Gold Coast Knights and Olympic FC will meet in the ultimate battle this weekend as both sides fight to secure victory in the 2019 National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland Grand Final.
After 30 rounds and two thrilling Semi Final clashes, Gold Coast Knights and Olympic FC will meet at Perry Park this Sunday, 15 September, but only one side can claim Grand Final glory.
As one of the best defensive sides in the competition comes up against one of the most dangerous attacks, the 2019 Grand Final is set to be an intriguing one.
SEASON SO FAR
In only their first season in the NPL Queensland, Gold Coast Knights have been one of the standout sides, securing 22 wins, two draws and only four losses to finish the regular season in second.
The 2018 Gold Coast Premier League Grand Final winners have been one of the most impressive in defence all year, recording 14 clean sheets and conceding only 22 goals across 28 matches.
Knights are on a hot run of form coming into this weekend’s Grand Final, currently on an eight-game winning streak and with their eyes firmly set on securing a Grand Final victory in their inaugural year in the competition.
In their last five matches, Knights have shown how dangerous they can be, scoring a remarkable 16 goals and conceding only three.
In their Semi Final clash against Peninsula Power, the Gold Coast side recorded a 2-1 victory thanks to first half goals to Max Brown and Jarrod Kyle.
Opponents Olympic FC meanwhile will come into this weekend’s Grand Final off the back of a vital win against 2019 Premiers Lions FC.
The resilient side bounced back from a recent string of losses to come out firing in the must-win Semi Final clash, with goals to dynamic attacking duo Chris Lucas and Jez Lofthouse securing the victory.
The Semi Final win booked Olympic a spot in their second consecutive NPL Queensland Grand Final, a win that would have been all the more satisfying coming against last year’s Champions as Olympic became the only club to make consecutive NPL Queensland Grand Final appearances.
17 wins, three draws and seven losses throughout the regular season landed Olympic in fourth after 30 rounds.
The team have been lethal in attack this year, scoring an incredible 85 goals across the season to record the second highest number of goals at the end of the regular season, just four goals behind Premiers Lions FC.
Gold Coast Knights and Olympic FC last met in the final round of the regular season, just two weeks ago.
In their Round 30 clash, Knights showed their dominance, coming out on top to secure a 4-2 win.
In their other encounter this year in Round 15, the two sides couldn’t be separated with the game resulting in a 3-3 draw after an Oskar Dillon goal in the dying moments of the match levelled scores.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The mid-season arrival of former Hyundai A-League player Matt Smith bolstered Gold Coast Knight’s defence in the back end of this year.
Since Smith’s Round 25 debut for the side, Knights recorded an incredible six clean sheets from eight wins, and conceded only three goals including their catch-up matches.
The impact Smith’s arrival had on the Gold Coast side’s defence is undoubtable; his vast experience paired with the talents of young defensive trio Matthew Schmidt, Oskar Dillon and Jaiden Walker saw Gold Coast Knights claim the second best defensive record of the competition based on goals conceded.
The strong Knights back line has been supported by key midfielders in Max Brown and Mitch Nichols, while robust forward Jarrod Kyle is in fine goal scoring form, netting eight goals in as many matches. Knights skipper and 2017 NPL Queensland Golden Boot winner Sam Smith will also be a threat upfront, with the Englishman scoring 12 goals and a number of assists this season.
Gold Coast Knight’s formidable defence will come up against one of the strongest attacks in the league in what is set to be a fierce battle in this Sunday’s Grand Final.
Olympic’s Jez Lofthouse and Chris Lucas have proven a handful for opposition defence throughout the season, with the duo a consistent threat up front.
Lucas, who previously played under Knights coach Grae Piddick at Palm Beach, recorded a remarkable 26 goals in 25 matches this season to finish second in the Golden Boot race, while young gun Lofthouse’s pace on the wing has consistently created key opportunities for his side and scored 7 goals in the regular season.
Together with Alex Smith, the attacking trio have been one of the best front three combinations in the 2019 competition and while Olympic will be disappointed to be without Smith this weekend, the depth of their squad can still help them to Grand Final glory.
Olympic captain Steve Whyte is constant workhorse and led his side well to get this far, while Kazuya Ito and Jean-Philippe Lasm have consistently made an impact for Olympic in the midfield this year.
Defender Matt Mundy and attacking right back Shelford Dais meanwhile have been strong in defence for their side and will set out to stop the Gold Coast Knights attack this weekend.
While both sides have strong players across the park, the key battle this Sunday will be between the dynamic Olympic attack and the formidable Gold Coast Knights back line.
Tickets for the 2019 NPL Queensland Grand Final will be available at the gate, with adult tickets $10 (after 4pm) and Under 18 free.
Gold Coast Knights v Olympic FC
Sunday, 15 September, 6pm