Tigani's Top Ten: New FM Northern League One players ahead of the 2019 season

ALL SMILES: Three Singleton Strikers in Jake Barner, Hayden Nicol (captain) and Jordan Phelan were selected in Tigani's Top Ten on the eve of the 2019 New FM Northern League One season.
ALL SMILES: Three Singleton Strikers in Jake Barner, Hayden Nicol (captain) and Jordan Phelan were selected in Tigani's Top Ten on the eve of the 2019 New FM Northern League One season.

To celebrate this weekend's opening round of the New FM Northern League One season the Singleton Argus has released its official top ten players list this morning.

Sports reporter Alex Tigani has teamed up with the league's chief writer James Ward on the eve of the 2019 season to release a final list.

A total of three Singleton Strikers feature have made the final cut including incoming NPL recruit Jake Barner.

Before scrolling through the list we have published our honourable mentions (see story).

Later in the month we will continue with our top ten players participating in the local cricket scene as well as the remaining three football codes.

Until then, sit back and enjoy this first installment of "Tigani's Top Ten":

10. Jarrod Olivieri (West Wallsend)

Jarrod Olivieri - West Wallsend. (Photo supplied)

Jarrod Olivieri - West Wallsend. (Photo supplied)

Position: Midfielder

2018 games: 22

2018 goals: 4

The experienced midfielder has been named as captain of West Wallsend this season. And his side will face the ultimate challenge when hosting the reigning premier Belmont Swansea this Sunday.

"He (Olivieri) had a great Heritage Cup campaign and featured in the 2018 team of the year so he'd be in my top five," James Ward (Northern League chief writer).

9. Hayden Nicol (Singleton Strikers)

Hayden Nicol - Singleton Strikers.

Hayden Nicol - Singleton Strikers.

Position: Midfielder

2018 games: 20

2018 goals: 9

He's Singleton's fourth skipper in as many years but is he worthy of the final cut? Initially, Nicol was an honourable mention however the key midfielder has proven his worth by scoring in both of the Strikers' most recent trial games. He will be one to watch this Sunday.

"He comes from a fair bit of pedigree in the NPL given he played a lot of time with Weston and he was the logical choice for captain," Dave Willloughby (Singleton Strikers head coach).

8. Jake Hamilton (Cooks Hill United)

Jake Hamilton - Cooks Hill United.

Jake Hamilton - Cooks Hill United.

Position: Goal-keeper

2018 games: 22

When he was younger Hamilton claimed that his size was an issue. Fast forward to 2019 and the young electrician has landed as the only goal-keeper to make the final top ten.

"He's the choice for goalkeeper, the mainstay at Cooks Hill and they've had lots of clean sheets thanks to him," James Ward (Northern League chief writer).

7. Jordan Phelan (Singleton Strikers)

Jordan Phelan - Singleton Strikers.

Jordan Phelan - Singleton Strikers.

Position: Defender

2018 games: 19

2018 goal: 1

Four defenders were selected in the team of the year yet only one of them qualified for this list. The talented Brit went straight from the college football scene in his homeland to forge a career at Howe Park.

"Jordan is one of the most reliable defenders in the league so it was pleasing to share the (club) best and fairest with him last year," Hayden Nicol (Singleton Strikers newly appointed captain).

6. Jake Barner (Singleton Strikers)

Jake Barner - Singleton Strikers.

Jake Barner - Singleton Strikers.

Position: Midfielder

2018 NPL games: 16

2018 NPL goals: 2

While we can class Barner as a midfielder there's every chance that Singleton's newest recruit will sneak up to the front third and assist Joseph Civello. He was a regular for NPL side Weston last year.

"We've managed to keep our entire list from last year and then we add a talent like Jake to the side," Dave Willloughby (Singleton Strikers head coach).

5. Nathan McAllister (Toronto Awaba)

Nathan McAllister - Toronto Awaba. (Photo supplied)

Nathan McAllister - Toronto Awaba. (Photo supplied)

Position: Forward

2018 games: 20

2018 goals: 16

Singleton may enter the opening round against Toronto Awaba as the favourite however they cannot underestimate the minnow's newest recruit from South Cardiff. McAllister returns to Lyall Peacock Field thanks to the appointment of his father Darrell as coach.

"Nathan's an experienced striker with NPL background and he's scored 35 goals in two seasons," James Ward (Northern League chief writer).

4. Reece Newton (Belmont Swansea United)

Reece Newton - Belmont Swansea United. (Photo supplied)

Reece Newton - Belmont Swansea United. (Photo supplied)

Position: Defender

2018 games: 22

2018 goal: 1

Reece Newton may not have made the final four defenders list for the league's team of the year. But that spurred him on to help guide his side to a drought breaking 4-2 grand final win. May seem harsh to only have one Belswan in the final list yet Mitchell Cook, Quinn MacNeill, Clayton Poole and Corey Wilson were all in consideration.

"A young defender and key part of their best in the league defence last campaign," James Ward (Northern League chief writer).

3. Nick Russell (Cooks Hill United)

Nick Russell - Cooks Hill United.

Nick Russell - Cooks Hill United.

Position: Forward

2018 games: 21

2018 goals: 21

Spoiler alert. The top three on this list are all regulars at finding the back of the net. While you'd love to share the love between the different positional lines Nick Russell still managed a handy 21 goals last year. An incredible left boot, Russell also slotted five goals in his side's 13-0 win over Toronto last year.

"And he's another one with NPL experience," James Ward (Northern League chief writer).

2. Dino Fajkovic (South Cardiff)

Dino Fajkovic - South Cardiff.

Dino Fajkovic - South Cardiff.

Position: Forward

2018 NPL games: 22

His FFA Cup campaign has seen him find the back of the net right around the nation and he's fresh from a championship with Broadmeadow Magic. But should Dino Fajkovic be our number one player to watch? It's still a bit early to tell. We shall find out on Sunday night when South Cardiff plays host to Wallsend.

"He arrived from Broadmeadow Magic joining his brother Denis and he's the signing of the off season in my opinion," James Ward (Northern League chief writer).

1. Dr Lee Ashton (Cooks Hill United)

OUR NUMBER ONE: Lee Ashton (Cooks Hill United).

OUR NUMBER ONE: Lee Ashton (Cooks Hill United).

Position: Forward

2018 games: 16

2018 goals: 21

Cooks Hill United may not have walked away with the premiership last year yet the boys from Fearnley Dawes Field will still enter this season as the favourite. And this star of the competition plays a big factor in their campaign.

The English striker found 18 goals in his 20 appearances across the 2017 season only to push himself even further last year with 21 (42 combined with Nick Russell).

He's also balanced the round ball game with his studies (Masters of Science & Bachelor of Science [Honours], University of Leeds - UK and Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle - NSW).

But, should he be our number one?

Form suggests he's in the top two nevertheless I've gone with Ashton over Fajkovic due to the fact that he's already proven himself in our competition in recent years.

South Cardiff may rely too heavily on Fajkovic in their front third while, in the event Ashton is targeted by an opposing tagger, he will still be able to assist reliable forwards in Russell and incoming Belconnen United (NPL Capital) recruit Martin Raines.

"He's the joint leading goal scorer of 2018 with 21 goals including three hat-tricks and he even scored in their 2017 grand final win," James Ward (Northern League chief writer).

Previous 2019 top ten lists by Alex Tigani (Singleton Argus) include: