The Pirates flew to the Gold Coast on Friday 17th of January with their first game against the Sunshine Coast, on the Saturday. The team was made up of players from the Pirates, the Paramartyr Kingz, Mark Borchert from St Albans, Hayden Razbocan from Jaguars FC and Stephen Gustus from the Vic Vipers.
It what proved to be the team’s nemesis, the Pirates narrowly lost 3-2 to the Sunny Coast in their first game.
There was some confusion as to the kick off time amongst the organisers which resulted in the team having a shorter than usual warm up. None the less it was a tough opener, which could have gone either way.
The result put the team on the back foot straight away, as there were two Pools, a Semi Final and then a Final. Each game here on in would be like a Final.
Next up was an Invitational Queensland team to replace the Guamalights from the Solomon Islands, who withdrew at the last minute, due to visa complications. The Pirates swept aside the Queensland team 8-0, with Sebastian Forero Torres and Alesandro Valente combining well with their goals. But, the boys were fatigued, as some of the squad had played at the Nationals in the scorching dry heat of Canberra. The Melbourne contingent had to come to terms with the humidity, although, the venue at Mt Warren was first class, with four huge ceiling fans keeping things as cool as possible.
On Sunday morning, the Solomon Paramartyr Kingz players arrived. They had their visas organised and made the trek with minimal delays. They had missed two games, but provided an extra boost for the Melbourne Pirates for the final day of games. James Egeta complimented Captain Reuben Langerak nicely in defence, allowing Jonathan De Biase more freedom to attack. With Clayton Chappell in goal having a fine game, the Pirates were starting to click. Egeta’s experience began to show with his passing and one memorable goal from just inside half way which was hit with venom, lobbed the goalkeeper and went in under the bar. They beat the Gold Coast 7-2 in Sunday’s first game to advance to the Semi Final against the Black Knights of Wollongong.
The Knights were a quality side with some talented footballers amongst their ranks. It was neck and neck right throughout the match, but the Pirates managed to get their noses in front with a 3-2 win to make the final.
The Pirates played the Sunshine Coast in what was a dream final for the neutrals of the Tournament. All even at Full Time; all even at Extra Full Time and a Penalty Shoot to come.
The Sunshine Coast scored first, before the Pirates got on the score sheet to make it 1-1. Then, Langerak hit the ball low towards goal and it trickled underneath the Goalkeeper to make it 2-1. With the clock ticking, all the Pirtaes had to do was clear their goal mouth; just kick it out! But the defence were slow to react and the Coast’s Pivot hit it home from close range. 2-2 at Full Time.
In Extra time, De Biase scored from a counter attack past the goalkeeper into the top right hand corner. The foul count was climbing and Chappell soon had to make a great save from a 6m penalty. Again, the clock was ticking…..ever so slowly! It was 3-2 to the Pirates. In one last attack, the Coast Flanker, Glen Standen, turned Razbocan and hit it hard and low through the advancing Chappell. 3-3 at the Extra Full Time whistle!
Penalties are a tough way to lose or win a game. There is usually nothing in it and one moment of concentration will cost you the chance to convert your shot. Confidence is always important, when playing under pressure and this certainly was a Presure Cooker!
In summary, Chappel saved two great shots. This gave the first opportunity to Goalkeeper / On court Pivot, Roland De Biase the chance to win it. The Sunshine Goalkeeper, Yoel Jogiono, made a great save to deny the Pirates first chance. The second chance fell to the most experienced player there, Solomon Islands’ World Cup Star, James Egeta. This was his second shot and Jogiono saved again. Shot for shot, it kept on going, until, Jogiono saved Razbocan’s second shot.
What a game! The boys certainly had their chances to win it in Normal Time, Extra Time and in the Penalty Shoot Out. 11-10 in the Shoot Out Count was testimony of the pressure. It was an epic match and great final for a wonderful Tournament.
We all had a great time on the Gold Coast and all the players gave it their all in the games. We will be back next year to have another crack at winning it!
Reuben Langerak (C), Jonathan De Biase, Alesandro Valente, Sebastian Forero Torres, Anthony Elmer, Roland De Biase, Luke Rodaway, Clayton Chappell, Stephen Gustus, Hayden Razbocan, James Egeta, Charlie Kalola, Beny Tamae and Mark Borchert.
Rebecca Niclasen and Jordyn Phipps-Nelson also travelled up for the Tournament. They played for the Gold Coast U16s team, which made the Semi Finals. Both girls thoroughly enjoyed the Tournament, which was also played on the large court at Mt Warren. They made some new friends and played some great futsal and are looking forward to next year as well.