Finals football is upon us in the National Premier League NSW Women’s and it kicks off this Wednesday night!
APIA Leichhardt (1st) v Bulls FC Academy (4th)
Wednesday 6th September at Lambert Park (7:40pm)
The finals start on Wednesday night at 7:40pm at Lambert Park as the Premiers host fourth placed Bulls FC Academy.
It was party central in the Inner West on Sunday night as APIA celebrate winning both the Club Championship and the first grade Premiership.
They will need to focus their attention back to Wednesday’s semi final in what will be a busy week for the maroons who on Sunday will look to add further silverware to the trophy cabinet when they take part in the Sapphire Cup final.
Three straight wins and 12 goals scored in that period, APIA come into this one full of confidence.
Ash Crofts has found her scoring boots again after going three matches without a goal, to score five in her last three matches.
Sunday’s high scoring victory over the Emerging Jets allowed coach Spencer Prior to rest a number of key players with limited minutes ahead of this difficult week.
Holly McNamara and Estelle Fragalle were both replaced at the break, while Tash Prior started on the bench and Claudia Cicco sat out due to suspension.
APIA are on the path to an incredible season, they have already bagged the Club Championship and Premiership, they are still alive in the Sapphire Cup and Championship series, can they make it a quadruple?
The Bulls needed to win their last two games and needed the Northern Tigers to slip up once, it happened and they snuck into the Top Four.
Since the end of July, they have only lost one game in their last six, a tight defeat against the Macarthur Rams.
You can’t look beyond Peta Trimis, Avaani Prakash and Charlotte Lancaster who have come alive at the right time in the season.
The danger that Jessica Seaman also possesses from set pieces and stability she offers in defence is of major importance.
They are a very well drilled team who on their day can beat anyone in the competition and Jaime Gomez will feel he can lead his team to the Grand Final.
Interestingly, these two teams have met twice already this campaign and Bulls FC Academy are one of only two teams APIA has not managed to defeat this season, the first two matches ending in draws.
Who will come out on top at Lambert Park on Wednesday night?
Tale of the tape:
Round 2: APIA Leichhardt 0-0 Bulls FC Academy
Round 15: Bulls FC Academy 2-2 APIA Leichardt
Macarthur Rams (2nd) v NWS Spirit (3rd)
Sunday 10th September at Valentine Sports Park 2 (5:45pm)
On Sunday at Valentine Sports Park the second semi-final will take place as the Macarthur Rams host NWS Spirit.
The Rams are on an incredible streak which has not seen them lose since the 7th of May, 17 games without defeat for Stephen Peters’ side and they are the in form team moving into finals football.
Macarthur have developed remarkably as the season has progressed and their rise up the ladder has been fascinating to watch.
They were the only team able to stick with APIA in the Premiership race and took it to the last day of the season in an excellent finale.
It’s hard to pick out an individual in a team that performs so well together, Kelli Brown finished runner up to the golden boot with 23 goals for the season and is one that you can identify.
Incredibly, the Rams have been kept scoreless only twice this season and finding the back of the net has not been a problem at all, scoring 70 goals in 26 games.
Defensively, they have been just as tight, with the leagues best defence only conceding 24 goals this campaign.
Having more or less wrapped up third place weeks ago, Spirit’s form has been quite inconsistent in the final rounds, a draw along with two losses and two wins.
They have a lot of weapons across the park that will be able to hurt the Rams, Mary Stanic-Floody who is in fine form, team’s top scorer Morgan Roberts who has scored 15 goals this campaign and of course, last year’s play of the season, Rola Badawiya.
Spirit have kept only two clean sheets in their last 10 games, conceding 18 goals in that time which is peculiar for a team who had one of the tightest defences in the first half of the campaign.
The spoils were shared this season between the two with both teams grabbing a win apiece.
Tale of the tape:
Round 2: NWS Spirit 2-1 Macarthur Rams
Round 15: Macarthur Rams 3-1 NWS Spirit
*Both matches will be shown live and exclusive only on NPL.TV.
By Nikola Pozder.