Futsal players and fans went through all the emotions expected of a dramatic grand finale as the Football NSW Futsal State League took a bow in style at Dural Sport & Leisure Centre.
State League club champions UTS Northside had a fantastic day with three championship trophies (Open Men, Open Women, 16 Girls), South Coast Taipans also captured three titles (16 boys, 14 girls, 12 girls), while Sydney City won two (Youth Men, 12 Boys) and Botany Bay Pirates one (14 boys).
The day also saw the inaugural AWD championship games, South Coast Taipans claiming the division one prize and Mountain Majik taking division two honours.
Eagles peck UTS – 12 Boys
Sydney City Eagles 12 Boys finished off an amazing summer with a 3-0 triumph over UTS Northside to make it 13 straight wins, plus a premiership and championship trophy.
A Luis Ferreira drive through traffic lifted City in front on the quarter-hour and two second-half own goals sealed the deal, but the scoreline barely reflected how the game went.
UTS were full of early pep and Ben Allen and Jaylin Rae latched onto good opportunities, the first shot drifting just wide and Rae’s great run up court spoiled by Eagles keeper Marley Beeston, and Jake Hollman was getting through a mountain of work in attack and defence, his clever lob to find Harry Oates at the far post almost produced the opening goal.
Sydney found their groove and a sweeping team move up court needed saving by Northside keeper Levi Kaye, as did a slinky run from Jacob Vasiliou a minute before Ferreira’s definitive opener.
The Eagles were flying as they closed out the half with strong chances from Ferreira, Michael Osei-Adamako and Jayden Calver but the whistle sounded with City clinging to its 1-0 lead.
Tragedy struck UTS shortly after the restart when a wayward cross bounced off Hollman’s back into his own net and Sydney led 2-0, but the young northerners sparked into action and Mitchell Mattison went close to replying as Kaye did his best to keep his side in it with some outstanding stops.
A great look from Oates to Mattison called Beeston into action and the Eagles custodian did well to jump on Lucas Rainbird’s blast and, as the clock ticked down, UTS were forced into a fifth-man press to try and find a way back.
Unfortunately the tactic didn’t work as a moment of calamity at the back saw Beeston’s full-court kick bounce into the UTS goal to secure a 3-0 final scoreline.
Ferreira was stoked for his team: “I think we’re just relieved to finish a really good season the right way,” he said. “UTS have some really good players, but we’ve been playing strong second halves all year and did a good job again today.”
Eagles coach Sam Perre congratulated both sides for a hotly contested summer: “It was a very good win for us,” he said. “UTS were our toughest competition all year and we managed to hold them out well today. The boys lost the premier league [12s] final to Magic last year, so it was good to win this one.”
Sydney City Eagles 3 (Luis Ferreira ‘15, own goal ‘25, own goal ‘38) UTS Northside 0
Sydney City Eagles: Marley Beeston, Dean Pelekanos, Rocco Chisari, Michael Osei-Adamako, Brad Tapp, William Gafa, Jacob Vasiliou, Luis Ferreira, Jake Paine, Jayden Calver, Bailey Hughes, coach Sam Perre, assistant Jim Vasiliou, manager Chris Gafa.
UTS Northside: Jordan Devries, Levi Kaye, Jake Hollman, Lucas Rainbird, Harry Oates, William Mamo, Ben Allen, Calem Nieuwenhof, Mitchell Mattison, Jaylin Rae, Declan Annear, coach Danny Beauchamp, assistant Marty Judge, manager Jane Mamo.
Referees: Keanu Adabjou, Stan Allatt, Kaine Mannell.
Taipans bite Sutherland – 12 Girls
An extra-time goal from Margaux Chauvet lifted South Coast Taipans to a thrilling 4-3 victory over 12 Girls rivals Sutherland Shire and put a cherry on top of their delicious summer sundae.
The lead changed four times as Sutherland’s Isabella Volkanovski cancelled out Rilee Wagner’s South Coast opener just a few minutes before halftime, the Shire girls grabbing the ascendancy straight after halftime through Talia Quartullo’s far post tap-in only for the Taipans to surge ahead 3-2 via Anastasia Grozdanov and Chauvet strikes.
Coaster Angelique Hristodoulou squared the game up a third time five minutes from the end before Chauvet had the final say with a great shot in the second half of extra time handing the southerners a premiership-championship double.
Taipans had the early running as Sutherland keeper Leilani Fong pushed a fair Ashley Dribbus shot away and Wagner drove just wide from the top of the D.
Sutherland started to get on top as Hristodoulou and Volkanovski both had chances only to be denied by a red-hot Tapians custodian Isabelle Noble and the post, but South Coast grabbed the advantage when a brisk counter attack sparked by Noble saw Wagner combine with Chauvet for a stinging shot that rattled the crossbar and fall deliciously for Wagner to blast through traffic and into goal for a 17th minute opener.
The Coast joy was shortlived when Hristodoulou and Volkanovski finally saw reward for their toil, the latter firing a short sharp rocket past Noble to restore parity just before the break.
Sutherland got a second-half jump when Volkanovski bolted up court and found Quartullo alone at the back post to tap-in for a 2-1 lead, but the South Coast response was swift with Grozdanov cracking a great goal from well outside and Chauvet showed great tenacity to barge the ball over the line to give Taipans a 3-2 half-hour statement.
The momentum swung again as Hristodoulou went close twice before Volkanovski delivered dangerously for her team-mate to find a late equaliser and push the game into extra-time.
South Coast cleared a Hristodoulou strike off the line and then conjured up a breakthrough with Chauvet’s true shot making it 4-3, Fong blocking two Volkanovski rockets to ensure the score remained unchanged at fulltime.
Goalkeeper Isabelle Noble kept her team in it with plenty of dazzling stops but gave plenty of credit to some outstanding defence in front of her. “I’m really proud of them as scrambling hard really helps me when I’m not playing so well,” she said.
Taipans coach Kyle Del knew he was in for a real humdinger. “It was a really good game, very intense, and both sides could’ve won it,” he said. “We took our chances well and I’m really happy for the girls.”
South Coast Taipans 4 (Rilee Wagner ‘17, Anastasia Grozdanov ‘24, Margaux Chauvet ’31/‘46) Sutherland Shire 3 (Isabella Volkanovski ‘18, Talia Quartullo ‘21, Angelique Hristodoulou ‘34)
South Coast Taipans: Isabelle Noble, Anastasia Grozdanov, Ashley Dribbus, Rilee Wagner, Margaux Chauvet, Zoe Dribbus, Imogen Mackinley, Emily Carbone, coach Kyle Del, assistant Walter Del.
Sutherland Shire: Leilani Fong, Abbey Fletcher, Mackenzie Selmon, Maryam Mostaghimi, Rory McNally, Karlee Hildebrandt, Angelique Hristodoulou, Talia Quartullo, Jade Lockton, Isabella Volkanovski, coach Craig Fletcher, manager Vivian McNally.
Referees: Elio Valente, Wagib Fouad, Stan Allatt.
Pirates scuttle Sydney Futsal – 14 Boys
Botany Bay Pirates keelhauled Sydney Futsal 3-1 in a remarkable 14 Boys trophy match that saw Sydney 15 seconds away from victory.
With undefeated premiers South Coast out of the picture it was left to Botany Bay and fourth-placed Sydney Futsal to deliver a dramatic decider as Cristian Suvak’s 30th minute tap-in looked a likely winner until a heartbreaking own goal seconds from fulltime sent an exhilarating game into overtime where Ben Riach and Shaqil Ali twin strikes secured a Pirates booty.
The first quarter-hour was tentative as both sides probed for weaknesses but Botany slowly flexed their muscle with Ali, Andrew Vartuli and Gidon Zimerman all going close before the whistle sounded for oranges.
The second-half started with Jeremy Stein proving a Pirate menace down the left with several narrow misses but the first goal came at the other end with Sydney getting on top through a great pass from Marley Peterson to an unmarked Suvak on the half-hour.
Sydney almost doubled their advantage only to be denied by a fine save from the Botany keeper’s legs and a swift counter almost paid dividends when Caleb Bartier blasted just wide of the post.
The Pirates went to a fifth-man press with time running out and disaster struck Sydney when Suvak accidentally knocked a Botany corner kick into his own net with virtually the last play of regular time.
Sydney got extra-time rolling their way when Peterson’s shot was tipped over by Bartier still playing the fifth-man moments before the Bay’s Jacob Rohald touched forward for Ali to go one-on-one and score for a 2-1 43rd-minute edge that cascaded with Ali’s 3-1 clincher two minutes from fulltime.
Bartier appreciated his team’s never-say-die attitude. “Sydney played really well and held possession for a lot of the game, but my team always fights to the final whistle, they never give up, and we defended well and then got the goals we needed to win,” he said.
Pirates coach Dez Marton also acknowledged Sydney’s legitimacy. “Any team that makes the finals of this competition is good enough to win it and Sydney pushed us hard,” he said. “But finals is also about a little bit of luck and we got that today and then went on with it to record a good win. The boys did very well to understand what we had to do in a fifth-man situation and that proved the difference.”
Botany Bay Pirates 3 (own goal ‘40, Shaqil Ali ’43, Ben Riach ‘47) Sydney Futsal 1 (Cristian Suvak ‘30)
Botany Bay Pirates: Matthew McCarthy, Kaelin Knip, Ben Riach, Gidon Zimerman, Jeremy Stein, Shaqil Ali, Caleb Bartier, Gideon Fine, Luke Perrignon, Jacob Rohald, Andrew Vartuli, coach Dez Martin, manager Caron Stein.
Sydney Futsal: Andres Nolan, Lachlan Narker, John Mamis, Nicholas Azzone, Marley Peterson, Alex Malfara, Cristian Suvak, Jared Kadar, Will Carter, Aaron Lubrainschik, Josiah Gwozdecky, coach Stephen Knight, assistant Archie Kazas, manager Peter Kadar.
Referees: Kaine Mannell, Greg Webster, Elio Valente.
South Coast topple Mount Druitt – 14 Girls
South Coast Taipans won an entertaining 14 Girls final 3-1 against a stubborn Mount Druitt Town Rangers.
Premiers Raiders missed the decider and first-half goals to South Coast’s Clayton Gehrke and Kya Stewart looked too much for fourth-placed Mount Druitt, but Rangers Emma Jackson halved the deficit midway through the second term to indicate Town were going nowhere despite Olivia Mavridis providing a decisive 3-1 Taipans cushion.
South Coast pounced early when Jackson booted the ball off her own line and straight into Gehrke, the rebound flying past Jackson into the Rangers goal and the Coasters rode their momentum wave with Danika Matos and Mavridis denied by brilliant goalkeeping from Timika McNamara, Stewart’s eighth-minute blast finally doubling the Taipans lead.
McNamara tipped out Stewart and Rebekah Hutton efforts to keep Rangers in it before Mount Druitt finally found some rhythm, Jackson and Alyssa Janssen shots well held by Taipans keeper Chloe Gray as the 2-0 scoreline stayed at halftime.
Coasters Gehrke and Matos both missed wide and then Rangers hit a yellow patch, Janssen, Summar Richardson and Jackson kept out by Gray before a spritely counter from Richardson dished to Jackson for a good shot that rippled the back of the net for a 2-1 deficit in the 32nd-minute.
Mavridis returned the two-goal buffer with a tricky run round two defenders and sidefoot past McNamara to make it 3-1 a minute later, but a couple of Richardson raids made the final minutes uneasy for South Coast, who held on for the win.
Hardworking Breanna Payne was adamant the great Taipans team spirit saw them through. “We just kept our heads high and made sure we had fun,” she said. “We’ve all become best friends in the team and this will make the two hour trip home worthwhile.”
South Coast coach Adam Potts praised his chargers’ efforts. “I’m very happy with that performance. We got a little sloppy in the middle of the game but the girls worked hard to get behind the ball and did very well in the end,” he said.
South Coast Taipans 3 (Clayton Gehrke ‘2, Kya Stewart ‘8, Olivia Mavridis ‘33) Mount Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Emma Jackson ‘32)
South Coast Taipans: Chloe Gray, Ashley Dribbus, Kya Stewart, Ashley Kotevski, Elizabeth Mclellan, Rebekah Hutton, Olivia Mavridis, Clayton Gehrke, Breanna Payne, Danika Matos, coach Adam Potts, manager Fay Matos.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: Timika McNamara, Kaylee White, Alyssa Janssen, Emma Jackson, Shailee Bartle, Kahra Hutchinson, Crystal Richardson, Summar Richardson, Annie Daczko, coach Scott Daczko, manager Kirsten Janssen.
Referees: Hang Lee, Jess Sapsed, Gordon McOrist.
Taipans bring down Eagles – 16 Boys
South Coast Taipans made it three-from-three titles with a come-from-behind 6-3 extra-time win against Sydney City Eagles to claim a 16 Boys premiership-championship brace.
The Eagles were terrific in defeat, they’ve led the premiers before and lost it, but this one will sting more as City led 3-1 with three minutes to go before Coast went on an extra-time splurge that landed them the title.
Sydney glovesman Michael Figueira produced a double-save to refuse a twin Taipans attack from Jake Ravnjak and Ali Sawan but Sydney showed even more bravado with Adrian Hadjisocratous forcing Coast keeper Bilal Deniz to save twice in quick succession, Mario Shabow and Callum Keeley also testing Deniz as both keepers displayed their determination.
It took a flash of brilliance to produce the opener when Taipans Mitchell Ferraro delivered well for Nelson Reid to eventually push into goal and Coast almost had another after Ravnjak squeezed off a sneaky shot right on halftime but Figueira was up to the task with an outstanding couple of saves to maintain the 1-0 scoreline.
Sydney started the second half with all guns blazing as Hadjisocratous smashed in a 26th-minute equaliser and both keepers produced scintillating saves to keep the scores level until a smart backheel one-two from Nathan Irusta to Mario Shabow gave the Eagles a 2-1 edge with four minutes to go, which exploded into a 3-1 advantage seconds later with Callum Keeley firing in low past Figueira.
Coast weren’t done with and Zachery Mazevski, Kyle Del and Oliver Carrasco combined to complete a great team goal and a last-gasp attack saw Robert Delbanco’s shot deflected off a defender and into the onion bag to tie proceedings up just seconds before the fulltime whistle.
Sydney started extra-time with a bang as Irusta and Shabow tested a pumped-up Deniz but the game changed at the other end when Ravnjak found a cutting Del to snake the Taipans in front and a well aimed Matthew Mazevski freekick made it 5-3 as the teams swapped sides for the final time.
Sydney imploded in the last term with Shabow presented a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge and then their coach was also marched from the court, Matthew Mazevski making the most of the distractions to put another goal away to finalise the account at 6-3.
Del said his Taipans team-mates were relieved following a titanic tussle. “It was a tight game that could’ve gone either way,” he said. “Sydney are a good side and at 3-1 down we had to stay composed, and I think we had the legs at the end to take our chances.”
Taipans coach Bobby Mazevski agreed. “Even at 3-1 down I had every faith in this team,” he said. “We’ve been down before in the season and come back, so we took a time out, refocused, and I think the experience of some of the boys playing in the higher levels [youth and open men] helped change the momentum back our way. I think we deserved it.”
South Coast Taipans 6 (Nelson Reid ‘12, Oliver Carrasco ’37, Robert Delbanco ’40, Kyle Del ‘44, Matthew Mazevski ’45, ‘49) Sydney City Eagles 3 (Adrian Hadjisocratous ‘26, Mario Shabow ‘36, Callum Keeley ‘36)
South Coast Taipans: Bilal Deniz, Ali Sawan, Robert Delbanco, Kyle Del, Zachery Mazevski, Jake Ravnjak, Mitchell Ferraro, Oliver Carrasco, Nelson Reid, Dion Sterjovski, Matthew Mazevski, Jacob Herbert, coach Bob by Mazevski, manager Ivan Ferraro.
Sydney City Eagles: Michael Figueira, Mohammed Al-Taay, Yasser Al-Taay, Tariq Maia, Nathan Irusta, Adrian Hadjisocratous, Richard Darko, Callum Keeley, Mario Shabow, Cameron Caligiuri, coach Frank Zappia, manager Steve Hadjisocratous.
Referees: Soheil Adabjou, Matthew McOrist, Jess Sapsed.
UTS down Sutherland – 16 Girls
UTS Northside completed a 16 Girls premiership-championship brace with an enthralling 6-4 win over an unlucky Sutherland Futsal.
The 2-2 halftime scoreline reflected how tight the match was contested, a late UTS goal finally deciding the heated affair as Daisy Arrowsmith and Sarah Philipson doubles bettered Ehlana Hards’ pair for Sutherland.
Northside began briskly with Arrowsmith and Philipson both signaling their intentions directly but it was a brilliant pinch and drive from Madeline Fox that gifted Shire a sneaky 1-0 seventh-minute lead.
Sutherland almost added to their advantage through Emma Watson and then Reagan Deeley but UTS grabbed their equaliser when Genevieve Ingham crossed and a collision between Shire keeper Mikayla Cecere and a defender saw the ball rebound off the post into the path of Genevieve Tucker for the simplest of tap-ins on the quarter-hour.
Sutherland were back in the lead a minute later after Deeley’s leftside run and pass to Hards at the back post ruffled the netting for a 2-1 break, but the Northside response came quick as Arrowsmith followed up a dangerous freekick with a powerdrive that leveled the scores at 2-2 a minute out from halftime.
The southerners were back at it in the second term, Hards nicking the upright and then forcing UTS keeper Tessa Wicks into a great save, but a 25th-minute counter from the northerners gave them the ascendancy with Ingham blazing past Cecere for a 3-2 break.
Cecere proved the catalyst for the next goal as a quick throw up court saw an off-balance Aston to get a deft touch on the ball to glance it past Wicks for 3-3.
The momentum swung back to UTS when Tucker crossed to Phillipson to pilot home a 4-3 edge and another one-two between the dynamic duo resulted in a second Phillipson goal to make the score 5-3 10 minutes from the end.
Sutherland stepped up a gear and Charlotte Reba found Deeley with a neat pass but Deeley’s volley crashed against the left post and out before Cecere conjured a brilliant double-save to keep Shire in it.
Five minutes from fulltime Hards trapped, turned and fired across goal to the farside netting to reduce the deficit to 5-4 but a magnificent fullcourt pass found Arrowsmith on the burst and her finish consolidated a commanding 6-4 advantage with just a couple of minutes to play.
Busy Bridget Booker summed up the feeling in her team. “That feels really good!” she said. “It was so intense at times and we just told each other to stay calm and we knew we’d come through in the end.”
Cathie Sweeney’s daughter Bethany was filling in as coach and gave it to the Shire juniors. “For a team that’s won so many games this season I thought they deserved it, but I knew it would come down to who won the second half,” she said. “Sutherland are so strong and physical so we had to stay composed and play our game.”
UTS Northside 6 (Genevieve Tucker ‘14, Daisy Arrowsmith ‘19/’38, Genevieve Ingham ‘25, Sarah Philipson ‘30/’31) Sutherland Shire 4 (Madeline Fox ‘7, Ehlana Hards ‘16/’34, Emma Aston ‘28)
UTS Northside: Tessa Wicks, Hannah Williams, Daisy Arrowsmith, Julia Teizeira, Kristijana Drazenovic, Genevieve Ingham, Winsome Gruzman, Sarah Phillipson, Genevieve Tucker, Samantha Grant, Bridget Booker, coach Cathie Sweeny, assistant Bethany Sweeny, manager Helen Teizeira.
Sutherland Shire: Charlotte Reba, Ebony Fraser, Kate Mateffy, Reagan Deeley, Emma Aston, Ehlana Hards, Mikayla Cecere, Shannon Coolican, Madeline Fox, coach Glenn Woodhouse, coach Glenn Errington, manager Amy Woodhouse.
Referees: Gordon McOrist, Peter Liaros, Hang Lee.
Majik defeat Shire – AWD Division 2
Mountain Majik won the first ever state league AWD title on offer with a dominant 6-0 division two result against a spirited Sutherland Shire.
Aaron Burton found the back of the net in just the first minute of play to signal Mountain’s intentions but Sutherland made it uncomfortable for the Majik until second-half strikes from Dallas Starr (twice), Burton, Josh Edgecombe and Philip Nicolson rounded out the final scoreline.
Sutherland were up against it having played out an exhausting 11-10 semi-final win over a gallant Phoenix on the Dural back-courts just a couple of hours before facing premiers Majik, and Max Slattery and Dennis Posevic almost found a Shire leveler in what was an entertaining and even first half.
Both sides were really enjoying themselves with Nathan Capdor in goals for Sutherland and Mountain counterpart Jake Denham making sure the game was kept tight for a long time, but fatigue finally got the better of Sutherland and a fresh Majik outfit started exploiting the gaps.
A close-range Starr double made it 3-0 straight after the restart and a Burton second goal pushed the Mountaineers 4-0 in front, Harley Waban doing his best to contain the Majik opposition but he could do nothing to stop Edgecombe’s pointblank knee into the net for 5-0 and Nicolson’s long-range blast had the score at 6-0 four minutes from the end.
Sutherland never gave up and Waban had two terrific chances while Capdor denied Majik twice, including an unbelievable tap off Edgecombe’s shoelaces in front of goal, but Mountain claimed a deserved victory.
When asked how it felt to be the first ever AWD champions, Majik player Mel Gallagher was contained. “It feels alright,” she said. “We’re a good team and it was a good game from everyone.”
Majik coach Helen Stevens was ecstatic for her chargers. “They’ve done so well throughout the whole season and worked well as a team, and they really love playing, which makes it a lot of fun for them as well,” she said.
Mountain Majik 6 (Aaron Burton 1’/’27, Dallas Starr ‘21/’24, Josh Edgecombe ‘34, Philip Nicolson ‘36) Sutherland Shire 0
Mountain Majik: Aaron Burton, Philip Nicolson, Melissa Gallagher, Dallas Starr, Josh Edgecombe, Andrew James, Jake Denham, Gavan Richardson, coach Helen Stevens, manager Paul Richardson.
Sutherland Shire: Harley Waban, Paul Mateo, Max Slattery, Dennis Posevic, Nathan Capdor, coach Ben Folino.
Referees: Guy Laurenceson, Soheil Adabjou, Kyle Hockings.
City better Easts – Youth Men
Sydney City Eagles held on to beat Eastern Suburbs Hakoah 2-1 in a tense Youth Men final to add a championship to their premiership.
Second-half scores from Sam Perre and Jason Zeballos were decisive and too much for a determined Hakoah, who rallied behind a late Gadiel Notelovitz goal.
The stadium stood silent to remember the passing of Football NSW Life Member Wendy Thomas and then two closely-matched teams put on a ripper of a match.
The first 10 minutes felt like a game of chess with both sides feeling each other out before a game of Futsal broke out, Robert Perre forcing a fine save from Hakoah keeper Notelovitz with the ball flowing to the opposite side where Gilad Hersch blasted into the side netting.
Notelovitz was on fire in denying the Perre brothers twice and Robert Ezekiel broke up court a few minutes from the interval only to have his shot amazingly saved by Eagles custodian Jean Luc Pilot.
Luc Pilot did very well to drop and stop a Ilan Kessler low drive just seconds into the second period and his athleticism paid off shortly afterward with Sam Perre clipping a close-range freekick off the Hakoah wall into goal for the opening score.
The Eagles were flying and Notelovitz had to be sharp to prevent Robert Perre, Daniel Arujo and Matthew Adjapawn from adding to the lead, and only the post stopped Zeballos’ full-court swerve, slice and shot before a Peter Pelekanos attempt was stopped by a vocal Notelovitz.
A blistering Robert Ezekiel rocket tested Luc Pilot on the half-hour but Sydney’s fervour finally paid off with a brilliant Robert Perre lob from just outside his own D had Zeballos hit it first time on the run for a 2-0 buffer with five minutes to play.
Hakoah immediately went to a fifth-man press and a good run by Notelovitz down the left saw him unleash a beauty that beat Luc Pilot and the right post to halve the deficit, a quick counter between Notelovitz and Dylan Blumberg only halted by a terrific Luc Pilot smother, and Blumberg pushing a last-minute 7m spot kick wide to end the action with City still 2-1 in front.
Robert Perre played down a heated finish to a great match. “We really tried to not get drawn into the emotion of the game and just defended hard and moved the ball around when we had it,” he said. “In games like this you really have to keep your head straight to win it.”
Sydney coach Chris Zeballos was specific in describing the tension. “In a close game like that my heart was in my … [throat],” he said. “Even though we’ve been the stand out team this season Hakoah has been our toughest opponent.”
“When things got heated we just needed to slow it down and focus… but you really have to say that the sport can go so far. Both squads have a lot of talent… Futsal’s in a healthy place.”
Sydney City Eagles 2 (Sam Perre ‘22, Jason Zeballos ‘36) Eastern Suburbs Hakoah 1 (Gadiel Notelovitz ‘37)
Sydney City Eagles: Michael Figueira, Daniel Di Ruocco, Adrian Hadjisocratous, Jason Zeballos, Daniel Arujo, Peter Pelekanos, Robert Perre, Alex Arias, Sam Perre, Matthew Adjapawn, Giuseppe Camera, Jean Luc Pilot, coach Chris Zeballos, manager Bruce Thomas.
Eastern Suburbs Hakoah: Max Nightingale, Gadiel Notelovitz, Dylan Blumberg, Jonathan Barzel, Robert Ezekiel, Gilad Swartz, Ilan Kessler, Alex Gwozdecky, Gilad Hersch, Mark Filler, coach Jarrod Basger, manager Gareth Naar.
Referees: Daniel Mathie, Peter Liaros, Matthew McOrist.
Taipans tame Majik – AWD Division 1
South Coast Taipans defeated Mountain Majik 2-0 in a remarkable game of Futsal to lift the AWD division one crown.
South Coast had beaten third-placed Mountain three times this season (4-0, 7-4 and 7-2) but you wouldn’t have known it by the way Majik dominated an exciting contest, only some brilliant defensive work – particularly from keeper Nathan Whelan and stopper John Ruiz – paving the way for two late goals that delivered an unlikely Taipans win.
The Mountaineers started with great intent and Brett Fairhall showed terrific skill at the top of D to send a low shot across goal that was well tipped clear by Whelan, Majik continuing the onslaught with Ben Atkins finding a running Connor Marsh who shot just wide of post.
Atkins sent a sizzling cross across goal moments later for Marsh to shoot just wide again before Atkins missed his own attempt.
South Coast had their first chance on 10-minutes, Rocco Musumici laying off for Patrick Mitchell to blast away from the top of D but the shot drifted wide of the post, Atkins going close at the other end with a rocket freekick that whistled past the upright after taking a slight deflection off the wall.
A clever volley from Taipans Zachary Jones needed a sharp grab from Majik keeper James Hunt, while at the other end another Atkins goal punch produced yet another fantastic Whalen save, Marsh heading just wide of the Coast goal in the dying seconds of the half.
Shortly after the restart Atkins tried a cheeky grasscutter from 10m out and a dummy run from Fairhall almost caught Whelan off guard, his desperate last-ditch dive tipping the ball away from danger.
