Two of the best teams in the entire competition going head-to-head for the championship – what more could we as spectators ever want to see.
With the location of Jensen Park and the kick off time of 4pm, our Women?s Super League journalist Pete Nowakowski was on the sidelines to oversee proceedings.
Eastern UNSW Lions 4 ? 0 Southern Branch
With the sun starting to set, the grandstand filled with both yellow and blue supporters cheering and singing on their girls, Southern Branch got the ball moving as they took the kick off ? a sign of it being lights, cameras, action at Jensen Park.
Both teams took some time to get used to the width of the field, Southern Branch looking the more comfortable of the two sides using their wings to start the play rather than using a direct route through the middle. Neither side though showed any real buzz or x-factor quality in the opening 15 minutes which could have been the game changer, instead the game looked to be full of half chances and missed opportunities.
In the 22nd minute of the game though, things changed. The UNSW Lions? midfielder-come-striker Rebecca Browning was played into space, beating her defender and getting into a great position to have a shot on goal. As the Southern Branch keeper came off her line, Browning seized her chance and knocked the ball into the back of the net. A well deserved goal for one of the hardest working players in the UNSW Lions squad.
Just five minutes later though and things went from bad to worse for Southern Branch as their midfielder, Brook Duffy took a fall and had the be stretchered off the field with a suspected broken ankle. An unexpected visit to Bankstown Hospital was on the cards for a key player to Southern Branch?s attack.
With the score locked at 1-0 in favour of the girls in yellow, the girls knew that what they needed to do before the break was to double their lead to make it even harder for Southern Branch to have any chance of winning. Who else but Ayse Adalis to step up when needed to get the much needed second goal.
Known for her long-range strikes and ability to use both feet, Adalis lined up a shot from 25 yards out. As the ball was hit it was as is the world slowed down with everyone in the grandstand mesmerised by the way the ball floated into the back of the net. A roar of joy from players and spectators alike knowing that heading into the half time break, a 2-0 lead could be enough to get the win over their rivals, Southern Branch.
After the restart, it was business as usual for both sides. Southern Branch were on the hunt for a lifeline however neither Ange Graham or Maddie Jo Costanzo, their two go to girls for goals, had their radars set correctly when in range of a shot on goal.
One of few glimmers of hope for Southern Branch was Hayley Murray who continued to alternate and fight her way down the right and left flanks. The 56th minute saw a fantastic piece of individual skill from the midfielder as she took on UNSW Lions? left back, Zoe Richard. Waiting in the centre were the two target players for Southern Branch however Murray failed to keep the ball in play. A sign of most of Southern Branch?s attacking threats of the afternoon. Close but lacking something to finish off their chances.
With half an hour left to play, UNSW Lions weren?t holding off in the attacking third and it was Ayse Adalis who pushed her side on to glory as she weaved her magic around four defenders before blasting in a shot from range to hit the back of the net. There wasn?t a whole lot the Southern Branch keeper could have done to stop the shot which had a perfect balance of curve, power and accuracy into the bottom corner of the goal.
Southern Branch were almost given a consolation goal a minute after UNSW had extended their lead. A lapse in concentration meant the blue?s attacking midfielder Kylie Meehan could have a strike on goal. A ?clank? against the woodwork was all that came of the shot but it did send a message of hope to the girls from Nowra. That the game could still be theirs if they wanted it enough.
Seven minutes before the full time whistle and it was the golden boot hopeful, Ayse Adalis who scored a hat trick and UNSW?s fourth of the game. Almost a replica of her third goal, Ayse took on four Southern Branch defenders before firing in a low, powerful shot into the bottom left corner of the goal.
A 4-0 win for the Lions who were crowned Premiers and now Champions of the NSW Women?s Super League. Ayse Adalis might have been awarded player of the match for her efforts but UNSW Lions? Claire Stephan also deserves to be recognised for her hard work and persistence in the heart of midfield.
For Southern Branch, it might be a long way back to Nowra after suffering such a big defeat, but the girls should be proud of their efforts this season. If the same group of girls play together in the 2013 season, Southern Branch would be an early shout for a premiership trophy.
With the season now over, I would like to thank each and every club for their hard efforts during the season. Whether your side won the final or won the wooden spoon, you should be proud of your footballing abilities. Until we meet again on a patch of grass with a goal at each end, thank you for reading and see you in 2013.
Full Results of NSW Women?s Super League Grand Finals on Sunday:
Grade 12: Northern Tigers 2 ? 0 Eastern UNSW Lions
Grade 14: Southern Branch 0 ? 0 Parramatta Lady Hawks (Branch win 2-0 in extra time)
Grade 16: Southern Branch 1 ? 1 Northern Tigers (Tigers win 2-1 in extra time)
Reserve Grade: Parramatta Lady Hawks 1 ? 2 Eastern UNSW Lions
First Grade: Eastern UNSW Lions 4 ? 0 Southern Branch
–By Pete Nowakowski