Monday, 29 March 2004 12:00 AM
Canberra Deakin have become the first non-NSL club team to win the National
Youth League title, after defeating Southern Division Champions South
Melbourne 2-1 at the Belconnen Soccer Centre in Canberra. While not the
first non-NSL team to win the title – the Australian Institute of Sport has
won the title on three occasions – Deakin are the first club team to be
crowned National Champions.
Canberra Deakin, who wrapped up the Northern Division championship last
weekend with a 4-2 win over Newcastle United, claimed the title despite the
absence of key players in leading goalscorer Robbie Cattanach and the
suspended Matthew Menser. South Melbourne, fielding a strong line-up
including Young Socceroos Massimo Murdocca and Vince Lia, fell behind early
in the game after a goal from Andrew Barisic. Barisic hitting a quality low
strike from the edge of the penalty area just inside the far post on the
South Melbourne however provided stiff opposition coming back strongly in
the second half and equalising in the 67th minute through Steven O’Dor who
scored with a neat flicked-on header.
With the game looking fairly even, Deakin’s other prolific striker Nathan
Caldwell scored what proved to be the winner when he was able to convert
from close range in the 75th minute.
Deakin was able to hang onto their lead and give the crowd of about 1,000
plenty to cheer when the referee’s whistle sounded.
The NYL Grand Final win completes a remarkable trifecta for the Canberra
side that had already claimed the NYL Northern Division Championship and
2003/04 National Youth League Northern Division grand final
Saturday 27 March 2004
Canberra Deakin 2 (Andrew Barisic 16′, Nathan Caldwell 75′)
South Melbourne 1 (Steven O’Dor 67′)
Source: Australian Soccer Association