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Victory injury time winner downs Sydney

Melbourne Victory claimed a dramatic 2-1 win in its elimination final over rivals Sydney FC thanks to an injury time winner from Gui Finkler.

With the game destined to enter extra time, the Brazilian’s goal in the first minute of injury time ensured the Victory’s season would last at least another week while ending Sydney’s in the process.


Finkler, who was largely ineffective for the Victory throughout the evening, stepped up when he was needed most to give his sides first win over Sydney for the season.

Victory were desperate to avoid an extra 30 minutes of football with this game sandwiched between two Asian Champions League matches as they now head off to Korea to take on Jeonbuk Motors.

Finkler was inexcusably left unmarked in the penalty box after being played in by a delightful Adama Traore cross for the goal.

It was largely a match that failed to live up to the hype prior to the frantic finish. Matches between these two clubs are usually lively affairs full of drama and intrigue, but this was sadly a dour affair as both sides struggled to get forward.

The home side started brighter than their opposition as they looked to dominate Sydney from the opening. Sydney looked more than happy to sit back and let Victory come to them.

Sydney’s defensive unit was strong from the start, keeping out Victory on numerous occasions. For all their possession Victory struggled to turn it into any meaningful shots on target.

That all changed in the 19th minute when Archie Thompson got free to put the Victory in front. The move started when Pablo Contreras disposed Alessandro Del Peiro and found James Troisi who then put in a delightful to pick out Thompson.

The Victory striker still had a lot to do but managed to stay composed and beat Vedran Janjetovic in the Sydney FC goal to send the parochial home side into raptures.

The goal spurred Sydney into action who immediately went on the front foot in search of an equaliser. Former Victory man Seb Ryall hit the back of the net for the third time this season against his former employees to level the scores in the 33rd minute.

An Ali Abbas through ball played in Ryall who managed to sneak a shot between the legs of Nathan Coe to bring Sydney back in the contest.

Victory finished the half strong as they seemed determined not to enter half time level. Victory couldn’t make the most of five straight corner late in the half leaving both sides to go into the sheds all locked up.

It was a serious change in momentum in the second half with Sydney dominating the last 45. Playing three games in six days appeared to take a serous toll on the hosts as they battled to stay in the contest in the face of some serious Sydney pressure.

Just like on Tuesday night against Guangzhou Evergrande, the Victory had their shot stoper Coe to thank for the result, almost single handily keeping them in the game with some world class saves.

Milos Dimitrijevic and Matt Jurman were both denied by Coe with two stunning saves. Having just won back his place between the sticks for the Victory, Coe was sensational for the home side, producing numerous high quality saves in what has arguably his best showing for the club.

Coe was outstanding against the Asian champions of Tuesday evening and produced another fine performance when his side needed it most.

Sydney had a glorious opportunity to hit the lead in the 75th minute through Ranko Despotovic that went horribly wrong. In his first game back from injury Despotovic could only push his shot wide after getting on the end of an Ali Abbas cross right in front of goal.

The miss proved costly as that proved to be Sydney’s last serious attempt on goal for the match, Finkler’s goal in the dying stages of the match made the Despotovic miss even more diabolical which Sydney into an early start to preseason.

With Victory pushing forward in search of the winner in order to avoid Extra Time, James Troisi’s attempted cross was blocked into the direction of Traore who then found Finkler to score unopposed in the box to seal a famous win.

Sydney’s defence was rock solid all evening until the divisive moment that ended their season. It appeared as though they had turned their focus onto the ensuring period of extra time, which inevitably proved to be their downfall.

Melbourne Victory manager Kevin Muscat was delighted to have avoided Extra Time given his sides challenging schedule.

“I’m not going to hide away from that fact, because an extra half-hour on top of the three games in six days would have been a big ask, but I wouldn’t have put it past the group," Muscat said.

"Without doubt there’s a sheer determination from the players in there.

“Even at the death there, when it could have been easier to walk, there was a sheer determination to go and win a game of football. It’s a big ask, to play three games in six days, a massive ask.

“I’m pleased for many reasons, obviously the dream is still alive, but we’ve had to find a different way to win a football game tonight. I’d suggest it wasn’t a game for the purist, a game where there wasn’t much space and we had to be very switched on in transition.”

Not just witnessing a stunning finish, the crowd at Etihad Stadium also may have watched Alessandro Del Peiro’s final appearance in the A-League. Sydney FC manager Frank Farina was hopeful that won’t be the case after the match.

“He’s been fantastic for Australian football both on the field and off the field, and for Sydney, as a city and as a club, he’s been wonderful. But we’ve got to respect and see what he wants to do with his career and future.

“The football club will always move forward, irrespective of whether one player stays or goes. Nothing is built around one person or one individual. Discussions have to be had.

"I think it will be relatively quick now in terms of discussions and a decision, but that’s up to Alessandro with what he’s thinking. I think he’s most probably going to need a bit of time after this game to settle his head.”

While not the most enthralling match of football ever seen, the finish to the match made up for it to kick start this year’s finals series in spectacular fashion.

Despite your opinions on the merit of a finals series to determine the league champions, you can’t deny the excitement and intrigue an A-League finals series tosses up time and time again, tonight being no different.

Victory’s indifferent season rolls on for another installment next week while the postmortem starts on another season of underachieving at Sydney FC.

Victory will now either play Brisbane Roar or Western Sydney Wanderers away next week as they look to book an unlikely Grand Final appearance



Melbourne Victory: 1. Nathan COE(GK), 2. Pablo CONTRERAS, 3. Adama TRAORE, 4. Nick ANSELL, 5. Mark MILLIGAN(C), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Gui FINKLER, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 14. James TROISI, 25. Jason GERIA.

