2018-2019 SFL Round 33 wrap-up6 min read
The final round of the regular season began with the minor premiership, final finals spot and the wooden spoon yet to be decided.
In the 1st match on Friday evening, Cockburn EWA FC took on Curtin Footbalista FC with both sides’ seasons at stake; for EWA, a victory would take them back to the top of the table, with Stirling playing on Saturday. Whilst for Footbalista, nothing short of a win would keep their chances of superseding Murdoch for the 6th and last finals position. The match started at a frenetic pace with Footbalista taking an early 2-0 lead. But, EWA fought back to take a 5-2 lead at half-time and an eventually comfortable 11-4 victory. Cockburn captain Mark Gavranic returned from a 9 week injury in time to lead his side with 2 goals (taking his season tally to 22 goals in 21 matches). He was ably assisted by Alex Gamble (35 goals in 28 matches) and Jesse Lazzaro (13 goals in 20 matches) also scoring doubles. Moreno Cappello starred for Footbalista, in the absence of suspended captain Mason Vojdani, with all 4 goals, to take his season tally to an impressive 24 goals in 28 matches.
Murdoch Warriors FC were the beneficiaries of Curtin’s stumble, as they had automatically qualified for the finals without kicking a ball. And that left the door open for Spearwood Lions FC to continue their late season form and secure another impressive victory against their higher ranked opponent, taking out the match 6-3. Kelechi Nmeni (16 goals in 28 matches) and Jamal Yusof (39 goals in 32 matches) again starred for the Lions, who finished the season in a respectable 10th position, 4 points clear of the wooden spoon. Murdoch, on the other hand, now enter the finals in questionable form and with injuries and suspensions too. Jamie Dunn was sent off for the 3rd time in only 10 appearances this season. Murdoch face an in-form Rockingham Cambio Cumbre on Friday 21st June at 8pm in the 1st elimination semi-final.
Saturday’s matches began with Perth Longobarda FC defeating Balga FC 7-2 to leapfrog Fremantle FC into 4th position. Doubles from Boaz Lavi (5 goals in 12 appearances) and mid-season signing Luka Bergomi (14 goals in 18 apperances) thwarted any ideas that Balga may have had about maintaining their late season form. They do, however, finish an impressive maiden season in the SFL in 8th position. Longobarda already knew that (irrespective of results this weekend) that they would be facing Fremantle in the 2nd elimination semi-final on Friday 21st June at 9pm.
In the battle to finish 9th, Joondalup ECU Jets defeated a spirited Perth AFC 5-3, to finish their notable season on a high. Joe Higgins once again starred for the Jets, with another brace, to take his season tally to 31 goals in 30 matches. He has been outstanding all season. The rebuilding process starts for AFC, who will need to recruit in the offseason if they want to be more competitive in 2019-2020.
In a worthy attempt to avoid the wooden spoon, South Perth FC started strongly against Rockingham Cambio Cumbre FC, taking an early lead via Ivan Palermo. Cumbre replied via returning star Alex Lalovic to go into the break at 1-1. The scores remained tied in an entertaining second half until Rockingham went 5th man and scored 2 late goals via their inspirational leader Nestor Fonseca to secure a 3-1 result. Fonseca finishes the regular season with an extraordinary 46 goals in 30 appearances. Cumbre enter the finals high on confidence with 5 wins in a row, where Murdoch await on Friday evening.
The final match of the regular season featured Stirling Braza Ginga FC, looking to reclaim top spot & secure the minor premiership, and 4th placed Fremantle FC looking to stop them. You could not have written a better script; two sides with a lot of history between them. With 6 Fremantle players having transferred to Braza before the start of the season, and 3 Braza players having transferred to Fremantle in the mid-season break, this was a match up between two sides that knew each other well. But that is where the familiarities ended: Stirling flew out of the blocks, scoring 2 early goals, and sailed through the match victorious 5-0. Claudio Tavares excelled, scoring a double, to take his season tally to 13 goals in 16 matches. The win lifted Braza back to the top of the table & won them a well-deserved minor premiership. It was hard luck for Cockburn who had spent most of the season at the summit, but, their form against Braza and Cumbre in particular is what let them down in the end.
So, after a long and exciting regular season, the 12 team competition is now down to 6. 1st placed Stirling & 2nd placed Cockburn get a week off and a 2nd chance for the loser in their match up. 3rd placed Rockingham take on 6th placed Murdoch on Friday evening and the 1st elimination semi-final. And, 4th placed Longobarda take on 5th placed Fremantle, also on Friday evening, in the 2nd elimination semi.
With the Grand Final taking place on Friday 5th July, the action continues on Saturday with the 2019 WA State Futsal League Awards Night. Hosted at The Monk, it will be an evening not to be missed with celebrations all around including MVPs, Top Goal Scorers and Golden Glove awards for all of the senior leagues. This season, we will also include a selection of the Best Goals of the Year, for the attendees to vote on!
Get your Early Bird tickets below!