1986 NSL Champions, Damian Mori’s Adelaide City, go into their home PS4 NPL National Finals Series tie with 1987 NSL Champions, APIA Leichhardt, with firm focus.
By Luke Sale
For two years running, the Black and Whites have been South Australia’s best side through 22 rounds, advancing to the Grand Final as Premiers before stumbling by the narrowest of margins at Coopers Stadium to finish runner-up.
One week on from the 2016 Grand Final defeat to Campbelltown City, Mori’s men ventured to Sydney for their national finals tie with Sydney United 58.
The first of the games of the short tournament designed to crown Australia’s semi-professional 2nd division champions finished 5-4 in the Edensor Park side’s favour and ended City’s season.
As an argument for another day, United comparatively cruised through their remaining two matches to become the nation’s best at National Premier League level – leaving City to wonder what might’ve been.
This time, Adelaide City play host to New South Wales’s representative once more.
APIA Leichhardt who, like City, were defeated in their state’s decider, venture to Oakden in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs this Saturday in a bid to add to their NSW Premiers Plate.
Mori has moved on from last weekend’s loss and is confident his players have too.
“Obviously it’s disappointing but you’ve got to be in a final to be in with a chance,” he said.
“The pleasing thing is that we’re getting there and we’ll keep trying.”
Mori continued to say he watched APIA’s Grand Final with Manly United and has identified a few areas where City will need to match their opponents.
“I liked what I saw from them,” he said.
“They’re very physical and a strong and big team which plays very direct, we understand that we’ll be up for quite a tough encounter.”
“We’d like to think having the match at our home is a good advantage but it’s still going to be a very difficult game.”
The match between the 2017 South Australian and New South Wales Premiers kicks off at 2:00pm at Adelaide City Park.