‘Signing of the season’ who tops NPL charts is dreaming of A-Leagues chance: Wonderkid Watch

Welcome to Wonderkid Watch: A weekly piece that keeps you up to date with the players and stories emerging from A-Leagues clubs playing at NPL level in Australia.

Featured Image: Rob Artola for Football NSW

Bulls teenager taking NPL NSW by storm

Amber Luchtmeijer. Remember the name.

The Bulls FC Academy sensation is lighting up NPLW NSW with her goalscoring exploits.

Aged just 17, Luchtmeijer tops the Golden Boot charts with 15 goals.

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While the teenager did not score in the Bulls’ 2-1 loss to Sydney Olympic, she did turn provider for Australian young gun Peta Trimis, who starred for Central Coast Mariners in 2023-24.

It has been a breakout season for Luchtmeijer following her arrival from Blacktown Spartans ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Potentially the “signing of the season” according to NPL NSW, the young forward swapped her junior club Blacktown for the Bulls – under the umbrella of A-Leagues side Macarthur FC, having endured a relegation battle with the Spartans.

“I loved Blacktown, I’ve been there for so long and I have so many good friends there, but with the whole relegation thing, I just didn’t want that pressure coming up,” she told NPL NSW recently.

“The energy was low at the club as we were all worried about relegation but it was honestly a good push motivation wise for me.

“There were times that I knew that I would have not been able to score a goal and I did or go for a run that I did without that sort of little push to get the win in that game or to just save the club from relegation.”

The Year 12 student has flourished in her new surrounds in Campbelltown, already scoring a hat-trick this season and moving one goal clear atop the scoring charts.

“I was intimidated when I first decided to make the move because they had a really good season, but I settled in really well and the girls are lovely and I’m racking up some goals, which is always fun,” she said.

“I feel like sometimes I get a lot of credit for the goals, but what people fail to see is that whole, it’s honestly, like, I truly mean it when I say it’s a team effort.

“I wouldn’t have scored more than half the goals without my incredible teammates.”

For Luchtmeijer, she is now dreaming of her first Liberty A-League opportunity.

“I would love to play A-League one day if someone’s going to give me a chance,” she said, with Macarthur not boasting a Liberty A-League side.

“I would definitely like to make a national team appearance sometime in the next year, whether it’s for the Junior Matildas or the Young Matildas, anything of that stature would be awesome.”

Meanwhile, Emerging Jets saw their three-game unbeaten run halted following a 4-1 loss to Northern Tigers.

Emma Dundas scored for the Jets to make it 2-1 but the Tigers proved too strong.

Melbourne Derby produces thrilling six-goal shoot-out

While the Isuzu UTE A-League is enjoying its off-season, academy clubs are still going head-to-head at NPL level.

Over the weekend, VPL1 leaders Melbourne Victory made the trip to Casey Fields to face eighth-placed Melbourne City in a Melbourne Derby, and it did not disappoint.

A thrilling 3-3 draw ensued after Victory scored a dramatic 95th-minute equaliser away from home.

Ryan Kalms, Joshua Damevski and Medin Memeti scored for City, while Tommaso Minutoli, Jack Mihailidis and Jesse Hoey struck for Victory.

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Victory took a 2-1 lead into the break before hosts City responded by equalising eight minutes into the second half, prior to hitting the front with 10 minutes of regulation remaining.

But at the death, league-leading Victory rescued a point to stay top, though their lead is now just four points after 20 rounds.

As for City, they are 17 points off the pace.

There was more chaos elsewhere in VPL1 – the second tier of Victorian football, as Western United lost 3-2 away to Caroline Springs George Cross.

Western – riding a seven-game unbeaten streak – led 2-0 courtesy of a Luke Vickery brace heading into the 80th minute but conceded three goals in a wild six minutes to lose.

Diogo Ferreira’s Western are fourth – five points adrift of rivals Victory.

Meanwhile, Melbourne City Rhianna Pollicina scored twice for Box Hill in their 4-0 rout of Alamein.

Youngster’s long-awaited return as Mariners boost survival hopes

Central Coast Mariners and their battle to beat the drop is well and truly alive after their 3-0 win over 10-man NWS Spirit.

After Kyle Shaw was sent off, the Mariners took full advantage thanks to goals from Nicholas Duarte, Arthur De Lima and Harry Menham in the second half.

The Mariners have taken seven points from a possible 12 in their last four games to climb within three points of moving off the foot of the NPLM NSW standings.

Central Coast’s big win also saw the long-awaited return of Gosford local Sasha Kuzevski.

The 23-year-old has endured a gruelling recovery following an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Kuzevski, who first joined the Mariners aged 12, has made eight A-Leagues appearances for Central Coast.

“It’s been a long journey for myself with the ups and downs, but I am super blessed and grateful for the club for helping me get back and leading this team”, he told NPL NSW.

“It’s a young group, there’s loads of talent in these kids and I think just a little bit of guidance and leadership is going to bring more results like tonight.

“These boys deserve to stay in the league. Obviously young and inexperienced at this level, the quality is there, and with a massive game on Wednesday, it’s another opportunity to show how talented this young group is.”

Elsewhere, Marconi Stallions were too good for second-bottom Sydney FC 4-0 while Western Sydney Wanderers were beaten 2-0 by Wollongong Wolves.

Once the league leaders, the Wanderers have now slipped down the standings and on Tuesday, Western Sydney were sanctioned by Football NSW.

The Wanderers received a six-point deduction (a further six suspended) and were fined $33,500 related to several incidents involving supporters at matches on May 5 and 11 this year.

In Football NSW League One, Michael Krslovic and Dean Bosnjak scored in Bulls FC Academy’s 2-1 win against Northern Tigers.

Newcastle Jets made it 21 matches unbeaten this season in League Two after edging Mounties Wanderers 1-0 via Alex Nunes.

The Jets have 16 wins and five draws from 21 matches as they moved to 53 points, nine ahead of second-placed Bankstown United.

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In New Zealand’s Central League, Wellington Phoenix overcame North Wellington 2-1 to continue their rise up the standings.

Luke Flowerdew and Isuzu UTE A-League player Luke Supyk both scored for the Phoenix.

Over in NPLM SA, Adelaide United drew 2-2 with Adelaide Olympic after Joey Garuccio equalised in the 78th minute. Harry Crawford opened the scoring for the Reds.

In NPLM WA, Perth Glory lost 4-3 to Balcatta Etna. Seb Despotovski, Samuel Barry and Khoa Ngo struck for Glory.