Two massive fixtures set the stage for what should be an incredible weekend of Finals football in the State League Men’s.

 

St. George FA vs. Hurstville FC – Sunday 11 September, 2PM at Arlington Reserve

Premiers St. George FA will return to action this Sunday, taking on second placed Hurstville FC in what should be an engrossing battle.

As reward for finishing atop the table, St. George had last weekend off – a good opportunity to rest after a long season, and mentally prepare for the Finals ahead.

Coach Manny Spanoudakis says that his side isn’t stressed over the Finals series, having already achieved more than their objectives this season.

“Our goal for the season was to win the Club Championship and get promoted. Thankfully we achieved our goal so anything from this point on is a bonus.”

“The players are relaxed and in a positive frame of mind – our objective is to play an attractive brand of football for the many young kids in our development programs coming to what the game with their parents.”

Spanoudakis hopes that his side can play in a way that is a good advertisement for State League football.

“It’s important that it’s played in a good spirit and providing a great spectacle for the many families who will come to watch the local derby.”

“It’s a very exciting weekend ahead and I’m looking forward to an enjoyable and attractive game regardless of the result.”

Hurstville FC were at their very best against the SD Raiders FC last weekend, dominating in a convincing 2-0 victory. Banic was the hero for Hurstville, scoring a goal in each half to secure the victory.

These two sides have faced twice this season, each winning one game in extremely tight circumstances. Hurstville inflicted one of St. George’s seldom losses, winning 2-1 in Round 4. Towards the end of the season, St. George came away with a narrow 1-0 victory.

The winner of this Sunday’s fixture will book a place in the Grand Final, while the loser will have to take on the victor of Camden and the SD Raiders.

SD Raiders FC vs. Camden Tigers FC – Saturday 10 September, 6PM at Valentine Sports Park 3

Two of the competition’s most dynamic attacking sides will lock horns this Saturday, with the loser eliminated from the Finals.

Camden were thrilling to watch in last weekend’s victory over Bankstown United, with their attacking trio of Dean Mugridge, Sean Richardson and Jayden Russell too hot to handle.

Southern Districts had a much more trying weekend, dominated by Hurstville FC and failing to get on the scoresheet – a rare difficulty for the Raiders this season.

This Saturday’s fixture will excitingly feature all three of the league’s highest goalscorers this season: SD Raiders’ Mitch Mclintock (33) and Mark Symington (19), as well as Camden’s Jayden Russell (19).

Camden will have to shore up their defensive unit this weekend as, despite scoring rampantly, the Tigers have conceded regularly in lapses over the past two fixtures. They can not afford to leak goals against a clinical Raiders outfit, who led the league in scoring this season.

Coach Dean Bradley admits that the Raiders will be a tough mountain to climb, but backs his squad to overcome them.

“A great challenge they will be, but they are not unbeatable as we have seen. We as a squad are confident in ourselves and will concentrate on ourselves rather than the opposition this week, as if we think about them too much we lose sight of our objective.””

“Our squad is a bit battered from last weekend, though we have a quality squad and whoever comes in knows the system we play and will do the job they’re asked to do.”

Camden and the Raiders have faced each other twice this season, with both sides winning one of the encounters. The Raiders smashed Camden 7-1 in Round 4, but the Tigers earned an impressive 3-2 victory later in the year.

-by Daniel Palmer, Football NSW State League Men’s Reporter