Week 1 of the FNSW PL2 17/18 finals series saw five of the nine competitive Boomerangs teams play in either qualifying (1v2) or elimination (3v4) semi-finals.
It was a disappointing day of results, with four losses and just the one win, but only resulting in one team being eliminated from the finals race. The male teams fared better with both the youth men and the open men progressing. The female teams did not do so well with losses in all three qualifying finals; the 15 and 18 girls and the Open Women. Fortunately, those teams have a double chance and will need to win next weekend to get to play in the Grand Final.
To check out the photos of this round head to the Boomerangs photo site.
14 Boys: Boomerangs 3 – 5 Raiders Futsal (ht 1 – 4)
The 14 boys, finishing fourth in the regular season, came up against third-placed Raiders Futsal in the first of two elimination finals for Boomerangs teams on this day one of the finals series. The Raiders team were more ‘up’ for the match from the get-go and came out all guns blazing, netting four times in the first period, to make it a chasing game in the second period for the Boomers. Although with one of the early goals an unlucky rebound from a keeper clearance and another scored right on the death of the first half, the match could have been quite different had the first half fortune favoured the Boomers.
The youngest of the Boomerangs finals-qualifiers lifted their rating in the second period and really tested their opposition, with their hard running, strong offensive movement and solid defence. Indeed they took out the second stanza 2-1, but alas could not overcome the first half deficit.
A great effort by all those who hit the court in the final, and those who contributed during the season.
Goals to Bailey Sorenson, Ethan Yuen, Odhran Traynor
15 Girls: Boomerangs 2 – 4 Raiders Futsal (ht 2 – 1)
The 15 girls were involved in an engrossing match against a very strong Raiders team. The Boomers 15s had just come off the back of winning every match in the 14-game season, but the Raiders were not far behind, with their only two losses of the season to the Boomers girls.
The match got off to a fast start with all three first-half goals scored within the first four minutes, after which, both sides settled somewhat into their usual game routine. No further first-half goals saw the Minor Premiers take a single goal lead into the break.
After the break, the real arm wrestle began and it took till the tenth minute for the Raiders to bring the match back to parity. They scored again almost immediately from the restart to take a 3-2 lead in what would be the game’s most critical moment. The Boomers girls put in a massive effort, especially in the front court, to try and drag the match back into their control, but the Raiders defence was just too strong on the day. A further goal to Raiders put a full stop to the game and they progress directly to the Grand Final. The Boomers 15s will need to come back up the highway next weekend to qualify via the longer route.
Goals to Maria Pachi, Elke Aitolu
18 Girls: Boomerangs 1 – 4 Raiders Futsal (ht 1 – 3)
The girls struggled to get into this match and conceded three first-half goals, to make the task much more difficult for the final twenty. Their effort was certainly there, but the timing and coordination across the court seemed a little off balance – perhaps due to some finals nerves and pressure from the opposition.
The second half saw them compete on a more even playing field, but again the Raiders game, built heavily on a strong defensive foundation – could not be broken down.
Like the 15s, these girls will need to take the longer route to the Grand Final, and if they are successful in that journey, they will have learnt a lot from this first finals match.
Goals to Isobel D’Amico
Youth Men: Boomerangs 5 – 1 Sydney City Eagles (ht 1 – 0)
The Youth Men’s match was a tough and intense battle, but a match that was played in good spirits. The Eagles have been a tough opponent all season, bettering the Boomers youth in Round 8 after the 3-3 draw in Round 1. This Boomerangs youth though can never be ruled out in any match, as they are a bunch of highly talented players, with great skills, the desire to get results, and a terrific camaraderie.
The first half was evenly balanced, played at a somewhat sedate pace, while both teams worked their way into the match. Both teams focussed on a solid defensive line first and were patient at the offensive end. A solitary goal to the Boomers gave them the slight edge at the break.
The second half though saw a lift in intensity, to about 12, as both teams saw the finish line of the season approaching. A superb effort by all the Boomers team members, highlighted by Dylan Aitolu’s four goals made possible by the tremendous build-up work by Jayde James-Ward and Eli Darwich running the point and the massive effort of Bud Abbas at target. From the bench superb efforts from Finn Jurak, Rob McKay and Will Manalo rounded out a tremendous team defensive effort – built on the back of lightning-quick reflexes of Jamie-Lee Guo in goals.
The lads have passed the first hurdle but will need to defeat a strong Central Coast team next week in the Preliminary Final in order to progress to the Grand Final.
Goals to Dylan Aitolu (4), Jayde James-Ward
Open Women: Boomerangs 0 – 1 Eastern Suburbs Hakoah (ht 0 – 1)
The open age women’s qualifying final against Hakoah was a tight and defensive affair that saw a single goal separate the two teams. The goal was a rather innocuous score, against the run of play, just four minutes into the match. And whilst probably being the dominant team in the first stanza, the Boomers women went into the break a goal down.
The second period saw the Hakoah ladies tighten their defensive work to become impenetrable to all the forward forays the Boomerangs could muster. The Boomers ladies became more and more frustrated as their good work was not rewarded on the score sheet. The terrific defensive effort by the Hakoah women has to be recognised, and hopefully, there will be an opportunity for a rematch in the Grand Final, after the Boomers women take on Phoenix next weekend.
Open Men: Boomerangs 4 – 1 Sydney City Eagles (ht 0 – 1)
The passage to this qualifying final was the most unusual the club has ever been involved with. After finishing the regular season rounds in fifth spot on the ladder – just a point shy of the top four – the Boomers men had all but packed up their kits for the season. However, Football NSW advised on Friday morning that two teams in the men’s competition had been penalised competition points meaning that the Boomers men went from fifth place on the end of season ladder, to first, opening the door to participation in the finals series.
To the match — this was another evenly contested battle between two teams that always deliver cracking spectacles. The results during the season were split, with home teams taking the points, showing how close these two teams have been this season.
During the first half – much like in the youth match – both teams attempted to maintain control, not concede goals, and build themselves into the match, with the Eagles successful in breaking down the Boomerangs defence and finding the back of the net in the 17th minute.
The match momentum see-sawed back and forth across the second half with both defences holding firm until with around five minutes to play Elie Darwich broke the game open with a goal that levelled the scores and wrested the match momentum. Within another two minutes, the Boomers men netted twice more to grab the lead and then extend it. This forced the Eagles to go to a fifth man power play, which under intense time and scoreboard pressure is difficult to pull off. Another goal to the Boomers in the death throes of the match ensured a qualifying final win and a trip straight to the Grand Final – something that seemed absolutely impossible just the day before.
This win was a tremendous effort by the players, which they can hopefully build on in the ultimate match of the season in two weeks time.
Goals to Elie Darwich, Michael Rinaudo, Chris Smith, Ben Basser
NEXT WEEKEND FINALS
The second round of the finals’ series takes place at Blacktown Leisure Centre, Saturday 17 February, with preliminary finals across all age groups. All matches are elimination, and the winner will head to the Grand Final to meet the first round winners of the qualifying finals.
Boomerangs FS 15 girls take on Easter Suburbs Hakoah at noon
Boomerangs FS 18 girls take on Phoenix Futsal at 2pm
Boomerangs FS Youth Men take on Central Coast at 4pm
Boomerangs FS Women take on Phoenix Futsal at 5pm
To check out the photos of this round head to the Boomerangs photo site.