National Premier Leagues 4: Returning players mean Western's under 20s will be a title contender

Cowra's Bevan Foxall (left competing in the Western NSW under 20s side against Camden last year.

Cowra's Bevan Foxall (left competing in the Western NSW under 20s side against Camden last year.

LET'S BUILD: A bulk of the 2020 Western under 20s will return again this season. Photo: WESTERN NSW FC

LET'S BUILD: A bulk of the 2020 Western under 20s will return again this season. Photo: WESTERN NSW FC

FINALS football - that is the target for Western NSW under 20s coach Clint Mutton given the talent he will have at his disposal for the 2021 National Premier Leagues 4 season.

While Western has not yet played a game, it is a goal that looks to be achievable given a bulk of the 2020 squad which reached the semi-final stage has returned for another tilt at NPL4 glory.

Mutton was manager of the Western under 20s outfit last season, taking on that job after the under 18s team he was set to coach withdrew in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of the 18s players joined the 20s squad and they finished the regular season in second with six wins, three draws and one defeat. They fell one win short of the decider with a 2-1 loss to the Camden Tigers in the semis.

"I don't think it was a surprise [to make the finals], the quality we had in the team we thought we should do well and given that we did have the top players out of 18s hang around, it just gave us a little bit more depth in the 20s too," Mutton said.

"We should have a very good, competitive team again and are hoping to make the finals again. You make the finals and anything can happen."

Talented defender Riley Comerford, who has progressed through Western's junior system, will again line up in 2021 as will Orange's Aluck Athaui.

After being part of the 2019 Western under 18s, defender Joe Kocanda and midfielder Luka Ross will again represent the region and they are not the only familiar faces Mutton is keen to see in action.

"Ethan Mackay is another boy from Orange who did really well for us last year and he'll be back and Bevan Foxall from Cowra, he'll be back," the coach said.

"The two of them are really good, young, exciting players and really should be starting to make the bench for first grade this year. They are only young as well those two, they would still be eligible for 18s this year.

"They are two up-and-coming players who we are really excited to see this year."

Western resumed pre-season training on January 12 and are aiming to have trial games each Sunday as the first grade and under 20s squads are finalised.

Western begins its season on Saturday, March 6, when the first grade and under 20s outfit play away to Granville Rage.