Grand Final Preview: Adelaide Blue Eagles v West Adelaide

Adelaide Blue Eagles v West Adelaide
PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia Grand Final 

When: Saturday, September 12th. Kick-off 3pm
Where:Elite Systems Football Centre, Cowan Street, ANGLE PARK

Teams:

Adelaide Blue Eagles5 C. Annicchiarico3 S. Annicchiarico4 C. Atsikbasis19 M. Balsamo7 J. Boyokino16 M. Charalambous8 D. Crettenden17 M. Dawber20 A. Dimas9 F. Filletti2 A. Harris18 K. Harris13 A. Kebede23 H. Kochi6 P. Piantedosi22 A. Rastovac14 J. Shyti1 P. Sourjani  

West AdelaideN. AndijantoD. AtkinsJ. BloxsomeM. BouzalasT. BriscoeR. Da SilvaT. HatzisJ. KaratzasR. LippettK. MantisM. NicholsonP. PezosA. RideoutM. TosicL. VallelongaT. VeartE. VlassisL. Moss

Form:

Adelaide Blue Eagles: D D W 

Round 26: Port Adelaide Pirates 1-1 Adelaide Blue Eagles, Pirate Park
Major Semi Final First Leg: Adelaide Blue Eagles 1-1 West Adelaide, Marden Sports Complex
Major Semi Final Second Leg: West Adelaide 1-4 Adelaide Blue Eagles, Adelaide Shores Football Centre (Adelaide Blue Eagles win 5-2 on aggregate) 

West Adelaide: D L W 

Major Semi Final First Leg: Adelaide Blue Eagles 1-1 West Adelaide, Marden Sports Complex
Major Semi Final Second Leg: West Adelaide 1-4 Adelaide Blue Eagles, Adelaide Shores Football Centre (Adelaide Blue Eagles win 5-2 on aggregate)
Preliminary Final: West Adelaide 5-2 West Torrens Birkalla, Adelaide Shores Football Centre

Preview: 

After finishing first and second in the minor round, Adelaide Blue Eagles and West Adelaide will now meet for the ultimate prize in the PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia Grand Final at Elite Systems Football Centre on Saturday. 

Adelaide Blue Eagles had a week rest following a superb 5-2 aggregate success over the Blue and Whites in the Major Semi Final, winning the second leg 4-1. 

However, captain Chris Annicchiarico said it won’t have much of a bearing on the decider. 

“The second leg was a more polished performance, we maintained possession well and took our chances. That was the difference between the two games,” he noted. 

“We can take some confidence from that game, but the Grand Final is different in itself. The last result won’t have too much of a bearing on how we approach this game. 

“Having a week off allowed us to freshen up. We were battling injuries and illness in those two games. Now we are looking forward to Saturday.” 

Blue Eagles last reached the Grand Final in 2013, going down to Campbelltown City. It triumphed two seasons earlier and is seeking an 11th top flight crown. 

To do so, Annicchiarico acknowledged it will have to overcome a tough opponent. 

“They are a top class unit, dangerous going forward, good on the ball and tight at the back. We’ve played them enough to know what to expect and it will be a keenly contested battle. 

“I believe that, like in most games, whoever can win the midfield battle will have an advantage. Whoever can dictate the tempo and put their chances away will have the best chance of winning.” 

West Adelaide claimed the minor premiership, but had to advance through the Preliminary Final. It secured a come-from-behind 5-2 victory over West Torrens Birkalla. 

Tony Hatzis said the atmosphere around the club has been building since then. 

“It was a big change from the week before! The boys had a solid week at training, put the heads down and got to work. We knew there was no second chance,” he said. 

“It’s really good at the moment, there’s a buzz as you would expect. Everybody is happy, but the essence in the air is that the job is not done yet. There’s another challenge that lies ahead.” 

West Adelaide was playing in the third tier as recently as 2012. After falling in the Preliminary Final last season it has the chance to lift silverware for the first time since 1991. West is also seeking its 11th championship. 

Hatzis noted it will be a battle between contrasting styles. 

“Blue Eagles are a direct side, with pace and strength up front and out wide and some dangerous attacking players. They also know what it takes to win. 

“We have to be careful in transition. We tend to have a lot of possession, but must make sure we don’t get caught on the counter.

“It’s two different styles that could match up well in the game. And you have to do everything you can in a game like this to win it.”

Article by Luca Cetta - @l_cetta




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