OFFICIAL: Waratah Cup Final Match Day Information


The 2012 Waratah Cup Final sees two NSW Premier League outfits lock horns as APIA-Leichhardt Tigers and Sutherland Sharks both aim to add silverware to a trophy cabinet that has been a little bare in recent seasons.
APIA-Leichhardt has certainly shown its ability to play good football this season under new coach John Turner, something that has perhaps been missing in recent campaigns. Turner?s arrival has brought about a new attitude and football principles to the club, and the side has definitely grasped these.
The quality of football has been impressive, and even though the League results have been a little indifferent, the run in the Cup has shown the side means serious business in its quest to claim silverware in 2012.
Perhaps the realisation for success in 2012 arrived in the quarter-final tie against Marconi Stallions. The Tigers handed out a hefty 5-0 hiding to their perennial rivals, paving the way then for a workmanlike performance against Bankstown Berries in the semi-final to secure a spot in the showpiece encounter on July 8.
Sutherland Sharks has provided followers of both the Waratah Cup and NSW Premier League with some exceptional displays this season, testament to the hard work and belief of coach Robbie Stanton in the football philosophy he has instilled at the club over the past few seasons.
The Sharks have maintained their physical style of play, all in the while ensuring to keep playing the ball out from the back and avoid being forced to change their style when pressured by their opponents.
The Cup run has been great for the Sharks with some impressive results to-date, even though the semi-final tussle with Dapto Dandaloo FC proved to be a big test at a busy time of the season with a heavy fixture list.
Sunday 8th July, 2012
Cromer Park, Cromer
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Sutherland Sharks
Gates Open 1.15pm
Kick-off 3pm
Prices: Adults $10 ? Students/Concession $5 ? Children U16 Free
Road to the 2012 Waratah Cup Final
APIA Leichhardt Tigers
R3        ?          2-0 win v Nepean FC
R4        ?          3-0 win v St George FC
QF        ?          5-0 win v  Marconi Stallions
SF        ?          2-1 win v Bankstown Berries
APIA-Leichhardt?s run to the Final has been a relative straightforward journey with John Turner?s men conceding only one goal from the four matches played to reach the July 8 showcase against the Sharks.
The Tigers entered the competition at the Round 3 stage with the Premier League big guns, and the Tigers? campaign commenced nicely with a 2-0 win over State League 2 side, Nepean FC.
APIA-Leichhardt sealed the win with goals to new season signings Min-Soo Gil and Andrew Bevin, both key elements to John Turner?s squad this season.
In Round 4, the Tigers faced NSW Super League outfit St George FC at Lambert Park.
Despite the side still stalling in the League, in-terms of results, APIA-Leichhardt played a tremendous ninety minutes of Cup football to secure a 3-0 win and seal a spot in the quarter-finals.
Kiwi import Ethan Gailbraith, David D?Apuzzo and Mun-Soo Gil each added their names to the scorer?s list as the Tigers sent the NSW Super League side packing.
APIA-Leichhardt sent a huge warning to the remaining sides in the Waratah Cup
competition following its quarter-final demolition of Marconi Stallions.
The Tigers booked their Waratah Cup semi-final spot in emphatic fashion, with doubles from Ethan Gailbraith and Adel El Jamal, and another goal to Korean import Mun-Soo Gil.
The performance was brilliant by the Tigers, who showed just how well they can play against a Stallions team that were given nothing on the evening. The match will not only be remembered by the Tigers? players and supporters for the win, but also for the 25-yard screamer scored by Gil. The powerful finish left Marconi goalkeeper Anderw Mercuri helpless as the Tigers marched on to the final four.
In the semi-final against Bankstown Berries FC, the Tigers were perhaps given their biggest test of the Cup campaign. Franco Parisi gave APIA-Leichhardt the lead in the first-half with an elegant strike from the edge of the penalty-area.
Despite the Tigers conceding their first goal of the entire Cup run early in the second-half ? Berries substitute Kodjo Adjassou drawing the Berries level ? John Turner?s men controlled proceedings with a large amount of possession.
Just as it may have seemed that the goal required for victory was not going to arrive, striker Andrew Bevin won APIA-Leichhardt a 77? minute penalty.
Striker and former Hyundai A-League player Adam Casey showed poise and finesse to slot home the winner and secure a Cup Final berth for APIA-Leichhardt on July 8.
Road to the 2012 Waratah Cup Final
Sutherland Sharks
R3        ?          1-0 win v Manly United
R4        ?          3-0 win v Fraser Park
QF        ?          1-0 win v Blacktown City FC
SF        ?          2-1 win v Dapto Dandaloo Fury
Sutherland Sharks? run in the Waratah Cup has been equally impressive with Robbie Stanton?s men also conceding only one-goal on the way to the Cup Final.
Another interesting statistic is the fact that Sutherland eliminated two fellow NSW Premier League outfits en-route to the Final, including reigning Waratah Cup champions Manly United FC and former NSW Premier League champions Blacktown City FC.
The Sharks 2012 Waratah Cup campaign started with a daunting task against the reigning champions, Manly United FC. In a very closely fought encounter, Todd Halloran?s single goal was enough to secure qualification into the Fourth Round. Halloran was on the spot to flick Nick Stavroulakis? cross inside the far post with a glancing header to kick-start the Sharks? Cup campaign, meanwhile ending that of the champions.
In the Round 4 tie against NSW Super League side Fraser Park, the Sharks left no stone unturned as they went about making easy work of their opponent. The 3-0 win was a fair reflection of proceedings on the night as Panni Nikas, Hussein Salameh and Matt Bailey all netted to round out the result and set up a quarter-final shot at Blacktown City FC.
The quarter-final match against Blacktown City FC was certainly the Sharks? toughest obstacle in the Cup run to the Final. Both sides attempted to break the deadlock at Seymour Shaw in an action-packed second-half, though it was youngster Hayden Morton who would decide the encounter.
