The first season of the Capital Futsal League will conclude this weekend with a top-class Finals series as the leading four teams in both the men’s and women’s competitions go head-to-head at Daramalan College.
Action will commence on Friday evening with the Women’s semi-finals, as league champions West Canberra Lightning face South Canberra Swift with a place in the Grand Final up for grabs, and the Swift aiming to inflict a first, and terminal, defeat on the side that has gone perfect so far in 2022/23.
Lightning will start as favourites, their 100% record and brace of victories over the Swift will ensure that, but finals is a different beast and the Swift will draw on their collective spirt to try and force what would be a major upset.
The winners of that clash will face the victor of the North Canberra Fire and the UC Stars meeting in the opening last four encounter, the Fire having secured second spot on the final table with a blizzard of goals against Queanbeyan-Palerang Power.
With plenty of players in goal scoring form, the Fire will be supremely confident, but the challenge that awaits is considerable. The pair shared six goals in a thrilling 3-3 draw back in Round 2 with the return match being decided in favour of the Fire by a single goal, Bessie Riethmuller’s 16th minute strike separating the teams.
That suggests there will ultimately be little to choose between the two teams and that the result may well come down to which team is able to defend best. With Fire’s Jessica Giovinazzo and Stars’ Vanessa Burdett in uncompromising form between the posts, this is too close to call.
Attention will switch to the men’s competition the next day with an early start awaiting the table-topping South Canberra Swift. Installed as tournament favourites courtesy of their ranking as number one seeds, the League Champions line-up against an ANU Apex team that has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Swift’s fast, slick, transitional play, was too much for the Apex to handle in their duo of matches in the regular season, a quirk of the fixture list ensuring the teams played each twice in the space of 24-hours with eerily similar outcomes.
Having won both those matches, 10-4 and 11-4, Swift will enter the match in confident mood. However, do not count out a fast-improving Apex team who are finding form at exactly the right time and possess the weapons to hurt the Swift if they are not on full guard.
The semi-finals will conclude with a repeat of the very first men’s match in the CFL as West Canberra Lightning and the North Canberra Fire compete for a place in the showdown.
These two have approached the competition with contrasting styles making their two matches so far, a must watch, and there is likely to be a very similar interest in this encounter come Saturday afternoon.
Experience on the Lightning side will potentially give them the edge, their squad have been involved in matches of these magnitude for many years, but the youthful verve and exuberance of the Fire, will be a match for anything that the Lightning can offer, making for an intriguing tussle.
Four huge semi-finals await, and with the plum tie of a Grand Final awaiting the winners on Sunday, this should be something very special indeed.
Friday 10 February 2023
North Canberra Fire v UC Stars (18:00)
West Canberra Lightning v South Canberra Swift (20:30)
Saturday 11 February 2023
South Canberra Swift v ANU Apex (12:00)
North Canberra Fire v West Canberra Lightning (14:30)
Sunday 12 February 2023
Women’s Grand Final (16:00)
Men’s Grand Final (19:00)
VENUE: Daramalan College
MATCH PROGRAM: FREE