Subs: 20. Lawrence THOMAS(GK), 11. Connor PAIN, 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 17 James JEGGO, 24. Scott GALLOWAY


Sydney FC: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC(GK), 2. Seb RYALL, 5. Matt JURMAN, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO(C), 11. Richard GARCIA, 13. Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 16. Joel CHIANESE, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 21. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 22. Ali ABBAS

Subs: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI(GK), 4. Ranko DESPOTOVIC, 28. Matt THOMPSON, 29. Alex UROSEVSKI, 34. Aaron CALVER
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Stocky's Scribbles: Flapping in the wind

On a breezy and sometimes overcast day at the Darebin International Sports Center, it was from my inconspicuous sideline I watched the Monbulk Rangers manage to peg back the fast starting NTC Girls to record their maiden win of the SportsMart Women’s Premier League season, a 3-2 result, on Saturday afternoon.

Words and images by Craig Stockdale

I had the prime position to view the goals from Janna Lawson and Beattie Goad early in the match showing positive signs for the young NTC team but as the match progressed, Monbulk’s Nikki Ceeney cleverly chipped two goals high into the back of net with the icing on the cake coming from the talented Melbourne Victory midfielder Emily Hulbert sealing the game for Monbulk in the dying minutes.


Having just stepped off the plane from completing another stage of his UEFA Pro Diploma in the Italian Federation, NTC coach Joe (Pepe) Montemurro had a spring in his step on the back of a good performance last week against Heidelberg as he strode past my vantage point.

Several injuries had impacted the selection process but with youth on his side Montemurro placed faith in his number one keeper Jamie Brown guarding the goal line along with talented defenders Jamee Williams, Jade Feakes, Sky Jensen and Giulia Sepe.

In the kitchen he went with the Taranto twins (Adriana and Melissa) and Edith Fordyce-Croker who were to feed Noel Boersma, Beattie Goad and Janna Lawson up front. The latter two delivered last weeks victory up forward and I was looking forward to seeing them ply their trade again.

As I flapped in the wind at the southern end of the pitch, the NTC Girls were pressing hard on the Monbulk midfield searching for an early mistake – both sides looking to settle a quick score to assert themselves on the match. Monbulk had their chances along with a rattling of the cross bar by NTC forward Janna Lawson that richoted at speed back into play but no score.

Continuing their pressure, the NTC Girls created some deft passages of play through the midfield culminating in a left foot through ball from Beattie Goad that found the running Noel Boersma squirt home a shot that got tangled in the legs of the Monbulk keeper Matika Kamoda and allow Janna Lawson to stroll into the goal and post the first major of the game for the NTC.

Minutes later, Beattie Goad once again gained control of the ball playing number nine and with precision footwork and lightning speed, cut a swathe through the Monbulk defensive line and rounded the goal keeper to finesse a cute left foot tap into the net and post the second major for NTC of the afternoon. WOW – what a start from NTC and all up my end of the pitch.

Now it was at this time that I expected Beattie to acknowledge my presence – maybe cut across and at least perform a dance to celebrate her success with me or even kangaroo box me like a well-known Socceroo does after he scores.

I am about Beattie’s size at 1.53M or 5 feet tall, slim and slender with a shiny yellow and red check coat. Pretty slick looking and perfect I thought but not even a sideways look from Goad as she raced back to the middle of the pitch to resume play. Shattered I was………

The NTC girls continued to play good possession football for the remainder of the half transitioning the ball out of defense and moving it through the midfield for the running forwards to again take shots on goal.

A big opportunity came in the 38th minute mark when a Georgia Alberti through ball saw the running centre back Maddie Stockdale play the ball up the right side of the pitch with the resultant right foot cross floating to the far post where Janna Lawson headed the ball into the ground only to see the Monbulk keeper scramble a great save and deny the NTC their third major for the game.

Several more chances went begging from the boots of the NTC Girls and these chances would be telling on the score line but as we know, it’s not all about the result. The brand of football was excellent to the half-way point and the NTC girls certainly had the better of the possession for the half.

Just as the half time whistle loomed, I peered across the pitch and saw Monbulk’s Nikki Ceeney take advantage of both the gusting wind and a well-placed volley that resulted in a delicate chip over the head of NTC Keeper Jamie Brown and into the top of the net to register the first goal for Monbulk. They were back in the hunt at 2 goals to 1 down.

Having spent the last five years flapping in the wind at Darebin, it brought me great pleasure to see some old faces in the crowd. These faces were not old but the young, talented and attractive faces in the form of the Matildas goal keeper Brianna Davey and her partner in crime, left back Steph Catley.

From my position, I have seen countless runs, crosses and shots on goal from The Melbourne Victory Captain along with the amazing aerial leaps, ground dives and 100 metre drop kicks from the boot of the indefatigable keeper. How good it was to see two of our past NTC Girls make the effort to come out and support the young talent on display and acknowledge my presence – even if it was a wink. J

As the teams paraded past my point for the second half, one sensed that Monbulk would be desperate to register early and tie up the scoreboard. Sure enough, nine minutes into the second half saw Nikki Ceeney again step up for Monbulk and with another incredible shot from outside the box, thwart the efforts of NTC keeper Jamie Brown to register the equaliser into the top left hand corner.

Not much anyone could do about that shot as it was a cracker – two all and plenty of time in the match left for a decider to be netted by either side.

As the wind’s momentum picked up and my coat flapped faster, NTC were pushing hard to register the winner with Beattie Goad, Janna Lawson and Noel Boersma continuing to pepper the goals. The Taranto twins and Edith Fordyce-Croker also had opportunities in front of goal to register the winner but the Monbulk Keeper remained steadfast in defense.

Several Monbulk counterattacks started from the boots of Emma Heckenberg and Emily Hulbert and in the 65th minute mark, the Monbulk captain Alicia McKillen made a great run ending with a one-on-one with NTC Keeper Jamie Brown – this one going to Brown with a wonderful save to deny Monbulk the lead and potentially the win.

The NTC team knew it was now or never and they continued to hammer crosses into the box from both wings but were unable to find a passage to goal. Several attempts were denied by the Monbulk keeper as she was kept very busy by the tirade of attempts from the NTC Girls.

Just as the game looked like it was heading for the draw, up stepped the classy Emily Hulbert for Monbulk. Hulbert pushed forward and pressured the NTC defensive line searching for an opportunity and in the dying minutes of the match, pounced with a right foot blinder from way outside the box that crashed into the cross bar and across the line into the back of the net.

