Story via: Football NSW
Congratulations to St George City FA, who have been crowned the 2018 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Mens Premiership and Club Championship winners following a nerve-wracking and exciting Round 25 of football over the weekend.
Let’s review how the Camden Tigers – St George City FA fixtures unravelled, before taking a look at the remainder of the Round 25 matches, including our feature match between Stanmore Hawks and Gladesville Ryde Magic.
Camden Tigers – St George City FA 1-2
Facing Camden Tigers at Ron Dine Stadium, St George City FA won the Under 18s fixture 3-2 before defeating Camden Tigers 4-0 in the Under 20s match.
These two results meant that St George City FA’s lead at the top of the Club Championship ladder had become insurmountable, and they were deemed Club Championship victors before the First Grade kick off.
St George City had to hold off the celebrations, knowing there was a First Grade battle royale looming against a tough Camden Tigers outfit with a fantastic record at home.
News had come through that Hawkesbury City had defeated Dunbar Rovers 3-0 in the early match, which had closed the gap between the two sides at the top to just 2 points, with St George City FA knowing that a win and subsequent three points would stretch that lead out to five points with just one round of football remaining.
Kerim Kumsuz put St George City in front on 16 minutes, but Camden’s Jayden Russell threatened to spoil the party, equalising for the home side on 24 minutes with his 28th goal of the campaign.
But St George City FA would not be denied, edging back in front just after the half hour mark through Matthew Mayora, and doing enough to keep the Tigers at bay as they snared all three points in a 2-1 win.
The victory puts St George City FA on 56 points, five in front of Hawkesbury City, giving them the First Grade Premiership trophy on a momentous day for the club.
St George City FA – 2018 Premiers and Club Championship winners
It has been an arduous but fulfilling road for St George City FA, and FNSW asked Head Coach, Manny Spanoudakis, what this achievement means to the club.
“This achievement is validation and confirmation that we are doing something right, and that we are building a new pathway for kids in the St George district to senior football. The support by the community, including the member clubs, has been overwhelming, and we are proud to be representing the St George Football community.”
What have been some of the qualities that you encouraged and witnessed that has enabled the club to be so successful?
“The club comes before everything. No individual is more important than the club, we all share the same clear vision that it is the club and team before anything else, and we are all willing to sacrifice anything for the betterment of the club.”
“We are very proud of the brand of football that we play – it is a positive, attractive and contemporary brand of football that is evident across all teams in the club.”
“We also love the fact that we create opportunities for players to progress their career – players come to St George City FA and have the opportunity to develop their career and progress to a higher level such as NPL 1 and A League. The best form of advertisement for our club is for a player to develop to their fullest potential in our program and go on to a higher level of football.”
Who have been some of the key personnel on and off the park that have been major contributors to the club’s success?
“Off the park, Aytek Genc is our Head of Football, a man who has the experience, knowledge and vision to take a holistic view of our club and drive towards our objectives on all fronts.
Adrian Webster has been a great 1st grade assistant, as well taking over as our U20s coach midway through the year, whilst Stelios Pikoulas (Strength & Conditioning coach) and Mina Lawendy (Physio) have been professional, diligent and supportive in managing the challenges of keeping the players fit and on the park throughout the season.
Our team manager, Steve Keremelevski, remarkably takes on the managing duties for U18 & U20’s and is selfless in the time and effort he gives the club, whilst Micky Jurilj has done a sterling and successful job in coaching our U18s as well as coaching one of our NPL Youth teams.
On the park, we have managed to build a well-balanced squad that has been able to support the challenges a long season can bring. Our strikers, Geoffry Lino and Sam Messam, have taken turns in being the go to men in the front third. Club captain Bill Tsanidis has been our stable rock in the centre of defence, whilst our right back, Sean Thomas has been our most consistent player. James Spanoudakis has recovered well from injury early in the season to steer the attack around the park in the latter part of the season. Young Emanuel Koumis is 18yo and has developed into an outstanding striker in the absence of Geoffry Lino since Rd 15 and Steve Kuzmanovski (21yo) has made a fantastic return from a serious injury and shown his elite qualities as a former Young Socceroo and A League player. Our keeper, Chris Marques, has helped keep many clean sheets, whilst our signings in the transfer window have come in a done a great job for us, with Matthew Mayora adding experience and scoring a few goals, and Paul Turrin solidifying our backline, the list goes on and on – in short, the balance and mix was right, we could depend on anyone and any given point, and we had the best defence in terms of a work ethic throughout the team.”
St George City FA will go in to their final game of the competition proper against Granville Rage at Garside Park next weekend with two trophies under their belt, and will no doubt be now aiming for a clean sweep with their eyes firmly set on a Championship victory in a few weeks’ time.