VIDEO: It was a case of sweet redemption last Friday night when Nerang’s U18 Junior Premier League (JPL) side dished out a devastating win over their long-running rivals Palm Beach, scooping the ‘treble’ of tournament prizes for the 2018 Football Gold Coast season.
The hard-fought match, which was physical and at-times desperate from both sides, was easily one of the most entertaining games in recent memory on the Gold Coast, trumping even most of the best Men’s Premier League games for the season with on-field drama, grit and a couple of truly spectacular world-class goals from the Nerang boys.
Nerang’s U18 JPL boys celebrate after a remarkable undefeated season, peaking with the grand final victory over Palm Beach
Nerang’s team, under the expert guidance of respected mentor Gary Scott at the Academy of Football Australia, made short work of their coastal opponents, easily holding the majority possession of the football throughout the game, especially in the midfield where the Eagles set up camp and owned the space for almost the entire game.
After winning the pre-season Lightning Premiership cup, then going on to take the regular season Premiership trophy with a dominating performance, Gary’s lads completed the treble, showing class and composure even under pressure.
The team – featuring some players already slated for professional career opportunities and international postings – enjoyed an entire season undefeated, a rare achievement in the hotly contested U18 realm. Not only undefeated, the’ AFA Nerang boys added another feather to their cap by achieving a regular-season Goal Difference score (Gaols FOR minus goals AGAINST) of 100, a feat that may not be repeated for a very long time. The Eagles put away 111 goals in their 2018 season, and conceded just 11 on their road to the finals.
One of the biggest highlights from Friday’s final was seeing the brothers of Ben and Charlie Dixon perhaps for the very last time together on the pitch in the red and blue of the Nerang Eagles strip, as Charlie moves on to the UK next year to take up a professional football opportunity. Friday’s win also sees Nerang make amends for a stinging 1 – nil loss to Palm Beach at last year’s U18 JPL grand final.
And as if to push rock salt into the wounds of an already battered Palm Beach side, late in the game Nerang’s flamboyant striker Jordan Bishop struck the ball cleanly from the half-way circle – almost 50 metres out from goal – to see it soar over the Palmy keeper and slot itself perfectly into the back of the net – an insanely good shot. Jordan’s goal was and is without a doubt one of the best grand final goals ever seen on the Gold Coast in any age group, era or competition. The shot placed Nerang into an unassailable position just a minute or two from full time and sent the Nerang supporters into a roaring cheer, cementing the team’s remarkable dominance and record for 2018.
The U18s join with the U16 JPL Eagles who, earlier that night, also took out their grand final over Mudgeeraba in dominating fashion and secured their Premiership and Grand Final victories for 2018. Both sides have also backed up this year, providing a steady stream of key layers into Nerang’s Men’s Prenier League Firsts and Reserves side, showing maturity and character well beyond their years.
The wins, collectively, have placed Nerang Soccer Club at the undisputed top club for upper-level junior football on the Gold Coast and have already inspired an entire generation of upcoming junior Eagles as they look ahead to the 2019 season and beyond. Well done boys, outstanding in every way!
Watch the EXTENDED highlights video below – Kudos to Luke Sorensen for putting so much time and effort into creating these videos.