It’s the competition that the now Socceroo Daniel Arzani found himself playing in to start the 2017-18 season, and on Monday the FFA confirmed the return of the Y-League with the release of the 2018-19 fixture.
Once again, the nine Australian based A-League sides plus Canberra United will find themselves divided into two, geographically defined conferences for the 10-week season: the NSW sides plus Canberra sorted into Conference B and Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Perth Glory sorted into Conference A.
Sides will play each other twice in a home and away format with two bye weeks, with the winners of the two conferences then set to meet in a grand final on the first weekend in February.
Commencing on the weekend of 10 November, round one of the competition will see Perth Glory hosting Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United welcoming Melbourne Victory to the Marden Sports Complex, Canberra United meet the Central Coast Mariners at Deakin Stadium and Sydney FC making the trip up the highway to take on Newcastle at the No. 2 Sportsground.
The Western Sydney Wanderers are the defending champions of the competition, defeating Melbourne City in extra time of the 2017-18 decider to secure their first ever Y-League crown.
FEATURE | “For Muscat, conversely, the sentiment will be nothing but disappointment, anger and confusion.”@gomvfc fans, how did you assess your team’s #MelbDerby performance? 🤔#MVFC #ALeague https://t.co/qtf5bTRmE6
— Daily Football Show (@DFS_AUS) October 21, 2018
With seven representatives in the Young Socceroos squad currently competing in the 2018 AFC U19 Championships, the Wanderers loom as one of the favourites for the league, which has operated in its current format since the 2015-16 season.
With seven representatives of their own in the Young Socceroos, Melbourne City shape as the greatest challenge to the Red and Black staging a repeat of their previous season exploits, Joe Palatsides’ squad on a run of two straight Y-League grand final appearances.
As well as the aforementioned Arzani, players such as Nathaniel Atkinson, Christian Theoharous, Jacob Italiano, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos and Kosta Grozos all featured in the previous edition of the Y-League; with the FFA’s Head of League’s Greg O’Rourke declaring on the fixtures release that the Y-League played an important role in the Australian football ecosystem.
“Having a strong Y-League helps complement the football development of Australia’s best youth footballers who also play in their respective local National Premier Leagues competitions during the winter months,” O’Rourke said.
“This competition not only allows the best youth footballers to test themselves against their age-group peers from around the country, it also allows them to learn from, and play with, A-League players who are either returning from injury or who need match minutes.
“The Y-League is the perfect stepping stone for our most talented players who aspire to play in the A-League and become heroes in their own right.”
The fixture release revealed that the Y-League will feature five doubleheaders with W-League matches during its season, with one game – Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United on 8 December – set to serve as a curtain raiser to an A-League fixture.
The full 2017/18 Y-League draw can be found here.
HEADER IMAGE: Western Sydney Wanderers