NPL 1 Youth Grand Final Previews

Months of training and matches has all come down to this weekend at the home of Football NSW, Valentine Sports Park for the NPL1 Youth Grand Finals.

We have four matches, all of which should be footballing spectacles! Below we have a closer look at each final and team involved, from all of us at The Clean Sheet we urge as many people to get down and support these games, many future Socceroos stars could be on display!

All photos were given to us from the clubs themselves, we would like to thank Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Sydney Olympic FC, Sutherland Sharks FC, Marconi Stallions FC, Sydney FC and St George FC.

U13s Western Sydney Wanderers vs Sydney Olympic 8:30am

First up we have the U13s final which will probably be as tightly contested as the league season was, WSW ultimately took out the Premiership edging Sutherland who finished 2nd by 1 point and grand final opponents Sydney Olympic only a further point behind.

Both sides are have been very well drilled offensively and defensively this season, finals football always throws up some interesting flavours.

We spoke to both teams hear from them below.

WSW 13s Head coach – Rob Bradshaw 

WSW 13s Assistant Coach – Eddie Narayan

‘This season went to the last round and the premiership could have been won by 3 teams on the last day. To win it is a testament to this group of boys. The finals have been exciting, physical and the players have had to play these particular games with a different mentality and pressure as opposed to competition games.

This group of players are very competitive and play with great enthusiasm week to week. We have tried to play a style of football that will benefit the players long term and will look to build on this next season regardless of the outcome this weekend. I am proud of this group and how they have developed.  We look forward to the tough challenge v Olympic this Saturday and hopefully we can finish off what I would consider a successful season for the players.’

Sydney Olympic 13s Head Coach – Kerim Baba

‘As a club we would like to congratulate Western Sydney Wanderers on a great season and a well-deserved place in the 2019 Grand Final. The level of football in the U13s this year was of an extremely high standard.’

I would also like to congratulate our boys, staff and club in general for the support and effort they have shown throughout this season. I’m very proud of our boys , they have shown great commitment, passion,  determination and a resilient attitude in making the Grand Final, they are to be commended for this season effort in what has  been a tough high level competition.

‘As a club we  hope to see supporters of both clubs at the Grand Final, which will showcase the best of Australia’s young talent, and one that promises to be an entertaining game. 

We are extremely happy about the way our Youth teams have performed and developed this year.’

U14s Western Sydney Wanderers vs Sutherland Sharks FC – 10:15am

The final for the U14s in 2019 will be a great football contest, The Wanderers may have finished 14 points above Saturday’s opponents as the red and black took control of the competition from day 1 and never looked back as teams around them lost matches the Wanderers are staring at an unbeaten season. If any side can stop them on their day it is the Sutherland Sharks who beat 8 out of the top 10 sides this year, can The Sharks finally take a bite out of the Wanderers? An interesting battle will be between Sharks Jayden Gasking and WSW Lucas Craus.

We spoke to both clubs, hear from them here.

WSW 14’s Coach – Geoff Abrahams

WSW Assistant Coach – Peter Kofinas

It’s been an amazing year for our under 14’s. They’ve driven each other to continuously improve and this has led us to a premiership and grand final appearance against a very good side from a club in Sutherland that produces good teams every year. We are looking forward to the opportunity to play in a grand final and will look to play the football that has got us to this position.

Sutherland Sharks 14s Head Coach – Steve Karavatakis

Sutherland Sharks 14s Assistant Coach – Gary Spivak

Steve Karavatakis says: The last time we played Western Sydney Wanderers, we dominated the first half, and they dominated the second half, with the major difference being that they took their chances, and we didn’t. The boys deserve their spot in the grand final and they now have an opportunity to play against a top class side and learn what grand finals are all about.

U15s Sutherland Sharks vs Marconi – 12:00pm

U15s final, Sutherland vs Marconi, not a final many would have predicted for this age group when the finals series was confirmed. Sutherland have had two David vs Goliath clashes and incredibly  overcame Premiers WSW in the Quarter Final and Runners up SFC in the Semi final, if they want to lift the trophy Saturday afternoon they now have to get past 3rd placed Marconi Stallions.

While Marconi went about their business and got past Mt Druitt Town Rangers and Central Coast Mariners in the QF and SF respectively. The 15s age group from 1st to 7th was only separated by 8 points and incredibly tight competition. Sutherland definitely the outlier finishing 8th but still only 13 points off the top of the table. Really proves this age group is fiercely competitive and both clubs will be itching to have their names placed into the history books.

Sutherland Sharks 15s Head Coach – Charlie Mellino 

Sutherland Sharks 15s Assistant Coach – Clint Harrod

‘We just got into the semis as we had too many draws during the year because we didn’t take our chances. But finals are all about taking your chances and we’ve done that in the last couple weeks. There’s one game to go and we’ve got good momentum so we look forward to carrying that good form into the final.’

Marconi 15s Head Coach – Miguel Sosa

Marconi 15s Assistant Coach – Yves Lorenzo

Marconi 15s Assistant Coach – Allan Hancock

‘We as a coaching staff have set high expectations and these lads have worked hard individually and collectively each week to achieve these for the club and each other. We are very proud of the boys and look forward to a great game and occassion on Saturday against a very good team.’

U16s Sydney FC vs St George FC – 2:00pm

Both teams extremely strong over the course of the season, with both clubs using many of these players in their senior program throughout the season which club will come up trumps in front of what is expected to be a big crowd at Valentine Sports Park, this is a match you do not want to miss! Both sides dominated their semi final opponents, SFC running out 5-0 winners over WSW and St George 3-0 victors over Northern Tigers. Toe to toe for the final time as Youth footballers before these players move into senior football!

We reached out to both clubs.

Sydney FC 16s Staff List:

  • Coach – Jason Rea
  • Assistant Coach – Mohammed Taiba
  • Manager – Richard Paddle 
  • Goalkeeper coach – Mizuki Ito (Micky)

“This weekend is a great reward for all the development the boys have shown throughout the year and their time with us at Sydney FC. The majority of them they have spent 4 years with the academy so this pays homage to their hard work and application and the work all the staff have done during their time here.

Throughout the season we have also had a number of U15 players in this U16 side, with 45% of the squad makeup being 15 or younger.A focus at the academy is attacking principles and this was highlighted in the number of goals we scored all year. We will be looking for our attacking players to lead from the front, with and without the ball and this will lay the platform for a successful match.

Our overall objective at the academy is to produce A League and National Team players and moments like these are learning opportunities that the boys can take with them regardless of the result. We are all looking forward to seeing how they handle the occasion.

We wish St George the best of luck for the game, they have had a good season and were tough opponents for us earlier in the season. They have some specific threats we will need to counter if we are successful and our boys will need to be professional and ruthless to get the victory.”

We reached out to St George FC and 16s Head Coach John Christou for comment but unfortunately at the time of publication no comment was received. Please get in contact so we can amend the article.

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