West Adelaide and Croydon Kings will face off on Saturday in the South Australia NPL preliminary final at Adelaide Shores Football Centre, with a spot in the grand final up for grabs.
Despite winning the second match of their two-legged tie with premiers MetroStars, West Adelaide lost 2-1 on aggregate to miss out on automatic progression into the grand final.
Meanwhile, Croydon backed up their 4-0 demolition of Adelaide City with a 4-1 victory over Adelaide Blue Eagles to advance into the third week of the Finals Series.
West Adelaide finished the season in second, one point ahead of third-placed Croydon.
West Adelaide full back Joe Wright said last week’s 1-0 win against MetroStars was good for the team, despite not advancing directly into the grand final.
“Most importantly we kept a clean sheet, but we also played free flowing football and a few young boys made their debut, which was pleasing to see them hold their own,” Wright said.
Wright said West Adelaide’s game preparations for the do-or-die clash have been no different to their usual routine.
“We have prepared for the game just like any other,” Wright said.
“We know the opposition and if we stick to our game plan and play the attacking brand of football we like to play then we will give ourselves a great chance.”
After narrowly missing out on second spot in Round 26, Croydon seem to be peaking at the right time of the season, scoring massive wins against giants Adelaide City and Adelaide Blue Eagles.
Key midfielder Rocco Visconte said that these two wins have given Croydon additional confidence going into Saturday’s match.
“The way the finals are, every game is going to be hard. Adelaide City was a tough game, Blue Eagles are tough and West Adelaide are another tough team,” Visconte said.
“Winning those two games does give us a lot of confidence, but we know that on the weekend we need to be playing our best to get over the line.”
Visconte said his team would need to work particularly hard off the ball in order to put pressure on their opponents.
“We’ve just got to keep playing the way we have in the last couple weeks,” he said.
“We’ve prepared as normally. All the boys know it’s a finals game, but we’re not treating it differently to any other game.”
West Adelaide defeated Croydon 3-2 at Adelaide Shores Football Centre in Round 7, but Croydon got their revenge in the return fixture, claiming a 3-0 win at Polonia Reserve in Round 20.
South Australia National Premier League Finals Series Preliminary Final
West Adelaide v Croydon Kings
When: Saturday, September 6th. Kick off 2:30pm
Where: Adelaide Shores Football Centre, West Beach Rd, WEST BEACH
Image courtesy of Chris Kelly