Impetus’ Ryan Miller-Woods previews tomorrow’s NPLW NSW Grand Final which sees Northern Tigers face off against Macarthur Rams in the season’s defining match (17/9/22).
Above: Hannah McNulty of Northern Tigers (left) and Bethany Gordon of Macarthur Rams prepare to face off in tomorrow’s NPLW NSW Grand Final. Photo: NPLNSW.
It has all come down to this. After 22 matches in the regular season and two semi-finals, we are down to just the two teams that have made it to the NPLW NSW Grand Final who will be both vying to be ones’ victorious come the final whistle on Sunday as Northern Tigers take on Macarthur Rams at Valentine Sports Park.
Macarthur Rams sealed their spot in the Grand Final first against APIA Leichhardt last week in a clash that went a full 120 minutes. A great goal by Bethany Gordon being the decisive moment in the second period of extra time to send Macarthur through to ‘The Big Dance’, the 2022 NPLW NSW Grand Final after Shea Connors’ strike for APIA had sent the match into a further half-hour.
As for the second of the two semi-finals that were played, it was the Regular Season Premiers Sydney University up against Northern Tigers. As well as having the premiers title in their back pocket, Sydney University could also point to two wins against the Tigers during the regular season, having defeated their opponents 1-0 at home in Round 11 and 4-2 away in Round 22.
Maybe it was the prospect of the bigger picture for the Northern Tigers knowing what a victory would mean for them in this particular match or a switch went off knowing exactly what was required of them to finally have Sydney University’s number but either way, to say that a 3-0 victory for them against arguably the best team all season in the NPLW NSW was expected, was not what many of us would have had on our bingo cards. Impetus charity partners Moriarty Foundation’s inaugural scholarship holder Shadeene Evans popped up with two goals, with Beth Bernardi adding the other to see them comfortably make it through to this Sunday’s Grand Final.
The tale of the tape between the two sides during this season was a 1-0 victory in Round Five to the Northern Tigers thanks to the only goal in the match being scored by Ashlee Brodigan and a 1-1 draw in Round 16 with goals from Isabel Gomez and Patricia Charalambous for the Northern Tigers and Macarthur Rams respectively.
There are two players (in my opinion) to watch out for in the Grand Final – Beth Gordon of Macarthur Rams and Isabel Gomez of Northern Tigers.
Gordon’s goal against APIA Leichhardt in the Semi-Final will surely make her feel like she is on top of the world at the moment as it is one thing to score a goal that takes your side to a Grand Final, it is another thing altogether to score the way that she did.
Gomez has truly been a star amongst the Northern Tigers this season. She is such a skilful and graceful player with the ball at her feet. Gomez truly makes it look so effortless when she is out there on the pitch. In my eyes she can honestly make or break a match with her presence, as the way she conducts herself match in, match out, is a massive benefit to players that are around her as she is an integral player within the squad.
Her form in the NPLW NSW bodes well for her second season in the A-League Women at Wellington Phoenix.
Overall, Northern Tigers are favourites for Sunday’s showdown mainly due to their comprehensive dismissal of Sydney University in last week’s semi-final. They will be full of confidence that they can continue from where they have left off in that match and show the quality within their ranks.
Macarthur Rams will certainly pose a big challenge for the Tigers. They showed their grit and determination to overcome the concession of an equaliser in their semi against APIA Leichhardt to come back and win in extra-time – although the extra minutes in their legs may equally prove a factor.
The match in itself is shaping to be something that could be quite the spectacle to watch given how both sides have made it to this point and either side will surely not let the other team take home the bragging rights without a fight.
The official match programme for the game can be downloaded here: https://footballnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Womens-NPL-grand-final-program.pdf
The NPLW NSW Grand Final between Northern Tigers and Macarthur Rams kicks off at 3:00pm local time – 6:00am UK time, 7:00am CET. It will be broadcast live on NPL TV where it can also be viewed on demand anywhere around the world.