Sydney FC beat Melbourne in W-League final
Sydney FC captain Kyah Simon praised her young side after they powered to a 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory to claim their second W-League championship.
Two second-half goals ensured victory for the Sky Blues in what was a hard-fought encounter at AAMI Park.
Melbourne had their chances to secure a maiden grand final win after midfielder Petra Larsson cancelled out Nicola Bolger's opener for Sydney in front of 4181 spectators.
However, goals at either end of the second half from star forwards Sam Kerr and player of the match Simon got the Sky Blues home.
Simon, the only survivor from Sydney's 2009 championship-winning team, was delighted that a youthful Sky Blues side rose to the occasion despite the unavailability of regulars Emma Kete and Ellyse Perry.
Dual international Perry is in India with the Australian cricket team, while Kete was suspended after being sent off last week.
"We lost some crucial players but we have a lot of depth in our team, and all credit to our girls that they stuck in there and played some good football," she said.
"The girls did great, doubly so given they are so young and inexperienced but they proved everyone wrong that age doesn't matter.
"There is no better feeling than winning the championship."
After a tense opening Sydney defender Renee Rollason forced Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Brianna Davey into a superb sprawling save midway through the opening period.
The league's tightest defence, however, was soon breached in unusual fashion as Rebekah Stott's under hit backpass allowed Bolger to charge down Davey's attempted clearance.
On the back foot for periods of the first half, the Victory came back strongly and drew level thanks to a perfectly executed free-kick from Swede Larsson four minutes from the break.
Kerr gave the Sky Blues the ideal start to the second half powering a spectacular diving header into the net after profiting from Simons smart cross.
Sydney goalkeeper Sham Khamis produced an excellent point-blank save to deny Enza Barilla, while at the other end the impressive Davey was at full stretch to keep out Simons powerful strike.
The match remained an open affair with play swinging from end-to-end and both sets of player looking weary as the contest wore on.
Melbourne's hopes were extinguished four minutes from time as Maika Ruyter-Hooley was sent off after bundling over substitute Larissa Crummer which allowed Simon to coolly sweep home the resultant penalty.
Melbourne Victory co-captain Danielle Johnson said her side can continue to build after reaching their first W-League decider.
"I think they (Sydney) did really well in the midfield and it was hard breaking them down," she said.
"You learn a lot when you lose so hopefully we can take a lot away from this experience."