While it’s been a less than ideal build up to the biggest game of the season, the W-League grand final is almost upon us.
This match is set to be high quality with some brilliant talent on both sides of the park.
The last five meetings between these two teams – spanning the last four seasons – have seen an even spread of results with three Perth wins to Sydney’s two. Interestingly, all these matches have been played in Perth; a quirk of the fixtures.
The two teams are very familiar with the grand final; both have been runners-up in the last three seasons. Sydney will look to add to its trophy cabinet with a first championship since 2012-13. For Perth, it would be a maiden W-League title.
The contrast in how these teams went about their seasons is indicative of broader trends in the W-League.
Perth spent only one week outside the top four, early in the season, and were undefeated up until round nine when they fell to Victory in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Sydney had an opening round win followed by three losses on the trot. It took the final round of the season – and favourable results in other matches – to secure them a spot in the top four and continue their record of having featured in every finals series in W-League history.
While their journey to the post-season was very different, they ended up on the same number of points (19).
The Glory and Sky Blues scored the equal most goals for the season (28) and Perth conceded only one goal more (20) than Sydney (19).
Perth’s strength has been the scarily instinctual partnership between Rachel Hill and Sam Kerr.
The golden boot winner spoke of her strike partner following the Glory’s semi-final win saying the pair are so in sync.
“When we’re on the same team at training, it’s annoying. We make the same runs, we do everything the same and we laugh about it so it’s one of those things.” Kerr told media.
The beauty of the pair is that it isn’t just Hill to Kerr constantly although Hill led the league for assists and Kerr for goals.
The pair have set each other up nine times during the season. You then add the likes of Alyssa Mautz and Leticia McKenna who was sensational in the semi-final and you have a very potent front third.
For Sydney, momentum is on their side. Barring their final round loss to Melbourne City, the Sky Blues have won five of their last seven and had a 2-2 draw with Victory.
Caitlin Foord has been injury free for the most part and it has showed with the Matilda finishing equal second in the golden boot standings.
Savannah McCaskill has proven to be a shrewd signing and she and her compatriots have been solid for Sydney.
Princess Ibini has had a strong season and transitioned from impact player off the bench to the starting XI.
So who wins? Sydney’s classiness and form plus the home ground advantage puts them slightly ahead. However, Perth has shown that they can come from behind and really turn it on when they want to.
You can watch the W-League grand final on Fox Sports, SBS Viceland and the My Football Live app. Kick-off is at 4:30pm AEDT.