Finals Sides Are Locked In

And there we have it folks, after 22 rounds the NPL 1 finals sides have finally been decided.

Credit: FNSW

Wollongong Wolves enter the finals as the premiers, racking up a staggering 51 points. The only team to have done better than that was Sydney United in 2015 where they gained 54 points to be premiers.

What’s even more impressive is they held onto top spot for the entire competition, from round 1 all the way through.

52 goals scored with only 17 against, the best defensive record since the NPL was formed. Not a bad feat for Justin Pasfield and his defense.

And of course you can’t not mention the revelation Thomas James and his contribution to the side. Taking out the golden boot on the final day with 22 goals, just beating Chris Payne who notched up 21.

Credit: FNSW

APIA Leichhardt Tigers take second place, and will be going into the finals weary of the sides they have to face. Finishing with 42 points there was a real possibility they could have caught the Wolves 6 or so weeks ago, but with 2 wins, 2 draws and a loss in their last 5, they may wish they were heading into the finals with a little more momentum.

If they manage to get past Blacktown next week, they take on the premiers only a few days later, or the winner of Sydney United and Marconi.

Credit: FNSW

Blacktown City finish 3rd in a season that many wrote them off in, but Critto proved everyone wrong once again.

Their last 5 games have seen them take 2 wins and a draw, with that draw coming against their opposition next week. They have the advantage of beating the Wolves only a few weeks ago so that may give them confidence if they come up against the Wollongong side.

However their final round draw with relegated side Hakoah shows how vulnerable the side is.

Credit: FNSW

Sydney United won their final game against Manly United to secure their finals place. 2 wins in their last 5 and a 0-0 draw against Marconi 6 rounds ago doesn’t tell us a great deal, except that they managed to pull a bit of luck out of thin air to make the finals this year.

However they are very experienced in the finals, and know how to win these one off games. If teams aren’t careful they will find themselves caught off guard against United, however they will have their FFA Cup clash with Western Sydney Wanderers in a few weeks in the back of their mind.

The question becomes; NSW NPL finals, or trying to advance in the cup?

Credit: FNSW

Marconi Stallions round out the top 5 despite losing their final game to the premiers. Sydney Olympic tied on points however missed out due to GD. Their last 5 before today’s game saw them with 4 wins and a draw, including a win over Blacktown. It’s safe to say that they will fancy themselves if they beat Sydney United however;

With their FFA Cup tie scheduled for the 21st and a potential final on the 21st if they bear United, what will happen? Surely FFA won’t budge, and there isn’t any extra time to play the finals game as the semis will be played on the weekend. Could we see a team forced to forfeit a finals match for the sake of their FFA Cup tie?

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