North Coast Football
|Number of teams||10|
|Domestic cup(s)||NNSWF State Cup|
|Current champions||Coffs City United Lions (2015)|
North Coast Football is an association football competition on the north coast of New South Wales extending from Iluka in the north to Macksville in the south. The association was established in its current form in 2005, having previously been known as the separate entities of Holiday Coast Soccer and Clarence Soccer. Its offices are located in Coffs Harbour, the largest city in the region.
For the past 27 years the North Coast region has had a men's competition colloquially called "The Premier League". This concept was launched in 1980 when Lloyd Nolan, Gregg Hall, Aart Hooykaas and a handful of other keen supporters of the game broke away from their local competitions to form a representative competition across the Mid North Coast. The competition is conducted by Northern New South Wales Football, the governing body in the region.
There are 23 clubs in the region:
A requirement to enter a team into the 'North Coast Premier League' in 1980 was that each club provided a First Grade and a Reserve Grade team. Given that most clubs in those days were district 'feeder' clubs (e.g. Coffs Harbour and District Soccer Club, Sawtell District Soccer Club, Urunga District Soccer Club), and the competition encompassed a truly representative area - including Taree, Wauchope, two Port Macquarie teams, Kempsey, Urunga, Sawtell, Nambucca, Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and some seasons as far afield as Armidale and Grafton - the rule that clubs must provide two teams was seen as a logical requirement in those days. Since then, the structure has been changed so that the highest placed club in the 2nd Division competition (who does not have a team in the 1st Division competition) is promoted. Requirements such as the standard of the club facilities, the ability to travel to all away games, accommodate traveling supporters and be able to field consistent numbers on a weekly basis, must be met before promotion is granted. The lowest placed team in the 1st Division competition is relegated to the 2nd Division competition, and if they already have a team in the 2nd Division competition, they in turn go to the 3rd Division competition. Clubs can enter unlimited teams in the 2nd and 3rd Division competitions. The 2011 season saw the introduction of a play-off between the bottom placed team in 1st Division and the top team in 2nd Division in order to determine promotion/relegation.
In recent years, a promoted club into 1st Division must be also be able to field a Youth League side (formerly Under 19s with up to 3 over-age players, now Under 21s with up to 4 over-age players) in order to fulfill the requirements as stipulated by the governing body. The Youth League competition is hence only open to clubs competing in Men's 1st Division. If a club is relegated from Men's 1st Division, their Youth League side will not be able to compete in the next season, regardless of where they place (a famous example was the Westlawn Tigers 2009 Premiership win in Youth League, but the side was not able to defend their title as their Men's 1st Division team finished bottom of the ladder).
The other main competitions that come under the bracket of North Coast Football are the Men's 2nd Division, Youth League/Reserve Grade (Under 21s, with a maximum of 4 over-age players per team), Men's 3rd Division (North and South) Women's 1st Division and Women's 2nd Division. In the 2009 season, Youth League was an Under 19s competition, with a maximum of 4 over-age players per team. This was changed to Under 19s with a maximum of 3 over-age players per team for the 2010 season, and then to the current form of Under 21s with a maximum of 4 over-age players per team in the 2011 season.
Minor divisions in the zone range from Under 6 to Under 11s (divisions which operate under the Small Sided Games format recently implemented by Football Federation Australia), Under 12s to Under 16s (juniors) and Over 35s.
A recent issue arising in the competition is the standard of floodlights required in order to hold night matches in senior competitions. The 2009 season saw the introduction of floodlight testing, and many clubs in the area have failed the lighting tests or failed to gain approval for lighting installation (in the case of Northern Storm at their home ground 'The Cove' in Korora). Sawtell was the most notable club to install lighting which met the regulations, and clubs such as Coffs Coast Tigers (at their Polwarth Drive ground) and Coffs United Lions (at their former home ground, 'The Den' at the Coffs Harbour Showground) met the regulations with their pre-existing lighting. These regulations resulted in most clubs having to hold day matches for safety reasons.
