AWFA Victoria claimed bragging rights against NSW in an entertaining mental health charity clash hosted by Butterfly Football Fund at La Trobe on Saturday.
The Victorians prevailed 4-3 in a penalty shootout after scores were locked at 1-1 at full-time.
NSW struck first with Boomers’ winger Pieter Noordewier tucking away a penalty inside the opening 15 minutes.
However, Victoria was quick to reply through Cobram coach Bill Puckett.
Both sides had chances late in the game, but couldn’t find the back of the net, forcing a shootout.
NSW was put on the back foot straight away when Noordewier’s shot crashed into the crossbar.
Matt Park made no mistake for Victoria and both sides continued to trade blows until Lachlan Arkinstall found the post with NSW trailing 4-3, handing Victoria the spoils.
Myrtleford’s Vinne Paglia enjoyed the experience, but admitted it was tough.
“I feel like I’ve lost a lot of fitness since the grand final and most of us hadn’t kicked a ball since then either,” Paglia said.
“It was a bit scratchy, but I think once we all got into it we had a bit of fun.
“It was good playing with ‘Burchy’ (Adam Burchell), Tyler (Curran), (Josh) Zito because you play against them all year.”
NSW co-coach Andrew Grove was pleased with his side’s effort and embraced the underdog tag against a star-studded Victoria.
“Everyone was saying they were the team to beat and thought they were going to smash us, but we showed them we could play,” Grove said.
“I probably would have called my penalty in the first half, I thought Stoycho (Ivanov) clipped me, but they might have had a handball that was tight as well.
“Well done to Carlo (Villani) and the organisers for putting it on and thanks to everyone for coming out.”
In the earlier women’s clash, NPL Victoria outfit Calder United showed its class with a 5-0 victory against the AWFA ladies.
League Star Player and Golden Boot winner Catherine Zimmerman was a constant threat in attack for Calder and opened the scoring in the 19th minute.
AWFA held their own with Melrose’s Rachael Reitano a standout in goals, keeping out a penalty from Mackensy Mathews and producing a number of superb saves.
Zimmerman was proud the club could make the trip to the Border and was happy to be involved.
“It was still a battle, even though it was a shutout, both teams battled which was good," Zimmerman said.
“It’s important to recognise it (mental health) and be there for people who are suffering issues like that.”
AWFA striker Alicia Torcaso was hoping to claim family bragging rights over Calder coach and cousin, Mark Torcaso, but it wasn’t to be.
“It’s a little bit hard when we’re all put together after two training sessions, but we did a really good job and I don’t think the score reflected the game,” she added.
More than 500 people attended.
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