And if it wasn’t Whelan coming to the rescue it was an amazing defensive effort from Mitchell, Jones and Ruiz that kept Taipans in the game.
Whelan stopped Ruiz, Atkins and Shaun McCann strikes, while Hunt also did well at the other end blocking Forrest and two more Coast shots, including an incredible save with his legs to kick the ball away.
Whelan conjured up four more outstanding stops to rebuff sharp chances to Atkins, McCann and Fairhall, and it was an unfortunate handball from Hunt outside the area – after he charged out courageously to disrupt a Taipans break – that gifted the southerners a freekick from right in front, Forrest making no mistake to steer Coast ahead 1-0 five minutes from fulltime.
The Mountaineers paid no mind to the setback and launched several more offences before Forrest intercepted in front of the Majik goal and fired in a second missile, Whelan doing the rest by saving the last of the Mountain raids.
Ruiz was delighted with the result in a really tough game. “I told the boys to play harder just to match how physical they were and we got them when they got tired,” he said.
“We all play for the same team in the Illawarra called the White Knights, so we’re all good friends and winning the grand final is very exciting for us.”
Coast coach Taren King was over the moon. “That’s excellent! The first team, first champions… it was my first ever grand final win too,” she said.
“Majik really put us under the pump and I was just waiting for their fatigue to set in and told my players to just keep the ball moving for as long as they could to wear them out. It really is a brilliant team; they’re so willing to learn, they’re all loving life, wearing smiles all the time – I’m just really happy for them.”
South Coast Taipans 3 (Mitchell Forrest ‘35/’38) Mountain Majik 0
South Coast Taipans: Nathan Whalen, Mitchell Forrest, Patrick Mitchell, Zachary Jones, Rocco Musumici, John Ruiz, Scott King, coach Tarryn Campbell, manager Michael Norris.
Mountain Majik: James Hunt, Brett Fairhall, Connor Marsh, Jack Starkey, Gordon Allan, Granit Haliti, Shaun McCann, Ben Sutton, Ben Atkins, Chris Pyne, coach Bill Gurney, assistant Ian Menzies, manager Ross Allan.
Referees: Guy Laurenceson, Salma Aly, Khodr Yaghi.
Northside cage Rangers – Open Women
There was no stopping UTS Northside in the Open Women’s this season as they ran away from a gallant Mount Druitt Town Rangers 4-1 to enjoy their 13th straight win of a remarkable summer.
UTS knew it would be tough with tender 3-2 and 1-0 wins over Rangers and both sides created excellent opening opportunities, a Mia Vallieres strike for Mount Druitt pushing UTS keeper Elise O’Kelly to her limit before a sweet backheel touch from Ellen Wheatley set up a running Ariella Cabezas but her shot from outside the Town D deflected off the post.
Northside broke through on the quarter-hour after a great lay off from Isabella Walker on the left found Bryany Parker at the top of D and she shot true for a 1-0 advantage.
Majik were doing a mountain of defensive work as University enjoyed most of the possession and running, and their stubbornness paid off when a O’Kelly full-court throw hit Natalie Penman, her low shot ruffled the net for an equaliser against the run of play.
The deadlock didn’t last long as Northside’s Bethany Sweeny slammed in a freekick home from 10m in front to restore uni’s lead, and UTS keeper Nicola Simmons was excellent in rejecting Stefanie Travato and Vallieres just before the first half drew to a close.
Uni came out firing in the second stanza and a great turn and shot from Cabezas pushed Northside further in front, 3-1, Tess Olsen forcing O’Kelly into a good save before the resulting corner deflected off a Rangers defender and the post.
Taryn Rockall had a good attempt in front of goal but UTS were well in control, a cheeky Sweeny chip pass to Ellen Wheatley on the burst ending with a superb tip over the bar from O’Kelly moments before Sweeny’s slightly off-target shot received unlikely help with a slight glance off a defender into the Mount Druitt net for a 4-1 Northside advantage.
Town never gave up and an O’Kelly save from a sharp Olsen strike lifted Rangers for a final tilt, Penman, Rockall and Beth Watling all going close, but the fulltime whistle blew with UTS deserved victors.
There wasn’t much for Sweeny to say after a fantastic Northside season ended perfectly. “We felt pretty comfortable throughout the match, but we’ve had the team together for a while and really enjoyed playing together,” she said.
Danny Beauchamp took over the coaching reins halfway through the season and shared the team’s delight. “It was a good performance from the girls, they dominated in patches and did everything right to win,” he said.