The Sharks? short corner routine saw Matt Bailey play Panni Nikas before delivering a pinpoint cross into the path of Morton who headed the ball home for the win.
Sutherland Sharks? semi-final opponent Dapto Dandaloo FC proved to be a tough side to break down for the Sharks, even though Robbie Stanton?s men managed to wear the Illawarra side down as the match wore on.
Trailing 1-0 after 14? minutes courtesy of a David Reid goal ? incidentally the first goal conceded by the Sharks in the competition ? Sutherland set about overturning the deficit.
Chris Price restored parity prior to the break after pouncing on a loose ball inside the penalty-area, much to the relief of the Sharks supporters present on a very chilly evening at Seymour Shaw.
The match winning goal arrived 10? minutes into the second-half and once again it belonged to Matt Bailey. The Sharks? number 10 struck a thunderous drive from outside the penalty-area that left goalkeeper Mitchell Blowes helpless.
Players to Look Out for
APIA Leichhardt Tigers
Franco Parisi ? Arguably the Tigers? most experienced campaigner. With an elegance and poise on the ball that only few players in the competition are able to express, Parisi has become the Tigers stalwart marksman.
With an ability to create and score goals, Parisi has been a consistent performer for the
Tigers over the year. With a passion for his club side to match his fine ability, the Tigers? number 10 will be out to ensure Cup Final triumph at Cromer Park.
Andrew Bevin ? The speedy Kiwi born striker has been one of the finds of the season in the NSW Premier League competition. Despite his small stature, the striker?s impressive pace and fabulous eye for goal have played a massive part in APIA-Leichhardt?s qualification into the showpiece match. The Sutherland defenders will certainly need to be on their toes to keep the young striker under control in the Final.
Adel El Jamal ? Much of the Tigers? success in the Cup run can be attributed to the fine displays of Adel El Jamal in the heart of the APIA-Leichhardt defence. A burly defender who reads the game well, is not afraid to put his body on the line and, most impressively, gets forward to score goals, El Jamal will be key in the Tigers? bid for Cup Final success. Paired alongside Mark Byrnes, the Tigers have only conceded one goal in the competition to-date.
Players to Look Out for
Sutherland Sharks
Panni Nikas ? The Sutherland Sharks playmaker has had another fabulous season for his club with some sensational performances, and goals, in both the League and Cup competitions to-date.
Blessed with a fine first touch, exceptional vision and deadly strike, Nikas will again be calling the shots in the front third of the field. Backed by a sturdy midfield, the Sharks will be looking to get their playmaker on the ball as much as possible against the Tigers to carve out goal scoring opportunities.
Nick Stavroulakis ? Mr. Reliable in the centre of the park, Stavroulakis has had a stellar campaign thus far. A hard tackling midfielder with a fine passing ability, Stavroulakis? work-rate in the engine room has been phenomenal.
Having taken the captain?s armband from George Souris following the defender?s injury earlier in the season, the pragmatic midfielder will be eager to hold aloft the Waratah Cup trophy at the conclusion of the Cup Final, something the club did back in 2009 with a 2-1 victory against Manly United with Stavroulakis netting an extra-time winner as well as picking up the ?Man of the Match? award.
Paul Cotte ? One of Robbie Stanton?s new additions to the club this season, Paul Cotte has slotted into the setup with complete ease. Boasting much experience, Cotte?s importance has increased further since Souris? unfortunate injury.
With a young defensive line featuring the likes of Michael Stuart, Tyson Rhodes and Hayden Morton, Cotte will be given the job of barking instructions across the backline with the likes of Ethan Gailbraith, Andrew Bevin and Franco Parisi to pose a major threat in the Final.
Coaches Comments
John Turner (APIA Leichhardt Tigers)
On the road to the Final: ?The semi-final was tough, it was heavy going and the match was played on a difficult pitch too so the conditions weren?t ideal for good football. In saying that, semi-finals football rarely offers a spectacle ? like a lot of semis and FA Cup Finals, the matches are often ordinary. We missed some players that night, and the Berries gave us a real fight.?
Importance of a Cup Final win for APIA-Leichhardt: ?The Final is important for APIA, most definitely. Hopefully we can go into the match with a bit of good form, something that our League form has failed to provide ? we need to find some more consistency.
?It will be lovely to win some silverware for the club, though more importantly we want to win the Cup because we have played well in the competition. Whether the Cup is the only piece of silverware we can win this season, I guess the season will tell us that over the next two months, though it is something we really want to achieve.
?I have personally won this trophy, and would love to add the win with a second club.?
On the Cup Final opponent: ?Against Sutherland, I have had some great rivalries, I even coached the team for a year, so I am looking forward to the encounter.
?The match against Sutherland will be a great match-up ? they have a great line-up with a number of players that have played for me in the past, and I am sure Robbie (Stanton) will have them ready for the final.
?The Sharks play good football, are a physical side, and rarely give you much breathing space on the ball.
?The last time one of my teams played Sutherland in a Final we won the Premier League grand-final with the Wollongong Wolves, so I am definitely looking forward to this one.?
On Sutherland?s danger men: ?Panni Nikas is a great player and we will need to pay attention to his movements on the field as he sees a lot of the ball in the front third and he is a real danger for any team he lines up against. We will definitely be looking to keep him quiet on the day.?
Coaches Comments
Robbie Stanton (Sutherland Sharks)
