Flags are in bag, now cup is final desire - August 22 2012
Flags are in bag, now cup is final desire
August 22 2012
Grand final victories remain the holy grail in Australian soccer, but there is still plenty of passion for tradition in Goulburn North East Football Association and Regional Premier League.
In most leagues across the world, finishing on top of the ladder at season’s end is how the champion is decided and the flag remains a valued achievement.
Shepparton United will hope finals bear as much fruit as the home-and-away season has, after finishing on top in four leagues — RPL, open women’s, under-17 boys and under-13 boys.
For coach of the Blues’ RPL side, Aaron Westervelt, the minor premiership was reward for effort.
‘‘To end up on top of the league after 18 games doesn’t mean you’re the best team, but the most consistent,’’ Westervelt said.
However, he said while Saturday night was one of celebration, the club would be hitting the training track hard this week to finish the job in finals.
‘‘You can win the flag, but if you don’t win the cup it means nothing,’’ he said.
GNEFA’s two newest clubs Kyabram Phoenix and Kialla United won their maiden flags in the under-16 girls and men’s division two competitions respectively, while Shepparton South took out the under-15 boys’ and under-14 girls’ leagues and Shepparton won the under-11 mixed competition.
The Phoenix finished second on the ladder last season and went on to win the cup, but club president Serge Minicozzi said it was ‘‘very exciting’’ to win a flag, particularly with a ‘‘perfect’’ home-and-away season.
The club will also play finals in the open women’s competition for the first time and is benefiting from success at junior level.
‘‘Half our women’s team played under-16s together last year and it makes such a difference,’’ Minicozzi said.
‘‘Not only were the under-16 girls undefeated this season, they didn’t even draw a game and it’s the first time in the club’s history we have finished on top of the ladder.’’
Finals for all GNEFA run leagues begin this weekend.