PHOTOS

SD Raiders win NPL 3 grand final

Best of the best: The SD Raiders celebrate their 3-1 win against premiers Stanmore Hawks at Ilinden Sports Centre on Saturday night. The team plays their home games at Ernie Smith Reserve. Picture: Football NSW
Best of the best: The SD Raiders celebrate their 3-1 win against premiers Stanmore Hawks at Ilinden Sports Centre on Saturday night. The team plays their home games at Ernie Smith Reserve. Picture: Football NSW

For the second straight week the SD Raiders men's team have defied regular season form to win a big game. In the case of their 3-1 win against the Stanmore Hawks on Saturday night, it was the biggest game of them all.

The Raiders, who lost twice to the Hawks throughout the season, defeated the premiers in the grand final of the National Premier Leagues 3 competition to be crowned champions.

Fresh off their 4-0 rout against Bankstown City, the Raiders survived a couple of early scares before Daniel Bittar's volley on the edge of the six-yard area opened the scoring mid-way through the first half.

The Raiders, who are coached by former Socceroo Nicky Carle, doubled the lead shortly after the break when Anthony Proia latched on to a deflection and buried his second attempt into an open goal for his 28th of the campaign.

Mathew Barkho made it 3-0 shortly after when finished off a slick attacking move - one of many which involved one of the Raiders' best in Toshiwa Sakawa.

Bittar, Proia and Barkho made it goals in consecutive finals games.

Stanmore pulled one back in the 75th minute courtesy of a long-range strike from Hawks' captain Jovan Blagojevic. But there would be no comeback. The Raiders victory caps a stellar season for the club which has been promoted to the NPL 2 for the 2020 season.