Finals Series Round 1 - Football NSW SELECT Futsal Premier League
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)
Warriors douse Magic
Dural rocked premiers Inner West Magic with a convincing 7-2 win at The Centre, Dural, that booked Warriors into their seventh straight grand final appearance.
Nathan Niski got the ball rolling for the defending champs with a quickfire goal just three minutes into an evenly-matched contest, Magic firing back on the quarter-hour through Daniel Vellonio to level the scores.
Dural regained the lead when Sam Oliveira scored five minutes from the changeover and, somewhat surprisingly, Inner West went to a fifth-man powerplay to try and restore parity before the break only to see Bruno Pivato and Glen Kelshaw goals catapult Warriors to a heady 4-1 halftime advantage.
Wade Giovenali and Pivato added further goals straight after the restart that strengthened Dural’s control to 6-1 and although Daniel Fogarty scored for Inner West with 10 minutes to go it was all over as Pivato completed his hat-trick moments later to round out a steady five-goal triumph.
Pivato is certainly proving to be a thorn in Magic’s side with his trio of goals following a brace in the last match-up with Inner West, and he scored another double against his former club last summer.
Warriors mastermind Rob Varela paid credit to an excellent all-round effort from his side. “I’m quite pleased with our performance,” he said.
“Our defensive intensity was good, especially against their powerplay toward the end of each half, our attack was sound and we managed to finish off the opportunities we created.”
“Now we freshen up and get ready for our seventh consecutive grand final. I am sure this one will be just as tough, if not tougher, than any of the previous ones, and whichever team we face we know we are in for an extremely difficult game,” Varela said.
“None of the previous results this year will count for anything on the day, but we know if we perform at our best we are competitive against any team.”
It was Magic’s biggest concession since an 8-3 loss to Campbelltown in round four last season but club stalwart Matteo Maiorana quickly put the result behind him.
"It was a disappointing result; the boys are disappointed… but that's the bonus of finishing top-two, we get another chance next week to make up for this week’s performance,” he said.
“I can't remember our men's team conceding that many goals. When our powerplay failed and we went 1-4 down in a matter of minutes it was always going to be tough to get back into the game. Dural were excellent and thoroughly deserved their victory.”
“We now have a massive derby match this weekend versus Enfield and hopefully we win that game and can have a Magic versus Dural grand final for the third time in four years,” Maiorana said.
“But before we get there we have a hungry Enfield to overcome. There is no doubt the team want a replay against Dural; they are a proud bunch so they will want another crack at Dural, but Enfield on their day are unplayable so next week promises to be a cracker!”
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