After many weeks of competition, it comes down to this, the Grand Final of the Women’s State League competition this Sunday at Jensen Park.
There are obviously no better combatants to take out the crown than the top two teams of the competition. The Premiers Nepean FC who won in convincing fashion last week will play Bankstown City FC whose dominance have left many in their dust.
Bankstown City enjoyed a fairly dominant season finishing with 15 wins, two draws and four losses out of 21 games. It was certainly a year where the Lionesses didn’t disappoint from their preseason favourite tags.
They have scored an average of 4.95 goals a game equating to 104 goals in total in the regular season, 38 more than their opponents. They play a possession heavy game reliant on their core. They boast arguably the strongest players in the competition going forward with their crafty midfielders often providing the assists for their goals.
A major reason for their form is the class of their striker Samantha Muscat, what do you say about a player who has scored more than half of the team’s overall tally netting an overall 53 goals in the regular season, truly special. She possesses many skills that not many in the league have, her first touch, acceleration and obviously finishing is second to none.
Given a team that consists of such a player would be hard to beat, nothing can be taken away from her teammates who provide her with countless assists and support to ensure she can ply her trade with great effect weekly. Notably Tania Baban, Melissah Parlato and Liana Babic have been absolute warriors on the pitch and have also chipped in with 32 goals between them.
Though they have been somewhat successful going forward Bankstown has been shaky at times at the back. Granted some weeks have shown that they were nowhere close to even conceding, other weeks demonstrated they can sometimes lose out on a lapse of concentration. The Lionesses have conceded twenty more goals this season than their opponents and will look at making a clean sheet their top priority this weekend.
When it comes to a team none has personified and demonstrated that more than Nepean FC this season. This side finished with the Premiership scoring 38 goals less than the team who finished second. How is this possible you may ask? Well clean sheets.
In twenty games Nepean only conceded 12 times that’s once every 150 minutes, a remarkable effort that would certainly be difficult to replicate. Furthermore in those twenty games they only conceded more than one goal in two occasions. Defence is clearly the priority for their management staff and it must be great to see the result of their hard work on the pitch consistently.
They are a much organised squad that display great team chemistry. After finishing the season strong winning eleven in a row, it is clear that the girls from Nepean certainly enjoy playing with each other. The harmony on the pitch is evident and their communication is like no other in the competition.
They have a solid group of leaders on the pitch lead by their star centre half Desiree Vassallo who always shows true leadership by putting her body on the line. Her ability to read the game is crucial to her side’s defensive record this season while her vision up the field have also been crucial to some of their goals.
They are very hard to breakdown due to the strength in their midfield. The way they dominate the middle of the park is done so with much precision as they move through the field as one. They never shy away of a 50-50 tackle and are always competitive in the air which is one of the main reasons they win games.
In terms of going forward, they may not enjoy as many chances as Bankstown do, but when they do get the chance they take advantage of it. Their striker Stephanie Lagudi has been perhaps the most potent striker in the competition. Even though she didn’t finish as high in the goal tally as she may have wanted to, Lagudi has the knack of only needing one chance in a game to convert just as she did in the semi-final against St George.
The matchup between the league’s best striker against the league’s best defender will be worth the admission alone. The competition’s fastest midfielders against the strongest will be another match up I can’t wait for. After four matches this year Nepean have won two while Bankstown have won two, this will be an absolute blockbuster and is too close to call.
After months of competition there is absolutely no doubt that these two teams are the ones that deserve to play in this game. Their effort, courage, skill and dominance have earned them the right to do so. Attack versus defence, strength versus speed, and skill versus structure who will win we will see.
Good luck to both sides.
-By Chris Doroudgar