UTS Northside 4 (Bryany Parker ‘13, Bethany Sweeny ‘18/’31, Ariella Cabezas ‘22) Mount Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Natalie Penman ’17)
UTS Northside: Nicola Simmons, Jessica Sekulich, Isabella Walker, Ellen Wheatley, Bethany Sweeny, Ariella Cabezas, Bryany Parker, Tess Olsen, Luseane Cook, Bridget Booker, coach Cathie Sweeny, assistant Jack Richardson, manager Eleanor Olsen.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers: Elise O’Kelly, Melanie Murray, Stefanie Trovato, Mia Vallieres, Taryn Rockall, Jess Gough, Monique Murray, Katerina Hinton, Natalie Penman, Beth Watling, coach Brooke Conroy, manager Melanie Murray.
Referees: Salma Aly, Kyle Hockings, Alex Eroukhimovitch.
UTS beat Raiders – Open Men
Two goals in the last two minutes helped UTS Northside over the line against Raiders in a gripping Open Men’s contest, UTS coming from third place to win an epic championship.
Raiders downed UTS 5-4 in a dramatic regular season stoush and were primed to avenge last year’s heartbreaking 4-3 grand final loss to West City Crusaders, Goran Ljuboja missing the left post by a whisker with a first-minute freekick and Northside keeper Daniel Ibrahim tipping clear a second Ljuboja shot moments later.
A full-court throw from Raiders glovesman Soner Omac found Adam Savetta and his first-touch volley sailed just over the bar before UTS finally got going, Josh Yeates and Shane Watson shooting just wide and Omac tipping clear a Yeates low drive to show this title was up for grabs.
A cheeky Yeates backheel glance almost undid Omac only to trickle just past the post, and Ibrahim was just as busy at the other end before UTS came alive, Raiders having the last first-half laughs when a neat combination between Savetta and Slaven Ljuboja forced Ibrahim to block, while Chris Bascur broke free and shot wide with only the keeper to beat to end the action.
Grant Lynch laid off to Yeates to start the second period with Omac charging out and executing a brilliant reflex save with his leg to keep the scoreline unchanged, Jovan Miladinovic belting a crisp Chris Bascur pass up the other end for Raiders that required a tip-clear from substitute UTS keeper Alex Pepper.
Pepper’s face got in the way of a Slaven Ljuboja rocket moments later and he used more conventional methods to brilliantly parry Savetta’s sharp shot on the half-hour, and at the other end Omac denied Yeates once more and blocked a Louang-Amath rocket as Raiders also looked for a decisive blow.
Two more Bascur attempts needed saving from Pepper and only Omac’s legs stood in the way of a Fisher bomb from range, the Raiders keeper outstanding in a diving save to snub a Nathan Amore shot not long after.
But just as the game seemed destined for extra-time Lynch showed tremendous skill to turn a Raiders defender, touch left then bury a great shot high into the net for a belated 1-0 UTS edge.
Seconds later and Lynch dished a great ball across to Amore on the right who hit low for a good counter attack goal and handy 2-0 lead seconds from the final whistle.
Raiders went to a fifth-man press and Pepper did well to tip over a targeted Slaven Ljuboja long-range effort, producing a couple more stops to ensure Northside’s victory.
Yeates couldn’t believe the game’s ebbs and flows and thanked his team-mates for a memorable summer.
“That’s grand final Futsal for you,” he said. “We had a bit more depth on the bench than they did, so we just maintained a high intensity and it was always going to be tough for them to keep up at the dn.”
“We’ve stuck together through thick and thin, and we’ve made it very competitive for each position but we’re also very supportive of each other.”
UTS coach Argisht Sarkizians said his troops were looking forward to their step up into premier league next season.
“The competition was fantastic this year and it’s always a tough game against Raiders; I just trusted our defence to hold them out because we know we can score goals,” he said.
“This team is a bunch of top blokes who’ve been playing together for a decade, and we’re all excited about playing in the higher division.”
UTS Northside 2 (Grant Lynch ‘48, Nathan Amore ‘48) Raiders 0
Raiders: Soner Omac, Frank Matey, Adam Savetta, Jovan Miladinovic, Chris Bascur, Nemanja Tomic, Goran Ljuboja, Chris Madani, Slaven Ljuboja, Joel Waller, Lional De Souza, Christopher Marco, coach Goran Ljuboja, assistant Tony Marco, manager Yako Rageed.
UTS Northside: Daniel Ibrahim, Marty Judge, Nicholas Fisher, Joshua Yeates, Jack Richardson, Nelson Louang-Amath, Nathan Amore, Shane Watson, Grant Lynch, Michael Watson, Agneesh Lahiri, Alex Pepper, coach Shane Watson, assistant Argisht Sarkizians, manager Veronica Lynch.
Referees: Khodr Yaghi, Alex Eroukhimovitch, Daniel Mathie.
-By Dan De Nardi