The coveted Finals Series are finally upon us in the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s competition with the Semi-Finals kicking off this weekend.
There is no doubt the Premiers Sydney University are the favourites but Sydney Olympic, Manly United and the Northern Tigers will all stake their claim to the throne.
Sydney Olympic (2nd) V Manly United (3rd) – @ Peter Moore Field, 4pm
The action kicks off on Saturday afternoon at Peter Moore Field as second placed Sydney Olympic host third placed Manly United.
Déjà vu for Olympic as for the second straight year they finished runners up to Uni in the race for the Premiership.
With the best attack in the league and the league’s top scorer in their ranks, Cortnee Vine, Olympic will feel confident in the attacking prowess they possess.
Olympic fell at the final hurdle last season and failed to qualify for the grand final. They only have one jump left to make the big dance and will look to go a step further than 2019.
United are back in the finals after missing out last year and come in with some fine form. Four straight wins and an amazing 19 goals in that same period with only one conceded!
Tara Andrews and Remy Siemsen have scored most of their goals this year, 22 of 29 in fact which is 76%, an incredible statistic.
Interestingly, United have played finals football every time since 2015, minus last season, mostly under the tutorage of Chris Williams who has done a fine job at Cromer Park.
These two have clashed three times in the last two seasons with Olympic winning both clashes in 2019, Manly taking the spoils in a fantastic game this year, 2-1.
Sydney University (1st) V Northern Tigers (4th) – @ Arlington Oval, 2:30pm
The premiers Sydney University will take on the Northern Tigers in what will be the sixth game between the two in two years!
Uni have shown some steel this year. So strong in defence with Tori Tumeth and skipper Taren King holding the fort in front of Courtney Newbon, a dynamic midfield duo of Bianca Galic and Clare Wheeler and then a free flowing attack with a plethora of scorers led by Julie-Anne Russell and lets not forget the experience of Michelle Heyman.
They will be tough to beat and their current run of 31 matches without defeat could stretch into their third year should they take out the Championship next weekend.
But, first, they must get beyond a plucky Northern Tigers outfit who love a big game and could punish them with the slightest dip in concentration.
After a slow start, many thought (including myself) that the Tigers would miss out on their second consecutive season of finals football.
They proved everyone wrong and with a fine performance on the final day of the season, they made their own luck and snuck into fourth spot on the competition ladder.
Losing Servet Uzunlar was massive for the Tigers, but Ellie Brush has stepped it up and led from the back with Daisy Arrowsmith getting the job done at the front, scoring eight goals so far this campaign.
Only two weeks ago, Uni came away with a comfortable 3-0 victory at the same venue this blockbuster takes place at on Sunday.
Last season, Uni won two games against the Tigers, both 2-0 and drew the other two with the second draw being settled by penalties in the 2019 grand final which Uni came out victorious in.
Interestingly, the Tigers have only managed to score one goal in the last five matches against Uni, in last season’s grand final.
REMINDER: Football NSW’s Valentine Sports Park has been confirmed as the venue set to host the 2020 National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s Grand Final on Sunday 11th of October.
By Nikola Pozder, NPL NSW Women’s writer