Round 14 of the 2016/17 Football NSW SELECT NSW Premier League saw Inner West overcome UTS Northside 4-1 to claim the premiership, Dural beat Mountain Majik 3-2 and South Coast edged Boomerangs 3-2.
Magic (34 points) placed ahead of Warriors (31) and Rovers (22), with Boomerangs (17) taking fourth place over Majik (17) and UTS (14). Taipans (12) leapfrogged Vipers (10) who had their final-round match against Enfield cancelled.
It certainly felt like one of the tightest competitions – a 6.7 goal average per game the lowest on record and the average winning margin also the lowest – and the point spread also backs up this claim with 24 points separating top-dogs Inner West from bottom-side Mascot. This is matched by the 2011/12 summer but tighter than 31-point gaps from the last two seasons; 2012/13 produced the greatest margin of 35 points.
Just 17 goals were scored in the weekend’s three games making it the second-lowest on record (last season’s final round registered 15), and four of the 12 lowest round-totals have come this season. South Coast’s 31 and Mascot’s 33 goals were the third and fourth-lowest tallies on record but far greater than Sydney City’s paltry 15 tallied in 2012/13 (which followed a stunning championship win over premiers Dural the season before). Phoenix netted 27 times in 2013/14.
And despite the usual grumbling toward officiating, an interesting stat from this season is the amount of bookings distributed over summer is actually 30 fewer than the next lowest total – 132 (including nine red cards) compared to 162 in 2013/14 (which had 19 reds).
Dural Warriors 3 (Wade Giovenali 2, Jacob Basden) Mountain Majik 2 (Kaan Klinic, own goal)
UTS Northside 1 (Karim Moursi) Inner West Magic 4 (Hayden Macerola, Jonathan Barzel, Miles Downie, Brian Griffin-Colls)
South Coast Taipans 4 (Matt Mazevski 4) Boomerangs FS 3 (Michael Reeve, Brad Sawyer, Daniel Giovinazzo)
Taipans nip Boomerangs
South Coast Taipans lifted themselves off the bottom of the table following a gutsy 4-3 win against finals-bound Boomerangs FS at University of Wollongong Sports Hub.
Matt Mazevski ran amok scoring twice in each half to establish a 4-0 South Coast lead forcing Boomerangs into a fifth-man press with 10 minutes to go, and the visitors came storming home with three goals making it an edgy final few minutes – but Taipans held their nerve to win 4-3 and jump Mascot on the points table.
Taipans have won three straight over Boomerangs and victory broke two wooden spoons for the club in its previous premier league campaigns. South Coast coach Bobby Mazevski was thrilled.
“I am delighted with the result today as it’s reward for our improvement over the last four weeks,” he said. “Although Matt Mazevski bagged four goals, it was a collective effort with all available players playing their part… we couldn’t be denied what was in my view a well deserved win.”
“I’m not sure if we’ve ever put back-to-back wins before [ed: once, in 2011/12] but its a great way to end the season for us. We’ve beaten Boomerangs twice this year to cap off a much improved second consecutive season in premier league.
“With more than half the squad youth players, the future looks bright. It was also great not to finish on the bottom of the table,” Mazevski said.
Boomerangs coach Kristian Collins wasn’t overly happy with the hit-out but was ready for an all out assault in this Saturday’s do-or-die semifinal against Enfield.
“It was a disappointing performance for 40 minutes; we played well for the first five but started forcing things. We managed to find the back of the net at the end but it was too little to late,” he said.
“The positive is we still managed to qualify for the finals, and the last time we lost we beat Enfield in the next game. Michael Rinaudo back is a big inclusion for us; hopefully he will give us the added spark we need to get going.”
Magic take Northside
Inner West Magic grabbed a solid 4-1 win against UTS Northside at Marrickville PCYC to claim its first premiership since the 2009/10 season.
Goals to Hayden Macerola and a spectacular Miles Downie bicycle kick placed Inner West in an uncomfortable 2-0 position at halftime as UTS hit back straight after the break through Karim Moursi to halve the deficit.
As Northside searched for an equaliser, Magic’s Jonathan Barzel and Brian Griffin-Colls both scored in the final 10 minutes to underline a three-goal win, their fifth straight against UTS and Barzel in particular enjoys the annual meetings having scored in four of the six encounters between the clubs.
Inner West club manager Matteo Maiorana credited Northside for an excellent game and said Magic’s summer success boiled down to sticking to a long-running plan.
“It was an excellent team performance, but you have to give credit to Grant [Lynch] and UTS. Without a number of their big names they fought bravely and at times matched our intensity and caused us a number problems; they have improved immensely throughout the season,” he said.
“When this cycle started, after the appointment of Steven Knight we said three years was the time before our young team matured enough, learnt enough where winning was a realistic target. Here we are three years in and we lift the Premiership trophy!”
“I don’t think people realise how young our team is. Only five players are over 23 and two are goalkeepers; but I can’t be any prouder of the group, the coaching staff and the players, they have worked extremely hard, put in the effort at training and this is the reward… but the job is only half done. When we get back to training, we will re-shift our focus and go for the double.”