What a game – full of twists and turns and ups and downs for both teams but played in great spirit and with some very good Victorian talent on display.

As the teams cooled down, I was wrenched from the ground by Pete joining my three counterparts in a horizontal position that led me back to the darkness of the storage room behind the canteen.

Once again I had seen some great work from another band of NTC Girls and although the result was not what the majority had wished for, the talent and skills on display were again of the highest caliber right across the pitch.



NTC U17 Girls 2 (Lawson, Goad) defeated by Monbulk Rangers 3 (Ceeney 2, Hulbert) at State Football Centre


NTC U17 Girls: 1. Jamie BROWN (GK), 2. Giulia SEPE, 3. Jamee WILLIAMS, 4. Jade FEAKES, 5. Sky JENSEN, 6. Adriana TARANTO, 8. Melissa TARANTO, 11. Noel BOERSMA, 17. Edith FORDYCE-CROKER, 18. Beattie GOAD, 19. Janna LAWSON

Interchange: 16. Sabahat REXHEP (GK), 9. Lexi ANASTASSIOU, 12. Alexi GARCIA, 14. Madeline STOCKDALE, 15. Georgia ALBERTI


Monbulk Rangers: 1. Marika KAMODA (GK), 5. Aliesha WHETHAM, 17. Eliza JOHNS, 8. Tanya NEWMAN, 10. Jen CAMERON, 4. Emma HECKENBERG, 12. Emily HULBERT, 16. Monique NOGUEIRA, 7. Erin DOUGHTY, 9. Alicia McKILLEN (c), 6. Bec SABER

Interchange: Mia KIRKHAM (GK), 2. Natalie DOOLAN 3. Nikki CEENEY, 13. Dana TAMOS, 14. Amelia PEGG
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Mariners claim A-Champions-League

Defending champions Central Coast Mariners outwitted minor premiers Brisbane Roar 2-0 in Saturday night’s battle of the champions at Suncorp Stadium.
The impressive win cemented third spot and a home elimination final for Phil Moss’ side next weekend, meanwhile the Roar will have two weeks to regain their suave.

The Mariners displayed a disciplined and tactically astute performance nearing their best of the season against a full-strength Brisbane.
Eddy Bosnar made the visitors’ intentions clear early on, pile-driving a free kick that Michael Theo somehow kept out with his hands still in tact.
Pre-game, Roar coach Mike Mulvey warned that his team had put in several “sub-par” training sessions during the week and it transpired onto the field.
The Mariners looked the more dangerous throughout the first half and broke the deadlock on 22 minutes, when in-form Bernie Ibini combined with Storm Roux, who fed former Roar player Nick Fitzgerald to score at the near post.
Ibini was at it again six minutes later, setting up Anthony Caceres who smashed home from outside the box.
Brisbane should have pulled one back before the break, only for Dimitri Petratos to hit the post from point blank range after neat lead-up play by Luke Brattan and Matt McKay.   
A first half of clinical attacking and Roar-like combination play from the Mariners was followed by a measured, counter-attacking approach in the second 45.  
Fitzgerald had the chance to all but wrap up the result within minutes of the restart, but he blasted high as the ball sat up for him inside the box.
Brisbane rarely broke through the Mariner wall, not managing a shot on goal until the 60th minute – coinciding with a Besart Berisha disallowed goal for offside.
It wasn’t to be for the Melbourne-bound Albanian, as he struck the upright late on, Brisbane’s cutting edge alluding them two weeks out from a home qualifying final.
Mulvey lamented the performance down to the lack of purpose in the game, with Brisbane having already wrapped up the minor premiership three weeks ago.  
“We won the league by a streak and we won it three games ago and we’ve played three dead rubbers,” Mulvey said.
“It’s very difficult to keep aggressive intensity when you know there’s no real reward at the end of the night.
“That’s out of our system now. We won’t lose two on the trot at home.”
Phil Moss on the other hand had every reason to praise his troops, after a team performance Jose Mourinho would have been impressed with.
“We nullified their strengths and exploited their weaknesses,” Moss said
“I’m just so delighted with the way the players stuck to the game plan and executed it.
“Everyone knew their jobs and played it out to almost perfection.”
Central Coast must wait to discover their opponents for next week, with Sydney’s result against Perth on Sunday deciding whether the Sky Blues, Adelaide or Newcastle will finish sixth.
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 2. Matthew SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 7. Besart BERISHA, 11. Liam MILLER (10. HENRIQUE 69’), 13. Jade NORTH, 17. Matt McKAY, 18. Luke BRATTAN (8. Steven LUSTICA 66’), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS
Central Coast Mariners: 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9. Mitchell DUKE, 11. Nick FITZGERALD (29. Matthew SIM 70’), 12. Liam REDDY (gk), 15. Storm ROUX, 17. Anthony CACERES, 20. Bernie IBINI, 25. Eddy BOSNAR (6. Brent GRIFFITHS 46’), 28. Glen TRIFIRO (21. Mile STERJOVSKI 80’)

Crowd: 14, 218
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Wanderers deny Kewell winning send off

Western Sydney Wanderers have geared up for a tilt at the title with a come from behind 3-2 win over Melbourne Heart to cruelly deny Harry Kewell a winning farewell from football.

Two goals in the final 10 minutes secured the points for the travelling Wanderers to keep their top two dreams alive, while ruining Heart’s end of season high in the process.


It looked as though the fairy tale was well and alive as Heart went into the 80th minute of play enjoying a well-deserved 2-1 lead.

That ended in a heartbeat, however, as Youseff Hersi and Brendon Santalab both scored to ensure the Wanderers a top two finish.

Kewell was busy all evening for the Heart and while injury limited his time for the club, he was immense in ensuring they would pick up possibly their last outing wearing Red and White.

It was an emotional match in the stands for the home fans as they passionately voiced their displeasure at the possible change of club name and colour once new owners Manchester City take over form next year.

If this was the be the last occasion for the Heart and the red and white, it was given a rousing farewell as they outplayed their finals bound opposition for much of the night in a performance that deserved maximum points.

