Sutherland Sharks claim Manchester United Premier Cup


The Sharks victory secured their passage to Victoria for the chance to represent Australia against the top club side from New Zealand to be crowned the Oceania Champions and travel to England to take part in the world tournament with the final held at the magnificent Old Trafford.
The win for Sutherland came after a wonderful day of Quarter and Semi Final action before the outstanding final was played between two great sides matched by the incredibly good weather.
Quarter Finals
The first set of Quarter Finals took place at 10am and saw the very strong Marconi Stallions bring the courageous run of Central Coast Lightning to a shuddering end with a 5-1 victory.
Eventual winners Sydney Olympic came through their match against highly fancied Blacktown City FC with a hard fought 1-0 win. This set up a Semi-Final clash between Marconi and Sydney Olympic.
The second set of Quarter Finals saw the West Sydney Berries defeat the A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers 5-4 on penalties after the game finished scoreless after ninety minutes.
While the final match pitted an injury riddled Manly United who were left with just the bare eleven players to take on the pre-tournament favourites Sutherland Sharks who, while not setting the tournament alight, were doing just enough. This game was much the same with a gritty performance seeing the Sharks victorious 1-0 over a gutsy Manly outfit. Sutherland won the right to tackle the Berries in the second Semi-Final.
Valentine Sports Park was ready for Semi-Final time and the Marconi Stallions v Sydney Olympic match in a game that was played at a ferocious pace. It was the Blues who claimed a 1-0 victory which sent them to the Final of the tournament with the tag of taking two huge scalps in the form of Blacktown City FC and the Marconi Stallions.
Who Olympic met in the Final was to be decided in the second Semi-Final where the well performing West Sydney Berries met the methodical Sutherland Sharks. Once again this was a very fast match with a number of chances going astray for the Berries but the relentless Sharks went about their business so efficiently it was inevitable their chance would came and it did with the single goal being enough to give Sutherland their chance to shine in the Final.
Grand Final
The final was a triumph for both teams as they each had finished second in their groups and came in to this match the hard way, especially Olympic who had beaten two of the tournament favourites.
The match was a cracker and a credit to both coaches and of course the players who had displayed outstanding football skills and endurance over the past three days.
Sydney Olympic were giving it their all but it was the previously methodical Sutherland Sharks who suddenly showed everyone they knew exactly what to do in tournament football as they turned it on to thrilled a large crowd and take the Final by the throat with a terrific display to win 2-0.
Sutherland will now travel to Melbourne for the Australian Finals on the 10/11 April before a possible match up with a New Zealand team three weeks later. The Finals in England will take place in late July/early August.
 Football NSW Acting Head of Competitions Manager Larry Grant was delighted and impressed with the display that was put on show during the Manchester United Premier Cup Tournament.
?This tournament was a wonderful advertisement for the standard of our U15?s Premier and Super Youth Leagues and it was a real thrill to see so many supporters sharing the excitement of this great competition.?