Can Premiers Peninsula Power complete their invincible season by lifting the Championship trophy? Or will the dynamic duo of Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) Golden Boot winner Youeil Shol and Jordan Farina fire Eastern Suburbs to glory?
Peninsula Power (1) v Eastern Suburbs FC (2)
AJ Kelly Park
Saturday, 8 September, 5:00pm
Power can seal the FQPL Premiership-Championship double with a win over Easts at AJ Kelly Park in Saturday’s FQPL Grand Final.
Power have been unstoppable this season, with the only mark on an otherwise immaculate record being a single 1-1 draw way back in Round 11 against Logan Lightning.
Eastern Suburbs have also been impressive, albeit not as consistent as their more fancied Final opponents, finishing the season in second place and, along with the undefeated Premiers, securing promotion to the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland for 2019.
The teams first met this season in Round 2 and Peninsula showed they were destined for greatness early on, recording a comprehensive 3-0 victory on that occasion.
However, the clash was somewhat marred by two red cards to Easts’ Farina and Power goalkeeper Jack Reesby after a coming together in the penalty area that turned ugly.
If Easts thought that first meeting with Power went off-script, nothing could have prepared them for what happened when they faced the eventual Premiers again in Round 15.
Power took no prisoners, flexing their muscle to breach the Easts defence again in a 6-1 one-sided affair.
While star man Briggs did manage to get his name on the score sheet in that rout, it was winger Ramone Close took home the match ball notching a stunning hat-trick.
SEMI FINAL PERFORMANCE
Both clubs secured their passage to the FQPL title decider with 3-0 wins in the first week of the Finals Series.
Goals to Scot Coulson, Jayden Balarezo and captain Jordan Farina were the difference in Easts’ 3-0 victory over Logan Lightning at Heath Park, while a double to Briggs and sole strike from Andrew Warrilow against Souths United meant Power would host the 2018 FQPL Grand Final.
WHO WILL COME OUT ON TOP?
Heading into the Grand Final, Power have recorded some mind-boggling statistics, especially in the final third.
Aaron Philp’s men have found the back of the net a staggering 108 times this campaign, with a host of players scoring 10 or more goals, showcasing Peninsula’s ability across the park.
Easts can almost match Power in attacking statistics having scored 95 goals of their own this term, thanks largely to the attacking exploits of Shol and Farina who are responsible for 60 of Easts’ 95 goals between them.
It is the defence however where the contest could be decided. Power have been resolute at the back this season, shipping only 17 goals the entire season – equaling less than one per game. Easts, on the other hand, have conceded 47 times this campaign which is almost triple their Grand Final opponents.
If they are any hope of ending the Power’s invincible run when it matters the most, Easts’ back four will have to be at the best, especially to contain the mercurial Briggs who netted a crucial brace in Power’s dominate 3-0 victory over Souths in last weekend’s semi-final.
If you can’t make it down to AJ Kelly Park on Saturday, the FQPL Grand Final will be livestreamed on www.footballqueensland.com.au/live from 4.45pm.
Words: Samuel Johnson
Images: Albert Perez, Peninsula Power