Coach: Zoran Matic (retained).
1992-93 finish: 3rd. Losing grand finalist.
Matic has said this will be his last season and he wants to bow out on a high note. He has lashed out big to strengthen his midfield by signing Mike Reda and Goran Lozanovski.
Carl Veart has put off his move to England to lead the attack and he could score a bundle with his new front-running partner Damian Mori.
Gained: Mike Reda (Parramatta, $40,000); Goran Lozanovski (Preston, $15,000); Brad Hassell (White City).
Likely team: Zabica; Shillabeer, Ivanovic, Tobin, T.Vidmar, Melta, Lozanovski, Reda, Talladira, Mori, Veart.
Desira says: A top-three finish and a strong contender for the title.
Coach: Bruce Stowell (new).
1992-93 finish: 14th.
Was in a huge financial crisis last season until the appointment of a new administration led by former ASF chairman Ian Brusasco. The club has launched a new logo, new strip and become the partner with the Queensland Academy of Sport. Stowell has made changes.
Gained: Danny Wright (South Melbourne, $7000); Gary Phillips (Sydney Olympic); Clint Bolton (AIS); Craig Williams, Kevin Meacock (Nth Brisbane); Andrew Lees, Darren Hillier (Taringa); Andy Stowell (Lions); Alun Evans (Nth Star).
Likely team: Bolton; T.Cranney; Williams; Hunter; Jackson; Evans; Phillips; Stowell; Lees; Wright; Slater.
Desira says: A strong candidate for bottom spot.
Coach: John Margaritis (new).
1992-93 finish: Promoted.
Frantically trying to put a team together with players largely from the Victorian Premier League.
The club is negotiating to sign Ghana international Ransford Banini for sweeper.
Gained: Andrew Zinni (Preston, $15,000); John Pillemer (Leichhardt Tigers); Sash Becvinovski, Robbie Tombolato (Morwell); George Karkaletsis, Seb Emmanuele (Fawkner); Likely team: Brian; Marley; Della Rocca; Banini; Ferla; Tombolato; Karkaletsis; Kirishian; Pillemer; Becvinovski; Zinni.
Desira says: Will achieve a miracle if it finishes above 13th spot.
Coach: Drago Sekularac (retained).
1992-93 finish: 11th.
Has looked ordinary despite a tough European style pre-season.
The Bergers were given an embarrassing 2-6 hiding by South Melbourne in the Dockerty Cup final.
Gained: George Hannah (Melb Knights); Goran Negic (Red Star Belgrade); Nemanja Obradovic (Adelaide City); Mike Michalakopoulos, Harry Micheil (South Melbourne); Roman Nikolic (Bonnyrigg).
Likely team: Chatzitrifonos; Brattan; Hannah; Palatsides; Scott; MacNicol; Stubbins; Negic; Obradovic; Gnjidic; Michalakopoulos.
Desira says: Not good enough for a finals spot but should steer clear of the bottom spots.
Coach: Mirko Bazic (new).
1992-93 finish: 10th
Previously Melbourne Croatia, the club reluctantly adapted a new name and logo and underwent a revamp in the close season which included importing a new coach.
Bazic arrived late and has a baptism of fire against Adelaide City and Marconi in the first three weeks. He can expect pressure at a club not renowned for patience.
Gained: Ante Juric (Canberra Metros); Zoran Trajcevski (Preston, $3,000); David Cervinski (Nth Geelong).
Likely team: Miller; Buljubasic; Cervinski; A.Juric; Marth; De Amicis; Silic; Trajcevski; Biskic; Viduka; Coveny.
Desira says: Potential to make the finals – but a lot depends on a reasonable start.
Coach: Frank Arok (retained).
1992-93 finish: Champion. Second in league campaign.
The defending champion and an awesome combination even before a ball is kicked in anger.
Under Arok it has developed Australia’s version of a total-footballing side made all the more potent with the signings of Mike Smith and import Icardi.
It’s hard to find fault in the set-up.
Gained: Mike Smith (Wollongong City), Adriano Icardi (Italy); John Angelucci (AIS).
Likely team: Schwarzer; Gray; De Marigny; Bingley; Jolevski; Icardi; Pelucchi; Smith; Harper; Taliadoros; Corica.
Desira says: Expected to retain the title.
Coach: Bobby McLachlan (retained).
1992-93 finish: 12th.
Exceeded expectations in its first campaign and has aimed on building on that with prudent recruiting – mainly the signing of Socceroo John Markovski.
Gained: John Markovski (Preston, $25,000); Joe Gagetti (Canberra); Vasco Trpcevski (Preston); Ahmet Gurpiner (Turkey); Lachlan Armstrong (Dundee); Brian Bothwell (Fawkner); Carlo Villani (Canberra Metros); Shaun Parton (Preston, $4000); Steve Douglas (Albion, $8000).
Likely team: Mautone; Sevin; Canosa; Douglas; Parton; Upton; Trpcevski; Waddell; J.Markovski; Bothwell; Armstrong.
Desira says: Should make a comfortable mid-table position.
Coach: Jim Foley (new).
1992-93 finish: 8th.
A club that has run into huge financial strife and still faces a grim battle to stay afloat.
The raid on its best players has already started with Jason Polak joining South Melbourne.