On the road to the Final: ?Our run in the Cup has been great, especially considering we had to face Manly United FC and Blacktown City FC along the way. In the semi-final, we were made to work hard, though we need to remember that the Dapto Dandaloo team was made up of a number of former NSL and Premier League players that gave a really good account of themselves. I was confident we would overrun them in the end, and am happy we have reached the Final.?
On Sutherland?s football mentality: ?We have focused more on the performances than the results this season. Our belief is that if the performance is right, if we stick to what we know, most of the time the result will come.
?Recent wins in the League and Cup too will give us the push we need to finish strongly in both the Cup Final and the rush towards the Finals in the League.
?The club hasn?t set a goal of winning the League or the Cup every year. We are looking to finish as high up the ladder and as far into the Cup competition as possible, constantly improving our football, our style of play and showcasing as much young talent as possible to create a pathway for these guys.?
On the new players fitting into the Sutherland system : ?The players that have come through have had it easy to understand what their role is in the squad. We?ve looked to break everything down for the new players in terms of their roles, and the likes of Hayden Morton, Michael Stuart and of course the experienced Paul Cotte have all managed to fit in so quickly and with minimal fuss.
On the Cup Final opponent: ?APIA-Leichhardt are a strong side, very experienced and I know they will be there for the win.
?We will go there and play the same way we have played all season, even though it is a Final. For us it is an opportunity to play our game we have been working on. If we win it will be fabulous, if we don?t, as long as we express our football, it will be a great experience for our players to take away and become better players.
?I think Andrew Bevin has been a great acquisition for APIA. He is not a big guy, though he moves really well and has a great eye for goal. If Franco Parisi is on top of his game, he can carve teams up and Adam D?Apuzzo too is a hard worker. Across the park they have a lot of strength and good movement.?
Player Comments
Franco Parisi (APIA Leichhardt Tigers)
On the road to the Final: ?We have worked hard in this competition and I believe we deserve to be in the Final. We did go ahead in the semi-final though had to dig deep after the Berries equalised. We managed to find the winning goal I think because we were a lot hungrier on the night. Reaching the Final is a boost in confidence for the team as a whole and it is definitely something that a club like APIA-Leichhardt deserves from us players.
On the APIA-Leichhardt?s 2012 season thus far: ?The positive news to come out of the team this year is that we are confidently working hard together as a group. We have had a mixed run of results and our positioning on the ladder isn?t too promising at the moment, though we are confident that we can make a good run towards the end of the season happen. We don?t believe we have been outplayed in our matches ? the matches we have lost have really been by the single goal, and in each of those matches we have dominated for periods so it is just a matter of putting the entire ninety minutes together and get the results happening.?
On the Cup Final opponent: ?We would love to think that we will run out and defeat Sutherland in the Final, though we need to approach the match with a clever plan. We know Sutherland are a very well organised side, well disciplined and hard working, so it will be a challenge for us. In saying this, it is a challenge we believe that we can overcome and we are looking forward to it.
On Sutherland Sharks? danger men: ?I wouldn?t single out any player in particular, collectively they are strong.
?Sutherland?s strength is when they play well as a group, and I hope they do play against us with their full strength side as I am sure that we will lift even further in a Cup Final match like the one that awaits us.?
Player Comments
Nick Stavroulakis (Sutherland Sharks)
On the road to the Final: ?The match against Dandaloo was a great result for us. They may have been underestimated by a number of other teams in the competition, and for that reason Dandaloo got through to the semi-final. We were made to work hard, though if you look at the squad they have at their disposal, it is no surprise that the match was challenging.
?It was a testament to our boys for the great effort to get the win.?
On Sutherland?s football mentality: ?We are a competitive team. I know many players from other teams hate playing us because of the competitiveness of our boys. We do not give up.
?To win the Final would be a big thing for us, we will be giving our full effort and hoping to add some silverware which would be recognition for the efforts of all the boys and coaching staff.
?The young boys will obviously benefit too as these sort of matches can give the younger boys the chance to perform in front of potential Hyundai A-League coaches.
?I can say that we will approach the match with the same attitude, the same football philosophy we have kept all season, so we will not be holding back because it is a Cup Final.?
On wearing the captain?s armband: ?I don?t feel any added pressure. I know the clich? is that every player is replaceable though I can say that George Souris is irreplaceable. He is a player that has something not many players possess, not only with his leadership on the field, though the confidence he gives to the club in general, even off it. With his professionalism, I can say that I have gained so much.
?His guidance has helped me and I think that has improved my performances with the captain?s armband. I can only speak praise for what he has done, and I will be giving back the armband to him as soon as he returns.?
On Sutherland Sharks? danger men: ?APIA-Leichhardt is one of those well drilled teams with great experience in the squad. They are a tough side, difficult to break down because of their experience and strong work ethic.
?Franco Parisi is one of the best players in the League. He is a player that can be quiet for 90? minutes, yet still turn the game on its head with  one opportunity that may arise. He is tough to mark and a rarity to find in this League for his freakish ability to create and score goals.?

