Mark Doninger was the toast of Perth SC after his five-goal haul earned the club hosting rights to the inaugural National Premier Leagues WA grand final.
A ruthless exhibition of finishing left league winners Bayswater City on the wrong end of a 5-0 semi-final mauling at Frank Drago Reserve.
Doninger had completed his hat-trick before half-time with an audacious 43rd-minute lob from a difficult angle after goals in the 21st and 32nd minutes.
But Perth’s star man was not done at the break.
He fired home a 53rd-minute penalty to extend Perth’s lead and then coolly slotted a fifth goal in stoppage time to seal a win that ensured the September 13 grand final would be played at the club’s Dorrien Gardens’ home ground.
Bayswater, who finished two points clear of Perth in the race for the league title, will get a second chance to reach the season’s climactic match when they take on Balcatta in Saturday’s preliminary final at Frank Drago Reserve.
Balcatta kept alive their campaign with a 3-1 semi-final victory over Sorrento at Grindleford Reserve on Sunday.
Gustavo Catarcione put Balcatta on their way with a goal either side of half-time before drama in the closing stages. Sorrento sniffed the possibility of a fight back when Balcatta scored an own goal in stoppage time.
But just a minute later Balcatta captain Adam Tong kept his composure to score from the penalty spot and seal the win.
Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon, who witnessed Bayswater’s collapse against Perth, believes his side can set-up a grand final showdown against Perth.
“We’ve worked hard all year to play the way we did today and it was a solid 90 minutes of good football,” Falzon said.
“But it will be a much different Bayswater when we face them. I’ve never seen them beaten that badly. They seemed a bit off the pace and burned out but I think they’ll get up again for next week.”
Image courtesy of Vince Caratozzolo