North Coast Football was originally formed in 1980 under the name of the North Coast Premier League, and later Holiday Coast Soccer, but the name was changed in 2005, a period which also marked the evolution of a number of clubs into their current forms (for example, Korora became Northern Storm in 2003).
The league currently contains over 5000 players, and is also home to the two largest clubs in Northern New South Wales, Coffs City United FC and Northern Storm FC. Defunct clubs in the region include Scotts Head, Toormina, Repton (now part of the Urunga club), Macleay Valley and Valley United (a combined team from Macksville, Nambucca, Bowraville, Scotts Head and Taylors Arm).
The Coffs Coast Tigers club are based in west Coffs, and Majos SC is situated in Grafton. Northern Storm are based in Korora and east Coffs. South Services Gunners are an amalgamation of South Services and Grafton Gunners, and they share their home ground (Rushforth Park) with Grafton City. Tucabia Bears represents the outlying northern regions of Tucabia, Ulmarra, Pillar Valley, Wooli, Minnie Water and Diggers Camp. Westlawn Tigers are based in Junction Hill.
On September 25, 2009, a North Coast Football select Under 21s squad consisting of Josh Wiseman (Coffs United), Matt Hughes (then Boambee), Todd Barden (then Coffs United), Dominic Kelly-Ramirez (then Urunga), Frank La Spada (then Northern Storm, now Urunga), Tom Willett (then Urunga), David Adjassou (then Coffs Tigers), Scott Goddard (Coffs United), Edwardo Oliveira (then Urunga), Sinai Shaul (Urunga), Kodjo Adjassou (then Coffs Tigers), Navrin Deane (Woolgoolga), Todd Milne (Coffs United) and Mark Parkins (Sawtell) took on the Central Coast Mariners youth team at the BCU International Stadium. With some questionable tactical decisions from coaches Richard Evans and Gordon Barton playing a significant role in the final outcome of the match, Mariners were victorious 9-0.
On September 27, 2009, a North Coast Football select All Age squad consisting of Josh Harrigan (then Orara), Richard Yarnton (then Orara), Hayden Kelly (then Sawtell), Jaxen Heward (Urunga), Brent Turner (then Coffs United), Ryan Turner (then Coffs United), Nathan Silvy (Coffs United), Travis Armstrong (then Maclean), Wade Parker (then Boambee), Nick Lambert (Coffs United), Luke France (then Sawtell), Fraser Robinson (Maclean), Ben Mackay (Coffs United) and former Sydney Olympic striker Brady Parker (then Boambee) took on the same team at Pacific Bay, with the final score being 5-0 to the Mariners.
10 clubs competed in the 2009 Men's 1st Division competition: Boambee FC, Coffs City United FC, Coffs Coast Tigers FC, Maclean FC, Northern Storm FC, Orara Valley FC, Sawtell FC, Urunga FC, Westlawn Tigers FC and Woolgoolga FC. Grafton City were initially promoted to the top tier in 2009 but were not able to field a Youth League squad. Westlawn Tigers took their place, infamously winning the Youth League competition and Club of the Year award while being relegated from 1st Division (their Youth League side hence not being able to compete the following season). Yamba Breakers were promoted from 2nd Division for the 2010 competition, winning both the Minor Premiership and Grand Final. They were relegated at the conclusion of the 2010 season, being replaced by Westlawn Tigers who were promoted once again.
The 2010 season saw Yamba Breakers relegated after their first season of top flight football, with Coffs Coast Tigers taking out the Minor Premiership. Coffs United Lions took out the grand final win with a 6-1 humiliation of Coffs Coast Tigers that saw them return to dominance in the Men's 1st Division competition. 2010 also saw the inception of the NNSWF State Cup, which saw 3 North Coast Football teams represented in the quarter-finals (Maclean Bobcats, Woolgoolga Wolves and Coffs City United), none of which progressed to the semi-finals. The 2011 competition saw 5 out of 7 North Coast Football teams progress to the 2nd round.