APIA Leichhardt Tigers

Sutherland Sharks

1. Stefan Giglio (gk)

1. Nathan Denham (gk)

2. Mark Byrnes

2. George Souris (C)

3. Adel El Jamal

3. Tyson Rhodes

4. Mun-Soo Gil

4. Yianni Fragogianis

5. Michael West (C)

5. Paul Cotte

6. Danial Cummins

6. Matthew Gordon

7. Stephen Kayes

7. Jim Bakis

8. Adam D?Apuzzo

8. Chris Price

9. Ethan Galbraith

9. Hussein Salameh

10. Franco Parisi

10. Matt Bailey

11. Bruno Di Pietro

11. Todd Halloran

12. Andrew Bevin

12. Hayden Morton

13. David D?Apuzzo

13. Nikolas Tsattalios

14. Adam Casey

14. Nick Stavroulakis

15. Brad Bartels

15. James McKenzie      

16. Michael Hawrysiuk

16. Klim Gjorseski

17. Sam Salameh

17. Patrick Savor

18. Brendan Reilly

18. Michael Stuart

20. Gyu Re-Lee

19. Blake Powell

21. Anthony Costa (gk)

22. Simon Jaeger (gk)

22. David Bradasevic (gk)

23. Panni Nikas

Coach: John Turner

Coach: Robert Stanton 

Assistant Coach: Nick Rizzo

Assistant Coach: Carlos Villazon

Manager: Joe Calabro

Manager: Peter Duncan

Manager: Sergio Bucciarelli

Assistant Manager: Barry Hanson

Referee: Kris Griffiths Jones

Asst Referee: Adam Coombes

Fourth Official: Michael Weiner

Asst Referee: Mike Robinson