Last piece of Finals Series puzzle in place

The makeup of the National Premier Leagues 2014 Finals Series is now complete with South Melbourne confirmed as Football Federation Victoria’s entrant.

Former NSL giants South Melbourne became the final club through to the National Premier Leagues (NPL) finals series after being crowned inaugural NPL Victoria champions on Wednesday night.

South Melbourne wrapped up the championship without having to kick a ball after second-placed Oakleigh Cannons lost 1-0 to Melbourne Knights. It maintains Chris Taylor’s side’s unassailable seven-point lead over the Cannons with just two matches remaining.

Needing a draw or a win against Melbourne Knights to keep their hopes of leapfrogging South Melbourne at the top, Oakleigh went down 1-0 to hand the league leaders an unassailable lead to hand them the inaugural NPL Victoria Premiership while qualifying them for the NPL Finals Series.

South Melbourne join Cooma Tigers (Capital Football), Bonnyrigg White Eagles (Football NSW), Weston Workers (Northern NSW Football), Palm Beach Sharks (Football Queensland), MetroStars SC (FFSA), South Hobart (Football Federation Tasmania) and Bayswater City (Football West) as the eight teams that will compete in the end of season showpiece.

This year will mark the first fully integrated NPL Finals Series with all eight Member Federations taking part after there were five in the inaugural edition of the competition last year. A mixture of old and new faces will see last year’s NPL Finals Series Runners Up South Hobart looking to go one better as they represent Tasmania for the second successive season, the only club to feature in back to back Finals Series.

Old foes South Melbourne FC will be looking to prove a point after they were pipped at the post in qualifying for the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32, while Queensland’s Palm Beach Sharks have an exciting challenge on their hands as they look to etch their names into Australian Football history as the only remaining team in the Westfield FFA Cup and NPL Finals Series.

The Sharks are on the road for their Elimination Final, taking on Weston Workers FC at Rockwell Automation Park.

The other three sudden-death matches sees South Melbourne away to South Hobart, Cooma Tigers SC hosting Football NSW premiers Bonnyrigg White Eagles, while Bayswater City take on MetroStars SC from South Australia.

The NPL Finals Series begins on September 20.

Image courtesy of Football Federation Victoria