The 2012 season saw a turn in the top teams with Northern Storm rising to the top and winning their first Minor Premiership, a wonderful achievement in the clubs history. The first two semi finals saw Northern Storm hosting the defending champions Coffs City United Lions at ' The Cove '. The result finished with Coffs Lions winning 2-1. The other semi finial saw Urunga Raiders host Mclean Bobcats with Urunga winning 2-1. Northern Storm had a second chance against a tough Urunga outfit in the Preliminary final but Northern Storm had played well to win 2-1 to make their first ever Grand Final. Coffs City United Lions and Northern Storm sure made the Grand Final a close nail biting game. After 90 minutes the game was locked at 1-1 but at the end of extra time Coffs City United Lions had won 3-2.
|Season||Champions||Premiers||FFA Cup Best Performance|
|2005||Coffs City United Lions|
|2007||Coffs City United Lions|
|2008||Coffs City United Lions|
|2009||Maclean Bobcats||Coffs City United Lions|
|2010||Coffs City United Lions||Coffs Coast Tigers|
|2011||Coffs City United Lions||Coffs City United Lions|
|2012||Coffs City United Lions||Northern Storm FC|
|2013||Coffs City United Lions||Northern Storm FC|
|2014||Urunga Raiders||Coffs City United Lions||Boambee Bombers (NNSW semi-finals)|
|2015||Coffs City United Lions||Coffs City United Lions||Coffs City United Lions (NNSW Round 6)|
Men's 1st Division Golden Boot
- 1st Place: Kodjo Adjassou (Coffs Coast Tigers) - 38 goals
- 2nd Place: Brady Parker (Boambee Bombers) - 24 goals
- 3rd Place: Fraser Robinson (Maclean Bobcats), Ben Mackay (Coffs City United Lions), Nick Lambert (Coffs City United Lions) - 16 goals
- 1st Place: Ben Mackay (Coffs City United Lions) - 29 goals
- 2nd Place: Kodjo Adjassou (Coffs Coast Tigers) - 24 goals
- 1st Place: Brady Parker (Boambee Bombers) - 24 goals
- 2nd Place: Fraser Robinson (Maclean Bobcats) - 18 goals
- 3rd Place: Luke France (Sawtell Scorpions), Ben Mackay (Coffs City United Lions) - 17 goals
- Club of the Year: Sawtell FC
- Male Player of the Year: Kodjo Adjassou (Coffs Coast Tigers)
- Female Player of the Year: Kylie McDonald (Boambee Eagles)
- Referee of the Year: Blayne Whiteman
- Men's 1st Division Coach of the Year: Gordon Barton (Orara Valley Dingoes)
- Women's 1st Division Coach of the Year: Neil Witherdin (Boambee Eagles)
- Golden Boot (Male): Kodjo Adjassou (Coffs Coast Tigers) - 38 goals
- Golden Boot (Female): Janice Lacy (Woolgoolga Wildcats) and Kylie McDonald (Boambee Eagles) - 19 goals
- Club of the Year: Westlawn Tigers
- Male Player of the Year: Kodjo Adjassou (Coffs Coast Tigers)
- Female Player of the Year: Breanna Martin (Urunga Raiders)
- Referee of the Year: Scott Anderson
- Men's 1st Division Coach of the Year: Greg McCoy (Urunga Raiders)
- Women's 1st Division Coach of the Year: Jason Hillier (Coffs Coast Tigers)
- Golden Boot (Male): Ben Mackay (Coffs City United Lions) - 29 goals
- Golden Boot (Female): Gabby Dickinson (Corindi/Red Rock Breakers) - 23 goals
- See 'North Coast Football Zone' section http://www.northcoastfootball.com.au/
- See 'NNSWF Member Zones' section http://www.northernnswfootball.com.au/default.aspx
- See A30.2 in By Law 7 http://www.northcoastfootball.com.au/docs/By-law%207%2019%20Jan%202011.doc
- See A30.1.1 a) in By Law 7 http://www.northcoastfootball.com.au/docs/By-law%207%2019%20Jan%202011.doc