Rockdale City secured a third-placed finish as APIA Leichhardt won the NPL 1 premiership after the sides played out a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
The Suns headed into the final round at Lambert Park needing a point to ensure a top three finish, with an Alec Urosevski free kick giving Rockdale the lead just before half-time.
But with defender Steven Hesketh sent off moments after the break, APIA found an equaliser from the spot 15 minutes from full-time through Jordan Murray.
Rockdale City player-coach Paul Reid said it had been a physical match but was happy with the way his side pushed the premiers.
“Once we went down to 10 men we had to change the way we played but to hold on for the draw and secure third spot is a good sign of character from the players,” Reid said.
“Our focus now is on the finals. We are confident we can get a result against Blacktown to set up a rematch against APIA.”
APIA will enjoy this weekend off while Rockdale face Blacktown City on Sunday in the preliminary final.
APIA will also represent NSW in the NPL finals series against the champions of other states later in the year.