Premiers South Brisbane meet neighbours Galaxy FC in the Women’s PUMA F-League decider being held at Valentine Sports Park from 10am on Sunday.
South Brisbane staved off a gallant Vic Vipers 9-4 while Galaxy beat Dural Warriors 6-1 to set up an all-Queensland grand final – the championship trophy destined to head north for the first time, just like this year’s premiership.
South Brisbane 9 (Nicola Eagle 2, Melissa Weckert 2, Rebekah Horsey 2, Sofie Persson 2, Natalie Tathem) Vic Vipers 4 (Azize Erenli, Doris Osman, Fabiana Perfilio, Ceyda Cambaz)
Galaxy FC 6 (Mariel Hecher, Alisha Foote 3, Jessica Dillon, Mackenzie Douglas) Dural Warriors 1 (Rachel Perrins)
South Brisbane beat Vics
South Brisbane advanced to Sunday’s women’s F-League grand final following a 9-4 defeat of Vic Vipers in the first semi-final at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday.
After a cagey opening few minutes the premiers drew first blood when Sofie Persson found Nicola Eagle in space inside the D and her shot hit the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage, Vics keeper Gillian Raymond pulling off a fine save to stop Persson from doubling the lead moments later.
As expected South Brisbane were certainly in control but Vipers weren’t without their own chances, Rhianna Pollicina blasting one just over the bar and dynamo Doris Osman doing her best to inspire the Vics via some tantalising runs, Ceyda Cambaz also rattling the post with a shot inside the D, but the next goal also fell to South Brisbane with Melissa Weckert slamming home a great strike seven minutes from the interval to make it 2-0.
It was almost three when a sprinting Natalie Tathem volleyed a pinpoint full-court pass toward goal only for it to shave the upright, Persson also clipping the woodwork after a neat one-two exchange with Eagle, and the third goal finally came when Shannon Tathem set up Rebekah Horsey for a close-range finish.
Vipers responded immediately through a plucky Azize Erenli nudge in front of goal to narrow the gap but the Queenslanders held a firm 3-1 buffer at the break.
Pollicina had a sharp chance to reduce the deficit straight after the restart but the sound grip of South Brisbane keeper Jade Baker stopped it from hitting the net, however the Queensland custodian was left clutching at air when Osman snapped at goal seconds later to suddenly make it 3-2 and put some wind behind the Vics’ sail.
Raymond was superb in pushing wide Weckert’s one-on-one blast and the fired-up Vipers remarkably drew level when Fabiana Perfilio’s innocuous shot at goal somehow went through everyone and dribbled over the line for a 3-3 scoreline five minutes into the second period.
South Brisbane went back in front moments later when Persson nutmegged Raymond from close-range and it was 6-3 within seconds after Eagle slotted home from metres out and Natalie Tathem finished off a three-on-one fast break to create some handy breathing space for the premiers, Tathem scoring in five of her past six encounters against the Vics.
Weckert added another inside the final 10 minutes taking South Brisbane to a commanding 7-3 break, Cambaz immediately firing one back for the Vics before a Horsey response made it 8-4 four minutes from fulltime, a late Persson goal adding the icing on a solid 9-4 victory – her eighth goal against Vipers in just three clashes.
Nine scorers for the match equalled the record high-mark set by the same two teams in their regular-season 7-6 frenzy earlier this winter – both games a couple of goals short of the most scored in a women’s F-League fixture.
Galaxy conquer Dural
Galaxy FC’s astonishing debut season rolled on following a comprehensive 6-1 semi-final defeat of Dural Warriors at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday afternoon – ensuring a Queensland team will win the state’s first F-League championship.
Superstar Galaxy import Mariel Hecher gave her side a fourth-minute heads up with a composed finish in front of goal however the first 10 minutes were more of a mid-court battle as both sides probed for openings.
Rachel Perrins finally broke through for Dural with a crisp snap at goal drawing the teams level again at 1-1, but the FC response was swift with Alisha Foote scoring at the other end within seconds of the restart to restore Galaxy’s lead.
It was 3-1 six minutes from intermission when a goalmouth scramble finally ended when Foote pushed in her second with Dural keeper Tani Rosekelly sprawled on the floor, and nearing halftime the Warriors custodian was unfortunate in helping Jessica Dillon’s long-range shot back into goal after it rebounded off the post, Galaxy leading 4-1 at the changeover.
Galaxy improved their position seconds into the second term when Foote finished off strongly in front of goal to complete the first-ever women’s finals hat-trick and make it a four-goal difference, and only some Rosekelly heroics kept the score from blowing out further.
The northerners suffered a setback nine minutes from fulltime when star player Hecher fell clutching her ankle but her subsequent substitution did little to soften Galaxy’s stranglehold as Dural struggled to conjure up any meaningful on-target attempts, the Queenslanders winning 6-1 after Mackenzie Douglas netted a late goal.