Last night, Wednesday 10 August, saw the opening of the inaugural SAMSUNG Premier League Finals Series, with both the Opens and Under 20s divisions contesting their Semi Finals.
Missed the action? Don’t worry – head to www.samsungpremierleague.com.au to catch the action from the Show Court via BarTV Sports (under the Live Games tab)!
Both Minor Premiers claimed victories to progress directly through to the 2016 Grand Finals to be held on Wednesday 24 August; see below for how the action panned out…
United came from behind in an Extra Time thriller to defeat the Sparks by seven goals, keeping their season alive and titles chances wide open. After trailing by two at half-time, United had the legs to finish strongly when scores were tied at 39-all at the end of 60 minutes.
They’ll take plenty of confidence into next week’s Preliminary Final when they come up against the Sapphires, who remain in the race for the title despite a 13-goal loss to the Stingrays. While Manly were the leading side for much of the season, they head into next week’s sudden-death match with one win from the last five appearances. In comparison, United are in red-hot form having stormed their way into the top four to feature in the inaugural Finals Series – North Shore have four wins from the last five matches.
PRELIMINARY FINAL: Manly Warringah Sapphires v North Shore United | Wednesday 17 August, 8:40pm AEST.
Unlike their Opens counterparts, the Stingrays were unable to overcome Minor Premiers Sparks in a tightly contested Under 20s Semi Final. With the lead exchanging hands for much of the contest – the lead never got further than four goals – the Sparks held their nerve in the final 15 minutes to book their place in the inaugural title decider.
Who they meet will now be decided between the Stingrays and Panthers, with the latter coming from behind to defeat United by four goals. Taking confidence from their older counterparts (whom their coach, Nardia Macdonald, also plays for!) United were unable to sustain their intensity for the full 60 minutes; the Panthers able to take the lead in the final quarter, off the back of an impressive 32 goals to 21 second half performance.
PRELIMINARY FINAL: Sutherland Stingrays v Panthers | Wednesday 17 August, 7:00pm AEST.