Brookvale are the 2023 Champion of Champions for the 21 Men division after defeating Cronulla Seagulls 2-1. A goal in each half would ultimately take Brookvale to victory after a wind-affected game.
The Northern Beaches team had the first chance when Nicholas Hawkins showed quick feet and drew a save out of Seagulls shotstopper James Riach. This was followed by a good period for the Seagulls, with Anthony Mann and Ryan Hardie having chances, while Brookvale custodian Jannie Nel denied Jackson Sumich. Nel’s services were required again just past the half hour mark to deny Hardie.
Brookvale’s tenacity in defence paid off and they drew first blood on 44 minutes as Luca Ball finished emphatically, Leonardo Zuppardi doing brilliantly to set him up.
The tension grew during the second half as the Seagulls pushed for an equaliser, while Brookvale were both defending stoutly and looking to capitalise on counter attacking opportunities. One of these counters presented Hawkins with a tricky chance, and his clever lob landed just past the far post.
There were ten minutes to go when Brookvale’s Thomas Sims blasted the ball across the face of the goal. At the other end, Bailey Fowler made an enterprising run and swooped on goal, but the Seagulls flyer could only find the side netting.
A spectacular free kick from Sims in the 89th minute doubled Brookvale’s advantage. This goal would prove to be the winner, but not before the Seagulls gave the fans a grandstand finish. Mann’s cool side-footed finish in stoppage time gave the Sutherland side hope, and then they nearly fashioned an unlikely equaliser, but Armstrong couldn’t hit the target.
Cronulla Seagulls 1 (Anthony Mann 90+1’)
Brookvale FC 2 (Luca Ball 44’, Thomas Sims 89’)
Cronulla Seagulls: 2. William LUMB, 4. Benjamin ARMSTRONG, 7. Jackson SUMICH, 9. Adam CASTLE, 10. Luke ROBERTS, 12. Kyle YEO, 13. Dimitry KHACHUMOV, 14. Ryan HARDIE, 15. Joshua ANDERSON, 16. Martin CHAVE, 23. Bailey FOWLER, 24. Jamie BOLLARD, 29. James NUNN, 42. Lachlan ZDEBSKI, 44. Anthony MANN, 66. James RIACH
Brookvale: 3. Felix LOMBARDO, 4. Mark MARINOVIC, 5. Jonathan VESCIO, 6. Josh EAKIN, 7. Daniel EVANS, 8. Dante MANNARINO, 10. Leonardo ZUPPARDI, 11. Nicholas HAWKINS, 12. Jannie NEL, 14. James GLYKAS, 17. Ben HATZIMANOLIS, 18. Luca BALL, 20. Teo BONDAREFF, 21. Matteo FRAGASSO, 22. Damiano MELANI, 99. Thomas SIMS
By Eric Subijano (Football NSW)