After a thrilling season of the Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL), Sunshine Coast Wanderers will take on Rochedale Rovers in the FQPL Grand Final this Saturday, 24 August at Underwood Park.
While many expected Sunshine Coast to make a Grand Final appearance after a Premiership-winning season that earned the side promotion to the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland, some may have been surprised by Rochedale Rovers’ progression to the 2019 Grand Final after a season of some mixed results.
Both teams finished just shy of the top four last year, with fifth-placed Sunshine Coast Wanderers and Rochedale Rovers in sixth both missing out on a Finals Series appearance in 2018.
SEASON SO FAR
Sunshine Coast Wanderers have had a remarkable season so far, recording 13 wins and only three losses and two draws to claim the 2019 FQPL Premiership and secure promotion to the NPL Queensland.
In their last five matches, Wanderers have recorded three wins, one loss and one draw to book their spot in the FQPL Grand Final.
The side has only been kept scoreless once this season, and achieved their biggest result in a 6-0 win against Souths in Round 3 earlier this year.
FQPL Golden Boot winner Jeremy Stewart has been an influential member of the Wanderers squad, netting an impressive 20 goals in 18 regular season matches to help his side to the top spot.
Rochedale Rovers meanwhile finished the regular season in fourth after a season that was up and down at times.
Rochedale’s campaign saw them record nine wins, six losses and three draws, as they achieved the remarkable feat of being kept scoreless in no games so far in 2019.
Their recent form has seen them claim wins in their last three matches, following two losses in a row.
The team’s top goal scorer, attacking midfielder Graham Fyfe has been consistent for his side netting 12 goals in the regular season to earn himself seven appearances in the FQPL Team of the Week.
Sunshine Coast Wanderers have won both encounters with Rochedale Rovers so far this year, recording a 4-1 win in Round 5 before doing the double with a 3-2 victory in their last meeting, in their Round 14 clash in June (watch Round 14 highlights below).
FINALS SERIES PERFORMANCE
Finishing top of the table, Sunshine Coast Wanderers booked their spot straight into the FQPL Semi Finals, having a week off as other sides played off in the elimination final matches.
Rochedale Rovers meanwhile played out a hard-fought match with Capalaba FC in their elimination final clash, claiming a 3-2 victory with the help of a Todd Norris brace to progress to the 2019 Semi Finals.
The Premiers came up against Ipswich Knights in their Semi Final game, but had to work hard for a victory against the lowest-placed winner of the elimination finals in a thrilling match.
While Wanderers took an early lead through goal scoring machine Jeremy Stewart, Knights hit back with an Emmanuel Peters goal in the 71st minute to level the scores.
In a tense final 20 minutes of play, Wanderers finally sealed their spot in the FQPL Grand Final with a Benjamin Parkinson goal in the 89th minute.
Rochedale Rovers meanwhile came up with an upset victory in their Semi Final clash to send second-placed Capalaba FC packing from the Finals Series.
In a dominant performance, Rochedale scored on the stroke of half time to take a lead into the break, before a converted Stuart Edgar penalty levelled the scores in the 54th minute.
Rochedale Rovers’ Todd Norris once again proved the hero for Rochedale, netting his second double in as many weeks to send his side to the FQPL Grand Final in stunning fashion.
HOW TO WATCH
Tickets will be available to purchase at the gate prior to the match, with kids 17 and under free and adult tickets $10 each.
Sunshine Coast Wanderers v Rochedale Rovers
Saturday, 24 August, 6pm