Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Australia National league:

17th & 18th NOVEMBER 2007

Flora Hill Stadium, Bendigo.

Games for this weekend:

-Gold Coast Spartans v Robina Varsity laker

-Bendigo Titans v Newborough Power

-Ballarat City Stallions v City United Thunder

Report from the third round of the national league:

The third round of the National League was played over 2 weekends in conjunction with the Newborough Cup and it was a bonanza of futsal. After this round no clear favourite has emerged in the men’s competition. Stallions refuse to give up their title and Newborough Power and Bendigo Titans are both relentless in the pursuit of the title. Gold Coast Spartans believe they still have a chance especially as the next round is in Queensland and they believe they can turn their season around. Thunder have equipped themselves well in their first season with Robina Varsity Lakers and Sunbury Comets looking to rebuild for next year. There were several highlights in the last round. The opening game in the men’s competition between Newborough Power and Bendigo Titans was a classic in a must win game for both teams. Titans rocked their opponents with a goal in 38 seconds and while Power were pulling themselves together Jackson and Xavier Clayton added further goals. The game was only 3 minutes old but it looked like Titans were bound for victory. Power slowly worked their way back into the game and with goals from Chris Noppert and Jamie Dunn
half time saw the game locked at 5-5. In the second half goals from Sam Robertson (Titans) and Rayvel
Whiting (Power) kept the score 6-6 with only 7 minutes to go. At this stage of the game Power scored 3 times within a minute to lead 9-6 and those thinking the game was over were again mistaken as Titans took control of the game for the last 3 minutes scoring a further 2 goals and for Power the last minute of the game must have seemed an eternity as keeper Damien Gilbert was called on several times to make unbelievable saves. The final whistle saw Power run out 9-8 winners. Titans got their campaign back on track with an emphatic win against Stallions. Renowned for their slow starts Stallions were down 5-1 at halftime but played much better in the second half. They eventually went down 7-3. The most impressive game of the round was the last game of the round when Power and Stallions went head to head. Stallions re-arranged their lineup against their much more experienced opponents and came out firing, dominating the first 10 minutes with a 1 goal lead. Then the wheels fell off through lack of concentration in the game Power were 5-1 up at the half way stage. The second half was a nail biter and Stallions were not about to give up their title just yet. In a battle of minds and experience Stallions slowly clawed their way back into the game. Their display of disciplined control in all aspects of the game provoked one Power player to suggest to the Stallions captain he look at the score board. It read 9-5 to Power with 5.5 minutes of the game left to go. This was the turning point and Stallions took total control and goals started clicking up on the board till they stood at 9-9. Stallions 3 leading goal scorers, Keem, Ferguson and McIver, were on fire and not flustered and with 20 seconds to go Ferguson did what at half time seemed impossible, he fired Stallions to a 10-9 lead and Power could not respond. If Stallions retain their title and Power fail to become champions then this will most likely be the game that caused that result. All teams are now looking forward to the 4th round on the Gold Coast on 14,15, and 16 September where some of the catch up games will be played.
The women’s ladder is a different story. After 3 years of building Ballarat City Saints are runaway leaders and are now reaping the rewards of the club’s junior program and it is no surprise to see their junior side, Belles, featuring so well. The Belles caused the major shock of the round when they beat Newborough Power in their National League and Newborough Cup semi final game. Belles led early on with a goal from Renee Martin in her debut game. Haley Henderson equalized for Power and Renee added a second goal only to see Haley add another just before half time. The second half was futsal at its best. Tammy Brown scored a terrific goal for a 3-2 lead to Belles and later in the half Rebecca Van Oirschot sealed the game 4-2. All the women’s games were played in great spirit and the race for league runners up is close with Benowa Dragons 1 point in front of Belles.

Newborough Power 3 d Benowa Dragons 2, Ballarat City Saints 8 d Benow Dragons 0, Ballarat City Saints 5 d Newborough Power 0, Ballarat City Saints 7 d Newborough Power 0, Ballarat City Saints 4 d Benowa Dragonws 0, Benow Dragons 2 d Newborough Power 1, Ballarat City Belles 4 d Newborough Power 2, Ballarat City Belles 6 d Gold Coast Spartans 3, Ballarat City Belles 2 d Benowa Dragons 0, Ballarat City Saints 7 d Ballarat City Belles 0, Ballarat City Saints 6 d Ballarat City Belles 0.

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