With the two best teams in Australian Rocket League pitted against each other in the Gfinity Elite Series Final, the aggressive Sydney Roar and the methodical Sydney Chiefs gave us an enthralling match right down to the last touch.
In the regular season, the Roar were able to get over the Chiefs in relatively surprising fashion in a 3-0 sweep, with the top four in the world team only scoring three goals against Oceania’s second seed in a convincing loss.
Looking to redeem themselves for that loss in Week 4, the full strength Chiefs held no punches against the Roar. While the Roar was putting on the pressure early, it was Kamii who drew first blood after just over two minutes in Game 1.
While Roar were up 2-1 in the final minute of Game 1, Torsos beat Shadey and CJCJ in the air to force overtime, before taking advantage of an infield clear by Express to seal the deal. However, the game could very much have been a blowout right from the start had Express not put in the defensive yards, racking up five saves alone in the first game.
Game 2 was slightly more convincing form the Chiefs, who were looking to make this a quick 4-0. Drippay slid past the exposed Roar into an empty net to open up the account, before Torsos set up Kamii to double the lead.
CJCJ brought it back to a one-goal game, but in their attempts to equalise in the final minute, their overcommitment cost them with Drippay sealing Game 2 3-1.
After the break though, a much more composed Roar appeared. While they were still pressing and making aggressive plays, they weren’t exposing their goal as much, and it paid off with CJCJ scoring the first goal of Game 3.
From there, CJCJ shot a bullet into the top left after Express centered the ball to double the lead, before Shadey slipped a neat goal under the jumping Kamii to extend the lead to three. Torsos shot off the roof to try and get Chiefs back in the game, but Roar kept the pressure on and broke the Chiefs 4-2 to bring back one game in the series.
— Gfinity Australia (@GfinityAU) December 16, 2018
Motivated by the loss, Chiefs came out all guns blazing in Game 4. Drippay went from goal line to goal line in a brilliant solo effort to start the game just 22 seconds in, before Torsos and Kamii sealed the deal with just over a minute remaining. Both teams put in miraculous defensive efforts in Game 4, but it was Chiefs who prevailed with the first clean sheet of the series 3-0.
Now on tournament point, Roar had nothing to lose. Looking to get the first goal on the board once again, CJCJ took Express’ pass down the line and angled it beautifully into the bottom right to get the first, before Torsos once again cut off a Roar clear, allowing Kamii to swoop over the two defenders and equalise with 42 seconds to go.
In overtime though, it was a different result to Game 1, with CJCJ swiftly sliding behind the Chiefs defense to take the game after a missed clearance 2-1.
Just like Game 4 though, Game 6 saw the fire lit in Chiefs’ belly once again, forcing the Roar into a scrambling defense from the get-go and never allowing the underdogs to settle. Torsos opened scoring just after one minute, but Express beat Drippay in a neat 1-on-1 to bring us a leveled game.
It wasn’t enough to bring us to a Game 7 though, as Drippay got one back on Roar before a stalwart defense denied any semblance of a comeback, with the Chiefs taking Game 6 2-1 and the series 4-2.
The Gfinity Elite Series will return in 2019 for Season 3, where champions Sydney Chiefs will be looking to retain their title of Rocket League Champions against some of the best talent Australia has to offer.