The 2013 Australian Powerchair Football National Championships were held from the 13th to 20th October at Kevin Betts Stadium, Mt. Druitt in Sydney.
Teams from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New Zealand took part in the tournament. 2012 champions and hosts New South Wales were looking to defend their title as Australian National Champions.
The competition began in the group stages with New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia in group A, with 2012 runners-up Queensland, Victoria and for the first time New Zealand in group B. Both Queensland and New South Wales went through their group stages undefeated and without conceding a goal. Western Australia’s 3-0 win and 0-0 draw against South Australia were enough to put them into the knockout stages, while Victoria beat New Zealand twice in their group to progress.
In the semi-finals, New South Wales defeated Victoria 5-0 and Queensland beat Western Australia 3-0. Both undefeated sides would face off in the final. New Zealand and South Australia played off for 5th place, with both sides scoring their first goals for the tournament as South Australia won 7-1. Victoria came up against Western Australia for 3rd place in a defensive contest. A James Kim penalty decided the contest in a 1-0 Western Australian victory. In the National Championship game New South Wales started the better, taking a 1-0 lead into half time. Queensland responded with a second half equaliser before a powerful spin-kick from New South Wales co-captain Dimitri Liolio-Davis sealed a 2-1 New South Wales victory.
After the Australian Powercair Football National Championships concluded, Australia took on New Zealand for the first international match between the two teams. The Australian side included seven players from the National Championship final, while the New Zealand team featured the rapidly improving Luke Alderton and Melissa Counihan. 13 year old Luke Alderton sung the New Zealand National Anthem before kick-off, amazing the crowd. From the beginning of the match, Australia dominated proceedings, easing to a 4-0 half time lead. Both sides made changes at half time, but Australia continued to control the match, ending the match with an 11-0 victory with three players scoring hat-tricks. The MVP for the match was New Zealand’s Luke Alderton. Australia won The Ditch Cup for the first time but with New Zealand’s continued improvement through the Australian National Championships, this rivalry could be a close one in the years to come.
Article written by Christopher Suffield