Dural Warriors regained the competition lead with a 5-1 disposal of Sydney City Eagles, Enfield Rovers came from four goals down to stun Boomerangs 7-6, while Inner West Allstars crept up a few branches by beating South Coast Taipans 3-0. The game between Campbelltown Quake and Mascot Vipers was postponed to this Friday night.
The results made it juicy at the top with Dural overtaking Sydney City again to head the competition with Enfield now just two points behind the top two teams. It’s a jump back to fourth-placed Inner West, who lead Boomerangs by two points with Campbelltown a further two points back but with a game in hand.
Warriors bring down Eagles
Dural Warriors leapfrogged Sydney City Eagles back to the top of the competition table with a clinical 5-1 victory at the Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday night.
Dural took an early lead in a tight first half of end-to-end action before Sydney City equalised minutes out from the interval.
The Warriors then turned on the afterburners after the break to score four unanswered goals and consign last year’s champions to their biggest loss of the season.
For Dural Isaac Wadik grabbed a goal, while both Toby Seeto and Greg Giovenali scored doubles, Giovenali moving to a lofty 17 goals overall.
The Warriors finish the season undefeated in seven rounds at home and stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches, and coach Rob Varela greeted their four remaining away games as a good challenge heading into the finals.
“We were definitely up for the game and played well,” he said. “It was very tight in the first half, but we held onto more of the ball in the second half and got some good goals. I think our defence is what really turned things around for us.”
“[Sydney City] had some chances but we felt in control and stepped up our intensity in the second half, creating pressure high up the court.”
Varela was delighted for his troops and liked being in first place but he refused to read too much into the seemingly comfortable victory.
“We know we can beat them, but we also beat City in the second game last year and it didn’t mean much because we lost to them in the grand final,” he said.
“Psychologically it’s always good when you beat the strongest team in the competition – they’re the yardstick, but we don’t want to get carried away with the result. It’s easy to get motivated against the leaders, but we have to do it again for the next four games.”
Enfield break Boomerangs
A second half avalanche helped Enfield Rovers to a thrilling 7-6 win over Boomerangs at All Saints Grammar Belmore on Saturday night.
The visitors ran amuck in the first half and raced to a handy 5-1 halftime lead, but Enfield upped the ante in the second term with some full court pressure paying huge dividends, and once the dam wall was breached by Lachlan Wright the Rovers turned it into a flood of goals to complete a 7-6 triumph – Jacob Di Mento scoring twice in two minutes, Rob Foti scoring another a minute later and Joseph Foti grabbing the winners in the 45th and 50th minutes.
Enfield coach Ernie Bivona paid tribute to his team’s tenacity against the odds.
“I actually felt bad for the Canberra boys who were really solid in the first half and pounced on all our mistakes,” he said. “But full credit to my boys for the way they played. They’ve been training well and got the rewards for their efforts.”
“[Trailing at halftime] It was a relief to get some goals and we just went on from it from there. At training we talked about how we’ve got out of positions like this by using our heads. Two weeks in a row we’ve come from behind against decent opponents… I guess we’re a second half team; we’re definitely enjoying the second 25.”
The result pushed Rovers to within striking distance of a top-two place and Bivona liked the focus being on competition heavyweights Sydney City and Dural.
“People were saying it was a two horse race… but the third horse has just done the bolt,” he said. “You see it all around the world with teams that don’t give up until the fat lady sings. I think it’s very important for the team’s confidence to show some get up and go, and I think we’ve just become the dark horse.”
“But there are some smart coaches in the league and on any day, any team can win. Results don’t get you over the line the following week so you still have to show up to play in every game.”
At the other end, Boomerangs co-coach Kristian Collins was perplexed by what happened and said the pressure was now right on his side to grab a seat in the finals
“It should’ve been all over at halftime,” he said, “We just didn’t give them anything in the first half, everything just worked. Then we just stopped playing, gave them too way much room and that was it.”
“I was immensely disappointed as it was a game we should’ve won easily with the start we had. Now we have to win at least three of the last four games to have a chance at qualifying.”
This weekend’s match-up with fourth-placed Inner West will be a good opportunity for Boomerangs to show their mettle as finals candidates, with Allstars sitting just two points ahead of them on the table.
Allstars rattle Taipans
A week after being held scoreless themselves Inner West Allstars shut-out South Coast Taipans 3-0 at the Morris Iemma Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The game was tight and tense as chances went begging at both ends and the two teams were deadlocked at 0-0 at halftime.
A goal to stand-out player Dylan Maloney five minutes into the second half helped Inner West steady the ship and two more goals to Ediz Alpkaya sealed the result.
The win catapulted Allstars into a coveted top-four spot, two points ahead of Boomerangs, who they face this weekend in a crunch match.
A vastly improved South Coast tried hard to break through a scrooge-like Inner West defence and defended quite well themselves – their last three scorelines are its lowest three concessions of the season (4, 3 & 3). If they keep it up they’ll trouble plenty of teams heading toward the end of the season.
Allstars club coach Matteo Maiorana said he was happy with how things were progressing for the men’s team.
“It was one of our best team performances, and we had pretty close to strongest squad this weekend and it made a lot of difference,” he said.
“We probably matched each other out in the first half and Robbie [Maiorana] in goals had one of his best games of the season. But we got the goals we were looking for in the second half.
“We probably need to win two of next three games to be in a good position… and at full strength we’re a good chance against any of the top teams.”
Quake, Vipers postponed
The match between Campbelltown Quake and Mascot Vipers was called off at All Sorts Fitness Centre on Saturday night after the games started later than usual.
A 3pm start pushed the men’s match into a scheduled 10pm kick-off. The match will be played this Friday night at the Menai centre.
Next week’s games
Round 11 (Saturday, December 10) sees South Coast Taipans host Dural Warriors at the Illawarra Hockey Centre, Inner West Allstars face Boomerangs at Morris Iemma Sports Centre, Campbelltown Quake meet Sydney City Eagles at Minto Indoor Sports Centre, while Enfield Rovers welcome Mascot Vipers to All Saints Grammar Belmore.