Canberra Olympic will be aiming for their first Federation Cup Final trophy when they clash with perennial winners Belconnen United at Deakin Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Both teams have eyes on the prize but only one shade of blue can triumph come the conclusion.
FEDERATION CUP FINAL
Belconnen United v Canberra Olympic
Belconnen United have a love affair with the Federation Cup. They were consistent winners of this trophy under previous management and are back to have another go, albeit in the unusual circumstances of the underdog. And that’s because their opponents, Canberra Olympic, have gone all out in their pursuit of silverware in 2022.
In her second year on the bench at O’Connor, Nicole Begg has assembled a balanced cast of seasoned and younger, but most importantly extremely talented, players. Six-times Federation Cup winner Michaela Thornton (2014 to 2019) will feel like a fish in water on Saturday, and her experience of these games will be a huge asset for Olympic.
The midfielder was instrumental in the semi-final blockbuster win against Canberra Croatia, contributing a goal and an assist on a rainy Thursday at Hawker Football Centre. Making their way past the Cup holders and reigning WNPL champions undoubtedly boosted Olympic’s confidence, and they will enter the pitch on Saturday as favourites.
Scott Conlon said it best before the semi-final against the Canberra United Academy, “to win two titles out of the three that are in play this season, we just have to be better than our opponents for 180 minutes.” The newly appointed Blue Devils’ Head Coach is hungry for silverware and knows how close his team is to get their “decima” of Federation Cups.
Belconnen United still count in their ranks players who have lifted the cup in the past decade with the likes of Talia Backhouse, Katie Woodman, and Leah Carnegie. No doubt the captain and her lieutenants would have told their teammates about the importance of giving everything on Saturday. “We don’t play a final, we win them”, a famous player used to say.
When the two teams met in WNPL this season, it ended in a five-goal thriller with two penalties, one of them the game winner scored by Ali Cook at the 88th minute. The Blue Devils were down 0-2 after half an hour and found the resources to come back before Olympic snatched the win anyway. On the table, Begg’s team are five points ahead of Conlon’s.
Neither of these teams will shy away from the contest, and there is plenty of firepower either side. Expect goals and drama at Deakin, and some emotion too, given a few of the players involved were donning their opponents’ jersey last season.
Saturday 4 June
Federation Cup Final
Belconnen United v Canberra Olympic (14:00)
Australia Cup Qualifying Final
Monaro Panthers v West Canberra Wanderers (17:15)
Souvenir Match Program: $3