National Futsal Championships: Womens Open

All the latest from the first day of the Australian futsal championships for women



NSW Thunder and ACT Cobras will meet in the Women-s Open Grand Final after an evening of drama in the semi-finals saw them defeat Queensland and Western NSW respectively in contrasting styles.

FINAL POOL MATCHES In the final round of pool matches defending champions Queensland snuck through to the semi-finals by the skin of their teeth having to rely on favours from others to make the final four. Having seen their squad decimated by injury over the last week the Maroons were left waiting on other results after losing their last pool game 1-3 to Southern NSW. Effi Rodopoulos, Hayley Buckingham and Kylie Meehan netted for Southern with Brooke Skelly responding for Queensland. That left Queensland relying on NSW Thunder and ACT Cobras to both win to advance them in the tournament and that was exactly what happened.

The Thunder were too strong for Victoria despite falling behind to an early goal scored by Leisl Woods. Stephanie Haim scored twice for Thunder with Claire Walsh adding the other as the Thunder roared home to win 3-1. The loss eliminated Victoria. NSW Lightning headed into their match with ACT Cobras needing a win or a draw having lost their meeting with Queensland earlier in the week and therefore trailing on the head-to-head count back. Unfortunately for the Lightning a sole goal, scored by Maja Blasch, ended their participation as the Cobras entered the semi-finals tie with Western NSW on a high having won 1-0.

STATISTICS Round 7 Queensland 1 (Brooke Skelly) Southern NSW 3 (Effi Rodopoulos, Hayley Buckingham, Kylie Meehan) NSW Thunder 3 (Stephanie Haim (2), Claire Walsh) Victoria 1 (Liesl Woods) NSW Lightning 0 ACT Cobras 1 (Maja Blasch)

SEMI FINALS SF1: NSW Thunder 6 (Natasha Lo Guidice (3), Stephanie Haim (2), Zoeie Redman) Queensland 1 (Brooke Skelly) Queensland-s brave defence of their Futsal Nationals crown dissipated against a ruthless NSW with the Maroons running out of players, and subsequently legs, having been reduced to seven fit players after being hammered by injuries. That lack of depth was exposed by a Thunder team who started the competition slowly but have clicked into form as they head into the Grand Final. After both teams traded blows in the opening exchanges it was the Thunder who suddenly surged ahead with three goals within four minutes. Natasha Lo Guidice opened her account, the first of a hat-trick, when she slotted in a penalty awarded after a foul by Trudy Bartlett and, after Lo Guidice had put a goal on a plate for Stephanie Haim, she repeated the feat for Zoeie Redman to net. Brooke Skelly, the Queensland Captain, led by example by pulling a goal back via a close range volley but a second Haim goal on the stroke of the half-time whistle following a goalmouth scramble sealed the result. Lo Guidice was left free twice in the second half to complete her hat-trick as Queensland-s long week finally caught up with them.

SF2: ACT Cobras 2 (Nicole Somi, Luisa Marzotto) Western NSW 1 (Melissah Parlato) The ACT Cobras made sure they would be returning to the Grand Final for the second year in succession after seeing off Western NSW, as expected, but the home team were made to work exceptionally hard to progress against a team they had beaten 4-0 only yesterday evening. A tight first half looked set to end goal less before the Cobras broke the deadlock minutes before the break. Luisa Marzotto shot goalwards with power and the ball bounced kindly to the advancing Nicole Somi who swept into the net. Western fought back in the second half though and deservedly equalised six minutes in when Melissah Parlato got on the end of a swift attack to shoot into the net past Klara Manenica, Western NSW sensed an upset but it was not to be as the Cobras gained the winner three minutes from time. Marzotto received the ball with her back to goal and swivelled to send an unstoppable shot into the top corner and book a final berth.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts 1 NSW Thunder 6 5 0 1 14 7 +7 15 2 ACT Cobras 6 3 2 1 15 10 +5 13 3 Western NSW 6 2 2 2 10 16 -6 10 4 Queensland 6 2 1 3 13 13 0 8 5 NSW Lightning 6 2 1 3 7 6 +1 8 6 Victoria 6 1 2 3 11 15 -4 7 7 Southern NSW 6 2 0 4 10 13 -3 6


