Two of the titans of the NPL resume their intense rivalry this coming Thursday evening at the ABD stadium in Broadmeadows, when Bentleigh Greens go head to head with Heidelberg United FC to contest Football Victoria’s Community Shield.
Reigning NPL champion Heidelberg United FC takes on the reigning Dockerty Cup holder Bentleigh Greens in the traditional season curtain raiser for the second consecutive year. Remarkably in the last two seasons, the two teams have met in no less than four major finals including the 2017 NPL Grand Final (Greens victory) and the 2017 Dockerty Cup final (Bergers victory), as well as last season’s Dockerty Cup final (Greens) and an FFA Cup quarter final which the Greens won.
Whilst the Bergers’ back to back Premiers’ plates have shown they are without equal over the last two seasons in the league, the Greens have proven they are a match for the Bergers when it comes to the big finals occasion.
Last season, Heidelberg United defeated the Greens in emphatic style, 4-1 to take the shield and make a statement of intent for the season which followed. For the Greens, it turned out to be a wake-up call as they set about winning ten of their first eleven matches in the league. Now they’re preparing to meet once more and both coaches are treating the match as more than just a lead up to the season opener.
Bergers’ coach George Katsakis, says “I know we’re a bit underdone in terms of what I’ve been thinking in terms of my preseason. But nevertheless, I can assure you the 11 boys who come out will fight, and we’re obviously going to play towards a goal and that’s to win the game.”Katsakis doesn’t necessarily think his best 11 players will start on Thursday.
“It’s still early on. There’s still a few people finding it hard to be where they need to be in playing regular football. I’m not sure it will be my best 11, however we’ll put the fittest 11 available to us on the park.”
Bentleigh Greens coach John Anastasiadis said ahead of the game, “It’s a big game for us. It’s another trophy. Where a trophy is involved, for us it’s a final. We’re going to treat it as seriously as possible, and I believe Heidelberg is the same.”
“For me this game is vitally important to see where we are at, Heidelberg is a very good team. So it will be a good battle between two of the better clubs in the league.”
Kick off at ABD Stadium is at 7.45 pm, Thursday 7 February.