Grad­u­ates dou­ble up with striker triple treat

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - ADAM CLIF­FORD

AR­GEN­TINIAN striker Sofia Viarengo stole the show as North-West Grad­u­ates sealed back-to-back women’s Premier League ti­tles with a 3-1 de­feat of luck­less Di­a­mond­Backs.

Viarengo was a wor­thy MVP, scor­ing a hat-trick and pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary spark in at­tack that Grad­u­ates needed to set­tle their nerves.

Grad­u­ates coach Si­mon Arthur was beam­ing with pride for his side, af­ter see­ing them re­verse a 4-1 loss to Di­a­mond­Backs in the semi-fi­nal to pro­duce such an em­phatic re­sponse.

“We had a plan and the team ex­e­cuted it to per­fec­tion. The work rate from the whole group was phe­nom­e­nal,” Arthur said post-match.

“Louisa Ja­cob­son and Em New­bold are the best de­fen­sive com­bi­na­tion in the league and con­sis­tently stopped Di­a­mond­Backs, then set up our at­tack­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

“Our strik­ers worked tire­lessly to pres­sure their de­fence and our mid­field con­trolled the cen­tre of the pitch.”

It was the per­fect start for the his­tor­i­cally nervy Bull­dog play­ers, with Viarengo knock­ing home the opener in the first minute.

Di­a­mond­Backs struck back just be­fore quar­ter time with Em Dono­van de­flect­ing home a Ni­cole Geeves penalty cor­ner strike.

The match see­sawed through the sec­ond and third quar­ters but again it was Viarengo who had the telling in­flu­ence, cap­ping a fast break- away with a well-placed fin­ish in the 46th minute.

Di­a­mond­Backs’ fi­nal roll of the dice saw them re­move goal­keeper Ruby-Rose Hay­wood for an ad­di­tional field player, but the move back­fired with Viarengo get­ting her hat­trick in the 65th minute.

Arthur was adamant that Viarengo’s in­flu­ence was telling but was quick to recog­nise the depth of his squad in the premier­ship.

“Ob­vi­ously Sofia’s three goals were a high­light but this was on the back of ex­cel­lent link­ing up from the strik­ers,” Arthur added.

“Our first goal early in the match set the tone for the game.”

In the First Grade women’s com­pe­ti­tion, OHA de­feated Der­went 1-0.

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