Maroons defence begins with a draw
Queensland’s defence of their crown began with a 3-3 draw with home town ACT Cobras in a quality match at AIS Arena. The Maroons looked in good touch against a more experienced ACT outfit and looked destined for a win until a late goal from Maja Blasch earned the Cobras two points for a score draw.
The Cobras had earlier taken the lead with a thumping finish from Luisa Marzotto, a lead they held until the half-time interval, having only been tested sporadically by the Maroons. However, the second half was a different story with Queensland upping the ante and playing some excellent Futsal in the process.
Kate Orkild, who was a standout in the title winning side of 2010, dragged her team level with an exceptional finish before Sophie Lamberton turned the match on its head with a slide rule finish from close range after neat approach play. The ACT responded in kind with a poacher’s leveller from Nicole Somi, sliding in to stab the ball in from close range.
It seemed as if Queensland had won it when Orkild banged in a second minutes from time, but the Cobras had other ideas and Maja Blasch swept in a coolly taken goal to level the score at 3-3.
There was a second scoring draw in the following match when NSW Lightning and Western NSW finished honours even at 2-2 following a topsy-turvy forty minutes of action. It looked likely that Lightning would be the ones celebrating at half-time having taken a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Sarah Semaan and Jo-Anne Saliba but Western found added resolve after the interval to fight back.
A fortuitous own goal reduced the deficit before Anna Errington equalised. Western later wasted a gilt-edged chance to win the match when spurning a break that left two attackers facing Lightning ‘keeper Melanie McCauley, but McCauley read the play to make a brilliant interception and deny the chance.
Southern NSW leads the way after the first round of action though thanks to a match-winning goal from Hayley Buckingham struck with virtually the last kick of the match. Buckingham diverted home a driven shot to steal the point’s seconds after Victoria looked to have gained a draw.
Natalie Exon deflected Lauren Farrugia’s shot into the bottom corner to bring Victoria level at 2-2 before Buckingham pounced. Earlier, a double from Effi Rodopoulos had twice given Southern NSW the advantage, the first time cancelled out by a goal from Leisl Woods.
NSW Thunder – Bye
Queensland 3 (Kate Orkild (2), Sophie Lamberton) ACT Cobras 3 (Luisa Marzotto, Nicole Somi, Maja Blasch)
NSW Lightning 2 (Jo-Anne Saliba, Sarah Semaan) Western NSW 2 (Anna Errington, own goal)
Victoria 2 (Leisl Woods, Natalie Exon) Southern NSW 3 (Effi Rodopoulos (2), Hayley Buckingham)
TABLE – POOL A
2 Kate ORKILD (Queensland), Effi RODOPOULOS (Southern NSW)
1 Maja BLASCH, Luisa MARZOTTO, Nicole SOMI (all ACT Cobras), Sarah SEMAAN, Jo-Anne SALIBA (NSW Lightning), Sophie LAMBERTON (Queensland), Hayley BUCKINGHAM (Southern NSW), Anna ERRINGTON (Western NSW), Natalie EXON, Leisl WOODS (Both Victoria), Own GOALS