The final spot at the inaugural NPL finals series goes on the line tomorrow night when Adelaide Blue Eagles take on Campbelltown City for the FFSA NPL Championship.
The final spot at the inaugural NPL finals series goes on the line tomorrow night when Adelaide Blue Eagles take on Campbelltown City for the South Australia Premier League Championship.
The grand final will feature the traditional rivals from north-east Adelaide after both sides were able to navigate their way past the league-s runaway minor-premiers MetroStars.
Having finished the regular season in fourth place, Campbelltown City managed to negotiate their way through three sudden-death matches, which included two penalty shoot-outs, before their 1-0 win over MetroStars last weekend en route to the grand final.
City have not played in the title decider since 1994 but head coach Joe Mullen believes his side will not be overawed by the occasion and has the potential to go all the way.
“The result against MetroStars was a terrific performance,” he said. “We-d been planning for that game not only during the week prior but since the last time we played them.
“We scored an early goal which gave us great confidence and we defended very well from the front. I thought we thoroughly deserved to win.”
Mullen, who is in his first season with the club said his side-s tactics will vary slightly for the title decider but that the philosophy will be much the same.
“Obviously we-ll aim to again move the ball quickly in attack and have a high work rate in defence,” he said.
“Having seen how they played against MetroStars we know they have some strong players and we will certainly give them the respect they deserve but we are not scared of what we-re facing.
"We-ll focus on what we-re doing.”
There will be an added incentive up for grabs tomorrow night with South Australia being the only NPL federation that will send their grand final winners as opposed to their minor-premiers to the national finals series. While this potentially throws up some logistical problems for the team that qualifies due to limited preparation time, Mullen believes the right decision has been made.
“In South Australian football the champions have been the grand final winners so it makes sense they earn the right to contest the finals series.
“I believe it-s a fantastic initiative but it-s not something we-ve focused on. We-ll be turning up to play and worry about the outcome afterwards.”
Win or lose it-s sure to be a big end to the season for Campbelltown with the club holding their presentation night this Saturday and celebrating its 50th anniversary at a gala extravaganza next month.
Before all that can happen there-s a grand final to be played, with a crowd in excess of 5,000 expected to turn up to Coopers Stadium for the showpiece event. Campbelltown will go in as underdogs against the Blue Eagles but are thirsty to taste Premier League glory for the first time in 27 years.
Image courtesy FFSA: Gino De Lucia - Adelaide Blue Eagles and Vas Parhas - Campbelltown City
Football Federation South Australia NPL Premier League Grand Final Adelaide Blue Eagles v Campbelltown City Friday 20 September 7.00pm kick-off Coopers Stadium, Holden Street Hindmarsh
Adelaide Blue Eagles: Gino De Lucia (GK), Adam Harris, Christopher Atsikbasis, Christopher Annicchiarico, Damian Crettenden, Johnny Giannitto, Mitchell Nicholson, Kym Harris, Chad Bugeja, Yvan Boyokino, Liam Molesworth, Luigi Di Troia, Damien Di Mella, David Makridis, Dean Kenrick, Callum Scott-Mills (RGK)
Campbelltown City: Les Pogliacomi(GK), Shaun Harvey, Haris Vukic, Vas Parhas (c), Nick Green, Michael Paleka, Stephen Maio, Oliver Totani, Dominic Matricciani, Todd McSorley, Adam Piscioneri, Michael Matricciani, Jake Halliday, Dion Kirk, Calvin Mbarga, Anthony Ture, Frank Marafioti, Nathan Mauriello, Peter Tirimacco (RGK)
Referee: Daniel Goodwin Assistants: Stephen Toth & Curtis Wordsworth Fourth Official: Rick Schneider