Swirling winds, midday heat, goals, a penalty given, then changed to a free kick, injuries, stoppages, ambulances, extra time, wheelchairs, shootouts, high drama and finally – more than three hours later – a result.
Unfortunately not the one our girls had played so well all season to achieve with our opponents Bankstown edging it in the most cruel and unfair way to decide a game.
To summarise the football part, Sutherland opened the scoring in the 15th minute through a fine goal to Bec from an excellent pass from Leanna off the back of a sustained opening period of possession and territorial dominance.
Bankstown equalised from a set piece 5 minutes before half time and that’s how it stayed until penalties where we went down 3-4.
As a spectacle the constant delays after half time did little to help the flow of the game but through it all the entire team showed class, maturity and, even after a defeat as disappointing as this, humility to congratulate the victors and give them their moment in the sun, literally.
What has been most impressive about the Under 17s this year is they are a genuine team. There are no weak links, nobody that has underperformed, let anyone down or been carried by others. Every single player has contributed to their team’s success.
Let’s start with our fine Keeper Matilda Woods and the magnificent defence of Zoe & Tahlee Zammit, Brodie Momsen, Jayika Thompson and Emily Thurgar who made every effort to play out from the back and keep the ball on the deck despite the ultimate risk of conceding a goal.
Our diverse midfield was highly entertaining with such technically gifted players as Jasmine Stretton, Grace Roddy, Rebecca Leech and Captain fantastic Georgia James pulling all the strings.
And then up front we had the likes of Isabella Fry, Bridget Fallah, Christina Dendrinos, Leanna Snuddon and Sophia Haralambis running the opposition ragged.
Not to forget the valuable assistance many of the Under 15s girls provided throughout the year when called upon.
The fact that eleven of our fourteen field players all scored a goal or more this season clearly illustrated how strong we were as a collective.
And all good friends off the field too which can never be underestimated as the secret ingredient to a side’s success on it.
A huge vote of thanks to our Coach Steve Brown & his assistant Nicole Besz who put so much time and effort week in week out to not only help the girls win games but also develop further and most importantly enjoy their football which I feel they all did.
Our team Manager Anna Zammit made by far the hardest and most thankless job in the club look so easy and simple. Thanks Anna.
Lastly thank you to all the parents who played their part in the background from free Uber services, barbecues, taking photographs, writing match reports, donning the fluoro vests to subdue overexcited Sutherland fathers/spectators and generally enjoy watching their daughters play such entertaining football.
It has been a very successful and memorable season. See you all next year.