A pair of blockbuster match-ups this weekend will determine which two clubs line up in the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland 2016 Grand Final.
Gold Coast City FC v FNQ Heat
Saturday, August 27 | 6:30PM
Barlow Park, Cairns
Match Centre – http://bit.ly/2bnkxbp
Cairns plays host to its second Semi-Final in two years when the third-placed Heat welcome second-placed Gold Coast City to Barlow Park.
City and Heat, whose last Finals appearances were in 2014, were in the Premiership hunt to the final rounds of the regular season but take vastly different form into the winner-take-all showdown.
City concluded their regular season with an eight-match unbeaten run, while Heat are winless in their past three outings.
City also have the wood on Heat this year – drawing their first meeting in Cairns in March before storming to a four-goal win on the Gold Coast in the return fixture in June.
City’s season has been defined by the most potent attack in the competition - attacking utility Benjamin Litfin leading all comers with 19 goals this year as the competition’s top goal scorer.
Heat also boast a raft of attacking options with captain Jamie Carroll leading the club’s scoring with 15 goals, while Christopher O’Hare has also chimed in with nine.
The match marks City coach Grae Piddick’s second foray into the Finals after leading the then-named Palm Beach SC to the Championship in 2014.
For Heat coach Tim Campbell, the match will be his first PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Finals match.
City have never been defeated by Heat in eight previous meetings in the competition – City claiming three wins and a draw from four previous visits to Barlow Park.
Match Officials - Lara Lee (referee), Ben Cook (assistant), Tarran Richards (assistant), Chris Dawson (fourth)
Brisbane Strikers FC v Redlands United FC
Sunday, August 28 | 6:00PM
Perry Park, Brisbane
Match Centre – http://bit.ly/2bkFk2u
Strikers and Redlands must dust themselves off from their midweek Westfield FFA Cup exits as they seek to book their place in the Grand Final.
The clash is the second time in as many seasons the sides have met in the Semi-Finals at Perry Park – Strikers winning last year’s meeting 2-1 in extra time.
The honours were split in these sides’ two meetings this season with Redlands winning the opening clash 3-1 in March before Strikers gained revenge in a 1-0 win in July.
Strikers’ maiden Premiership win this year has been built on a league-best defence that has shipped less than a goal a game on average and included a league-best ten clean sheets.
They also boast one of the competition’s most ruthless strikers in Rhys Meredith, who boasts 17 goals in just 19 appearances.
While their defensive record is the worst in the top four, Redlands’ strength lies in a multi-faceted and dynamic midfield featuring club leading goalscorer Graham Fyfe (9 goals) alongside Michael Lee, Paul O’Brien and Igor Sao Jose.
For Strikers the match marks a fourth straight appearance in the Finals, while for Redlands it is just their second appearance in four seasons.
Both sides have won four of their nine previous meetings in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues, however, Strikers hold the advantage at Perry Park.
Match Officials – Trent Sleeman (referee), Isidro Terol Crespo (assistant), Thomas Cullane (assistant), Matt Skinner (fourth)