A TEN-year wait is finally over for Port Macquarie’s futsal stars after a heart-stopping 3-2 victory over Victoria at the national titles in Sydney.
Shannon Day’s left-footed strike in golden goal extra-time secured Far North New South Wales the win after they had let a 2-0 evaporate.
Day, along with teammates Sophie Jones and goalkeeper Britt Hargreaves are the three original members of the team who became the first senior FNNSW team to win the title.
“I just remember the sound of the ball hitting the net and I looked at all my girls and we just ran in and went crazy,” Day said.
“It’s definitely the highlight of my futsal career because we’re all basically a family.”
It took no more than 30 seconds of extra time and with coach Mick’s words ringing in her ears, the 23-year-old became a hero.
“I said to the girls that it was going to be won in the first 20 to 30 seconds and we had plays we knew what to do,” he said.
“Within that first 20 to 30 seconds the girls showed that everything they’ve trained for had worked and it was all over.”
It capped off a remarkable tournament that saw the team win all 11 matches including the semi-final and final.
“To go through undefeated is a massive effort,” Day said.
“They played nine games over three days before the semis and the games are an hour each on an international sized court.”
FNNSW then knocked out Newcastle (Northern NSW) 4-1 in the semi-final to book a rematch with Victoria who had beaten them in the Escape Cup four months ago.
I just remember the sound of the ball hitting the net and I looked at all my girls and we just ran in and went crazy.Shannon Day
“We have had big battles against Victoria and they got us in the final in Queensland,” Day said.
“They also have two French international players who have played World Cup so they’re a very strong team.”
The FNNSW girls now almost have the box set of titles across both Australia and Asia.
“It’s a compliment to the girls because it’s the only title they haven’t won and it adds further meaning that what we’re doing here works,” Day said.
While every player played their part in the overall success of the team, Day admitted there was confidence amongst the group from fielding the “two best keepers” in the country.
“To have those girls in Imogene and Britt standing there in goals is a saviour right there,” he said.
The furthest FNNSW had previously progressed through the tournament had been to the semi-final stage over the last two years.
It proved third time lucky.
“When we won the semi-final we huddled after it, and all broke down because we knew no matter what happened we were in the final and the rest was going to be gravy,” Day said.
It’s a compliment to the girls because it’s the only title they haven’t won and it adds further meaning that what we’re doing here works.Mick Day
“The commitment to training is second to none; some of the girls travel seven hours return every single week, so that commitment wins you titles like that.”