Unbeatable Royals take home inaugural Cairns title
Kingston Royals crowned first ever Cairns International Futsal Club Challenge champions in the women's division after narrow win over hometown favourite Cairns Vipers.
Below is the team diary, which covers the amazing time spent in Cairns!
Day 1: We arrived in Cairns the day before the tournament and tried to adjust to the heat and humidity. Our accomodation is in beautiful Kuranda with a gorgeous view of the mountains. We have only been training together for two months under the coaching of George Paschalidis. Our team is keen to test ourselves in this tournament and continue building chemistry with our goal of each being selected to represent Australia in the AMF Women's Futsal World Cup in Barcelona next year!
Day 2: We were pumped for their first game day! The first game at 11am against Innisfail Cutters. It took the first half of the game for us to settle into our rhythm but second half we got into our flow. We eventually wore them down and won 4-1. Scorers: Liesl Woods x 2, Louise McMullen x1, Nikki Vucetic x1
Our second game was at 5pm against Mareeba Bulls. We came out strong and hit our flow, scoring some great set piece goals. We defeated them 8-0! Scorers: Liesl Woods x 3, Nikki Vucetic x 3, Marie Pham x 1, Lilian Lee x 1
Day 3: Our games today were at 5pm and 8pm. So we spent the day team bonding by exploring Barron Falls and our local Kuranda Village. It was absolutely stunning! Playing tourist time was over and we got our kits and headed to our game to take on Mareeba Bulls again! Final score was a 7-2 victory. Scorers: Louise McMullen x 4, Liesl Woods x 2, Julie Tran x 1.
We then prepared for our first game against home favourites Cairns Vipers. We went on to defeat them 4-2. Scorers: Liesl Woods x 2, Louise McMullen x 1 and Lilian Lee x 1 Day 4: Our first match of the day was the return leg against the Innisfail Cutters. The ladies made it 5 from 5 with a solid victory over a resurgent Innisfail team. The heat was definitely in the morning and the ladies coped well in the trying conditions. We scored some great counter attacking goals and created numerous opportunities. Deb also had a very good game in goals and made some good saves. With that effort, we sewed up top spot and earned a recovery session at the pool that afternoon. Final score was 7-1. Scorers: Liesl Woods x 4, Lilian Lee x 1, Marie Pham x 1, Nikki Vucetic x 1
We then took on Cairns Vipers in the return leg. After sealing top spot going into the last match, the ladies looked to maintain possession and their legs heading into the finals. The ladies played extremely well and were able to score from well constructed set plays as well as from open play. Deb made some good saves and the team all defended very well, to clinch their second clean sheet of the tournament. Final score was 3-0. Scorers: Louise McMullen x 2, Nikki Vucetic x 1
Day 5: Semi final day. The ladies took on Innisfail in their do or die semi final. After a slow start with the ladies showing a few nerves, the team got in to gear, only conceding a late consolation goal. They ladies held off Innisfail's attacks and Innisfail played a really solid game. However, the team showed their championship credentials with a flurry of goals in the second half to put the game away. Final score was 7-1. Scorers: Louise McMullen x 2, Liesl Woods x 2, Nikki Vucetic x 2, Marie Pham x 1
Day 6: Grand final day. A big build up on the day, with the ladies partaking in the opening ceremony and having a slight delay in the kickoff. The team however was prepared and ready to go from the outset after warming up. It was an enthralling final from start to finish, a tense affair played at an extremely high tempo. The ladies took the lead through a well worked team goal finished by Marie and took a 1-0 lead in to the break. In the second half, Deb Lawrence pulled off many great saves. Louise then scored to make it 2-0. Cairns deservedly pulled one back to make it 2-1, but the ladies held their nerve in the last 6 minutes to come out victorious. Perfection achieved, the ladies went 8 from 8, finishing undefeated. An amazing achievement, with the ladies crowned the inaugural FAF Cairns International Futsal Club Champions. A big thank you to the players for being able to pull together so strongly in such a short period of time. We would also like to thank the organisers for putting the tournament on.
Final: Kingston Royals 2-1 Cairns Vipers Futsal Club Scorers: Louise McMullen x 1, Marie Pham x 1
Award Winners Tournament MVP: Louise McMullen Player of the Final: Marie Pham Golden Boot: Liesl Woods - 15 goals