2023 Champion of Champions Day Six Wrap: Five more champions crowned as the tournament wraps up

Nothing could rain on the boys teams’ parades yesterday as some of the best youth community football teams from across NNSWF’s seven member zones arrived at the Coffs Coast Synthetics facility determined to be crowned the 2023 Champion of Champions.

There was a light shower just before kick-off on day six but that cleared before the under-13s sides’ seventh pool matches got underway.

The five finals were then contested and it was another sensational day of deciders, with two going to a penalty shootout and another decided by one goal.

When the final whistle was blown to call time on a memorable tournament and an enjoyable week at Coffs Harbour, 121 matches had been contested. Many of the players, teams, coaches, clubs and referees declared they were already eyeing off the 2024 Champion of Champions event. 

Under-12s Boys: Late screamer leaves Bellingen boys buzzing 

The under-12s Boys final saw the youngest players at this year’s tournament battle for the right to be crowned champions and they certainly produced a game worthy of a decider.

The Iona SC Bulls and Bellingen FC met in that match, during which two sets of passionate supporters created a blazing atmosphere that the youngsters thrived in.

The Bulls went into the match having gone through the pool matches undefeated and they were determined to do the double after finishing on top of the table. But Bellingen opened the scoring in the 10th minute when a scramble ensued following a corner kick and Hunter Noble found the back of the net from close range.

The score remained 1-0 at half-time and was the way it stayed with just five minutes left to play but the game was turned on its head in the 36th minute when the Bulls won a penalty and Cruz Kawaguchi blasted it into the bottom left corner to level the score at 1-1.

The match looked set to go to a penalty shootout but both sides had other ideas as they threw everything at one another to find a winner. It was Bellingen that got the job done as George English scored one of the goals of the tournament when he struck a shot from about 25 metres out that flew over the goalkeeper’s head and into the back of the net with 90 seconds to play.

The Bellingen boys then held on to be crowned champions. 

Under-13s Boys: Alstonville win penalty shootout thriller after topping table 

There was still business to attend to for all of the under-13s Boys teams yesterday morning ahead of the final as the eight sides contested their seventh pool matches.

Three of those were played from 9am, with two of them set to decide which teams finished ranked first and second to go through to the decider.

Alstonville FC went into the day on top of the table after they had been in that position for almost the entire tournament. A loss could have seen them tumble out of contention as they took on the third-placed Coffs City United FC, who were just three points behind them in third, while Iona SC Roar were second and trailed the leaders by just two points. 

With the first tiebreaker if teams finished level on points being head-to-head record, a Coffs City United win would have seen them qualify for the decider. But Alstonville won the match 2-1 to advance and meet fellow winners Iona SC Roar after they downed Valentine FC 4-0.

The other pool matches saw Maitland JSC end their tournament on a huge high with a 4-0 win over Nelson Bay FC and Norths United FC and Iona SC Victory contest a 0-0 draw.

The final was the fifth of the day and was the game that would close out the 2023 Champion of Champions tournament. It was a thriller that was certainly worthy of being the main event as Alstonville and Iona SC Roar pushed each other to a penalty shootout.

The Roar dealt the first blow as Oto Ryan put them ahead 1-0 in the 11th minute and then the division’s leading goal-scorer Theodore Dazell doubled the side’s lead two minutes later.

The score became 2-1 just under two minutes before half-time when the Roar netted an own goal while attempting to clear the ball out of their 18-yard box, and then Alstonville’s Max Donaldson equalised with six minutes to go.

Both teams pushed for a winner but neither was successful as the score remained 2-2 at full-time and a penalty shootout was required.

Both teams scored and missed one of their first two penalties before the following six all flew in as it was locked at 4-4 after five kicks each. Sudden death ensued and the Roar missed their sixth penalty before Will Gallagher stepped up and secured the championship for Alstonville with a successful penalty kick.

Under-14s Boys: Shootout required as Byron Bay reign supreme 

The under-14s Boys final was one of the first two to be played simultaneously from 9.50am alongside the under-15s game.

Byron Bay FC and Coffs City United FC were the only two under-14s sides in the boys tournament and they went straight through to the decider.

Neither side was able to break the 0-0 deadlock, although it was Coffs City United that had the best chance. That came three minutes out from half-time when Daniel Ruiner made a dazzling run in the 18-yard box that saw him beat three defenders and unleash a strike than cannoned back away off the right post.

Teammate Roman Pradham thought he had opened the scoring less than a minute later when he picked out the bottom left corner with a powerful strike but he was ruled to have been offside.

The game finished all square at 0-0 and went to a penalty shootout. Both teams missed their first attempt but then nailed their next three, making it 3-3 with one kick left each. Coffs City United put theirs over the bar before Tanakkrit Kingkaew stepped up for Byron Bay and scored the winning penalty kick that earned his side the championship victory. 

Under-15s Boys: Alstonville produce five-star performance in the decider 

The two under-15s Boys teams battled for the championship to kick off the finals proceedings alongside the under-14s at 9.50am and the under-14/15 division pool winners Alstonville FC were heavily favoured as they challenged Woolgoolga United FC.

They showed exactly why as they opened the scoring in the fifth minute as Haylen Balfour drove home a powerful back-stick volley from close range.

Alstonville went into half-time ahead 3-0 after Levi Priddle bagged a brace in three minutes just before the break, and they continued to march on early in the second stanza when Josh Hargrave scored on the half-hour-mark to make the score 4-0.

Charlie Collins then netted the side’s fifth and final goal in the 33rd minute with a superb volley into the bottom right corner.

The Woolgoolga boys had flashes of brilliance throughout the contest and created chances to open their account, however, despite their best efforts, there was no way of stopping a dominant Alstonville side that finished the tournament as the undefeated champions. 

Under-16s Boys: Bangalow boys get the job done in a hard-fought final 

The most experienced players at the 2023 Champion of Champions tournament were determined to put on a show for a large crowd during the final day of the event, and they certainly did that as they produced an entertaining final yesterday morning.

In the end, Bangalow FC were too strong for Port United FC as they ran away with a 2-0 victory.

It was anyone’s game to win at half-time as the score was locked 0-0 at the break but the Bangalow boys pounced in the second half as Rio Carter scored in the 25th minute and Oscar Woods struck in the 33rd. Both were tidy finishes that saw the teammates get onto the end of fine crosses before finding the back of the net.

Port United threw everything they had at their opposition in the final five minutes of the match but Bangalow kept them out on their way to a memorable championship victory.  

Explainer: How the Champion of Champions works

The Northern NSW Football Champion of Champions tournament brings together the best youth community football teams from across our seven Member Zones top competitions, to challenge for the title of Champion of Champions in their age group!

In a change to previous formats, in 2023 all clubs are invited to enter any teams currently competing in their Member Zone’s top division and challenge for the title of Champion of Champions.

The final format, number of competing teams and age groups are finalised and advised once all registrations have been received.

More about the 2023 Champion of Champions tournament can be found HERE.

Key Champion of Champions Information:

  • See the fixtures and results for 2023 Champion of Champions HERE

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