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Located on Level 1 of the Northern New South Wales league system (Level 2 of the overall Australian league system), the league is a subdivision of the National Premier Leagues.
Northern NSW Football, the governing body of the sport in the northern region of the state (Football NSW oversees the southern region), administers the competition. Previously, the league was known as the Northern NSW State Football League.
Teams competing in the 2009 season were decided on the second of September 2008, with Highfields Azzurri FC and Lake Macquarie City Roosters FC relegated. Teams were judged on a number of criteria, including facility/ground (30%), financial status (25%), management (20%), playing strength/coaching staff (15%), and development program (10%).
The decision was made by an independent body, chaired by former NSW gaming minister Richard Face. With Lake Macquarie being promoted from the HIT Northern League One (formerly 'NewFM Football League') in 2017, the competition once again expanded to 11 teams.
Since Newcastle Jets Youth transferred into the NPL New South Wales structure, now playing in the NPL NSW 4, the competition was back to 10 teams. Newcastle Jets and Northern NSW Football believed the Sydney-based competition would help develop their youth players. As of the 2022 season, the competition once again expanded to 11 teams with Cooks Hill United being promoted from HIT Northern League One.
There are 18 rounds in a season, with each team playing each other at home and away. At the end of 18 rounds, the team that finishes first qualifies for the National Premier League Finals Series.
After 18 rounds, the top 5 teams participate in a finals series, a home and away knockout system with the away goals rule, with the winners meeting in the grand final.
It is the winner of the grand final who is crowned the major premier. A team that finishes last each year is relegated to the HIT Northern League One, but promotion/relegation has been halted indefinitely until Northern League One clubs are eligible to play in the NPL.
|NPL Northern NSW||〉|
|NPL South Australia||〉|
|NPL Capital Territory||〉|
|NPL New South Wales||〉|
|NPL Western Australia||〉|