Review – FNSW PL1 Elimination Semi-Final Men

By virtue of finishing fourth on the season competition ladder, the Boomerangs men’s team qualified for the finals series of the Football NSW Premier League futsal competition and were drawn, in the first weekend of finals, in an elimination final against third-placed Enfield Rovers. The qualifying final saw minor premiers, Inner West Magic take on Dural Warriors.

The men’s matches topped off a big day of finals action held at the Dural futsal centre, with the qualifying finals being played on Court 1, and the elimination finals on Court 2. The match’s kick-off time was delayed by just over 30 minutes as three early games on the ‘elimination court’ had gone to overtime and some to penalties.

A strong team was selected from the Boomerangs men’s roster and given the shared head-to-head results of the regular season against the Rovers it was expected that a close match would ensue. However, the young, and energetic Rovers team came out of the blocks with far more intent and energy than the Boomerangs and netted within 15 seconds of the kick-off. To compound the issue, they scored another just two minutes later. Two shots on goal for two results was the best possible start to the match for the Sydney-siders.

The Boomerangs managed to gain some composure and hold some possession for the next eight minutes during which the game was far more balanced. Some cracking shots on target by the Boomerangs, including from Jason O’Dwyer and Michael Reeve tested the Rover’s keeper and the goal uprights, but the travelling Boomerangs could not convert to decrease the deficit. Indeed after ten minutes of play, the Rovers netted another from general play that took their lead to three. Boomerangs coach, Kristian Collins immediately called a timeout to settle the lads.

The remaining 15 minutes of the half was evenly balanced, with the Rovers tending to sit back and the Boomerangs desperate to go forward and create scoring opportunities. A raft of shots on goal, including from Michael Rinaudo and Brad Sawyer, could not breach the defences and pass the keeper to press the back of the net.

As the half-time whistle blew it remained a three-goal advantage to the Rovers. Not the best place for the Boomers men to be in, but one from which they have come back a number of times this season.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half was, in many ways, a continuation of the latter stages of the first, with the Rovers tending to sit back a little – clearly less desperate to score – and the Boomerangs throwing everything they could forward in order to decrease the scoreline deficit. Multiple front court forays by the Boomerangs could not break down the Rovers defence until a Michael Reeve solo penetration and cracking shot drew a goal back, 1-3.

No further goals came in the following period of play and with nine minutes remaining and a deficit of two goals,  the Boomers threw caution to the wind to leave the goal unattended and to press harder with a fifth-man powerplay. Within a short period, the Rovers pounced on a loose pass and scored via a long-range shot on an unprotected goal, 1-4. The Boomerangs pressed harder as the clock ticked down, but the Rovers defence continued to hold firm.

Another loss of possession by the Boomers with three minutes to play once again saw a long-range shot hit the back of the Boomerangs goal. 1-5 with three minutes to play. Almost immediately the Boomerangs grabbed one back via O’Dwyer, but as the clock ticked down to the final whistle, the Rovers again breached the unprotected Boomers goal. Final score Boomerangs 2-6 Rovers, with the Rovers fully deserving of the victory and a chance to come up against Inner West Magic next week in the Preliminary Final.

For the Boomerangs, the season ends, on the end of a result that rewarded the Rovers for their hunger, determination, solid defensive effort and ability to win possession from contested situations.

Don’t forget to check out the photos of Match Day 12 at the Boomerangs photo site.

Following is the write up of the men’s match by Dan De Nardi of Football NSW.

The 2016/17 Football NSW SELECT Futsal Premier League semi-finals saw Dural down Inner West 7-2 in the major semi-final and Enfield knock out Boomerangs 6-2.

While Dural advanced to an astonishing seventh straight championship berth, premiers Inner West will face off against local rivals Enfield Rovers in this weekend’s preliminary final.

Inner West Magic 2 (Daniel Vellonio, Daniel Fogarty) Dural Warriors 7 (Nathan Niski, Sam De Oliveira, Bruno Pivato 3, Glenn Kelshaw, Wade Giovenali)

Enfield Rovers 6 (Dominic Cox, Michael Kouta 3, Anthony Tomelic, Kristopher Vlismas) Boomerangs FS 2 (Jason O’Dwyer, Michael Reeve)

Rovers bang Boomerangs

Enfield Rovers dismissed Boomerangs FS from this summer’s premier league with a comfortable 6-2 win at The Centre, Dural.

Enfield built a 3-0 lead at halftime forcing Boomerangs into a fifth-man press midway through the second term. The Territorians pegged one goal back but copped a further three Rovers goals to go down 6-2 in the end.

Michael Kouta did most of Enfield’s damage with a trio of goals that interestingly made it the fifth meeting in a row a Rovers player has notched up a hat-trick against Boomerangs (following Tomelic, Cox, Lachlan Wright and Shervin Adeli).

Enfield coach Ernie Bivona was glad to claim a victory against a Boomerangs team hungry for success ahead of their impending premier league relegation.

“We had to go into this game with a different game plan; last time we played them we drove back from Canberra with a loss,” he said.

“Three of our senior players were unavailable, which took a massive chunk of experience out of the team and put a lot of pressure on our young team, but we were happy with the performance from the whole team… especially the up-and-comers.”

“Special mention must go to Micheal Kouta who has been outstanding all season in youth and men’s and played a very solid game. Noah Chia rushed back from an injury to help our youth with their end of season and played extremely well. Then there was 15-year-old Daniel Goni who has played for our 16s, youth and men’s all season and had to play more than usual – he really stepped up and showed he can handle being thrown in the mixer.”

“I’d like to thank the Boomerangs for a good, honest game. If they had taken a couple of chances earlier in the game it may have put more pressure on us, but we knew we had to start strong and then stay on top of them. A big congratulations to them with getting to the semifinals,” Bivona said.

“Now to next week! Hopefully I’ll have a full roster for this mouth-watering prelim final – The Derby. Last time we met there was plenty of colour for the supporters to watch, and action on and off the court.”

“For any lover of the game, this should be a highlight. Strap yourself in, hold on and enjoy the ride!”

Next week’s game

The Football NSW SELECT Futsal Premier League preliminary final between Inner West Magic and Enfield Rovers is being played at Blacktown Leisure Centre on Saturday (5.15pm). Visit the Football NSW website (Futsal tab) for full details.

To underline the competitiveness of this weekend’s fixture, both sides have won six times each to go with a thrilling 4-4 deadlock – although, Magic’s claimed five of their last six meetings.

The only finals meeting between the sides happened to be the 2014/15 preliminary final when nine players got on the scoresheet in an epic 7-5 Magic win.

-By Dan De Nardi