6 Stephanie HAIM (NSW Thunder) 5 Luisa MARZOTTO (ACT Cobras), Natasha LO GUIDICE (NSW Thunder), Kate ORKILD (Queensland) 4 Brooke SKELLY (Queensland), Hayley BUCKINGHAM (Southern NSW) 3 Maja BLASCH, Becky ROCHE (ACT), Renee TOMKINS, Claire WALSH (both NSW Thunder), Effi RODOPOULOS (Southern NSW), Melissah PARLATTO (Western NSW) 2 Sarah CRITTENDEN, Nicole SOMI (both ACT Cobras), Jasmina KASIC, Sarah SEMAAN, Jo-Anne SALIBA (all NSW Lightning), Zoeie REDMAN (NSW Thunder), Sophie LAMBERTON (Queensland), Lauren FARRUGIA, Stephanie PELUSO, Stephanie TANTI, Leisl WOODS (all Victoria), Lauren DIDUCSZKO, Vanessa LEE (both Western NSW), Own GOALS 1 Amanda AUROUSSEAU, Kim CROCKER (both ACT Cobras), Caitlan JARVIE (NSW Thunder), Ivana BOJANOVIC (NSW Lightning), Georgie BRIDGES, Leigh FERGUSON, Tiffany ROBERTS (all Queensland), Kylie MEEHAN, Michelle PETSCHY (Southern NSW), Megan EMBLETON, Anna ERRINGTON, Diana GIARDINO (all Western NSW), Chloe DRINOCZKY, Natalie EXON (both Victoria)



A hat-trick to Luisa Marzotto, the first of the tournament, put the home town ACT Cobras back in the driving seat in the race for the semi-finals with a 4-0 win over Western NSW. Marzotto-s treble, two in the first half and one after the interval, has left the ACT second on the ladder and looking good for a place in the last four. The goal scoring of Marzotto, who now had four goals this week, included a sumptuous back-heel that flummoxed Sophie Harper in the Western NSW goal. The comfortable win was completed in the final seconds when Maja Blasch tapped in from close range.

Results throughout the morning continued to indicate the openness of the Women-s competition with defending champions Queensland, who had looked certain of a semi-final spot after the opening four rounds, surprisingly beaten by Victoria, 3-2, in an upset result. Lauren Farrugia was the standout for the Victorians controlling the game from the back with some composed Futsal and scoring a brace of cracking goals to put her team 2-0 ahead at half-time. Stephanie Tanti added a third in the second half, a goal sandwiched by a double strike from the competition-s leading scorer, the Maroon-s Kate Orkild, as Victoria forced their way back into contention.

Unfortunately for Queensland, serious injuries seem to have scuppered hopes of defending their crown. Orkild, who had been in truly outstanding form, suffered a heavy knock to the back of her head when tumbling following a challenge in the teams 1-4 reverse to NSW Thunder in the early evening clash. Orkild landed on her back and cracked her head on the hard surface and looked in some discomfort as she was led from the field. To compound their woes the impressive Sophie Lamberton was then carried from the pitch after what appeared to be knee ligament damage that looks likely to end her participation. Whether Orkild returns to the fray will depend on medical advice received overnight.

The game itself saw Brooke Skelly give Queensland the lead before the Thunder hit back in some style. Claire Walsh equalised for the NSW team and further goals from Renee Tomkins (2) and Natasha Lo Guidice, star of the Youth team last season, secured an important win for the Thunder.

