Women's NSL - Season 2002/2003

Women's National Soccer League

Supplied by AWSA and transcribed by Thomas Esamie

Queensland Sting 1080226724
NSW Sapphires 10532211418
Canberra Eclipse 1044214816
Adelaide Sensation 10334142012
Northern NSW Pride 10316182810
Victoria Vision 101185214
Top Two sides (Sting and Sapphires) play the championship final.

Home Teamv Away Team
Grand Final (played December 14)
Venue : Carmichael Park, Brisbane
Queensland Sting
Nichols, Garven, Reuter, Grant, McShea, Garriock (Canham 75), Duus (Hohnke 90), Mann, Harch, Thomas (Ferguson 78 (Mitchell 87)), Dawney
Goal : Belinda Dawney 40
1 - 0 NSW Sapphires
Kell, Tann, Warrener (Slatyer 46), Collins, Carney, Kimber (Blayney 78), Rockall, Ledbrook, Burgess, Small, Walsh (Gilbert 65)
Belinda Dawney's goal late in the first half gave Queensland Sting a deserved 1-0 victory in tonight's WNSL grandfinal over NSW Sapphires to claim a record third national league title.

The Queenslanders have retained their perfect record in WNSL grandfinals, winning three from three. Queensland won two seasons ago (2000/01 against NSW) and were the first ever champions in 1996/97.

NSW Sapphires, also chasing their third league title, were devastated to lose their third consecutive grandfinal.

Queensland Sting made their presence felt from the opening whistle with some lively attacking moves, and remained the main attacking force overall. NSW Sapphires, after a slow start, settled into the game but had trouble penetrating a solid opponent.

It was a good quality first half, particularly in the first and last ten minutes, played at breakneck speed and with plenty of goalmouth action and skill. There were fewer highlights in the second half, play entangled for much of the time in the middle of the park.

>Queensland Sting had two great chances in the first three minutes, Heather Garriock providing a pinpoint cross but captain Kate McShea found the ball ricochet off her shin in front of goal. Belinda Dawney was next released behind the defence with a fantastic long kick from keeper Claire Nichols, but she skied the chance over the bar.

Several more close chances to the Sting still went unrewarded, NSW goalkeeper Cassandra Kell holding against the onslaught. A rare NSW Sapphires open opportunity came in the 38th minute, but keeper Nichols got down well to the Sarah Walsh attempt.

Two minutes later, Queensland claimed the lead. A long ball from midfield saw Dawney contest the ball against a defender and win the tussle before finishing in clinical style from 16 metres on the right.

NSW Sapphires lifted in the second half with a better defensive effort and rallied for the equaliser but with little reward. Their frustrations were best illustrated with a great chance in the 70th minute which was headed off the goalline.

Queensland suffered injuries to both Garriock and substitute Alicia Ferguson, but managed to hold out for the final whistle to celebrated the coveted victory.

Sting coach Mike Mulvey was elated with the performance. "This is a sweet end to a very good season - it was a tremendous effort. We had at least eight shots before we scored, and the goal was deserved from our work rate and creativity. NSW came out as expected in the second half but we weathered the storm."