Category: Frontpage News
Summer Cup Grand Final Preview
Traditional rivals fight for summer silverware
SUMMER CUP GRAND FINALS
Olympia FC Warriors vs Tilford Zebras 4:30PM/Monday 10 March 2014 (KGV Football Park)
Olympia FC Warriors vs NTC 2:00PM/Monday 10 March (KGV Football Park)
Tilford Zebras vs South Hobart 11:30AM/Monday 10 March 2014 (KGV Football Park)
Hobart United Green vs Olympia FC Warriors 12:00PM/Sunday 9 March (KGV Football Park)
Tilford Zebras vs Metro 2:00PM/Sunday 9 March (KGV Football Park)
Traditional rivals Olympia FC Warriors and Tilford Zebras will do battle for the Summer Cup crown in a rematch of the 2013 Lakoseljac Cup Final.
Olympia blitzed their group, beating all comers, including a comfortable 3-0 win over Glenorchy Knights; the Warriors then pushed their way over a stubborn Beachside in their Semi-Final to put them into the Grand Final for a chance to defend their Summer Cup.
The traditional rivalry seems to lift something from both sides and Olympia Coach Glen McNeill is excited for their Grand Final meeting.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Summer Cup Final and look forward to meeting our traditional rivals Tilford Zebras."
Olympia did enough to get over Beachside but McNeill believes they will need to improve markedly in order to compete with the red-hot Zebras.
“I have made it clear to our playing group that the performance last week was nowhere near good enough and we will need to lift markedly in order to be competitive on Monday.
“From what I see Zebras are playing a good physical brand and I think are the benchmark at this moment.”
Midfield maestro Lachlan Nichols is likely to be out, the Warriors will also have nervous waits on a number of other players.
“We are waiting on assessments on a number of players including Emanuel Tsakiris, Lochie Nichols, Jacob Herbert, Alex Holmes and Jake Van Der Mey.
“Pending the results we may have to tinker with our lineup which may include Gus Rumney and Jack Kupsch.”
Olympia won two trophies in 2013, one of which was a dominant display up against the Zebras in the Lakoseljac Cup final.
“We don't want to dwell on last week’s performance and are focused on the upcoming challenge,” McNeill said.
Despite it being a Grand Final, McNeill says the focus is still on preparation for the season proper.
“Winning the Summer Cup would be a great way to kick off the season. However our main focus this year is the Lakoseljac Cup and Victory League title.”
Tilford Zebras negotiated a tricky group, beating 2013 Victory League Champions South Hobart in a mini-Grand Final, putting the competition on notice. A five goal first half saw the Hobart side smash Kingborough Lions 6-2 and put themselves into a Grand Final showdown.
Zebras strike pair of Alex Leszczynski and Adam McKeown have been dominant with 10 goals between them. McKeown missed last week’s Semi but will return to partner powerful Leszczynski in the Grand Final. Zebras will also have Henry Fagg, Josh Fielding and Jacob Clamp to the squad to stiffen up their defensive line return, with Grant Malcolm in doubt through foot soreness.
With those significant absences from the squad last week, the Zebras still demonstrated firepower with the likes of Ethan Engels starring in the absence of Adam McKeown. Engels hit a brace in last week’s win, Tilford Zebras Coach Jed Donoghue was encouraged by the signs of his youngsters.
“We learnt that we have depth in the squad, young players can come into the team and they can do jobs and score good goals.”
Donoghue says the Summer Cup Grand Final would be a dress rehearsal for the standard of the season proper.
“The Summer Cup provides coaches and players with an opportunity to play competitive games and prepare appropriately for their League competition.
“If coaches and players do not take this opportunity then we should be asking what is their cunning plan, are they going to be contenders or just a social team?”
Donoghue is hopeful a Summer Cup trophy will give his side momentum for their Victory League campaign.
“Winning any competition is an achievement and provides teams with confidence and momentum as we saw last year with Olympia who were a 'juggernaut' until they lost to South Hobart at the end of Round 1.