Back to the morning and the all-NSW battle between the Thunder and Lightning was, as many predicted, a tight affair settled by a solitary goal scored by Claire Walsh after a neat build up. The Thunder, who were beaten 4-2 by Western NSW in the late game on Day Two, suddenly found themselves top of the ladder after four games and looking good for a place in the last four. Western NSW recovered from that setback to see off their Southern NSW rivals 3-2. Lauren Didusko, Vanessa Lee and Megan Embleton struck for Western with the winning goal coming in the final two minutes. Hayley Buckingham and Michelle Petschy replied for Southern.

Southern-s slim hopes of making the semi finals ended on Day Three with a 3-1 loss to NSW Lightning. Jo-Anne Saliba, Sarah Semaan and Ivana Bojanovic netted for the Lightning and despite Hayley Buckingham scoring her third of the week Southern fell short of the win needed to keep them in contention.

STATISTICS Round 5 NSW Thunder 1 (Claire Walsh) NSW Lightning 0 Victoria 3 (Lauren Farrugia (2), Stephanie Tanti) Queensland 2 (Kate Orkild (2)) Western NSW 3 (Lauren Didusko, Vanessa Lee, Megan Embleton) Southern NSW 2 (Hayley Buckingham, Michelle Petschy)

Round 6 Queensland 1 (Brooke Skelly) NSW Thunder 4 (Claire Walsh, Renee Tomkins (2), Natasha Lo Guidice) Southern NSW 1 (Hayley Buckingham) NSW Lightning 3 (Jo-Anne Saliba, Sarah Semaan, Ivana Bojanovic) ACT Cobras 4 (Luisa Marzotto (3), Maja Blasch) Western NSW 0



A succession of drawn matches has left competition for spots in the semi-finals of the Women-s tournament at the FFA Futsal National Championship wide open with only Queensland looking certain of securing a place amongst the last four after a day of intense, tight play at the AIS Arena.

Defending champions Queensland enjoyed a stellar second day reaping the maximum six points possible from their two fixtures without conceding a goal. After an opening day draw with ACT Cobras it was business as usual for the Maroons as they easily accounted for an outclassed Western NSW 5-0. Western were gritty opponents for most of the game but Queensland had too much where it counted, in the final third. Five different players troubled the scorers with Leigh Ferguson, captain Brooke Skelly, the influential Kate Orkild, Georgie Bridges and Sophie Lamberton claiming the goals.

It was a tougher task that faced Justin Morrison-s team just after the lunch break though as NSW Lightning proved tenacious opponents. It took a single goal, netted by Tiffany Roberts, to break the deadlock, although the same player nearly added a second barely sixty seconds after the deadlock had been broken.

The ACT Cobras hopes of gaining a spot in the semi-finals took what could have been a huge blow with a narrow 2-1 loss to NSW Thunder coming on the back of a 4-4 draw with Victoria leaving the home team playing catch up at the top of the table. To compound their woes leading scorer Sarah Crittenden was sent off for violent conduct minutes before the NSW Thunder won the match through a goal from Zoeie Redman. Earlier in the match Crittenden had equalised for the ACT after Natasha Lo Guidice had given the Thunder the early advantage.

The morning fixture with Victoria brought plenty of excitement and lots of goals. The Cobras showed great fortitude to fight back from a 3-1 deficit to claw their way in front only for the most unfortunate of own goals to derail their hopes of a win. Becky Roche (2), Kim Crocker and Crittenden scored for the Cobras with Stephanie Peluso (2), Stephanie Tanti and the own goal replying for the Victorians who played their part in an end-to-end match.

And the Cobras rekindled their dreams of National glory thanks to a last-gasp goal from Becky Roche. Roche was on hand in the final minute to slot home from close range at the end of a quality team move to secure the points in a 2-1 win. Kylie Meehan had put Southern NSW ahead in the first half before Amanda Aurousseau equalised with a vital captain-s goal setting the scene for Roche-s late heroics.

