NPL NSW Womens 1 Grand Final Preview
The Grand Final has arrived and the Premiers, the Macarthur Rams will do battle with the young FNSW Institute team at the picturesque Lambert Park at 4:30pm, Sunday afternoon.
The Rams had a fantastic season and led on the ladder from round one all up until round twenty-one. They secured the Premiership with four rounds remaining, which allowed coach Stephen Neligan to alter the squad and rest some of his star players in the last couple of games.
They went on a twelve match unbeaten run in the first third of the competition which showed the quality that they posses. They have the best attack in the league with Amy Harrison leading at the point, supported by Renee Rollason just behind her in the attacking midfield role. Unfortunately the two along with Nicola Bolger and Teresa Polias will be unavailable which will be a big loss for the Rams.
Their defence is well marshalled by the general Hayley Crawford who makes her presence felt both at the back and in attack from set pieces.
While Georgia Yeoman-Dale will also be one to watch out for, renowned for her attacking raids bombing forward from right-back, she will no doubt cause problems for the Institute side.
Neligan stated his expectations for the final.
“I expect it to be an entertaining game with two teams that play a similar style of football. In my opinion, this has been the strongest league to date with every team capable of beating the other on any given day.”
“The Institute didn’t get this far by chance, so we know it’s going to be tough but we have a lot of players used to playing in big games like this so I’m confident we will be ready to go.”
After round seven, the FNSW Institute was last on the league ladder, after round twenty-one, this young side built of teenagers finished in third place and secured a finals place.
It is worth noting also that these girls also went on a strong unbeaten run that stretched to nine games.
As the season wore on, the girls continued to improve and that showed in their results.
The surprise packet of the competition wasn’t expected to make the finals but the girls have showed heart and fight but most importantly played good football.
The team is coached by Jaime Gomez who couldn’t be more pleased with the team he has.
Princess Ibini-Isei exploded in the finals series, single handily sending the Institute to the final, scoring five goals in two games as well as assisting the other.
Of course though, as coach Gomez said, it’s a collective effort and the team is brimming with talent all over the park. Jessica Urquhart made some crucial saves in the preliminary final to keep her side in the match while Rhianna Pollicina and Lorena Bugden were all over the park.
In the sides earlier meetings this season, the Rams lead 2-1 on their head to head. The first match between the two saw the Rams triumph 4-2. The second also went the way of the Rams as they came away with a tight 2-1 victory. The final game, which was played just over two months ago, went the way of the Institute as they took all three points winning 3-0.
Gomez summed up the season for us.
“I’m really pleased for the girls to have made the final and it’s a reward for them for the effort they have made over the last eight months. It will be a difficult game against the Rams as they are a great side with many experienced players.
“The Institute took part in the NTC challenge last week and played eight games there as well as there finals matches.
“I’m hoping our girls have recuperated from the last couple of weeks given the amount of football and intensity of the games they have played.”
“Macarthur are a well organized side with many quality players that can control and win the game for them. I think it will be a great display of football and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Will experience prevail and can the Rams complete the double with a grand final victory?
Or will the inexperienced Institute continue with their surprises and take the grand final?
The NPL Womens 1 Grand Final match will be streamed live with hosts Adam Santarossa and Nikola Pozder with a link available very shortly.
Grand Final – Sunday 7 September 2014 – Lambert Park
U13’s Sydney University v FNSW Institute 8:30am
U15’s Macarthur Rams v Blacktown Spartans 10:10am
U17’s Illawarra Stingrays v Blacktown Spartans 12:00pm
Reserve Northbridge FC v Manly United FC 2:00pm
1st Grade Macarthur Rams v FNSW Institute 4:30pm
-By Nikola Pozder