“We had almost 200 supporters in attendance and the guys knew what was at stake,” Maiorana said. “We have achieved a lot as a club this season: Club Championship number 10, four [age group] premierships including the men’s, eight of nine teams qualify for the semis and seven finished top-two, so it’s been a good season to date.”
Inner West also recently became the first club to pass the 150-league game mark; Magic (formerly Allstars) participating in a mammoth 152 games ahead of fellow centurion clubs Campbelltown City Quake (144), Mascot (142), Dural (124) and Enfield (105).
For the record next in line are Sydney City Eagles (93), Boomerangs (58), Mountain Majik (56), Western Raiders (56), South Coast (42), UTS (42), Phoenix (42) and Hawkesbury Commodores (42) – Taipans and Northside will move in front of Raiders at the end of next season.
The newly-crowned premiers now face Dural in a blockbuster major semi-final this Saturday. As previously reported Warriors boast a commanding head-to-head record over Magic winning 13 of 18 clashes (including all four finals meetings), but their last five successes have been tight one-goal victories and a penalty shootout grand final win in 2014/15 while Inner West have claimed more-convincing 7-2 and 5-1 victories in the same eight-game period, plus a 1-1 draw.
And while they give up home-court advantage to play at The Centre in Dural, Magic take with them an impressive record of four straight wins on the road (equal-fourth longest premier league run). Sydney City won five straight over 2010/11-2011/12, Warriors had a run of six away wins over 2011/12-2012/13 dwarfed by their incredible 11 in a row over the 2014/15-2015/16 summers.
Inner West do have to somehow extinguish Dural’s immense firepower. The Warriors line-up contains six of premier league’s top-25 all-time scorers in Greg Giovenali (77 goals), Bruno Pivato (38), Nathan Niski (37), Wade Giovenali (37), Vic Koutsoufis (33) and Blake Rosier (32). Magic have two – Daniel Fogarty (56), Chris Zeballos (55).
Warriors edge Majik
Dural held off a gallant Mountain Majik 3-2 at The Centre in what Warriors coach Rob Varela described as ideal preparation for this Saturday’s face-off with premiers Inner West.
After a tightly-fought goal-less first half Wade Giovenali opened the scoring for Dural from a well-worked set-piece, but it was back on level terms almost immediately when Kaan Klinic equalised for the Mountaineers.
Jacob Basden put Warriors back in front moments later with a far-post tap-in following a clinical counter-attack and as Majik gunned hard for a victory they hoped would steal fourth place, going to a fifth man press they unfortunately conceded possession midcourt allowing Wade Giovenali to walk the ball in for a cosy 3-1 buffer.
The Mountaineers never gave up and a goalmouth scramble saw Greg Giovenali accidentally chest the ball into his own net, Dural hanging on for a nervy 3-2 victory – their fourth one-goal win of the summer. The Warriors have won all eight Majik meetings.
Varela appreciated the competitive encounter. “Majik had plenty to play for, so it was the right kind of game for both of us,” he said. “They defended well and we just couldn’t break through in the first half, and we were also lucky not to concede. Majik competed to the end and that was good for us.”
“I didn’t want to face the premiers with an easy game, and we certainly got a hard one. It’s no coincidence that we’re getting personnel back and finding some consistency, and the boys are really focused. Congratulations to Inner West as they were the most consistent team this year, but it is not brand new for us to not finish top and go on to win the final.”
Mountain coach Babak Menati applauded his side’s tenacity. “What a great game; I really enjoy, and in this weather it was a great performance,” he said.
“We knew we were playing a great team with great international players and knew it would be tough. We really focused on defending to close their strengths, particularly in the target area and then the line area, and their few chances were denied by the goalkeeper and defenders… and we had some chances of our own on the counter attack.”
“The second half was to keep going the same and push hard in the last five minutes because we knew we had to win. We couldn’t afford a mistake against Dural. Unfortunately with seven minutes to go I gave Jordan [Guerreiro] a one minute rest and they scored their second goal, so we had no choice but to go fifth-man and with five minutes left they scored a third goal.
“We kept pushing and scored a messy goal in the last minute but it wasn’t enough. I was very happy with the team performance, they did a great job, even the whole season they did well, especially in the second half of the season.
“[On his future] Futsal is like a science and I need to catch up, do some courses and workshops, and we’ll see what happens from there,” Menati said.
“I cannot predict who will win the championship, it’s not so easy to tell in Futsal. Technically I think Dural and Inner West will be in the final and then the final is different, but that’s not to say Enfield and Boomerangs cannot do something for themselves with the players they have.”
It shouldn’t go unnoted that Dural set a new league record for most number of individual scorers in a game when eight Warriors netted in their 9-2 defeat of Mascot. There had been seven different scorers posted by a team on nine other occasions before Dural’s accomplishment.
Next week’s games
Both Football NSW SELECT Futsal Premier League semi-finals are being held at The Centre, Dural on Saturday as premiers Inner West Magic face Dural Warriors (5.15pm), and Enfield Rovers play Boomerangs FS in the knockout bout (5.15pm). Visit the Football NSW website (Futsal tab) for full details.