ACT claims double crown
ACT captain Daniel Fulton, right, cheers as the team win the penalty shootout. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra now has the undisputed kings and queens of Australian futsal after both our men's and women's teams were victorious in the finals of the national championships at the AIS on Friday.
While the men won a nerve-racking penalty shoot-out, the women made it fifth-time lucky after finishing runner-up the past four years.
Both victories were against Victoria.
After a scrappy start, the women opened up a 1-0 lead just before half-time when Sarah Crittenden finished off a fast break.
Her sister, Rachel, then finished it off in the second half when she headed home a throw by ACT goalkeeper Luisa Marzotto.
The trio took out the player of the final, highest goal scorer and tournament MVP respectively.
''It was a good win, a bit of relief for the girls given it was fifth-time lucky,'' ACT women's coach Kristian Collins said.
''That was our fifth final in a row and that's the first one they've won.
''Maybe three or four [players] have been through all five and another two have been through four [of the finals].''
The ACT's injury-riddled men's side overcame a shortage of players to hold on and win a nail-biting shoot-out.
It took seven penalty kicks from each side to break the deadlock after it finished 3-3 after normal and then extra time.
After Stephen Domenici slotted his spot kick home, ACT keeper Angelo Konstantinou then saved Victoria's penalty for the win.
The ACT took a 3-0 lead into half-time thanks to goals to Daniel Fulton, Robbie Cattanach and Domenici.
With ACT running out of legs due to having only one (injured) substitute, Victoria dominated the second half and equalised with eight minutes remaining.
But the home side managed to hold on and take the game to penalties.
''We've been riddled with injuries and we had players who could barely walk that were playing from game two,'' men's coach Simon Aitchison said.
''The boys were pretty inspirational in that respect, particularly Daniel Fulton [who] got player of the tournament and player of the match, but the other players who played almost every minute of the tournament because of injuries - Pat Ross-Magee and Robbie Cattanach - and those three for mine are the premier futsal players going around, they got us home.''