Terrigal v East Gosford
The two most consistent teams of the 2023 Season will meet in the final showdown for the 2023 WPL Grand Final as Terrigal looks to finish their unbeaten year with one more win as East Gosford will be determined to create further club history and lift more silverware in 2023.
Terrigal enter this weekend’s pinnacle match well rested after enjoying a week off after their Major Semi-Final victory over East Gosford. Terrigal’s First Graders spent their weekend off cheering home their Reserve Grade side who faced Umina in the Preliminary Final match and recorded a 2-0 victory.
Terrigal head coach Gab Blanch now has two grades in the WPL Grand Finals, a true testament to the amazing job she has accomplished in her first year at the club. When questioned what this feat means to her players and the club, Gab responded. “The girls are pumped.”
“It’s been a work in progress for the club, well before I came along. This club absolutely deserves the success they have seen this year, not just within WPL, but also our Youth, and our MPL teams. It’s a testament to their dedication in nurturing and developing players on the Coast and making sure they are providing ongoing education to their Coaching staff as well.”
Terrigal faced some adversity in their last match as the Rams took an early 1-0 lead against Terrigal who struggled to play their usual flowing football early in that contest. Nonetheless, the strength and determination of the League Champions saw them rise to the occasion to score four unanswered goals to book their place in Sunday’s showdown.
That Major Semi-Final win allowed Terrigal to rest and recover as Gab voiced the weekend off will have a positive impact on her side ahead of their rematch with East Gosford. “We are fresh, raring to go. After so much football this season, I am of the belief that a weekend off is never going to hurt a team this late in the year.”
Terrigal have hardly put a foot wrong all year and will enter Sunday’s clash recording three wins over Jorge Chavez’s side in 2023. Despite recording multiple victories over this opposition, Gab is well aware of the danger they possess, especially in front of goals as she also mentions the high praise she has for the Ram’s coach.
“They’re a good team, some quality around the park. They know how to score goals, it’s been our key focus leading into each fixture with them this season. Jorge is a well-respected coach and has years of experience. I don’t take that lightly, they deserve every respect.”
Terrigal will enter with plenty of confidence knowing they have defeated this team multiple times, but Grand Finals are unpredictable and are determined by who is the best team on the day. Terrigal will need to be at their absolute best once again as East Gosford have multiple players with Grand Final experience.
Terrigal’s defence will be the key to victory again this weekend as the competition’s best backline has remained a brick wall throughout the season. Terrigal’s flexibility to change things depending on the opposition will also serve as a major bonus to this side on Sunday as Gab states her squad will enter with the upper hand.
“I guess an obvious advantage is that we come in knowing how to beat them. We’ve done it a couple of times now. We have a few different player combinations that we can play, depending on how they come out, I see that as a strength of ours. The key to winning will once again come down to executing in the top third, and making sure we are clinical when we are playing out.”
It has been an extremely historic season for Jorge Chavez and his East Gosford WPL squad. This team created club history in the opening stages of the season after they were crowned the 2023 Association Cup winners, cementing the first WPL silverware in the club’s sixty-year history.
East Gosford created even more club history in recent weeks as 2023 marked the first time both WPL grades placed inside the top four and made it into the finals series and just last weekend their win over Umina in the Preliminary Final marked the first time East Gosford have ever made a First Grade Grand Final.
Jorge spoke more in-depth about his historic 2023 season. “It’s our club’s first ever WPL GF, so you can imagine what it means not just to the players but to the club as a whole. It’s the accumulation of all the hard work that the club, coaches (past and present), players, and supporters of women’s football have put in.”
“As a coach, I am extremely honoured and proud of what we have achieved this year. Our current playing squad had high goals set at the beginning of the season, and all the hard work has put us in the position we are in.”
It was an extremely close contest, but Jorge’s side was able to edge out the reigning Premiers Umina 1-0 last week thanks to a Tahlor Thackray penalty to solidify their spot in the Grand Final. Unfortunately, East Gosford has not left unscathed as their squad depth has taken a major hit in the previous two weeks.
“Unfortunately, after two big games in the past two weeks, we have numerous players fighting to get fit for Sundays. But like I have said before, it takes a tribe to have any success in the WPL, and squad depth is crucial for this success. Come Sunday I have 100% confidence in whoever steps into the line-up.”
With his attention now firmly set on Terrigal, Jorge took a moment to congratulate and praise the opposition ahead of their Grand Final clash this Sunday. “Terrigal have been slowly growing over the past few years to be where they are today. Full credit to all involved at Terrigal for putting in the work, resources, and desire to help women’s football on the coast.”
“Gab has been a breath of fresh air this year assembling a very talented squad. They have been the benchmark all year and deserve to be in this year’s GF.”
Jorge also answered if his side will enter with any advantage come kick-off, commenting that both teams are quite evenly matched. “Both teams have quality all over the park. it’s very hard to single out any advantages one team has over the other. Sometimes, having a week off can affect your momentum in finals football, but at the same time, it gives your players a week’s rest to get over any lagging injuries.”
“I believe our squad has momentum going into the game and a real sense of excitement about what might be. From experience, I know that Terrigal will have the added pressure of going undefeated in the league and would not want to slip up on the GF day, but again, going undefeated can also give you some confidence come Sunday.”
Match Official – Hugo Fonseca
All Grand Final Fixtures –