MSLA Grand-Finals: Winter 2021
The Men’s Supa-Liga A Grand-Final was played by the Northern Hawks and the West Cobras, and the match saw the Cobras club take home it’s second Grand-Final victory of the night. With each team having an early chance, there would have been some disappointment from both teams that their first opportunity was wasted, though it was the Cobras who struck first.
After some patient passing a decisive run by Jake Pizzuto to find some space away from marker Tom Ellis was well found by Jamal Yusof and the fixo rifled his shot in at the near post over the shoulder of Hawks keeper Dan Formato. Going 1-0 down didn’t seem to faze the Hawks players as they continued to play and create chances without showing much urgency.
After a couple of missed shooting opportunities, the Hawks were again punished for their profligacy. A contested handball decision saw Luke Ross able to find the feet of pivot Jamal Yusof 1v1 with Devon Rindel deep in the Hawks half. Despite extra pressure coming from Hawks Captain Chez Houston, Yusof was able to outmaneuver the pressure and his fierce drive went over the diving Formato.
The Northern Hawks went to the fly keeper tactic immediately after the half-time break, however the ball speed and movement failed to trouble the Cobras who scored their third after terrific defensive work by Luke Ross. Ross won the ball near halfway and drove forwards, squeezing a square pass under Formato and Mackenzie Snooks finished emphatically. The Hawks got one back with just under 5 minutes remaining after some good fly keeper play, with Dan Formato finishing his own tap-in attempt that initially came back of the far post.
The Cobras called a time-out and had coaches John Goodlich and Annie Leyland discuss their defensive requirements and the Cobras were able to soak up the remaining pressure while also running down the clock with excellent ball possession. A terrific performance by the Cobras men on their return to the top division to take out the Final!
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