SFL 2018-2019 Round 31 wrap-up6 min read
n exhilarating round of futsal culminated with all major positions still up for grabs, including the minor premiership, the finals spots and the wooden spoon.
In the 1st match on Friday evening, Balga FC swapped positions on the ladder with Perth AFC with an invigorating 5-3 victory. Graham Dixon starred for Balga, both in defence and attack, scoring a brace and taking out MOTM honours. He now has 11 goals in 19 matches for Balga, in both his & the club’s debut season in the State Futsal League. With 2 rounds to go, if they can maintain their position of 8th on the ladder, then it will have been an outstanding start for the new club. Nathan Thorp was again the outstanding performer for AFC, adding another brace to his exceptional first season in the SFL, to take his season tally to 23 goals in 20 appearances. Despite his heroics, AFC went down to their 7th loss in a row. They certainly missed the influence of head coach Jon Bucolo who was absent with illness. AFC will need to rethink their strategy for next season, with so many of their star players missing in the latter part of this season due to footballing commitments.
Spearwood Lions FC stunned Rockingham Cambio Cumbre FC earlier in the season, and were close to a repeat victory, eventually going down 3-4 despite a gallant display. Cumbre continued their late season form with their 3rd victory in a row. Spearwood took the lead and were in the match until the final whistle. Cumbre were once again inspired by Nestor Fonseca, with his 44th goal of a stellar season, with notable contributions from youth academy products Kylan Watson and Michael Lino scoring their debut goals in the debut seasons in the SFL. Expect more from those 2 youngsters in the coming seasons.
The final match on Friday evening saw Curtin Footbalista FC take on Murdoch Warriors FC in the match of the night. Curtin were hanging on to their finals hope and needed a victory to maintain a chance of making the Top 6. And their players delivered with a solid 3-1 victory, anchored by their most dominant players this season, with Mason Vojdani, Farzam Mehrabi and Moreno Cappello making the difference in a tightly fought & highly entertaining encounter. The victory for 7th placed Footbalista narrowed the gap on 6th placed Murdoch to 1 point with 2 matches to play.
Saturday’s fixtures commenced with another Top 6 blockbuster, with 5th placed Perth Longobarda FC taking on 4th placed Fremantle FC. Fremantle flew out of the box, taking an early 3-0 lead and eventually winning 7-3. Longobarda threw everything but the kitchen sink at them in the 2nd half, employing the 5th man tactic half-way through the half, to good effect, but, in Frank Del Rosso they found a goalkeeper in inspired form. And with Fremantle finding their scoring feet in recent weeks, braces from Liam Cummins (12 goals in 22 matches), Moh Totonchy (10 goals in 14 matches) and inspirational captain Daniel Muzzarelli (31 goals in 29 matches) secured the victory and confirmed a spot in the finals. For a club in transition, Fremantle have certainly had a solid season so far. Longobarda maintained their position in the Top 6, but are now only 2 points above Murdoch in 6th and 3 points above Curtin in 7th. Those 3 clubs will battle it out in the final 2 rounds for the remaining 2 spots to reach the finals!
The Match-of-the-Round, and probably Match-of-the-Season so far, table-topping Cockburn EWA FC took on high-flying 2nd placed Stirling Braza Ginga FC. Cockburn entered the match with a 5 point lead at the top of the table, and with the opportunity to secure the minor-premiership with a win. But, in Stirling, they were facing the form side of the competition. And, despite the return of Alek Kukic, EWA had no answer to the fire-power of a Braza side that has been in hot form all season, eventually succumbing to a 0-2 defeat. Despite the lack of goals, the match was full of entertainment, high intensity & end to end action. Victor Brauner ran the show from the back, whilst the brilliance of captain Pavel Parihuzic was evident with a MOTM performance; scoring a brace (23 goals in 28 appearances) to take the plaudits and secure the victory. Stirling are now only 2 points behind Cockburn with 2 matches to play. And Cockburn face 3rd placed Rockingham next weekend!
The final match of the round was a highly entertaining but physical encounter between Joondalup ECU Jets and South Perth FC. The Jets secured a comfortable 8-1 victory and left a few bruises on the South Perth players, leading to 2 yellow cards and a straight red for ECU and 2 yellow cards for South Perth. Paul Grant received a straight red late in the match, to go with his 7 yellow cards during the season. He has been effective for Joondalup this season, but the rush of blood needs to be toned down. Roberto Boi too added to his collection of yellow cards this season (he now has 7 yellows) along with a red card this season. Both players play with their hearts on their sleeves. Jonny Hill won the match for the Jets with 4 thrilling goals to take his season tally to 12 goals in 28 appearances. He was ably assisted by Joondalup’s most outstanding player this season, Joe Higgins, with a brace. Higgins now has an impressive 29 goals in 28 appearances this season. The victory lifted ECU to 10th on the table, 2 points behind Balga in 8th.
With 2 rounds to go, Cockburn’s lead at the top has been cut to just 2 points. The minor premiership is definitely up for grabs now. Congratulations to Fremantle on securing a Top 6 position. They have been in impressive form over the past few weeks and have exceeded expectations with a squad stacked with youth players. Longobarda, Murdoch and Curtin are locked in a 3 way battle for the last 2 finals spots. The bottom 5 sides are only 6 points apart, and all in contention for the wooden spoon. Join us next weekend for the penultimate round of the regular season.