By James Manton
South Melbourne wrapped up the Premier’s Plate with a comfortable 3-0 win against Northcote City on Sunday afternoon.
However the result and celebrations may be dampened after talismanic striker Milos Lujic – who also scored a brace – was helped from the field late in the game with what appeared to be a knee injury.
Despite the end result, Northcote should have been the side to hit the lead first as a gorgeous Ryan Go cross found James Kalafatidis clear in the penalty box.
But the striker fluffed his chance, heading straight into Nikola Roganovic when a metre either side would have been a goal.
Lujic made sure not to make the same mistake later in the half though as a Matthew Theodore flick-on found him in the penalty box, with the striker calmly putting the ball in the net and opening the scoring for the home side.
Lujic once again proved the difference between the sides 10 minutes later, this time from a perfectly-weighted David Stirton cross finding him free at the back post.
The striker headed the ball straight into the ground, however it had enough force to then manage to bounce over the fingertips of Christopher Theodoridis and in for his – and South’s – second goal.
Lujic should have had a hattrick just after the break but missed an absolute sitter as Chris Irwin set him up in the middle of the box, but his shot went well over the bar.
However nothing would stop this from being South’s day as the premiers added a third through what could have been either a shot or a cross from Bradley Norton.
Regardless his the intentions, the ball sailed over Theodoridis and into the back of the net.
Northcote found chances difficult to come by throughout the match and were barely able to muster a shot in the second half, but a fine double-save from Roganovic was all that saved Jordan Wintes from making the scoresheet.
Once again Lujic had a chance to grab his third for the match, but scuffed another golden opportunity wide.
It also may prove to be his final involvement in the season as five minutes from time his leg was caught under a Northcote defender’s body during a tackle, with the striker having to be carried from the ground and needing help to limp to the rooms.
However despite the injury South Melbourne managed to hold on for the three-goal win, ensuring itself as the premiers of the Victorian NPL for the second year in a row.
South Melbourne 3 (Lujic 27″ 38″ Norton 62″) Northcote City 0
SOUTH MELBOURNE: 1. ROGANOVIC Nikola, 2. MALA Shpetim, 4. EAGAR Michael, 5. ADAMS Luke, 8. THEODORE Mathew, 9. LUJIC Milos, 10. STIRTON David, 11. NORTON Bradley, 12. JAWADI Iqbal, 27. MINOPOULOS Leigh, 77. HATZIKOSTAS Steven
Substitutes: 22. MACLAREN Fraser, 6. LAKIC Thomas, 14. IRWIN Chris, 21. BARKER-DAISH Jake, 23. KECOJEVIC Andy
NORTHCOTE CITY: 22. THEODORIDIS Chris, 4. ELIOPOULOS Jacob, 5. LOMBARDO Gregory, 6. WARD Aaron, 7. OBRADOVIC Bonel, 8. KALAFITIDIS James, 9. MBARGA Calvin, 10. GASPARIS Marino, 12. WILKES Jordan, 14. RAMZY Anthony, 19. GO Ryan
Substitutes: 11. KOUNAVELIS Evan, 17. PARASKEVAS Andrew, 18. MARKOVSKI Nikola, 23. BOUNAS Jonathan, 30. GIFKINS Jordan