Sydney University SFC were once again popping champagne bottles, non-alcoholic ones of course, after their impressive round ten 3-0 victory over the Northern Tigers at Arlington Oval on Sunday.
With one round remaining before the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s Finals Series officially kicks into gear, ‘Super Coach’ Alex Epakis was delighted with how his troops went about what was a tough post COVID-19 lockdown season.
“The whole squad and club did extremely well to earn the title again.
“The season was very tough, the competition was immense.
“Every opposition club and coach has done so well to prepare their teams.
“I really applaud all the clubs in their part on the quality football that was produced each week.
“I have been impressed with the Football NSW Institute and Manly United, both have a good playing style and have been tough competition this year.
“It was a great reward in what was a hard year for all due to COVID-19. We kept in touch every fortnight during lockdown via Zoom and we had running programs sent out.
“The girls did exceptionally well to manage themselves during the break and that allowed us to hit the ground running straight away.”
The 29-year-old, who away from his Uni duties is also a Coach Educator and Developer for FFA and other Member Federations, has become accustomed to lifting silverware at the club throughout his three successful years he’s been in charge thus far.
“In my three years I have been lucky enough to work with quality players and staff.
“Together we have achieved three consecutive Club Championships, three First Grade Premierships, three Reserve Grade Premierships and a First Grade Championship.”
Blessed with a quality squad at his disposal, the likes of NPL NSW Female stars such as ‘Captain Fantastic’ Taren King, Tori Tumeth, Clare Wheeler, Nicki Flannery, Julie-Ann Russell, Tiana Jaber, Rachel Soutar, Demi Koulizakis and of course Michelle Heyman to name a few have been a pleasure to watch during this rebooted NPL NSW Women’s competition.
Asked which players caught his attention on the pitch, Epakis stated his delight in working with each and everyone of them in making his job that much easier.
“You are spot on. Every player that we have had at the club has been a valuable piece.
“I have learnt a lot from them, and hopefully they took something from me.
“I have been so fortunate to be able to work with a whole squad of players and people that I value.
“I can’t identify one as a stand-out, we all bring something to the table.
“The core of the group has been together now for three seasons and in each match they all execute their roles on the field. We have a great collective group and together they always overcome the challenges given to us throughout the season.”
The team led by the inspirational Taren King with the captain’s armband was once again leading from the front as Epakis stated to Football NSW of her qualities on being a ‘class act on and off the field’.
“Taren simply is a quality human.
“She offers great character and humility. She has been a great leader over the years on and off the field and she is someone who has developed as a player to be consistent and confident.
“There is no doubt she has definitely assisted me over the years to create the right environment – A class act on and off the field.”
Epakis further explained that Matildas star and one of the competition’s heavy weights and leading recruits Michelle Heyman has really enjoyed her time with the Uni squad.
“Michelle was an instant hit. She came into the environment and showed exactly why she has played at the top level in pro environments.
“She offers great experience and does her job in a mature and professional way. Her personality allows her to lead through example and she has added a cutting edge to the team.”
Sydney University SFC will look towards finishing the competition on a high prior to the Finals Series commencing as they entertain the Illawarra Stingrays on Sunday at the Sydney University Football Ground.
Asked whether he was set to give some players a rest, Epakis pushed the message that he’d be playing the best team available taking them into the finals.
“This week we will re-assess our injury list and see who is available. We are totally committed to ensuring each match is our best, so we won’t be taking a backwards step.
“We want to continue to improve and build on performances.”