Tuesday, 11 March 2003 12:00 AM
South Melbourne will not participate in the new look finals system this season after Parramatta Power, Adelaide City and Northern Spirit all confirmed a place in the top six with wins on the weekend.
With one round remaining of the home and away season, South Melbourne sit four points from a finals spot but will not be able to bridge the gap on it’s closest rivals. South Melbourne closes out it’s season against Football Kingz this Sunday at Ericsson Stadium, Auckland.
Kick off at 2:00PM AET.
The battle of the top two clubs comes down to the wire this week, as Perth Glory look comfortable to be crowned NSL Premiers when they take on bottom placed Marconi while reigning champions Olympic Sharks who still have a slight chance of finishing first, host Adelaide City.
Newcastle United have the Bye this weekend and with 1 point seperating third and sixth, the formation of the finals must wait until the conclusion of Round 26. Perth and Olympic have undoubtedly been the form teams this season but with all top six clubs in good form, the new look finals series should be interesting.
The Albert Park Club will finish in seventh place no matter what the result this weekend. This has resulted in Victoria not being represented in the finals, a first since the inception of the league in 1977.
South Melbourne will be without Vice Captain Steve Panopoulos and midfielder Bill Damianos who are both suspended this weekend. Young Stephen Pace has a strained groin and may also miss the trip to Auckland.
South Melbourne will train tomorrow and Thursday night at Bob Jane Stadium before shooting across the Tasman. Caretaker coach Peter Tsolakis is determined for the club to conclude on a high note with a win against the Kingz this Sunday.
“Even though the finals are out of our grasp, we will be going to Auckland looking to take three points and finish the season on a positive note”.
The finals series runs over a ten week period with week one commencing in a fortnights time.