The Gap senior women's football team stormed into the PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland Grand Final with a powerful 2-0 victory over Palm Beach Sharks in the first Elimination Final at Walton Bridge on Sunday.
The team booked a place in the 2015 Grand Final – and a chance to win its fourth consecutive championship – when winger Gabe Marzano netted a brace of goals, one in each half.
After stumbling early in the season, The Gap stormed home with 11 wins and two draws to end the 20-round competition on top, secure its third premiership in four years, and take out the inaugural PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland women’s title.
Team coach Rob Askew said the squad was determined to cap off its season with the Premiership–Championship double and Sunday’s win over Palm Beach was an important confidence builder for the Grand Final on the weekend of 12-13 September with the time still to be confirmed.
“We now have a three week break before the Grand Final and won’t know who we will play until all the qualifying finals are completed over the next two weekends,” Rob said.
‘We built a lot of momentum towards the end of the season and are organising a practice match in the lead up to the Grand Final to ensure we are match fit and sharp for the big one.”
After winning the Cup, Premiership and Championship treble in both 2012 and 2014, and the Cup and Championship in 2013, the women had a slow start in 2015 winning just four of its first seven matches.
But the side regrouped, refocused and set aside the difficulty of losing some of its key players including Maili Forbes who was called up in December to play for the Brisbane Roar in the National League, Irish international Elaine Murray to visa issues and Venus Phonsavathdy to a season ending ACL injury in the first round.
No team in Queensland women's football has enjoyed the long run of success The Gap women have experienced since they won promotion to the top grade in 1997.
This season they won 15, drew two and lost three to scrape home by one premiership point when they beat Toowoomba 9-0 in the last round of the season to finish with a 94 goals for – 15 against record.
Five players from The Gap first team – Maili Forbes, winger Gabe Marzano, attacking midfielder Ruth Blackburn, centre back Summer O’Brien and goalkeeper Noran Abazi – have now started pre-season training with the Brisbane Roar and are pressing for a start in the national competition this summer.
But the team has one more piece of unfinished business – the 2015 grand final – before this talented group set their sights on national league honours.