A guard of honour from both sides greeted Kewell out to the AAMI Park pitch as the fans donned masks in appreciation of the man of the moment.

The Heart started brightly and dictated large parts of the opening. They looked as though they bagged the opener in the 19th minute as Kewell left a pass that played in Mate Dungandzic clean on goal but could only push his shot wide of goal.

However, it was the Wanderers who opened the scoring against the run of play in the 27th minute as Nikolai Topor-Stanley headed home a perfectly timed Shinji Ono free kick to break the game wide open.

Not deterred by going down, Heart got back on level terms in the 34th minute with Orlando Engelaar doing what he does best; scoring screamers from a long way out.

With cries of “shoot” bellowing from the crowd, the big Dutchman duly obliged as he let rip a thunderous shot from outside the box that clipped the edge of the goal frame to sneak past Ante Covic.

The moment everyone came for almost happened in the 62nd minute as Covic cruelly denied Kewell a goal with a breathtaking fingertip save.

The ball fell for Kewell inside the box with his fierce volley looking goal bound until the giant hands of Covic intervened to deny a truly fantastic moment.

Proving the save was no fluke, Covic put in an almost identical save just minutes later to keep out a Jonatan Germano header from the corner.

Western Sydney were offered a lifeline in the 68th minute in the form of a penalty which they didn’t take. Shinji Ono in his last regular season A-League fixture smashed his spot kick against the cross bar to keep the Heart in the match.

The breakthrough came through an unlikely source in the 71st minute with Jason Hoffman putting the Heart in front with a deflected shot that got the better of Covic to give the Heart the lead.

Desperate for a top two finish, Wanderers pushed the Heart in search of an equaliser immediately after falling behind. Attack after attack was quashed from the Heart defence who looked hell bent on giving Kewell the sweetest of goodbyes.

As we all know football can be a cruel game and it proved true as Wanderers killed the game off in five brutal minutes.

Hersi took advantage of a defensive mistake in the 81st minute to draw Western Sydney level before Santalab volleyed home in the 86th minute to round off the visitors comeback win.

A dejected looking Kewell after the match was disappointed with the outcome.

“I was proud of the boys today. Disappointed we didn’t come out with the win. We played well, we created chances. I’ve seen better goals scored against us.

“Of course you always want to do more. I think we scored two great goals. I’m frustrated because I thought we did enough to win the game. Disappointing but that’s football.

“It’s been long, it’s been hard. Just get away and refresh the body. Hopefully they (Heart) can go along and do great things.”

Wanderer’s manager Tony Popovic hailed his side’s ability to come from behind and steal victory.

“Fantastic character shown by everyone in that squad. Players that came on made a difference.

“Its human nature to feel sorry for yourself when you miss a penalty and a minute later concede a goal straight from that. Players knew we had to win that game.

“We stuck at it, we kept pour structure and in the end we scored three goals.”

In some ways it was fitting that Kewell’s career came to an end in such a manner. Despair and bad lack hampered Kewell’s otherwise stellar career, which is exactly what happened this evening.

Thus ends what has been one of the greatest careers any Australian has experienced in football. A career of highs and lows ending in a match full of highs and lows.

Farewell Harry, and thanks for the memories!



Melbourne Heart: 20. Tando VELAPHI(GK), 2. Jeremey WALKER, 3. Robbie WIELART, 4. Orlando ENGELAAR, 10. Harry KEWELL(C), 13.  Jonatan GERMANO, 15. David WILLIAMS, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 19. Ben GARUCCIO, 21. Stefan MAUK, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 24. Patrick KISNORBO

Bench: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE(GK), 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 7 Iain RAMSEY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 16. Aziz BEHICH


Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Ante COVIC(GK), 3. Adam D’APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY(C), 6. Jerome POLENZ, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 9. Tomi JURIC, 13. Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 17. Youssouf HERSI, 18. Iacapo LA ROCCA, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Shinji ONO

Bench: 20. Jerrad TYSON(GK), 2. Shannon COLE, 7. Labinot HALITI, 10 Aaron MOOY, 11. Brendon SANTALAB
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Season ended for faltering Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix closed the doors to their 2013/14 A-league season after going down by a convincing 4-1 to Melbourne Victory.

The game started with a bang with Victory attacking straight off the center line to slide a goal right past the Phoenix in the first 20 seconds of the match.


With an early lead to Victory the Phoenix seemed to crumble under the pressure with an inexperienced team out on the field including Jacob Spoonley in goal. 

This was only Spoonley's second game in the A-League, his first being the Phoenix' opening game of the season. 

A new player who in this game showcased his improvement from the beginning of the season was Tyler Boyd. In the 13th minute Boyd did some superb work beating one Victory player to take a shot at goal that unfortunately was saved.

Seven minutes later the Phoenix got their first solid chance when a free kick was awarded due to a rough tackle from Ansell on Kenny Cunningham. 

This gave Carlos Hernandez the chance to even it up but unfortunately he hit the kick straight into the defence wall Victory had set up.

Then in the 29th minute Victory’s attack proved to strong with James Troisi putting a left foot shot straight across into the top right corner of the goal.

Spoonley seemed to be struggling in goal but then in the 39th minute produced a great save which kept them at the 2-0 bay.

Then Guy Finkler pulled out an amazing run just before half time with Victory all pooling together to get the ball up the field and see them head into half time with a 3-0 lead.  

With the Phoenix down 3-0 it didn’t seem like it could get much worse.

Then, Shaun Timmins was awarded a red card for taking out a Victory player right in front of goal leaving the Phoenix down to 10 players and also giving Victory a free kick to put them even further in front.

Mark Milligan took this opportunity and used it, sending the ball straight into the top right corner putting Victory in a 4-0 lead position.

With play getting sloppy and the Phoenix all but seeming to give up in the final minute of the game Jeremy Brockie reminded everyone why they deserved to be supported next season with an amazing left foot kick heading straight into the top right corner of the goal.

This ended the match on a high and also showed supporters the Phoenix hadn’t given up on themselves, and neither should they when next season comes around.



