Finals football begins this weekend with the 2021 NPLWA Men's and Women's Top Four Cups as respective champions Perth SC and Murdoch University Melville look to add further silverware to the trophy cabinet.
The Women's major semi-final is first up on Friday night with a replay of last week's league title decider between back-to-back NPL champions MUM FC and Northern Redbacks. The winners will head straight to the final at Dorrien Gardens next Saturday, with the losers getting a second chance against the winners of Sunday’s minor semi between Perth SC and Fremantle City.
Goals from Ellie La Monte and Grace Betti gave Mark Jones' side a 2-1 win in front of a bumper crowd at Wormall Civil Stadium last week and wrote the latest chapter in a series of epic clashes between the sides in the NPLW era.
Redbacks won 3-1 on the synthetic back in Round Seven this season, while a late equaliser earned Murdoch a 2-2 draw at Celebration Park in Round 14. The Women's State Cup clash between the sides went to extra-time before MUM FC went on to win 5-2. Friday's defeat was only Redbacks' second loss of the season, but they are the current holders of the Top Four Cup and defeated MUM FC last year on penalties at this stage of the competition.
The Perth v Fremantle tie is another semi-final repeat from 2020. Fremantle thrashed Perth 6-1 in that game, with Gemma Craine one of the stand-out players. This year Craine will be in the light blue of Perth, having helped Danielle Brogan's side win their last four league games without conceding a goal to snatch a third-place finish. In contrast, Freo are winless in three.
On Saturday, the NPLWA - Men's Top Four Cup gets under way.
League champions Perth SC meet Floreat Athena in the major semi-final at Inglewood Stadium. Athena humbled the Azzurri 4-0 in the 2020 finals decider, but in this season's NPL Vas Vujacic's side let slip a 10-point lead at the summit as Perth's undefeated second half of the season helped complete a fourth league success in six years under outgoing head coach Ramon Falzon.
The minor semi-final sees Sorrento host Perth Glory in a clash between two evenly matched sides in 2021. Both league fixtures ended 1-0. The first of those in the Mid West’s Regional Festival of Football in Geraldton went the way of Glory, while Sorrento got their revenge at home a few weeks ago. Both sides finished their league campaigns in style. A first-half blitz gave Glory a 5-1 win over Inglewood and locked away their finals position, while Sorrento won 4-0 at Bayswater City.