ACADEMY: The high’s and lows of finals football

It was an intense weekend of football at Pluim Park, with our senior Men’s sides playing out their major semi-finals which saw one game decided in the dying stages of extra time.


Youth boys were away on Saturday and struggled against a strong Apia Leichhardt outfit.

13’s (4-1), 16’s (3-2), and 18’s (2-1) were all defeated, while 15’s (3-3) walked away with a point.

13’s also had a make-up game against Wollongong Wolves away, coughing up a 3-0 half-time lead to lose 4-3.

Heading into Sunday afternoon, it was two massive clashes for U20’s and First Grade with Grand Final spots on the line.

20’s got off to a great start against Northern Tigers, racing out to an early lead through Ezra Palombini, before Aidan Milicevic and Bailey Brandtman struck just before the half.

20’s carried their three-goal lead through the remainder of the second half to secure their spot in the League One Men’s U20’s Grand Final.

20’s will face either Western Sydney Wanderers or Northern Tigers again in the Final.

First Grade looked to also book their spot in the FNSW League One Men’s Grand Final against St George City in one of the games of the season.

With two of the league’s top defences, chances were vast, as each held strong to withstand the pressure.

Until finally, Mariners found the edge through Jacob Cresnar in the second minute of injury time to put Mariners up, sending players and fans into a frenzy.

Their excitement was short lived however, with St George striking back minutes later through Jakub Prajza, sending the contest into extra time.

Again defense held strong, with penalties looking a certainty before City’s Antonio Saracino finished from close range to give the visitors the win, sinking Mariners hearts.

First Grade will play Northern Tigers this weekend for a chance at redemption.


Back at home after a worthwhile trip south, youth girls were hungry for more against Marconi Stallion on Sunday.

14’s (4-1) and 16’s (6-2) showed their ferocity, while 15’s shared the points in a 1-1 result.

Despite a resurgent 4-3 comeback victory against SD Raiders last weekend, 20’s couldn’t go back-to-back in a 2-0 defeat, conceding on either side of the half.

20’s drop to fifth, with lower teams closing in.

For First Grade, a 1-1 result last weekend wasn’t ideal and looked to capitalise on the home love.

Marconi struck first in the opening stages, before some luck in an own goal drew teams level, before the visitors struck again before the half.

Forward Chloe Smith bagged her 18th of the season in the 70th minute to square level once again, with either side unable to grab the winner in a 2-2 result.

Pete Edwards side drops to ninth, lamenting not being able to convert their chances after hitting the woodwork several times.

Upcoming Fixtures:

Men’s 1st Grade v Northern Tigers FC
Saturday, 27th August – Pluim Park – 12:30PM

Men’s U20 have the weekend off as they await their opposition in the Final.

Women’s 1st Grade v South East Phoenix
Sunday, 28th August – South Nowra Football Complex – 3:15PM

Women’s U20 v South East Phoenix
Sunday, 28th August – South Nowra Football Complex – 1:15PM