Melbourne Victory: 1. Nathan COE (GK), 3. Adama TRAORE, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5. Mark MILLIGAN (c) 6. Leigh BROXHAM (C), 7.Gui FINKLER, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10. Archie Thompson, 14. James TROISI,, Leijer, 24. Scott GALLOWAY SUBS: 11. Connor PAIN, 17. James JEGGO, 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 22. Jesse MAKAROUNES, 25. Jason GERIA


Wellington Phoenix: 2.Manny MUSCAT  5.Michael BOXALL 9.Kenny CUNNINGHAM Adams, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE 12.Tyler BOYD  17.Vince LIA, 21. Carlos HERNANDEZ 22.Andrew DURANTE 25.Shaun TIMMINS, 30.Jacob SPOONLEY (GK) SUBS: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 10.Stein HUYSEGEMS 15.Jason HICKS 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 24.Roy KRISHNA

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Jets ground Reds to keep season alive

The Newcastle Jets have kept their slim A-League finals hopes alive with a heart-stopping 2-0 victory over Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium.

A 90th-minute goal from Adam Taggart sealed the victory for the hosts after Joel Griffiths opened the scoring in the first half to give Jets fans a flicker of hope that their season could extend for another week.


The win moved the Jets up to 36 points level with sixth-placed Sydney but need the Sky Blues to lose to Perth Glory on Sunday afternoon by two or more goals to sneak into the finals on goal difference.

But if the Jets took their chances against Adelaide it could be a far simpler equation.

Adam Taggart and Nick Ward squandered golden opportunities in the second half to extend Newcastle’s advantage and in hindsight it could prove costly if Perth do manage to knock over Sydney on Sunday.

Had the Jets won by three goals they simply would need Perth to beat Sydney but their inferior goals scored column means they need the Glory to cause a huge boilover and win by two goals away from home.

Despite admitting it will be a minor miracle for the Jets to make the playoffs, coach Clayton Zane remained positive about the result regardless if it could be their last match for the season.

“Yeah it was a funny game, early in the second half it was backs against the wall, there was 15-20 minutes there where we couldn’t get hold of the ball,” he said.

“Credit to our players, they didn’t stop, they kept pushing forward, we always looked a threat on the counter attack and from a game that we were hanging onto it could have easily been 3 or 4 nil.”

Zane believed his side only have themselves to blame for putting themselves in a dog fight for a place in the finals but was pleased to at least give themselves a chance of making the top six.

“We could have got that third goal and really piled the pressure onto Sydney but I think already now there will be that element of doubt which will be in the back of their minds,” he said.

“Jobs half done because we’re relying on another one and we shouldn’t put ourselves in this position where we have to rely on that one, but we could only do what we set out to do tonight.”

Adelaide boss Josep Gombau was surprisingly upbeat about the Reds performance and suggested if they had taken their chances it could have been a very different contest.

“The performance I am satisfied that we played a good game its just we couldn’t find the net. We created chances, I think if we scored with one of these the game can change,” he said.

“I am satisfied with the way the team played, we took a risk in the second half, we played three at the back because we tried to score goals to try to win the game.”



Newcastle Jets: 1. Mark Birighitti (gk), 4. Kew Jaliens, 5.Ben Kantarovski, 8. Ruben Zadkovich (c), 9. Emile Heskey, 11. Craig Goodwin, 14. Josh Mitchell, 15. Josh Brillante, 16. Jacob Pepper, 19. Michael Bridges, 21. Sam Gallaway, 20. Ben Kennedy (gk), 22. Adam Taggart, 23. David Carney, 24. Mitch Oxborrow, 27. Nick Ward, 29. Joel Griffiths


Adelaide United: 1. Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 3. Nigel Boogaard, 5. Osama Malik, 7. Jeronimo, 8. Isaias, 9. Sergio Cirio, 10. Marcelo Carrusca, 11. Bruce Djite, 14. Cameron Watson, 16. Daniel Bowles, 17. Awer Mabil, 18. Michael Zullo, 20. Paul Izzo (gk), 21. Tarek Elrich, 22. Fabio Ferreira, 23. Jordan Elsey, 25. Ryan Kitto, 32. Nathan Konstandopoulos
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NPL Victoria: Round Three Wrap

Goals and plenty of them were on the menu in Round Three of the NPL Victoria. South Melbourne stormed to the top of the table while last year champs Northcote are still searching for their first points of the new season, as new boys Ballarat Red Devils and Werribee City enjoyed surprise away wins.

Congratulations are in order for South Melbourne's Milos Lujic with the striker netting the first ever NPL Victoria hat-trick as he put three goal past Green Gully after just 26 minutes.

Port Melbourne 2 (Grossman 15’, Milicevic 59’)
Oakleigh Cannons 2 (Christodoulou 28’, Piemonte 62’)
JL Murphy Reserve

Oakleigh Cannons came from behind on two occasions to deny Port Melbourne their first win for the season to kick off the round on Friday Evening.

Port Melbourne Skipper Chris Grossman got the home side off to a perfect start as he was on the end of a perfect Kamal Ibrihim free kick after just 15 minutes. Evan Christodoulou got in on the captains scoring goals bandwagon as he headed his side back on level terms in the 28th minute.

Andrew Milicevic gave the home side the lead once more in the 59th minute with a cracking long range strike, only for Dean Piemonte to again draw Oakleigh level just three minutes later.

Port Melbourne’s search for their first NPL win will take them all the way to Shepparton as they take on new comers Goulburn Valley Suns while Oakleigh return home on Friday night to take on Green Gully.

Bentleigh Greens 1 (McGrath 55’)
Pascoe Vale 1 (Youseff 8’)
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex


A Joseph Youseff header after just eight minutes gave Pascoe Vale the perfect start against last year’s beaten Grand Finalist Bentleigh Greens in the other Friday night fixture.

Despite the early setback, the Greens dominated the match from start to finish and would have been mighty disappointed to only take a point of the match.

Brent McGrath got Bentleigh back on level ground in the 55th minute with a tidy finish from the one time Socceroo.

