The 2018 NPL Grand Final Day is here, with First Grade, U/18’s and U/20’s all set to get underway at Deakin Stadium on Saturday.
All three matches will be streamed LIVE thanks to BarTV Sports.
Read the full first-grade preview below and head out to Deakin Stadium. Admission for first-grade from 2:30pm will be $5 for Adults and $2 for Concession.
First Grade Grand Final: Canberra Olympic v Canberra FC | 5:00pm Kick-off – Stream Link
U/20’s Grand Final: Monaro Panthers v Belconnen United | 1:30pm Kick-off – Stream Link
U/18’s Grand Final: Belconnen United v Riverina Rhinos | 10am Kick-off – Stream Link
Meetings this year |
NPL Round 1 (Rescheduled): Canberra Olympic 0 def. by Canberra FC 2 (Marko Vrkic 22’, Kofi Danning 41’)
NPL Round 10: Canberra FC 0 def. by Canberra Olympic 1 (Michael John 21’)
Federation Cup Quarter-Final: Canberra FC 2 (Thomas James 80’, 90+4’) def. Canberra Olympic 0
NPL Qualifying Final: Canberra FC 3 (Matthew Waters 45+2’, Michael Mensah 54’, Daniel Subasic 89’) def. by Canberra Olympic 5 (Michael John 14’, Dom Giampaolo 18’, Stephen Domenici 44’, Roko Strika 84’, 90+2’)
The Matchup |
As shown above, these two sides have already met four times this season and the equation is even at two wins each so far. Three of the four games have seen clean sheet wins, by a margin of one or two goals, but their most recent meeting in the NPL Qualifying Final was an enthralling eight-goal affair as the two teams traded goals in a shootout. Whether or not we see a similar show of free-flowing football remains to be seen here, as does how the two sides approach the contest.
Olympic flew out of the blocks in the Qualifying Final after struggling to get going in the title decider a week before and were three goals up before Matthew Waters pulled one back late heading into the break. Daniel Colbertaldo was the orchestrator of so much of the strong early play, but he was taken off with soreness in that game too and will be crucial on Saturday if he plays. Frank Cachia said at media on Friday that the early running was the best football they had played all season, but maintained they were yet to put together a full 90 minutes and he hoped that this weekend could be it. If they can begin like that again it will go a long way towards securing a win but it is unlikely that their opponents are once again so accommodating to start it off.
Kofi Danning missed the previous contest for Canberra FC but is set to play after a strong return performance in the big win over Tigers last weekend, and Paul Macor seems set to have a full-strength starting team available. Their concession of five goals in the Qualifying Final came as something of a surprise for a side that had conceded only 13 goals in the league throughout the regular season, but normal service was resumed as they kept a clean sheet in the Preliminary Final against one of the best attacking teams in the competition. Macor made it clear on Friday that he knows his team needs to start off far better than they did in the Qualifying Final, adding that an improved performance is just about turning up on the day. If they can match Olympic in that early running then it will be a big boost for them, and once settled in they can go to work up front. However if forced to chase the game then that will once more flip the odds against them.
What the Coaches Said |
Frank Cachia – Canberra Olympic
[On preparation] “Look we’ve been here in previous years. We were lucky enough to have the week off this time, so we got some extra time off over the weekend.”
[On Player Availability] “When you lose people like Faust and Cattanach during the year you’re always pushing it, so in terms of our Starting XI being full strength, no. But the XI that we’ve got, we’re absolutely confident with who we have and what we have on the bench.
[On positives from 5-3 QF Win]“We’ve been building towards that Qualifying Final performance all season, but I still don’t reckon we’ve done it for 90 minutes and that is the next step for us. But the guys are really happy with the way we went about it for 50-60 minutes and Canberra FC threw the kitchen sink at us towards the end and that was hard to hold out.”
Paul Macor – Canberra FC:
[On the Treble] “Everyone keeps saying that we’ve got to go for the treble, but I’ve told everyone who will listen since the start of the season that our goals were to win the Federation Cup and the Premiership, which for me holds more weight, but it would be nice to complete the treble.”
[On past finals performances] “Yesterday I was watching all the games of the finals gone by and I watched the 2014 game where Deakin were up and then it went to penalties and they lost. I was talking to Matty Grbesa and he was the one in the video that was missing the penalties, so I told him that if we go into penalties you’re not taking one.”
[On reversing the Qualifying Final result] “We need to turn up on the day. Olympic came out on that day and gave it to us straight away. We were down three goals inside the first half, we came back to 3-2 and we missed an opportunity to level it up, and I think if we scored that it would have been a different story. So it’s all about turning up on the day.