Get set for another classic when South Melbourne FC plays FC Bulleen Lions in the NPLW Victoria Grand Final!
South Melbourne as back-to-back Premiers Plate winners and defending Champion will try to keep their stranglehold on Victorian women’s football as they face first-time Grand Finalist Bulleen Lions.
But the first trip to the Grand Final is perhaps a touch misleading for Bulleen, who do have the experience of four straight Women’s State Knock-Out Cup finals between 2014 (which they won) and 2017, the other three being defeats.
Leading the line for South is 42-goal Melina Ayres, while Matildas all-time leading scorer Lisa De Vanna is an obvious trump card. American midfielder Jamie Pollock (pictured below) and Canadian Natalie Martineau bring class, while goalkeeper Beth Mason-Jones has shown a fearlessness between the sticks.
South has won all six head-to-heads with Bulleen since its admission to NPLW, and also won 3-0 on the pitch in this year’s Team App Cup Round of 16 clash before being disqualified for fielding an ineligible player.
With South scoring 27 goals across those seven games, Bulleen have two choices. Stem the bleeding, or try to outgun South in a goalfest If Bulleen opts for containment then it all hinges on American centre back Kayla Morrison (pictured right).
The import out of Kansas University has transformed Bulleen’s defence. In spite of wearing lop-sided scorelines from South Melbourne, Bulleen does sport the NPLW’s best defence with just 27 conceded, reduced from 50 last campaign.
If Bulleen tries to match South Melbourne’s scoring power, then it will depend on W-League experienced striker Caitlin Friend (26 goals) and winger Lia Privitelli (20).
[caption id="attachment_33847" align="aligncenter" width="603"] South Melbourne[/caption][caption id="attachment_33850" align="aligncenter" width="601"] FC Bulleen Lions[/caption]