“However, history indicates that pre-season Cup wins and success in the League has been more common in the Reserve than the Senior competition over the past six seasons.“
Rivals in the Women's competition Olympia and NTC, will go toe to toe in the Summer Cup Grand Final in a rematch of last year’s final.
The two team shared a fierce rivalry, sharing the spoils last year but were neck and neck with each other in every competition they met.
NTC took out the Summer Cup and the Statewide Finals Series and NTC won the Women’s Premier League. They have played out some great contests in recent history and with NTC no longer playing in the Southern Women’s Premier League it could be their last meeting in some time.
Both teams dominated the group stages of the competition, Olympia went three from three, scoring 27 goals and conceding just two. The Warriors then dealt with Tilford Zebras in the Semi-Finals although it was a stern challenge, with the Zebras rising to the occasion.
“We are coming off a pretty physical semi final last week, the girls have had a good week at training,” said Olympia FC Warriors Coach John Fiotakis.
Rani Cavarretta has continued her stellar form from 2013, netting 12 goals in her four games. The Warriors have also received boosts this season with the inclusion of former NTC midfielder Elli Gavalas, Gavalas, who has hit six in the competition thus far and the Summer Cup has also seen the return of striking sensation Bliss Cantrell to the Warrior ranks.
Despite the inclusion of some guns, Fiotakis believes the Summer Cup’s benefit is truly on the squads fringe players.
“Summer Cup is a great preseason competition to allow young and fringe players to compete in a higher level and get some experience and game time.
“Winning the Summer Cup is a reward to all players for their hard work and commitment put into preseason over the past 4 months,” said Fiotakis.
Fiotakis believes it is clear the best two Women’s teams are meeting in the final, and the Warriors Coach is looking forward to the challenge.
“Winning is always a big positive and the best two teams over the Summer Cup series are playing in the final on Monday and both have a very good chance of winning.”
NTC similarly went unbeaten through the group stages, scoring 27 goals and conceding five as they blew away opposition on their way to finals football.
Their Semi-Final got off to a rocky start with underdogs Taroona scoring inside four minutes, but NTC responded emphatically, belting home a whopping 14 goals to come through 14-3 victors and book a Grand Final berth.
NTC’s firepower has come from two main avenues, Bianca Parker has slotted 10 goals and Stacie Hutchinson has put away nine for the tournament.
Coach Michael Edwards has been pleased with his teams form.
“We have had a very strong run in the round matches and the semi-final, with some very solid performances,” said Edwards.
“The score-lines have, on the whole, have been one-sided, mainly because the girls have worked together on the team principles that we have practiced at training,” added Edwards.
NTC will be without Georgia Crawford and Izzy Gee, who are still under injury clouds.
Edwards believes his team have had an ideal preparation for Monday’s big final.
“Our preparation this week has been excellent. The mood at training has been positive and enthusiastic.
“We have had a couple of hard sessions to really make sure that we are switched on and aware of what to expect from Olympia.
“I would think that all the players have a capacity to influence what happens on Monday, individually, they all know their roles and responsibilities, so all can influence what will happen by their performances.“
Both teams have devastating strikers and talented midfields but defence may be where the game is won and lost.
“Most people will see the midfield as key as well as our striking line, but I really believe that all the NTC players will do things during the game that contribute significantly to the team performance,” said Edwards.
NTC are weary of a strong Olympia and know the capabilities of stars Cavarretta and Cantrell.
“Olympia are a strong team across the pitch. They now have players in each line of play that has skill, vision and experience.
“I think most people will see their attacking, front-line pairing of Rani (Cavarretta) and Bliss (Cantrell) as our biggest threat.
“If that is the way they play, then we will have to be at our best to stop them scoring," Edwards said.
Edwards is hopeful NTC’s structure will be significant in seeing them over the line.
“I would like to think that our structure and understanding of the game as a team, will be our strength. Olympia’s individual stars may well be their greatest asset.”
The Premier Women Summer Cup Grand Final kicks off Monday 10th March from 2:00PM.