After making history yet again this season with their 3-1 extra time victory over the Bentleigh Greens last weekend, the Edgeworth Eagles head across the Nullabor to take on Perth SC on Saturday night.
Edgeworth’s Keanu Moore was the star for the Eagles last weekend, who scored their opening goal and was everywhere on an energy-sapping afternoon in Victoria. Moore was reportedly approached by scouts from three other clubs after his brilliant performance and it seems the only way is up for Edgeworth’s young attacking weapon.
Aden Gardner’s performance for the Eagles’ was also crucial last weekend with two goals in extra-time ensuring Edgeworth would make it through to the Semi-Finals. The 19-year-old had already scored some big goals for the Eagles this year, getting them out of jail against the Newcastle Jets Youth side who they trailed 2-1 going into the last 10 minutes of their round 12 match in the NPL Northern NSW. No doubt last weekend would have added to the young midfielder’s confidence.
Edgeworth’s experienced striker Daniel McBreen returns to the city he had some A-League time at. It wasn’t a long period at the Perth Glory, but it was a fruitful one, as he played seven matches and scored five goals. He set up the first of Aden Gardner’s goals last weekend and will be in the thick of the action this Saturday.
While Edgeworth have their A-League experience at the front end of the pitch, Perth have theirs in the backline. Adrian Madaschi who has had experience in Europe and Asia as well as in the A-League with the Newcastle Jets, Western Sydney Wanderers and the Melbourne Heart. He has been a rock at the back for Perth and will be looking to make it a difficult evening for Edgeworth’s potent attack.
Even without Madaschi, Perth put the cleaners through Devonport in their first appearance in the NPL Finals with Andreas Theodosiades, Matt Milenkovic (twice), Gustavo Catarcione, Clarke Keltie and Nathan Diaz all finding the back of the net.
Perth’s Brazilian influence in Gustavo Catarcione will be another key in Perth’s charge towards a potential Grand Final berth, having scored 20 goals across the NPL WA season in 23 matches, including the winner in the 83rd minute of the NPL WA Grand Final. The Eagles will need to keep Catarcione quiet if they are to move through to the Grand Final.
History is on the line for both clubs who are in uncharted waters, with this being Perth’s first appearance in the NPL Finals Series and Edgeworth’s second having been knocked out in the Quarter-Finals last year. NPL WA have history as the back end of the competition with Bayswater City, last year, making it through to the Grand Final only to be beaten by Blacktown City 3-1.
It shapes as an intriguing contest with the major question regarding how well the visiting Eagles can cope with the amount of travel they have done over the last week.
PlayStation 4 NPL 2016 Finals Series - Semi Final
Perth SC v Edgeworth Eagles
Saturday 24 September 2016
Dorrien Gardens, West Perth
Kick-Off 6pm local (8pm AEST)