Scorpions reach final
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
A CHANCE to be called State champions awaits the Sawtell Scorpions under 17 boys football team after a thrilling 3-1 victory on Sunday in their Champion of Champions semi-final.
After a tense scoreless opening half, the Scorpions came out after the break breathing fire to run all over Epping YMCA and book their place in the State final to be played in a fortnight.
Although weary from the travel to and from Sydney for the match, coach Greg Kenny had no troubles showing his pride for the team's efforts.
"I'm not surprised the boys have come this far," he said.
"I've always been fairly confident about their chances, they're a clinical sort of team.
"Most of them are pretty fit, I think the surfing does a lot for them but they're an entertaining group on and off the pitch."
Kenny admitted that he was pleased with the half time scoreline as the team had done what they were told.
"The guys really stuck to their guns in the first half," he said.
"I asked them to sit back, play defensive and absorb them and I think our guys tired them out."
Brock Stevenson, Andrew Tindall and Ian Kenny all came into their own in the tough opening stanza but the Scorpions were on the verge of breaking the game open.
"In the second half I asked them to be more adventurous and they made some breaks."
The scoring was opened not long after the break when Matt Parkins scored a cracking goal with a 30 metre drive on an angle.
Parkins had only been brought on to the pitch at the resumption of play when moved to right back.
Captain Luke France was pairing up beautifully with Carl Hopper in the midfield and their influence meant that it wasn't long before the Scorpions' lead was doubled.
Striker Dale O'Connell finished off some good interchange passing through the goalmouth and suddenly Sawtell were looking likely victors.
It's often said that 2-0 is the most dangerous scoreline in football and once again it proved correct as the Epping team hit back.
The result was put beyond doubt when a second goal from O'Connell sent the Sawtell faithful into raptures.
"I'm very confident about the team's chances in the final," the coach admitted.
"They know they're fit and they know they can match it with most teams, on their day when they play to their potential they can beat any team."