It’s finals time in the W-League with two exciting clashes to take place on Sunday. Premiers Melbourne Victory host Perth Glory at AAMI Park before Sydney FC travel up to Brisbane to face the Roar at Dolphin Stadium.
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
These sides met just over a week ago on the first of the month, with Victory’s 2-1 win securing it the minor premiership.
Victory can take some confidence from the fact that in both their meetings this season they have come away with the three points.
The obvious key battle will be Laura Alleway and Sam Johnson up against Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill with both duos excelling this season down their respective ends of the field.
However, the battle in the middle of the park may be more crucial in who comes out on top. The likes of Christine Nairn and Nikki Stanton are vital to how their respective teams function.
Victory captain Natasha Dowie has spoken about how her team’s return to the finals series has been “a slow process” but she is incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved thus far.
She was one of a number of Victory players who was rested either by relegation to the bench or omission from the squad altogether for the catch up game against Canberra.
Meanwhile out west, Kerr has spoken of nerves, excitement and anticipation in the lead up to Sunday’s semi.
Both she and coach Bobby Despotovski know Sunday’s match isn’t a regular game.
The Glory captain admits their season was a bit up and down and acknowledges their less than ideal results away from home – a few losses and draws with just one win against the Wanderers.
However, there’s a grand final spot at stake and a competitive contest is sure to ensue.
Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Two perennial finals threats, Brisbane v Sydney is set to be a cracking match. The Roar has earned the right to host another semi-final and will hope it goes a little better than last season where they bowed out to eventual champions Melbourne City.
Brisbane has had a roller coaster season with coach Mel Andreatta admitting as much. However she was full of praise for the way her team has handled themselves from the seasoned veterans to the teenage newbies.
Besides Katrina Gorry, Andreatta will have a full squad to choose from, a luxury she has rarely had this season. The likes of Celeste Boureille, captain Clare Polkinghorne and top goal scorer Allira Toby will all need to be on song to give the Roar its best chance at progressing.
A slow start for Sydney FC has been rectified with the Sky Blues maintaining their 100% record of playing in every finals series.
Arguably the form team of the second half of the season, Sydney will be hoping they have peaked at the right time of the campaign.
The Sky Blues have made two of the last three grand finals but have lost both to Melbourne City and will hope that this is the year they can go one step further.
Caitlin Foord has been sensational for the Sky Blues, finishing equal second in the golden boot race on nine goals alongside Victory’s Natasha Dowie and Adelaide’s Veronica Latsko.
Alanna Kennedy brings both defensive solidity and scarily accurate set pieces while the industrious Teresa Polias will once again be working the midfield.
Sydney has the advantage over Brisbane this season having won both of their meetings. However, the beauty of finals football is that anyone can win on their day.
Tip: Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC grand final