Meredith and team put their right boots forward to claim Australian championship

LOCAL talent made Australian futsal history at the national championships held in Windsor and Penrith last week.

Representing NSW Country South under 13 girls, Meredith Cheyne, 13, from Bangalee and her team entered the competition as underdogs, but worked their way to the grand final undefeated.

Playing a series of five games across three days, the clincher was in the semi-final match against Queensland City but the girls whipped out their best skills, thrashing the team 13-nil and entered into the national title grand final.

“The semi was the best game we played because we beat the team 13-nil and I was captain for that game,” Meredith said.

“It felt really great to win 13-nil and score that many goals in one game.”

NSW Country South then battled it out on the arena against NSW North in a close, gruelling game which saw South dominate the opposition 3-1.

“At the start it was really close because both teams were really good. But in the end we showed and proved that we wanted it more,” Meredith said.

“But full credit to the other team, they played really well.” 

NSW Country South played hard to prove themselves in the finals, as goalkeeper Kiara Rochaix held fort with some crucial saves.

Defence stayed strong with Meredith, Mariah Peever, Talia Westley and Lani Johnson and strikers Teisha McKenzie, Santina Wang and Eliza Cowan who never skipped a beat.

Cowan put away the first goal for the match in the first half and Johnson scored another so they sat at 2-nil at half-time.

NSW North scored in the second half but the team did not waiver and kept strong for the killer goal by striker Wang, which won the game.

Not only did NSW Country South walk away with the national title, but they also recorded the most goals in the tournament.

They walked away with the best defence record of only 11 goals against them thanks to Rochaix, who was titled the best goalkeeper of the competition.

McKenzie was titled the leading goal scorer in her age group for the girls.

The conditions were rough, with a sticky 40 degree day in the indoor stadium testing even the toughest, but NSW Country South’s coach Mark Peever said the girls stuck together to the end.

“It was a tough game but the girls finished on top,” he said.

Meredith played a defensive role and said she was really pleased with her performance.

“From the last futsal national tournament I thought we all improved. I had loads of fun and it was a great experience to see how all the other states play,” she said.

Meredith has played football since she was five-years-old after she followed her siblings and cousins into the sport.

As well as her success in futsal, Meredith is also a warrior on the field playing for Southern Branch and Country NSW.

This week she travelled to Bathurst to trial for the under 15s Country NSW team, where if selected, she will play in the national championships in Coffs Harbour in July.    

Meredith looks up to Matildas’ player Lena Khamis and hopes to one day play for Sydney FC or the Matildas.

“I just love the friends you meet and the opportunities you get to have. It’s just a really fun game to play and the people you meet are amazing,” she said.

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