Sydney seal Premiers Plate

Sydney FC 4-0 Newcastle Jets

Report by Ben Gilby, EXCLUSIVE photos from Allianz Stadium from Kris Goman (2/4/23)

Above: Sydney FC lift the premiers plate after a 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Sydney FC sealed a third successive Premiers Plate with victory over Newcastle Jets.

Whilst the match was not completely settled until the final 12 minutes, Ante Juric’s team were comfortable winners. The Harbour City side are going into the Finals, Canberra United apart, as the in-form side, and there will be confidence coursing through their veins as they look to improve on their recent record of five defeats in the last seven Grand Finals.

Whilst the match was played in dry conditions, there was a torrential downpour leading up to kick-off that left areas of the playing surface with significant amounts of water on.

With Sydney FC going into the game knowing they just needed to win, the Jets wanted to spoil their party to commemorate Tara Andrews’ 131st appearance and send Teigan Allen off a high ahead of her retirement.

Sydney FC hit the front just after the quarter of an hour mark as Princess Ibini put on the afterburners to get past Chloe Walandouw on the left flank before cutting back for Mackenzie Hawkesby to lift a first-time shot over Georgie Worth in the Jets goal.

Above: Mackenzie Hawkesby celebrates after putting Sydney FC 2-0 up. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

It took the Sky Blues until 12 minutes before the end to make the game safe. Madison Haley attacked along the left before cutting in and playing a pass to Hawkesby who was positioned centrally around 25 yards from goal. The talented attacker ran on and fired a shot from just outside the box which substitute keeper Claire Coelho got a palm to which only served to help the ball into the net.

Two further strikes in stoppage time at the end of the 90 minutes put the icing on the Premiers cake. Again, Haley was involved as her lofted pass in midfield was inadvertently headed into Cortnee Vine’s path by a Jet. The Sydney star, shortly to jet off to England to join the Matildas camp, gathered possession, and drove on before confidently dispatching a low shot into the net from just inside the box.

Vine completed the Sydney win six minutes into added time when she was found by Hunter on the right-hand side of the box and fired home.

With Vine finding peak form as her side go into Finals, the Sky Blues look to be red-hot favourites this time to finally end their run of three successive Grand Final defeats.

Above: Sydney FC captain Nat Tobin with the Premiers Plate. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Captain Natalie Tobin became only the second captain in history to lift the Plate twice in a row following in the footsteps of ex-Sydney FC skipper Heather Garriock in 2010.

“It feels fantastic to have set this new benchmark and we are all very happy,” said the five-time major trophy winner.

“To know we have created history and become the first team to win the Premiers Plate three times in a row is an achievement which will live with us all for a very long time. “I’m so proud of our squad and every one of our girls.  It has been a privilege to captain them. It’s very special and a great record to have but our goal is to win the Championship and we intend to keep going and complete the double.”

Head Coach Ante Juric was full of praise for his young squad who have an average age of just 21. “These girls thoroughly deserve this accolade. They have worked hard and I hope they get the recognition and acknowledgment this achievement merits.

“We’ve had a lot to deal with this season but our players have overcome every hurdle put in their way and I’m delighted for them. It is extremely hard to continue to be successful as everyone steps up against us and wants to beat us so to become the only team in A-Leagues history to win three consecutive Premierships is a remarkable feat.

“There is more work to do and we are more determined than ever to ensure we finish the season on a high in the Finals Series.”

Sydney FC have won the competition more times than any other club with this fifth Premiership in the club’s history. They are also clear on eight major Liberty A-League Women’s titles (three as champions, and five Premiers) ahead of the six won by Melbourne City.

The Sky Blues will face Western United on Sunday 16th April to determine who will proceed straight to the Grand Final.  Kick is at 5.45pm.

Kris Goman’s exclusive photo gallery from Allianz Stadium

Teams: SYDNEY FC (4-3-3): Whyman, Rule, Tobin, de la Harpe, Fenton, Hawkesby, I. Dos Santos, Hunter, Vine, Lowe, Ibini. Substitutes: Collister, Green, Haley, Hollman, Offer (GK).

Scorers: Hawkesby 16′, 78′. Vine 90+1′, 90+5.

NEWCASTLE JETS (4-3-3): Worth, Clough, Garnier, Allen, Walandouw, Johnson, David, Agnew, Stapleford, Roach, L. Allan. Substitutes: J. Allan, Andrews, Brodigan, Coelho (GK), Puxty.

Referee: Isabella Blaess.

Attendance: 1,338.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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