SELECT Futsal Premier League round-14 has set up a semi-final beauty!
Inner West Magic finished with a convincing 5-0 rout of Mascot Vipers to clear the field by nine points – the first known women’s team to go undefeated throughout summer, but surprisingly one point short of their record 37 tally in 2015/16.
Elsewhere Campbelltown Quake stunned Mountain Majik 4-2 and UTS Northside beat Enfield Allstars 7-2 to maintain their third and fourth positions, while Dural Warriors came up short against Eastern Suburbs Hakoah, falling 2-1 to end the season last.
The table shows Inner West (36) ahead of Mountain (27), Campbelltown (24) and Northside (24), followed by Easts (17), Mascot (12), Enfield (10) and Dural (9) – the bottom three sides all suffering five one-goal defeats this summer.
This sets up a delicious semi-final knockout at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Halls where Magic plays UTS and Majik face Quake on Saturday, January 19.
Majik’s Ashlie Crofts (24) scored for the first time in four games to claim this summer’s golden boot, Hakoah’s Tamires Souza (15), Magic duo Rhianna Pollicina (14) and Ceyda Cambaz (13) and Quake’s Linda Dudek (10) the only players to reach double-figures.
And while Inner West (192 points) celebrated a massive club-championship win ahead of Mascot (165), Mountain (153), Campbelltown (135), Easts (133) and Northside (121), it was heartbreak for Dural (111) as they fell three points short of Enfield (114) and will be relegated from premier league.
Mountain Majik 2 (Ashlie Crofts, own goal) Campbelltown Quake 4 (Linda Dudek, Zoeie Redman 2, own goal)
Inner West Magic 5 (Rhianna Pollicina 2, Amy Dahdah, Ceyda Cambaz, Bianca Galic) Mascot Vipers 0
UTS Northside 7 (Maddison Zahra, Olivia Paton, Sarah Roger, Ariella Cabezas, Daisy Arrowsmith, Holly Caspers 2) Enfield Allstars 2 (Tiarne Schuman, Lara White)
Eastern Suburbs Hakoah 2 (Lareane Bachega, Tamires Souza) Dural Warriors 1 (Luseane Cook)
Quake shake Mountain
Campbelltown Quake continued their excellent turn of form with a stirring 4-2 win against top-two Mountain Majik at Blacktown Leisure Centre on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors got off to a dream start when a Bethany Gordon back-stick cross ricocheted off a Majik player into goal, but they won’t want to watch Mountain’s equaliser too many times as Ashlie Crofts received a great pass from a Quake player in front of goal to nudge in the leveler.
Campbelltown restored their lead when Mel Walsh played a nice ball to a free Darcey Malone, who went one-on-one with Majik keeper Regan Hill and squared-up Linda Dudek for the tap-in, and it was 3-1 after Dudek beat her player down the line to assist Zoeie Redman.
Mountain stayed in the contest when a good recovery run for Quake’s Steph Haaring ended badly with a challenge that resulted in the ball flying into the back of her own net to make it 3-2, and Majik sniffed a chance as they switched on a fifth-man powerplay, only for Redman to steal the ball mid-court and rifle in a fourth from halfway that sealed a 4-2 victory.
The result didn’t change any ladder positions but gave Quake all the confidence they needed as the two sides face-off again in next year’s finals weekend.
It’s definitely Campbelltown’s best summer since their 2013/14 premiership-championship double and coach Mel Keith is keen to add a few more feathers to her cap – all due to a great team spirit.
“We deserved it today. While Majik did have other chances with Crofty hitting the bar twice, we stood tall and continued to challenge an amazing Regan Hill and the Majik defense,” she said.
“We now take them on in the semis in what should be a cracker!”
Back-to-back losses didn’t stop second-placed Majik from recording its best open women’s comp, earning three more points than a third-place finish in 2013/14.
Mountain coach Adam Barbera is adamant they have the ability to claim some silverware from a stellar season.
