The biggest game of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s season has arrived and months of blood, sweat and tears will culminate with what is set to be a blockbuster clash of the titans.
After 22 rounds and three weeks of finals, APIA Leichhardt Tigers will go head to head to decide who will be this season’s PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s Champions.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Manly United have been the form teams of the past 10 weeks and are fitting combatants for this season’s decider.
It has been historic seasons for both clubs with Manly United playing in their first grand final in 20 years while it is APIA’s first in 14 seasons.
The chance to bring home Championship success to their long-suffering fans is sure to inspire both sides for this blockbuster matchup.
APIA Leichhardt finally delivered on years of promise by breaking a 30-year premiership drought when they mounted a late season run to snatch the title from competition powerhouse Blacktown City. The Danial Cummins coached side has managed to find a way to win where teams from previous seasons have fallen short.
It is a similar story for their opposition Manly United. Years of falling short at the semi-final stage has come to an end for the club from the Northern Beaches. United has put together an incredible run of results to qualify for the grand final after finishing the season in fourth spot.
On the park both teams have squads bristling with talent and neither side possess any glaring weaknesses.
APIA did it at both ends of the field this season as they scored more goals (50) than anyone and conceded the least (18) in the competition.
Striker Jordan Murray continued his development as one of the best young marksmen in the competition scoring 13 goals in his second season at the club. It has also been a breakthrough campaign for Sean Symons who made the left wing position his own scoring 10 goals and providing countless assists.
Manly United’s achievements aren’t ones to be scoffed at either. Despite sitting outside the top five with six weeks of the competition to go, the Warren Grieve coached side hit their straps in the run home and was the second best attack in the league with 47 goals.
Boasting one of the strongest squads in the competition, Manly know their way to goal and had five players who scored five or more goals this season.
The game presents a number of key match-ups with some of the competition’s most talented players going head to head.
Can Josh Symons and the APIA defence hold out Manly’s barnstorming wingers Dejan Pandurevic and Scott Balderson.
Can Manly stop the APIA attack of Murray, Sean Symons and the Mercurial Tasuku Sekiya.
Will the scars from their comprehensive 5-0 loss to APIA prove too much for Manly to overcome, or will it inspire them to greater heights.
The two sides have only faced off twice this season and have a win each with a total of 11 goals scored between them across the two fixtures.
While APIA will have the mental edge as Premiers and comprehensive victors from the last clash between the two sides, Manly United are full of confidence and are playing some of their best football.
Whatever the outcome this afternoon, goals, excitement and entertainment are sure to be on the menu.
However, when it’s all said and done, only one team can be crowned Champion.
Sunday 10th September
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Manly United