Gained: Mark Jones & David Lowe (Marconi, $8000); Graham Jennings (Toronto Awaba), Troy Bellamy, Neil Owens, John McQuarrie (Adamstown Rosebud), Clint Gosling (Syd Olympic), Robbie Middleby (AIS), Howard Tredinnick, Scott Wells (Highfield Azzurri), Dane Sharp (Adelaide CSC), Likely team: Gosling; Maier; Jones; Stewart; Owens; Jennings; McQuarrie; Lowe; Meredith; Brown; Spink.
Desira says: The mish-mash gathered by new coach Foley may see it avoid bottom spot.
Coach: Rale Rasic (retained).
1992-92 finish: 6th, eliminated in semis.
Has started on a high note by winning the NSL Cup in the lead-up to the League but there is still a question whether the club can make a run and prod the big guns for the title.
It’s not clear if the recruits are as good as the departures from last season – Mike Reda (transferred), Robbie Wheatley (retired), Paul Souris (broken leg).
One who has certainly come good is Victorian striker Joe Spiteri.
Gained: Wally Ardone (Syd Olympic); Glen Gwynne (Brisbane); Joe Spiteri (Albion); John Koch, Craig Moffitt, Glen Sprod (Newcastle, $25,000).
Likely team: P.Gunning; Gwynne; Koch; Falzon; Ciantar; Moffitt; Gomez; G.Gunning; Mendez; Spiteri; Soper.
Desira says: Looks strong enough to make the finals and bother the three strong clubs.
Coach: Jim Pyrgolios (retained).
1992-93 finish: 1st in league, eliminated in preliminary final.
One of the big guns and Victoria’s best hope to snare the title.
Plays entertaining soccer.
Coach Jim Pyrgolios’ biggest task will be keeping harmony in a squad that seems top heavy with class midfielders.
Gained: Jason Polak (Newcastle, $35,000), Angie Goutzioulis ($30,000), Ike Alagiozidis (Panserraikos, Greece).
Likely team: Anastasiadis; Muscat; Durakovic; Wade; Hasler; Goutzioulis; Polak; Tasios; Boutsianis; Trimboli; Awaritefe.
Desira says: Should finish in the top three to earn the double chance but needs to overcome a dismal finals record after last season’s debacle.
Coach: Bertie Mariani (retained).
1992-93 finish: 9th.
Will have two Victorians (Kelic, Trajanovski) to lead its attack after losing Arambasic and Seal.
Harry Michaels is the new president which will mean extra pressure to get instant results – and that will be a new feeling for coach Bertie Mariani, whose two titles were built on the stability and long-term planning at Marconi.
Gained: Ivan Kelic (Melb Knights, not yet concluded), Kris Trajanovski (Preston, $24,000), Norman Tome (Bonnyrigg), Joe Caleta (Sydney Utd), Mike Gibson (Newcastle).
Likely team: Gibson; Barrett; Spyridakos; Bernal; Augerinos; Milosevic; Tsekenis; Caleta; Cardozo; Kelic; Trajanovski.
Desira says: Soccer needs a successful Sydney Olympic, but the side doesn’t look good enough.
Coach: Manfred Schaefer (retained).
1992-93 finish: 7th.
Change of name (from Sydney Croatia), change of administration, but placing all its faith on virtually last season’s squad. Schaefer has only picked up bargain signings but is banking on getting value out of Mario Jermen, Ante Milicic, Ante Moric, Ante Zizic.
The side caught the eye in the Cup and is a dark horse for honors.
Gained: Klaus Okon (Parramatta); David Zdrilic (St George).
Likely team: Kalac; Stanton; Babic; Kupresak; Popovic; Milicevic; Hristodoulou; Krslovic; Zdrilic; Gibson; Milicic.
Desira says: Will produce surprises, but an outside chance for the top six.
Coach: Raul Blanco (retained).
1992-93 finish: 5th.
The surprise packet of last season, it has the potential to do better.
The pre-season threat by Blanco to walk out over moneys owing and other problems are a sign that the club may be over its head spending wise – yet it has splashed out big to sign George Slifkas from Heidelberg.
Gained: George Slifkas (Heidelberg), Tony Giannasca (Canberra Deakin).
Likely team: Blazincic; Tibaldi; Hooker; Mills; Lazaridis; Blair; Brazzale; Slifkas; Cerro; Brown; Iriarte.
Desira says: Will finish in the six but still looking short of the class and quality of Marconi, Adelaide City and South Melbourne.
Coach: David Ratcliffe (retained).
1992-93 finish: 4th.
A club that operates on a shoestring but still manages to make the finals every year. Like its coach, plays a no-nonsense style, with former Socceroo captain Charlie Yankos still marshalling the defence.
At the other end, Ollerenshaw’s return from England should help resolve the goalscoring shortage that has plagued the club in recent seasons.
Gained: Pedro Ricoy (West Adelaide), Scott Ollerenshaw (Walsall), Donal O’Brien (Derry City, Ireland), Tom Bazdaric (Auburn).
Likely team: Hughes; O’Shea; Yankos; Bourke; Horsley; Lloyd; O’Brien; Ricoy; Ollerenshaw; White.
Desira says: Will again hover around the top six but could well miss out on a spot this season.
October 22nd, 1993