PREVIEW | PS4 NPL Finals Series: Canberra Olympic v Edgeworth Eagles
Canberra Olympic v Edgeworth Eagles
5pm Saturday 16th September at Deakin Stadium, Canberra
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Edgeworth – Lost Jaffas 0-2 (a), Lost Magic 1-2 (h), Won Magic 1-0 (a)
Canberra – Lost Belconnen 1-2 (a), W Gungahlin 2-0 (h), L Belconnen 2-2 (4-6) (h)
The Premiers of Northern NSW and Capital Football collide in week one of the PS4 NPL Finals Series, and both sides will be looking to return to the winners’ circle after respective Grand Final defeats.
Edgeworth won the PS4 NPL Northern NSW Premiership by three points from rivals Hamilton Olympic, but on Grand Final day they fell to third-placed Lambton Jaffas 2-0 in an incredibly tight match to end the season.
In their regular season, it was much more comfortable for Canberra as they won the title by 11 points from the FFA Centre of Excellence. However, two defeats in three weeks including in the Grand Final to third-placed Belconnen saw them miss the chance to repeat the Premiership-Championship double they achieved in 2016.
2016 was a huge year for Olympic, who made it all the way through to the Semi-Finals of the Westfield FFA Cup before eventual defeat to Hyundai A-League Champions Sydney FC, while in the NPL Finals they fell at the Quarter Final stage, 3-2 to Brisbane Strikers in the Sunshine State.
Similarly, the Eagles had a big season last year, and reaching the Round of 16 in the Cup, and made it all the way through to the NPL Finals decider after winning on the road in Melbourne and Perth before finally succumbing to Sydney United 58.
Back to 2017, and Edgeworth will still be hurting from their Grand Final defeat to Lambton, where they conceded twice in the final 15 minutes of extra-time to lose 2-0 – a period in matches they pride themselves in not conceding.
Eagles new recruit Kieran Sanders will be one man Canberra will need to keep an eye on. The Englishman has wonderful close control and a pinpoint pass.
Veteran Daniel McBreen continues to perform on the big stage, and has scored twice in Edgeworth’s last three matches, while Captain Josh Evans was close to best on ground in their Grand Final loss.
For Canberra, Stephen Domenici is the star finding the back of the net a whopping 27 times during the Capital Football NPL season. That was seven times more than his nearest rival. While in goals, Australian futsal goalkeeper Angelo Konstantinou is a superb shot-stopper and has even shown his ability from the penalty spot.
In a blow for the contest, both sides will be missing key players. Nathen Megic was red-carded in Canberra’s Grand Final and is suspended, while Phil Yarnold, Nick Bobolas and Brazilian Victor Yanes are all injured for the home side.
For the visiting Eagles, goalkeeper Nate Cavaliere is out with a broken finger suffered at training before their Grand Final, while Brody Taylor is overseas.
Key: After both sides suffered Grand Final defeats, which side can put the disappointment behind them and reach the Semi-Finals?