The stage is set for a cracking Grand Final in the PlayStation 4 NPL 2016 Finals Series.
The Edgeworth Eagles' fairytale season continued last weekend when they travelled to Perth and knocked off the best team from PS4 NPL WA, while Sydney United 58 showed their class with a come-from-behind win against the Brisbane Strikers.
Of the three previous editions of the PS4 NPL Finals Series, teams from NSW have dominated the competition, winning two of the three Grand Finals. Blacktown City won the competition last year against Bayswater City while Sydney United 58 won the inaugural competition in 2013 defeating South Hobart.
Like Sydney United 58, this is year is also Edgeworth's second appearance in the knockout competition after they were beaten 3-1 by Moreton Bay in last year's Elimination Finals, and there are many who would have expected them to do much damage in 2016.
But having lost just three matches this year, two against Hamilton Olympic in PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW and one against the Western Sydney Wanderers in the FFA Cup, they have stormed into the PlayStation 4 NPL 2016 Finals Series decider.
Leading into Sunday's Grand Final, the key players for both sides come in the front third. For the Eagles it is undoubtedly Daniel McBreen, with Edgeworth president Warren Mills telling the media this week that the club would pay to fly their striker home from his family holiday in Fiji and then back again.
McBreen’s crisp control and volley for the winner on Saturday evening against Perth SC was one of pure class and his experience has helped mould an Eagles side which was dominant in Northern NSW in 2015 to a side which has been dominant over Australia in 2016.
They are not a one-man team though with the likes of Keanu Moore in the midfield and Josh Evans at the back providing the foundations for a side who conceded 19 goals in 18 matches across the league season. Leading scorer Keigo Moriyasu, who found the net 17 times in the NPL Northern NSW, has come off the bench against Bentleigh and Perth, and hasn’t had much impact so far in the finals. Maybe this is his chance to stand tall.
On the other side, former Central Coast Mariners and North Queensland Fury midfielder Panny Nikas has played a starring role in the PlayStation NPL Finals series for Sydney United and if his hot run of form continues, the Eagles backline will have a tough afternoon.
Nikas scored 17 regular season goals in this year's PlayStation 4 NPL NSW competition, and while he was bettered by teammate and former A-League striker Chris Payne with 22, it has been Nikas who has scored five of United’s last seven goals.
With a spot in the Westfield FFA Cup 2017 Round of 32 on the line, this match could go either way, but playing at home for the third week running, Sydney United 58 will go into the match as favourites, while Edgeworth will attempt to repeat the feat of South Australian club MetroStars in 2014 as they won three matches in a row away from home to be crowned PlayStation 4 NPL Champions of Australia.
PlayStation 4 NPL 2016 Grand Final
Sydney United 58 FC v Edgeworth Eagles
Sunday 2 October 2016
Sydney United Sports Centre