we believe that he plays his best in the centre of the park. He has great vision, has the ability to both find and play the best pass and he is a phenomenal teammate.
Colby Williams (right midfield):
The Narrabri FC attacker had his best goal-scoring season yet, finishing with his first golden boot trophy after finding the back of the net 15 times in the 2021 campaign. He is always in the right place at the right time to get on the end of through balls and crosses. He has a great, hard-working attitude and his best is yet to come.
David Avery (attacking midfield):
A classy attacker with a great touch. Avery, pictured below, plays the right pass 99 per cent of the time and can certainly score from range. He creates a huge headache for opposition sides when he picks up the ball in between the midfield and defensive lines, and is the go-to man for set pieces. He was his team’s golden boot winner again in 2021 after finishing the season with seven successful strikes.
Jake Brayshaw (striker):
Jake claimed his first golden boot trophy this season alongside two teammates – Cooper Brayshaw and Colby Williams – all of who scored 15 goals. Jake also set up just as many, if not more, than he scored. A great team player who can excel in any role in the front three. He has speed on his side but also has a great touch and a calm head which allows him to play as a target man. An added bonus is that he’s a left-footed player, which complements Williams well up front.
Coach: Neil Brayshaw.
Assistant coach: Shane Soutter.
We also chose five players to fill up the bench.
Zaac Brayshaw (goalkeeper):
Unlucky not to make the starting 11 after an impressive 2021 campaign. Only conceded seven goals and kept eight clean sheets. A great shot stopper who is reliable when called upon.
Callum McPhee (midfield):
Hardest player to leave out of the starting 11. McPhee was a new addition to Narrabri FC in 2021 and immediately formed a lethal combination with Cooper Brayshaw in the middle of the park. McPhee is a box to box midfielder who can defend and attack. Rarely pulls out of a tackle and more often than not he’ll come away with possession for either himself or his team. A great runner of the ball, one that opposition defences cannot afford to leave free as he can score from distance.
Elsie Ford (midfield):
The youngest player in the team of the year. The Elevens FC rising star was one of the big improvers in 2021. She plays eyes-up soccer and has great vision and passing accuracy. Elsie is an inspiration to all young females in Narrabri in more than one sport and, in the Namoi Soccer League in particular, she proves that ladies belong in the top grade.
Nathan Hamblin (attacker):
A pacey and skilful attacking player who can slot in anywhere in the front three. The Wee Waa United attacker finished with six goals in 2021 and helped create many more. Has a great rivalry with the Narrabri FC backline which he keeps on its toes for 90 minutes every time the sides meet.
Adam Ha (utility):
Along with Urquhart, Ha is the heart and soul of Moree Services FC. Can and will play anywhere he is needed across the park. Reliable in defence and can find the net up front. He scored one of the best goals of the season against Narrabri FC in round nine in Moree when he drove a shot from well outside the 18-yard box and, closer to the right sideline than the right post, over the keeper and just inside the left upright.