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NPLW Grand Final Preview: Calder United vs Bulleen Lions

Calder United

Calder United will chase a second consecutive NPLW Victoria Championship when it takes on Bulleen Lions in the Grand Final on Sunday.

Match Details

Calder United vs Bulleen Lions

Sunday, 11 September

Kick-off: 1:00pm AEST

Olympic Village, Heidelberg

Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on NPL.tv

Tickets: Tickets can be pre-purchased and will also be available at the gate (unless sold out prior).

Road to the Grand Final

Calder won through to the Grand Final with a gritty 1-0 win over FV Emerging in last week’s semi-final.

A first-half strike from Raquel Deralas was ultimately enough to secure the win, sending Calder into its second straight decider.

Mark Torcaso’s side gave itself the best opportunity to advance through the finals by finishing first in the league, claiming the Premier’s Plate for the second time in a row.

After a shaky beginning to the season, a remarkable run of 14 wins in the final 16 matches of the season launched Calder to the league’s summit for the third time since 2016.

Conceding just seven goals all season and scoring 52, Calder has earned its place in the big dance and will be out to prove why it has been the team to beat in 2022.

Bulleen pulled off something of a shock in their semi-final, defeating second-placed Heidelberg United 2-1 away from home.

After falling behind in the opening minutes of the match, Bulleen pounced on their opportunities to score two quick-fire goals in the second half and turn the deficit around.

Bulleen put themselves in the mix at the top of the table early in the season after winning four of their opening five matches, but fell away towards the end of the season to relinquish their place in the Premiership race.

The side ultimately finished level on points with FV Emerging in fourth but held onto third place on goal difference after five losses in their final eight games.

Previous Meetings

Calder United and Bulleen Lions have developed something of a rivalry in recent years with a long list of thrilling and competitive encounters.

Calder has beaten Bulleen on three occasions this season, including in the NIKE F.C. Cup semi-final, with the first meeting of the year ending in a draw in April.

Bulleen earned a win and a draw in two meetings in 2021 and beat Calder twice in 2019, but Torcaso’s team had the last laugh that year when it defeated Bulleen 1-0 in the Grand Final.

Players to watch

This will be a meeting of high calibre with a number of players on both sides set to represent clubs in the Liberty A-League Women next season.

A host of Calder United’s players will run out for Western United in its inaugural campaign in the competition, including Best and Fairest winner Natasha Dakic, NPLW Media Player of the Year Alana Cerne and NPLW Goalkeeper of the Year Alyssa Dall’Oste.

READ MORE: Western United represented at NPL Victoria Gold Medal awards

Midfielders Melissa Taranto and Emma Robers have also enjoyed stellar seasons, ranking within the top 10 in NPLW Best and Fairest voting.

Bulleen boast captain Lia Privitelli and midfielder Paige Zois, who both recently re-signed with Melbourne Victory, while striker Alana Jancevski finished joint-third in the golden boot standings with eight goals.

Photos via Jack Dilks