With non-stop rain across the Illawarra last week, every game of week two of the Men’s Premiership finals had to be moved to Ian McLennan Park. This weekend will be the last opportunity for teams to make it through to the grand finals.
Wollongong Olympic are the first team through to the grand final at WIN Stadium in a couple of weeks after their extra-time win against Wollongong United on Sunday. It took until the second period of extra time for the deadlock to be broken as Tynan Diaz and Jake Trew both scored for the second week running. United still have a chance at making the grand final but will need to down Cringila this week.
Cringila Lions carried on their resurgent run in the latter weeks of the season with a 4-0 result against Bulli on Sunday. Peter Simonoski scored midway through the first half before three goals later in the second half propelled the Lions to an emphatic scoreline. It will be a huge occasion for Cringila this weekend taking on rivals Wollongong United for a place in the grand final. Icko Atanasoski’s side got up 1-0 against United on the final day of the season and will be hoping for a similar result this time around.
A Sami Benten birthday four-goal haul was the headline act in Coniston’s 6-0 demolition of Wollongong United in youth grade with the side now through to the grand final. Coniston also progressed against United in second grade with Connor Pontarolo’s spectacular freekick the winner in a 2-1 victory. The team will face Port Kembla on Sunday with the victor in that one through to the big dance.
In the other matches in the lower grades, second-grade league champions Bulli have made it through to the grand final with a 4-2 win against Port Kembla. A late flurry of goals for Bulli at the end of the first half saw the side go into the sheds 3-1 up before finishing the job in the second half.
In youth grade, Stiven Sitnikoski’s second-half hat-trick guided Cringila to a 4-2 win against Port Kembla. The Lions will have to get past Wollongong United at the weekend to make the grand final.
Undefeated league champions Helensburgh Thistle are through to the grand final after their 3-2 win against Unanderra Hearts after extra time on Saturday. It wasn’t easy for the Thistle going behind twice before Charlie Jones’ winner early in extra time. Despite the defeat for the Hearts they still could feature on grand final day if they beat University this weekend.
University scored a goal in the last seconds of extra time to advance through to the preliminary final this week. The Students picked up a couple of goals within half an hour before both sides went down to 10 players just after halftime. A stoppage-time equaliser from Tommy Markovski pushed the game into extra time. However, Jordan Simms came off the University bench to steal the win right at the death.
In youth grade, University made it through to the preliminary final with a 3-0 win against Berkeley while league champions Thirroul booked their place in the grand final with a 4-1 win against Helensburgh.
There was better fortune for the Thistle in second grade as they powered past Unanderra 8-1. Brady Tipping and Caleb Browne both scored hat-tricks for the league champions who will now have a shot at grand-final glory. Thirroul downed University 3-0 in the other second-grade fixture and will face the Hearts in a preliminary final.
Review by Timothy Gibson, on Twitter @Timg123_
Feature image courtesy of Richie Wagner