The New South Wales Blue side proved a step too far for the Gold Fields WA State Paras in a highly entertaining 2019 National CP Championship Grand Final.
The home side won Australia’s national seven-a-side tournament for players with cerebral palsy, defeating Western Australia 5-1 at Sydney’s Valentine Sports Park.
The match, which was held on World Cerebral Palsy Day, showcased some of the nation’s best CP footballers. NSW Blue’s Daniel Campbell led his side to victory with a hat trick, Jack Williams and Matthew Hearne grabbing the other goals for the Blues.
Tournament Golden Boot winner Connor Bunce got on the scoresheet for Western Australia.
NSW Blue started brilliantly, taking the lead after less than 20 seconds when Williams crossed from the left wing, providing Campbell with a tap in.
It was 2-0 to the Blues inside three minutes. Once again it was Campbell who found the net, racing onto an excellent scoop pass from Taj Lynch and drilling a low shot into the net.
Western Australia responded straight away and NSW Blue shotstopper Christopher Pyne had to be at his best to keep out a Bradley Scott effort. Jared Eiby was also active in the Western Australian goal, and he denied Connor Marsh twice in quick succession with some alert goalkeeping.
Midway through the first half, Ben Atkins brought the best out of Eiby, forcing him to claw a long range strike away from the top corner. Atkins headed wide from the resulting corner, and a couple of minutes later he set up Williams, but Eiby would close down the angle well.
Atkins persisted, and played a part in NSW Blue’s third goal on 23 minutes. It was his through ball that created a chance for Marsh, and although Eiby was able to save, the rebound left Williams with a simple finish.
Western Australia kept pushing, and got their reward with half-time approaching. Bunce showed the form that took him to the Golden Boot, surging past three opponents before beating Pyne with the outside of his left boot.
Bunce, just 16, continued to threaten after the break, unleashing a couple of powerful shots early in the second half, Pyne doing superbly well to keep both of them out.
However, the next goal would go to the Blues. Campbell took a quick free kick in the 40th minute and Hearne, on as a halftime substitute, rolled the ball into the bottom corner to make it 4-1.
Two minutes later it was 5-1. Campbell beat a defender on the left flank before heading straight towards goal and finishing emphatically. He completed his hat trick, and it was only fitting that he would be named as Player of the Match.
NSW Blue might even have scored more goals towards the end, with Eiby denying Atkins and Hearne sending a follow up effort into the side netting. Then with time almost up, Marsh almost repeated Bunce’s solo goal from the first half when he raced past two opponents, but Allan Sarago-Ah Kee got in the way of the shot.
After the game, NSW Blue head coach Ian Menzies praised his players for their execution.
“We did what we set out to do, and the structure we had was right.”
Meanwhile, Western Australia coach Fadi Ma’Ayah paid credit to NSW Blue, and also to his own side for their efforts over the course of the tournament.
“Congratulations to NSW Blue, they’re the benchmark and we try to learn from them,” he said.
“I’m proud of my players, I love the way they play and they fought for the whole game.”
Menzies is optimistic for the future, and especially pleased with the depth of talent in New South Wales.
“It’s excellent, especially now New South Wales has two teams, more players can put their hand up, go on Pararoos camps and be on the fringe.”
Ma’Ayah also has a positive outlook, stating that “if you look at our average age, it would be about 16. Expect more from Western Australia, there are some talented players coming through for sure!”
New South Wales Blue 5 (Daniel Campbell 1min 3’ 43’, Jack Williams 23’, Matthew Hearne 40’)
Western Australia 1 (Connor Bunce 29’)
Sunday 6 October 2019
At Valentine Sports Park No. 1
New South Wales Blue: 2. Taj LYNCH (7. Benjamin SUTTON 56’), 3. Jack WILLIAMS (8. Matthew HEARNE 31’), 4. Augustine MURPHY, 5. Daniel CAMPBELL (11. Jeremy BOYCE 46’), 6. Christopher PYNE (c), 9. Ben ATKINS, 10. Connor MARSH
Yellow cards: 10. Connor MARSH 40’, 4. Augustine MURPHY 43’, 11. Jeremy BOYCE 49’
Western Australia: 4. Christopher MINUTILLO (6. Allan SARAGO-AH KEE 16’), 7. Alessandro LA VERGHETTA (11. Giacomo IZZO 36’), 9. Connor BUNCE, 10. Bradley SCOTT, 17. Samuel McCONNACHY, 25. Christopher BARTY (c), 28. Jared EIBY
Unused Substitutes: 2. Rafferty BACON, 14. Patrick AMATO, 18. Setha CHHUM
Yellow cards: 10. Bradley SCOTT 40’
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Daniel Campbell, NSW Blue
PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Daniel Campbell, NSW Blue
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Georgia Beikoff, NSW White
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Evan Moorby, Capital Football
GOALKEEPER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Jared Eiby, Western Australia
GOLDEN BOOT: Connor Bunce, Western Australia (14 goals)
FT1 PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Christopher Pyne, NSW Blue
FT2 PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Timothy Blowes, NSW White
FT3 PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Jeremy Boyce, NSW Blue