Bentleigh will look to make amends for this missed opportunity as they travel west to take on Werribee City on Sunday afternoon, while Pascoe Vale will take on reigning champs Northcote City on Friday night.

Green Gully 3 (Sanders 47’, 49’, R. Vargas 90+1’)
South Melbourne 5 (Lujic 5’, 15’, 26’, Reed 31’, Minopoulos 90+4’)
Green Gully Reserve

In a crazy afternoon of football, South Melbourne climbed to the top of the table as they toppled Green Gully 5-3.

Seven goals, two red cards and the first NPL Victoria hat-trick to South Melbourne’s Milos Lujic capped off a remarkable 90 minutes of football at Green Gully Reserve.

South Melbourne raced to a 4-0 half time lead only for Green Gully to pull themselves together in the second half and amazingly get within one goal of the visitors. The comeback proved to be in vain as Leigh Minopoulos put the result out of reach in the fourth minute of added time.

South Melbourne next take on Hume City as they look to keep their position on top of the standings while Green Gully will take on Oakleigh Cannons away. 

Northcote City 1 (Dekker 57’)
Ballarat Red Devils 3 (Swinton 31', Karras 36', S.Romein 76')
John Cain Memorial Park

Defending champions Northcote City are remarkably still searching for their first points of the season as they were surprisingly held to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Ballarat.

Two goals in five minutes sent the Red Devils on their way late into the first half with strikes to Dom Swinton and Pat Karras to make it 2-0 after 36 minutes.

Northcote City did manage to strike first in the second half through Wade Dekker in the minute but hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 76th minute as Shaun Romein secured Ballarat’s second win of the season.

Ballarat will once again be on the road in round four to take on Heidelberg United while Northcote will next face Pascoe Vale.

Dandenong Thunder 1 (Mulcahy 20’)
Hume City 0
George Andrews Reserve

Dandenong Thunder continued their undefeated start to the season with a 1-0 win over the visiting Hume City on Saturday night.

Alan Mulcahy opened the scoring with a cracking long range effort in the 20th minute which would prove to be the match winner.

Hume City were luckless in front of goal in this match as chance after chance went begging. Content with their one goal lead, Dandenong went into defensive mode after Mulcahy’s goal with their strong defensive effort frustrating Hume.

Hume City host South Melbourne next weekend while Dandenong Thunder will face Melbourne Knights.

Goulburn Valley Suns 2 (Carley 3' pen, 90'+3 pen.)
Heidelberg United 6 (Petrie 16', Heffernan 26', McGough 38', Sheppard 47', 71', Kanakaris 48')
McEwen Reserve

Shepparton hosted another high scoring match with Heidelberg United punishing Goulburn Valley Suns 6-2.

The Suns were dreaming of three points in third minute with Craig Carley converting from the penalty spot to give the home side an early lead.

It was all one way traffic from that moment on however as Heidelberg poured on six unanswered goals in a dominate display.

Three goals in each half did the business for United with Kaine Sheppard bagging a brace.
Goulburn Valley will be at home again next weekend to take on Port Melbourne while Heidelberg will face another regional club as they host Ballarat Red Devils.

Melbourne Knights 1 (McGarry 53')
Werribee City 2 (Cudrig 85', Filipovic 87' pen.)
Knights Stadium

Werribee City are proving to be the surprise packet of the NPL Victoria season as they claimed an upset 2-1 win over Melbourne Knights on Sunday afternoon.

Fresh from defeating Hume City last round, Werribee claimed their second win on the bounce, leaving it late to claim the points.

James McGarry opened the scoring in the 53rd minute for the Knights with a well-timed header.

As the match drew to its end with the Knights seemingly in control, defender Steven Cudrig bagged his second goal in as many weeks in the 85th minute to draw Werribee level.

The shocks didn’t end there with Werribee were awarded a penalty in the 87th minute that ex-Knight Ryan Filipovic converted to give the Bees a surprise win.

Werribee will look to continue their hot form as they host Bentleigh Greens on Sunday afternoon while Melbourne Knights will take on Dandenong Thunder at home.



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Waltzing Matildas outdanced by Brazil

An enthusiastic and vocal crowd of 2,583 turned out in force to support the Matildas on a steamy day in Brisbane. The game was high in skill and attack despite the tropical storm hitting the pitch and forcing many fans to seek shelter high in the stand midway through the first half.

Despite a torrid week of media speculation surrounding a fall out between the playing group and coach Hesterine De Rues, the Matildas put in a spirited performance and showed plenty of heart in the contests for possession. The big problem for the Matildas wasn’t the enthusiasm but their execution.

Playing in conditions that would rival their Asian Cup locale of Vietnam, both teams managed to control the ball well despite the greasy conditions.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) boss David Gallop was in attendance for the first of the two warm matches that are the precursor to the Matildas all important defence of their Asian Cup crown next month.

Sadly all the pre-game talk had been squarely focused on new coach Hesterine de Reus who is now subject of an internal investigation centering on player disharmony following her perceived tough coaching style.

At the post match press conference, de Reus was happy to answer questions on whether the allegations has disrupted her team’s preparation this week. The Dutch coach is very keen to see the matter resolved as soon as possible and sees it as a huge distraction as the team aims to finish strongly with the sole aim of qualifying for the next years FIFA World Cup in Canada.

“I didn’t read anything, I’m totally focused on the job I had to do here.” She said.

The players however were keen to deflect any talk of the alleged squad rift rather preferring to concentrate on what played out on the park against the classy South American side.

Temeka Butt’s tireless running proved a headache for the Brazilians and her combination with Emily Van-Egmond is one to watch closely when they come up against their tough Asian Cup Group opponents Japan.

Elise Kellond-Knight and Kate Gill also impressed after creating plenty of fine attacking runs and will take plenty of heart from matching the skill level of the sixth ranked team in Women’s World Football.

The physicality of the Matildas showed through as they outmuscled their more fancied opponents in many of the contests. There will be no doubting coach De Rues will attempt to fine-tune the set pieces and shooting drills could well be the order of the day as they look to find the net in Wednesday’s match.

