2020 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's Premiers Rockdale Ilinden are getting set to kick off the new season with a big home game at the IIlinden Sports Centre on Sunday, February 28 with a 3pm kick-off.
With football experiencing a tough period in 2020 due to COVID-19 where the season was shortened, the sport is expecting a bigger 2021 campaign across all its elite competitions.
Rockdale will be bolstered by the return of talented National Premier Leagues star Bai Antoniou, who will call the Suns home.
Antoniou is one of five new faces joining coach Steven Zoric's talented squad with former Blacktown City midfielder Daniel Araujo, ex-Sutherland Sharks youngsters James Temelkovski, Northbridge defender Zac Sfiligoi and well-travelled keeper Enol Ordonez Suarez all set to assist in the club's run for trophies in 2021.
With seasoned NPL names such as Tomoki Wada, Banri Kanaizumi, Alec Urosevski, David Bradasevic, Michael Neill, Mitchell Stamatellis and Amaury Gauthier, Antionou is undoubtedly in good company as Rockdale hope to emulate their 2020 success which saw them lift the Premiership before going down to Sydney United 58 in last years Final.
The 23-year-old former Australian Under 17 International played 19 matches for Illinden in 2018 before signing a professional contract in Cyprus - he then returned to Australia in 2019 where he spent time at Sutherland Sharks and Sydney Olympic.
The midfielder always stated that he'd return to Rockdale one day following his overseas move.
"A few years back, Rockdale allowed me to leave for an overseas opportunity.
"Before leaving the club, I told them I would one day return.
"After a frustrating 2020 season being injured, I felt Rockdale was the right club to help me find my best form again."
Antoniou was also looking forward to working under coach Steven Zoric who had a winning season in 2020.
The club's first match-up of the season will see them face Luke Wilkshire's Wollongong Wolves side after having previously played some trial matches to be ready for the Sunday, February 28's big seasons start.
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