NSW Thunder had seen off Southern NSW 2-0 in the opening match of the day with goals from Stephanie Haim and Caitlan Jarvie whilst the match between Victoria and Western NSW ended 1-1. Chloe Drinoczky gave Victoria the lead only for Melissah Parlatto to level.

The matches between Victoria and NSW Lightning and Western NSW and NSW Thunder kicked off late in the evening.

STATISTICS Round 2 Southern NSW 0 NSW Thunder 2 (Caitlan Jarvie, Stephanie Haim) ACT Cobras 4 (Becky Roche (2), Kim Crocker, Sarah Crittenden) Victoria 4 (Stephanie Tanti, Stephanie Peluso (2), own goal) Western NSW 0 Queensland 5 (Leigh Ferguson, Brooke Skelly, Kate Orkild, Sophie Lamberton, Georgie Bridges)

Round 3 Queensland 1 (Tiffany Roberts) NSW Lightning 0 NSW Thunder 2 (Natasha Lo Guidice, Zoeie Redman) ACT Cobras 1 (Sarah Crittenden) Victoria 1 (Chloe Drinoczky) Western NSW 1 (Melissah Parlatto)

Round 4 Southern NSW 1 (Kylie Meehan) ACT Cobras 2 (Amanda Aurousseau, Becky Roche) NSW Lightning v Victoria - late kick off Western NSW v NSW Thunder - late kick off



Queensland-s defence of their crown began with a 3-3 draw with home town ACT Cobras in a quality match at AIS Arena. The Maroons looked in good touch against a more experienced ACT outfit and looked destined for a win until a late goal from Maja Blasch earned the Cobras two points for a score draw.

The Cobras had earlier taken the lead with a thumping finish from Luisa Marzotto, a lead they held until the half-time interval, having only been tested sporadically by the Maroons. However, the second half was a different story with Queensland upping the ante and playing some excellent Futsal in the process.

Kate Orkild, who was a standout in the title winning side of 2010, dragged her team level with an exceptional finish before Sophie Lamberton turned the match on its head with a slide rule finish from close range after neat approach play. The ACT responded in kind with a poacher-s leveller from Nicole Somi, sliding in to stab the ball in from close range.

It seemed as if Queensland had won it when Orkild banged in a second minutes from time, but the Cobras had other ideas and Maja Blasch swept in a coolly taken goal to level the score at 3-3.

There was a second scoring draw in the following match when NSW Lightning and Western NSW finished honours even at 2-2 following a topsy-turvy forty minutes of action. It looked likely that Lightning would be the ones celebrating at half-time having taken a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Sarah Semaan and Jo-Anne Saliba but Western found added resolve after the interval to fight back.

A fortuitous own goal reduced the deficit before Anna Errington equalised. Western later wasted a gilt-edged chance to win the match when spurning a break that left two attackers facing Lightning ‘keeper Melanie McCauley, but McCauley read the play to make a brilliant interception and deny the chance.

Southern NSW leads the way after the first round of action though thanks to a match-winning goal from Hayley Buckingham struck with virtually the last kick of the match. Buckingham diverted home a driven shot to steal the point-s seconds after Victoria looked to have gained a draw.

Natalie Exon deflected Lauren Farrugia-s shot into the bottom corner to bring Victoria level at 2-2 before Buckingham pounced. Earlier, a double from Effi Rodopoulos had twice given Southern NSW the advantage, the first time cancelled out by a goal from Leisl Woods.


NSW Thunder - Bye Queensland 3 (Kate Orkild (2), Sophie Lamberton) ACT Cobras 3 (Luisa Marzotto, Nicole Somi, Maja Blasch) NSW Lightning 2 (Jo-Anne Saliba, Sarah Semaan) Western NSW 2 (Anna Errington, own goal) Victoria 2 (Leisl Woods, Natalie Exon) Southern NSW 3 (Effi Rodopoulos (2), Hayley Buckingham)