Both teams had numerous opportunities in an entertaining first half until a damp pitch slowed the pace but not the enthusiasm as the teams went to the break locked at nil all.

Brazil finally gave the scoreboard attendant something to do in the 67th minute when Debora “Debinha” Oliveira took on Matildas keeper Brianna Davey in a one on one contest to score and briefly silence the large contingent of Australian fans.

The goal seemed to lift the Matildas to find the equaliser as they built more pressure in the dying minutes of the match.

Kate Gill's hot shot from a sharp Kellond-Kinght cross was blocked before Michelle Heyman then pounced on a sloppy back pass only to find her shot miss the target as the match wound down to the final whistle.

The signs are great for the women’s game in this country and the narrow loss will give the team confidence as the continue building momentum.

For now though it is all about Wednesday and for coach Hesterine De Rues a win on the field will do plenty to deflect some of the attention and headlines away from her management methods.


Matildas: Brianna DAVEY; Teigan ALLEN; Clare POLKINGHORNE (C); Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT; Emily VAN-EGMOND; Lisa DEVANNA; Tameka BUTT; Alanna KENNEDY; Steph CATLEY, Katrina GORRY; Michelle HEYMAN

Brazil: Fabiana SIMOES; Bruna BENITES; Andreia ANDRADE; Thaisa MORENA; Tamires GOMES; Debora OLIVEIRA; Miraildes MOTA; Rosana AUGUSTO; Cristiane ROZEIRA; Thais PICARTE; Andressa ALVES
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Stocky's Scribbles: Good enough for a Gig

With a 'nothing to lose and everything to gain' mentality, the U17 NTC Girls outplayed a laggard Heidelberg United Women’s side coasting home to a 3 goals to 2 win at Darebin today and securing their first win of the SportsMart Victorian Premier League season for 2014.

Words and images by Craig Stockdale

Winger Janna Lawson scored a brace while Noel Boersma chipped in for the remaining NTC goal.


After a torrid affair on Monday night against Sandringham, the youngsters certainly ‘upped the ante’ to prove that they are worthy of a gig in this league. Right from the moment the girls entered the arena, there was air of confidence that saw them control the majority of possession for the game right across the pitch.

Led by the experienced Australian U17 players of Goad and Stockdale, the NTC Girls turned on a football lesson that resulted in a comfortable win that really did not reflect the difference between the sides on the scoreboard at the close of play.

Jaime Brown once again lined up between the sticks while coach Montemurro led with Giulia Sepe, Maddy Stockdale, Jade Feakes (Big Bird) and Anabel Martin down back.

In the engine room, the formidable twins – Melissa and Adriana Taranto were swanning around playing keepings off with Beattie Goad who had the ball on a string all day.

Up forward, Janna Lawson, Tamara Balmaceda and Alexi Garcia were running amok all day and looking to attack right from the start.

Coach Montemurro talked about the need for the NTC Girls to start the game well and only 3 minutes into the game, a combination of smart, piercing passes ended up with one of the Taranto twins (not sure which one as I can’t tell them apart) smashing a beautiful right footer into the cross bar.

This set the tone for the day as the NTC Girls controlled the play out of defense and transitioned it smoothly through midfield to the runners up forward who were bombarding the goal line most of the first half.

The NTC defensive line was solid with Stockdale and Feakes controlling play and utilising their defensive wingers Sepe and Martin to create opportunities for the midfielders and forwards.

Both Sepe and Martin were outstanding in continuously repelling the Heidelberg forward thrusts while Stockdale muscled up and nullified the potency of star striker Eleni Fakos’s advances restricting her from taking any shots on goal apart from a free kick late in the first half.

Beattie Goad, fresh from her stint with the Melbourne Victory Women’s, played an absolute stunning game leading from the front in midfield and when moved to the wing, opened up the Heidelberg defensive line with some awesome crosses that resulted in goals to the NTC.

Due to enforced recovery from the W league season, Goad played her first full game and was adamant she would dictate the tempo of the game bringing her team-mates into the play with sharp delivery and great creativity.

At the 25th minute mark, Goad streamed down the left wing and pulled the trigger on a left footer that ricocheted off a sea of legs into the path of Janna Lawson who slotted the ball past the Heidelberg keeper for the first major of the game. 1 nil to the NTC and worried looks were on display from the Heidelberg bench.

Under loud instruction, Heidelberg continued to push forward on several occasions and at the 44 minute mark, they were able to capitalise on a loose formation in the NTC defensive line that allowed the opportunistic Julia Nicolaci to pounce and finish past the outstretched dive of Jamie Brown to register the Berger’s first major and level the scoreline at one all.

Spurred on by the celebrations from Heidelberg, the NTC Girls swung back into action and right on the half time whistle a nice passage of play through the midfield by the twins that saw another Beattie Goad pass hit the feet of Janna Lawson, registered the second major for NTC crashing into the back of the net and providing a nice buffer leading into the half time break.

With an unlimited number of rotations allowed for NTC games, coach Montemurro cleverly utilised his stellar bench of Jaimee Williams, Sky Jenson, Edith Fordyce-Croker and Noel Boersma to freshen up the second half.

Within minutes of the restart, Goad once again cut open the Heidelberg defensive line creating an opening for Noel Boersma to run onto the ball and slot home goal number three for the NTC Girls. Spectators on the sidelines echoed the style of football played by the NTC Girls today using words as cohesive, team orientated and unselfish football that yielded solid formations and well-structured set plays across the pitch. Every player contributed to the game style today and can be very proud of their efforts to run and chase for the entire game.

Just when the game looked like peetering out, the NTC defensive line allowed Melanie Camilleri from Heidelberg the opportunity to weave through and around the keeper to slot an easy second goal that wobbled the legs of a few supporters on the sidelines.

The NTC defensive line managed to withstand the unrelenting pressure from Heidelberg over the last 5 minutes as the Berger’s were desperate to square the score line only to run out of time in the end and provide a well-earned win to the young NTC Team.

Coach Joe Montemurro was delighted with the young NTC Girls efforts on the day and believes the team will only get better as every game progresses into the season. The style of football played is important to the coach and not necessarily the result but he admitted that it is always nice to walk away winners in a contest where NTC dominated possession for the majority of the play.

