The Australian Powerchair Football Australia National championships 2016 was held in Sydney, from the 9th – 16th of October. Melbourne City FC supported the team and provided the players with team shirts! Powerchair Football can be played by anyone who uses a powerchair. The sport is played all around the world. Five athletes from Victoria were joined by Peter Dalrymple from New South Wales. Shaun Mott, after an impressive first season, made his debut for Victoria. The competition started with four days of round robin matches which saw each team play each other twice.
Jeff Carter (Coach), Simon Sheargold (Assistant Coach), Luke David (Captain), Craig Kilby (Vice-Captain), James North-Coombes, Jules North-Coombes, Shaun Mott and Peter Dalrymple.
Victoria opened their campaign against Western Australia which consisted of a few New South Wales players. It was a tight game which saw Victoria defend a number of shots from Western Australia. Western Australia capitalised on their chances and took a 2-0 lead at the half-time break. Victoria fought back well in the 2nd hald and were able to pinch a goal back through team captain, Luke David, who slotted a penalty goal. Victoria produced more chances but were unable to find an equaliser. Final score, Western Australia 2 – Victoria 1.
Victoria’s second match of the day saw them take on the might of Queensland, who were favourites to take home the championship. It was tough game for Victoria who spent majority of the time defending Queensland’s impressive ball movement. It was a good learning experience for the Victorian players and although it could of been much worse, it was a disappointing result, final score, Queensland 6 – Victoria 0
The team first took on New South Wales. It was a very exciting first half, both Luke David and Peter Dalrymple working well as a defensive unit. New South Wales created many scoring opportunities, but took just a 1 – 0 lead into the half time break. The second half saw New South Wales make a few subsitutions which completely changed the match. They were able penetrate the defensive pressure of Victoria, scoring five more goals, final score, New South Wales 6 – Victoria 0. Although it was a heavy loss for Victoria, the team made New South Wales earn every goal and prevented many more chances New South Wales had created. It was a huge improvement from day 1 for the Victorian team.
With confidence building after a solid defensive effort against New South Wales, the team moved on to South Australia. It was an intense, hard fought performance from both teams. 0 – 0 at half-time. James North-Coombes turned defense into attack and scores what would be the winning goal from a stunning rebound shot off South Australia’s goalie early in the 2nd half. It was a nervous finish to the match, with Victoria once again defending superbly, final score, Victoria 1 – South Australia 0. Victoria’s first win of the tournament abd Jeff Carter’s first win as Head Coach.
The first match of the day was a tough but impressive encounter against tournament favorite Queensland. The Queenslanders created many opportunities but it was Victoria’s defence that stood tall for majority of the match. Luke David assisted Craig Kilby to score Victoria’s third goal in the tournament. Final score, Queensland 3 – Victoria 1.
Next game was against Western Australia. It was close match the last time these two teams met and again it was an exciting match. Luke David opened the scoring with a mid-range shot to the left post. Victoria took the lead at half-time, 1 – 0. Western Australia came out firing in the second half and had the better of opportunities, eventually equalising with 8 minutes left on the clock. Final score Victoria 1 – Western Australia 1.
Victoria put up an impressive effort against reigning champions, New South Wales. Both Luke David and Peter Dalrymple blocked plenty of shots, though New South Wales did eventually break through and close out the match. It was an encouraging sign from the Victorian team, who improved again from the first match against New South Wales on Day 1. Final score, New South Wales 4 – Victoria 0.
The final round robin match was against South Australia who made the most of their opportunities. South Australia took an early lead and made it 2 – 0 at the half-time break. South Australia went on to score two more, final score, South Australia 4 – Victoria 0.
Day 5 (Finals)
The day commenced with New South Wales taking on Western Australia for a spot in the Grand Final. New South Wales proved too good, winning 5 – 0. Victoria took to the court along with South Australia for the right to play Western Australia for 3rd place. South Australia def Victoria 2 – 0 and progressed through, while Victoria finished in 5th place.
Western Australia went 1 – 0 up as James Kim opens the scoring. Western Australia would take a 1-0 lead into the break. Santo Bongiovanni leveled the scores 1-1 with 3:38 left on the clock but Western Australia found a winner close to full-time. Western Australia finished in 3rd place winning 2-1, South Australia finished 4th.
Queensland would remain undefeated through out the group stage and met New South Wales in the Grand Final. Queensland were looking for redemption after a narrow loss to New South Wales in a penalty shootout in last years APFA Nationals. These two teams are building an impressive rivalry, this years final was no exception.
This thrilling contest saw Queensland open the scoring late in the first half and take a 1-0 lead into the break. New South Wales answered with a goal of their own early in the 2nd half to level scores at 1-1. Queensland broke away in the second half, taking a 3 – 1 lead. New South Wales fought back hard, scoring to make it 3 – 2 in the last few minutes were unable to find another goal. Queensland were crowned Australian Powerchair Football National Champions for the second time, after their first win in 2014.
A good week was had by all, the competition was fierce but friendly. We would like to thank all the organisers, referees, athletes, carers, fans and sponsors for making the competition so fantastic. Bring on APFA 2017!
1st – Queensland
2nd – New South Wales
3rd – Western Australia
4th – South Australia
5th – Victoria
Victorian Goal Scorers
Luke David – 2
Craig Kilby – 1
James North-Coombes – 1
The championships concluded with a presentation dinner on Saturday night where the tournament’s top performers were recognised for their accomplishments through the week. Ambassador Rale Rasic OAM was on hand to present the awards to the athletes. The award winners were:
Most assists: Bryce Castles (QLD) – 12 assists
Golden guard (Most Goals): Jordan Crane (NSW), Josh Merkas (QLD) and Tristram Peters (QLD) – 9 goals
Best defence: Luke David (VIC)
Team Fair Play Award: Victoria
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Santo Bongiovanni (SA)
Australian World Cup Squad Announcement
Bryce Castles (Queensland)
Jordan Crane (New South Wales)
Abdullah Karim (New South Wales)
Dimitri Liolio-Davis (New South Wales)
Josh Merkas (Queensland)
Tristram Peters (Queensland)
Chris Suffield (New South Wales)
Chris Turnbull (New South Wales)
Santo Bongiovanni (South Australia)
Jacob Cross (New South Wales)
Written by Craig Kilby