“Obviously it’s not ideal going into the finals off the back of two losses, but we all know what we have to fix and that we’re a good side capable of beating anyone,” he said.
“Quake are a real tough side to play against. They compete for everything and have some really experienced players.
“Although we weren’t at our best we still managed to create a good number of chances, however our lack of conviction in front of goal cost us.
“A couple of lapses in concentration defensively allowed Quake to get opportunities that they finished well,” Barbera said.
“Going into the final series we’re happy of the progression we’ve made this season and where we finished, and we’re excited at the prospect of getting some revenge against teams we haven’t been able to beat this far.”
Remarkably, Mountain Majik hasn’t beaten any of the other finalists this summer (three draws, three losses) – but they eclipsed everyone else twice.
Inner West maul Mascot
Inner West Magic completed the perfect summer with a resounding 5-0 victory over Mascot Vipers at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday afternoon.
Rhianna Pollicina was in scintillating form scoring two and assisting twice, as Amy Dahdah, Ceyda Cambaz and Bianca Galic added the extras in a five-goal shutout.
It’s a 20th match unbeaten if you include their four-game Futsal Cup march and add on the two victories from last-season’s ending, and completely underlined Magic’s dominance to earn a third premiership in four years.
Inner West’s 46 goals scored is the lowest output from a premier in the last seven years, but 14 goals leaked is the best concession of any team over the same period (next-best is Dural’s 16 in 2015/16 and 19 in 2012/13).
Magic coach Matteo Maiorana simply doesn’t have enough words or time to describe how he feels about his team.
“It was one of our best games of the season!” he said.
“The most pleasing thing wasn’t the win but the performance; every one of our goals were created from movement patterns and things we have worked on.”
“The quality and the unselfishness from all the girls today was absolutely first class.
“I’m so proud of them. We’ve had to overcome a lot as a group this season, but an undefeated Premiership is just reward.
“Two games to go will top off an incredible season.”
Northside defeat Enfield
UTS Northside made short work of Enfield Allstars in a solid 7-2 win at PCYC Dee Why on Saturday afternoon.
It was academic for Northside, allocated fourth spot by Campbelltown’s earlier victory, but they were red-hot and clinical against Enfield and jumped to a 4-0 halftime cushion before finishing off the job in the second term.
It was UTS’ fourth straight win over Allstars, who only avoided the wooden spoon thanks to a Warriors defeat in the last game of the year, and Northside could be forgiven for thinking Groundhog Day after finishing fourth for the fourth-straight season.
They are yet to make a grand final, but it was their highest points-total since entering premier league and coach Danny Beauchamp wants to keep the good times going.
“Convincing performance; the girls were thorough and efficient,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a semi-final against Inner West Magic.”
Easts dump Dural
It may not have had much bearing on the women’s comp but Eastern Suburbs Hakoah played a unique historical role in their 2-1 dismissal of Dural Warriors at All Sorts Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday night.
Not only did the loss consign Dural to bottom spot a year after making the grand final, but it also pushed Warriors out of premier league altogether as the club failed to gather enough points to gain ground on Enfield.
There was plenty of feeling on court as Dural suited up for a match that had massive consequences for the club, and they were right in it locked at 1-1 at the break, but a decisive second-half Easts goal secured a tight 2-1 win – the third straight scoreline between the sides this summer after Warriors won a Futsal Cup round-of-16 clash a week before Hakoah won their round-seven clash.
Dural’s lowly position is in stark contrast to six straight years of making the finals (top-two in four of those summers), scoring 16 goals less than their previous low-mark of 29 when they placed third in 2016/17.
Next year’s finals
SELECT Futsal Premier League takes a beautiful summer break and lets all the playoff-bound clubs ready themselves for semi-final battle at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Halls on Saturday, January 19 (both matches start 4pm): Inner West Magic play UTS Northside, and Mountain Majik face Campbelltown Quake.
– By Dan de Nardi