Strikers Win First PS4 NPL Title
Words: Michael Flynn
Additional Reporting: Stathi Mihalis
Images: Greg Hamblin
Brisbane Strikers have claimed the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland 2016 Premiership title in style after rolling Northern Fury 6-1 at Townsville Sports Reserve.
Marksman Rhys Meredith struck four goals in a blistering first-half display from the Strikers, which saw Fraser Hills also find the back of the net to effectively seal the win before half-time.
Substitute Jonti Richter iced the result with his side’s sixth goal approaching the final quarter hour, while Fury could only find late consolation via Jonathon Bagley in the closing stages of the contest.
Strikers’ fifth straight win sees the club take an insurmountable four-point lead atop the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland competition table ahead of next week’s final round of the regular season.
Meredith’s individual haul also sees the attacker extend his season’s tally to 17 goals atop the competition's Golden Boot race.
The Premiership win is Strikers first in the national second tier and first Premiership title since the Queensland State League 2012 season.
The former National Soccer League club will now represent Queensland in the end of season PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Finals Series against the as yet undetermined PlayStation 4 NPL Capital Football Premiers in September.
For Fury, the result extends a horror run of results, with this year’s wooden spooners now winless in 21 games.
15’ - CHANCE FOR FURY – Jonathon Bagley swivels on a thrown in at the top of the penalty area, but his strike takes a deflection and flies narrowly wide of the target
24’ – CHANCE FOR STRIKERS – Fraser Hills gets in behind the Fury backline, however Fury goalkeeper proves up to task with a low save in the ensuing one-on-one
27’ – GOAL FOR STRIKERS – Rhys Meredith pounces on an error by Fury defender Darren Walker and slots the opener into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal
29’ – GOAL FOR STRIKERS – Trent Clulow makes a strong run down the right hand touch line before sending in a low cross which is converted by Meredith to double the advantage
30’ – GOAL FOR STRIKERS – A stray pass from George Dalton gifts Meredith his hat-trick with the striker taking possession in the penalty area before delivering another composed finish past Murphy
36’ – GOAL FOR STRIKERS – Clulow again delivers with a cross from the right, with Fraser Hills applying the finishing touch to effectively seal the points
44’ – GOAL FOR STRIKERS – Meredith cuts back onto his left to get the better of Dalton before hammering the finish past Murphy for a five-goal lead
71’ – CHANCE FOR STRIKERS – Clulow again picks out Meredith with a cross but this time his header is directed straight into the waiting hands of Murphy
75’ – GOAL FOR STRIKERS – Strikers catch Fury on the counter attack following a corner as Jonti Richter latches on to a long ball and slots the finish past the oncoming Murphy
90+2’ – GOAL FOR FURY - A Fury corner falls to Jonathon Bagley in the six-yard box who pokes it into the back of the net
What They Said
“I’m immensely proud of the players and what the club has managed to achieve this year. It’s the ultimate sign of a successful team if you can be the Premiers. It’s the biggest reward for us – more important than Grand Finals. We didn’t want to just have a successful year based on cup run but we wanted to win the league as well. The players proven time and time again be resolute and had answers to a lot of different scenarios and are now the Premiers.“ – Kevin A'herne-Evans, Brisbane Strikers FC coach
“The game was over at half-time. The amount of times we give the ball away – our ball retention is shocking. To call ourselves football players sometimes is embarrassing for what we do. The ball was crossed across the face of goal three times and they score three goals from it. First one we give them because we can’t even control the ball and that was the start of it.“ – Ian Ferguson, Northern Fury FC coach
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues 2016 – Round 21
Saturday, August 13
Townsville Sports Reserve, Townsville
Northern Fury FC – 1 (Jonathon BAGLEY 90’+2)
Brisbane Strikers FC – 6 (Rhys MEREDITH 27’ 29’ 30’ 44’, Fraser HILLS 36’, Jonti RICHTER 75’)
Match Centre – http://bit.ly/2aOaKuR
Match Officials - Rachel Mitchenson (referee), Jack Nicolosi (assistant) Liam O’Connor (assistant), Graham Buzzi (fourth)