Rafe Griffin (@griffofootball)
Well Merson earlier this week took a look at what happened around Brisbane during 2015. I’ve picked up a couple of things he didn’t and gone a little more further afield in the things that caught my eye over the previous twelve months.
Most entertaining match of the year
It’s probably no coincidence that two of the most exciting games in the short lifetime of the FFA Cup have both involved local Premier League teams against NPL opposition, the epitome of what the competition is about.
Last year Caloundra v Sunshine Coast Fire had that honour, this year it is Broadbeach United v Palm Beach NPL. Broadbeach went into the match undefeated in the league while the 2014 NPL Premiers had been brought back to the pack a little after a host of off-season departures.
That had all the makings of an epic and it lived up to expectations with Palm Beach coming from behind twice to force the match into a penalty shoot-out. The only time the Sharks lead in the match was when the shoot-out came to an end after an amazing 26 attempts. Also featuring was our goal of the year, a wonder strike by Adam Powell from halfway. Let’s hope we continue to have more of these nights in the coming years.
This one also from the FFA Cup, that we didn’t get to see Kawana progress through the competition after they fielded an ineligible player in their round four match against Noosa Lions.
Force showed all the signs that they could make it to the final 32 but sadly we’ll never know whether that would have been the case.
Worst decision of the year
There’s really only one contender. To abandon the final three NPL Senior Mens catch-up games with the Premiership and Golden Boot still in the balance. Let’s just hope that lessons have been learned and contingencies are put in place if something similar happens in the future.
Well there’s two contenders actually because very close behind it was to impose an age limit on the Womens NPL Senior competition, the saving grace is that decision was eventually overturned by Football Queensland.
Get the popcorn and the Brasso, it’s the post-match press conference featuring Sam Saif and Nick Croydon after Mitchelton played Logan Lightning in round ten with Sam providing a friendly reminder of his achievements in the game.
NPL player of the year
Matt Capello from Moreton Bay. He’s not one that you’ll immediately pick up when you watch him play, Capello goes out there and does what he needs to do in workmanlike fashion and was a major factor in the success that the Jets enjoyed this year.
Let’s forget it ever happened
It was a Saturday afternoon at Perry Park in round five of the NPL where Brisbane Roar Youth hosted Western Pride. Pride looked good for the first fifteen minutes but it quickly went down after the Roar scored the opening goal. The Roar went on to score another eleven goals with Pride down to nine men by half-time.
Oh so close
The four Queensland clubs that made the FFA Cup final 32 all acquitted themselves well but there’ll be thoughts of what could have been.
Brisbane Strikers had their match against Hume City in the bag twice, both in regulation time and then again in extra time before late Hume goals at the end of those periods snuffed our further progression. Hume going onto a massive pay-day in ultimately making the semis.
FNQ Heat took Oakleigh Cannons all the way with Jamie Gosling scoring late to force a penalty shoot-out but the Heat were eliminated in the cruelest of ways.
Lions FC travelled to Adelaide and defeated Croydon Kings which then set up a dream tie against the A-League’s Perth Glory. Signs were positive for the former NSL club early on when Glory had ‘keeper Jarryd Tyson sent off for bringing down Shoheel Khan in the box. Unfortunately Lions couldn’t take advantage of the early penalty chance and the numerical advantage falling to the eventual finalists deep in extra time.
Palm Beach were involved in an epic game of their own against the highly fancied South Melbourne. Sharks ‘keeper Shane Viitakangas proving to be the hero in a penalty shoot-out round of 32 win.
Referee of the year
Rebecca Durcau gets our nod. With a calm demeanour, she quietly goes about her business but is firm and lays down the law when it’s called for. Her efforts didn’t go unrecognised from the powers that be either when she was the first female appointed to officiate in a FFA Cup final 32 match taking control of Gungahlin v Sydney Olympic.
Peninsula’s ‘goal’ in the round nine Brisbane Premier League match against Albany Creek. It had it all. Jared Austin pulling off a tackle Alfie Langer would be proud of. ACE coach Pouria Nabi entering the field as confusion reigned from every direction.
Personal moments of the year
I’m not normally one to self-indulge but if I may, let me toot my own trumpet for just a brief period with two moments that I’m personally proud of this year.
First was overseeing our coverage when Liverpool visited Brisbane. In my opinion, we brought you some of the best coverage going round in capturing the buzz associated with the event.
Second was having the opportunity to call the Lions v Perth Glory match for Fox Sports. Like players and coaches and those intimately involved with clubs, the FFA Cup has provided a platform to showcase talents outside the bounds of what we’re normally used to on a weekly basis. I’m personally thankful for the support I received in the lead-up to that match as well as throughout the season.
On behalf of everyone involved at Queensland Soccer News, we’d like to thank you for your continued support during 2015. The endless hours we put into QSN are rewarded by your kind wishes and comments. With the new season just around the corner, we look forward in continuing to bring you Queensland’s best coverage of the round ball game.