The PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s season concludes with Sydney Olympic FC taking on Bankstown City Lions in a massive Grand Final taking place at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday night.
Grand Final: Sydney Olympic FC vs Bankstown City Lions, Saturday 9th September, 7:30pm, Valentine Sports Park #2
After eighteen regular season games, and two weekends of finals, Sydney Olympic FC and Bankstown City Lions, first and third on the ladder, collide once more to round out the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s season.
It was a dominant regular season for Sydney Olympic FC, as they finished up the premiers of the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s competition. They swept aside Sutherland Shire FA 2-nil in the first week of the semis to earn this spot and some time to heal themselves up.
For Bankstown City Lions – they found their legs in the second half the season after an inconsistent first half, they stormed home with a four-game unbeaten run to finish third. The Lions took the hard road to the final, with a penalty shootout victory over Nepean FC before a 2-1 win in a fiesty affair with Sutherland Shire FA to complete the fixture.
Sydney Olympic FC did the regular season double over the Lions side with 4-1 early season triumph followed by a barnstorming 3-2 victory in Round 13, so Olympic FC will have the psychological edge headed into the final on Saturday night.
The premiers started their season slowly, but once coach George Beltsos’ side began to gel they went on a rampage through the rest of the competition, going undefeated since losing to Nepean FC back in round two.
Underpinning the success for Olympic FC has been the leadership from their co-captains Kalista Tsoupis and Kate Halaska that has guided the team all season. For Tsoupis if she can lift the trophy after the final whistle on Sunday, it would be a fairytale ending for her 17-year football career.
Further up the field, Beltsos has a plethora of attacking options at his disposal. Topscorer Madelaine Costanzo is under an injury cloud but there is still Danielle Calvi, Rochelle Borromeo and Courtney Holmwood ready to step in.
Going into the weekend Olympic FC coach Beltsos admitted his side is going in underdone after three weeks off. Futhermore he added that Lions striker Tania Baban, who has struck 13 times this season, is “on fire and a top player” that the Olympic side need to be on guard.
After Bankstown’s preliminary final success, Beltsos was impressed with the “job they [Bankstown] did over Sutherland so we might consider ourselves underdogs for the weekend. Saying that we are looking forward to the Grand Final and finishing a remarkable season on a high.”
Bankstown City Lions head into this weekend with a spring in their step after their victory over Sutherland Shire FA, the Lions probably have the best arsenal to combat Olympic FC as they like to push forward themselves and try to have their forwards support each other.
One weapon the Bankstown coach can call upon, is Joanna Martino, the striker has 10 goals to her name this season – the tall forward was a nuisance for the Shire FA side in the preliminary final, her delivery created problems in the box for the usually assured Shire FA backline.
Lions coach Troy Spink is chuffed to get to the final – “We don’t feel any pressure headed into Saturday night, Olympic FC is the form team, so we are going to come out and see if we can upset the apple cart,” he said.
“Like I have mentioned several times, we have improved on each result in the second half of the season, so getting it beyond the 90 mins would be an improvement. Overall I think [Saturday] night will be an enjoyable and attacking contest.” Finished the Lions boss.
An unsung hero of this Lions side has been keeper Renee Krstanovska. The talisman custodian has a highlight reel of saves across the season to earn the Lions points, so will have a huge task to repel the prolific Olympic FC forwards.
All these ingredients mix together to make for a mouth-watering showdown that will be a fitting final act for the 2017 season between two quality teams.
-By Justin Davies, PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s reporter