“We deserved this win today and once we tighten up some of our structure, we will be able to apply pressure on the more experienced teams during the year,” Montemurro said.

With the three points tucked away today, NTC will now move up the ladder and prepare for their next game against Monbulk Rangers at Darebin next Saturday April 12th at 3pm. Suggest you come down and see some of Victoria’s best U17 girls talent take on the might of Emily Hulbert, Emma Heckenberg and crew from Monbulk.

It should be a ripping game so come over next Saturday to DISC in Darebin.

A special get well message to the NTC Girls captain Jessica Pitts, who last Monday night against Sandringham received a very heavy knock to the head that saw her badly concussed and treated over night for whip lash and neck injuries. The girls and supporters wish you a speedy recovery Jess and look forward to your return in the very near future.



NTC U17 Girls 3 (Lawson 25 & 45, Boersma 48) defeated Heidelberg United 2 (Nicolaci 42, Camilleri 80)


NTC U17 Girls: 1. Jaime BROWN (GK), 2. Giulia SEPE, 4. Jade FEAKES, 6. Adriana TARANTO, 8. Melissa TARANTO, 9. Tamara BALMACEDA, 12. Alexi GARCIA, 13. Anabel MARTIN, 14. Maddy STOCKDALE,
18. Beattie GOAD, 19. Janna LAWSON

Subs: 3. Jaimee WILLIAMS, 5. Sky JENSEN, 11. Noel BOERSMA, 17. Edith FORDYCE-GOKER, 20. Lucinda KOLITSIS,


HEIDELBERG UNITED: Alexandra BOGDANOVSKI (GK), 2. Melanie CAMILLERI, 3. Maria TSOLACOS, 4. Michelle VERZI (c), 5. Angie RASSIAS, 6. Renee ZAIRIS, 8. Eleni FAKOS, 10. Elise KYRGIOS, 11. Penny BAKOPOULOS, 12. Julia NICOLACI, 13. Marie VOUTHAS.

Subs: 14. Dijana JOSEVSKA, 38. Ebru HASAN, 32. Eily TORRE, 31. Abbie POBJOY, 24. Irene TERZOPOULOS.
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Glory sink Mariners in Burns' swansong

Perth Glory saved arguably their best performance under Kenny Lowe for the final home game of the season as they claimed a 3-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners last night.

The contest, played in front of 11,127 spectators at nib Stadium, was the back drop to a different kind of send off for club captain Jacob Burns who announced his retirement from professional football on Friday.


“I thought we deserved to win,” said interim coach Lowe afterwards.

“The last three or four performances have been good, the lads who have come in have started to get to know each other.”

Referee Stephen Lucas, in charge of his first Hyundai A-League game, took centre stage as early as the eighth minute when he awarded the home side a penalty.

Burns went down under a challenge from Mariners skipper John Hutchinson, playing his milestone 200th game in the league, and Lucas harshly awarded a spot kick that was comfortably dispatched by Steven McGarry.

Parity was restored again on 19 minutes and this time it was Burns on the receiving end of a head scratching decision as he was penalised for contact on Kim Seung-Yong in the area.

Nick Fitzgerald stepped up to score and the game remained locked at 1-1 for the rest of the half, though Glory were the better side.

The next goal arrived on 71 minutes when Sidnei Sciola Moraes converted from close range, before an own goal by Zac Anderson with five minutes remaining sealed the three points for Glory.

Lowe spoke about a change in tactics recently that has been more suitable for some of the squad, and named Rostyn Griffiths, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Sidnei as three of the benefactors.

“Sidnei doesn’t know what he’s going to do so the defenders haven’t got a clue, which helps,” he said.

“But what we know is if we give him a little bit of freedom he’s quite dynamic and it suited him.

“We played him left side of midfield last week, we stumbled on it really, but we had to shove him up there because his defensive responsibilities are absolutely useless.”

Lowe confirmed that William Gallas was adamant that he wanted to play despite going off injured at half time against the Newcastle Jets last week, and put in a lot of hours during the week to help minimise the tear that he currently carrying in his hamstring.

“I take my hat off to him, he’s actually played injured,” said Lowe.

“I guess that shows the spirit of our group, it shows the spirit in the club, it shows the spirit at the training ground.”

While there is still uncertainty over who will be in charge at Glory next season, Lowe said that the head coaching role is still of great interest to him.

“No matter where we finish it’s been unacceptable,” he said.

“That’s the bottom line and maybe I’ve got to cop that but I’ve come in with certain cards down, I’m not going to moan about that, but ultimately it rests with me so it’s not really acceptable.

“We may get an opportunity to put that right next year, I don’t know. I’d love it if that happened.”

Glory round off their 2013/14 season next weekend away to Sydney FC knowing a win will definitely see them avoid their first A-League wooden spoon.

For their part, the Mariners were lacklustre throughout and put in a very abject showing, much to the disappointment of coach Phil Moss.

“If you don’t win the fight, if you’re not up for it from the start of the game, it makes it hard and you’re climbing a mountain,” he said.

“We gave that penalty away early which, I have to be honest, I thought was quite soft but we got ourselves back in the game and the second half wasn’t good enough again.

“Full credit to Perth Glory, they deserved the three points tonight.”

The Mariners face old foes Brisbane Roar in their last regular season outing and still hold aspirations of finishing second behind their opponents.



Perth Glory: 18. Jack DUNCAN, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 7. Jacob BURNS, 8. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14. Steven MCGARRY, 16. Sidnei SCIOLA MORAES, 17. Chris HAROLD, 19. Joshua RISDON, 23. Michael THWAITE, 36. William GALLAS.

Subs: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 4. Ryan EDWARDS, 20. Daniel DE SILVA, 28. Darvydas SERNAS, 39. Luke RADONICH.


Central Coast Mariners: 12. Liam REDDY, 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 15. Storm ROUX, 17. Anthony CACERES, 19. Matthew SIMON, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. Seung-Yong KIM.

Subs: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 20. Bernie IBINI.
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