Entering the seventh week of competition, teams are finding their groove and upsets are beginning to occur. Each team is feeling the finals spot pressure as we enter the season’s halfway point this weekend and sides begin facing off for a second time in Season 9.
Following the loss upsets of Melbourne City and Sydney over the weekend, table positions two, three and four are up for grabs, each spot tied at 10 points each.
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Victory are feeling the heat as they enter another round bottom of the table and winless. Painfully close to a victory last week, the Melbourne side were denied by a late Wanderers equaliser in the dying moments of the match.
Newcastle come off a bye last week and will be hungry for three points after the break, sitting not too far ahead of Victory in the sixth spot. They have been able to show promise this season with two existing season wins, one of which a dominant 4-0 reign over Victory in the second round.
The Jets will be looking to come away with a similar result on Friday night in front of a home crowd.
What to watch for: Newcastle got the upper hand comfortably at their last meet, leaving Victory goalless. The Jets enter the game with fresh legs while Victory are on the back of a competitive duel with Western Sydney last week, which may or may not work in their favour. While Victory’s defence showed strength last week with successful tackling, they struggled with offensive accuracy and only managed four shots on target. Will Victory be able to hit feet and string play inside their attacking half? Can they increase their season goal count of just six from six? This game is likely to be closer than their last encounter.
Player to watch: Still just a teen, Victory goalkeeper Bethany Mason-Jones is making some seriously big saves this season. She played for the entirety of the Western Sydney match on the weekend and denied the Wanderers a win on multiple occasions.
Young Matilda Sophie Nenadovic has been impressive for the Jets, the 18 year old first starting for the club in 2013. Despite her fullback position, Nenadovic is a versatile footballer and is known to score goals at the other end.
Head to Head: Played 12 | 2 wins (NEW) | 9 wins (MVC) | 1 draw
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-Off: 5:20PM (Local) (5:20PM (AEDT))
Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
|Newcastle Jets||Melbourne Victory|
|Team Form||L (SYD), L (CBR), W (PER), W (MVC), L (MCY)||D (WSW), L (PER), L (MCY), L (SYD), L (NEW), D (ADL)|
|In||8.Emma STANBURY (promoted), 14.Brooke MILLER (promoted)||8.Ayesha NORRIE (promoted), 16.Samantha JOHNSON (returns from suspension)|
|Out||10.Rhali DOBSON (not selected)||Nil|
|Unavailable||Chloe LOGARZO (ankle – 5 weeks)||1.Bianca HENNINGER (gk) (knee – 4-6 weeks), 4.Melissa TARANTO (knee – season), 14.Selin KURALAY (knee – season)|
Adelaide United v Perth Glory
Close but no cigar, Adelaide are bursting for their first season win after a string of tight finishes. Despite scoring more goals than fourth placed Perth (United claiming eight goals in five games), their attacking flare has failed to win them a match.
The last two weeks United have showed great promise and fight, only narrowly losing to serious league contenders, Brisbane and Canberra.
Perth enter the match following a momentous win against Sydney, denying the Sky Blues a first-place table position.
Glory sit fourth on the table between Canberra and Brisbane, all sitting on 10 points each, and will be hoping for another Sydney loss this weekend for the chance to move up into second position.
What to watch for: Can Adelaide secure their first win or will Perth’s upset win over Sydney propel them into a winning streak? Both sides have shown strong offensive presence. Adelaide have consistently presented forward half pressure (more so than in previous years) the majority of their shots against Roar inside the box. Perth managed to get away 17 shots in their Sydney match, preferring a longer range attack and firing 11 shots from outside the box. Adelaide have come close and missed the mark too many times, can they finally convert a win? Perth know that a second place on the ladder is on the line and will need to shut Adelaide down and keep them out of the box. Adelaide are known to be fighters and demonstrated their will to win last week, coming away with a 3-2 defeat after trailing 3-0.
Player to watch: This match will see Chicago Red Stars imports meet head-to-head as Adelaide’s Katie Naughton, Danielle Colaprico and Sofia Huerta face off against American teammate Vanessa DiBernardo of Glory. All players have made a significant impact in of their respective teams and their week-to-week performance.
Head to Head: Played 14 | 2 wins (ADL) | 11 wins (PER) | 1 draw
|Adelaide United||Perth Glory|
|Team Form||L (BRI), D (CBR), L (SYD), L (WSW), D (VIC)||W (SYD), W (MVC), L (NEW), D (BRI), W (WSW)|
|In||2.Cheyenne HAMMOND (promoted), 14.Grace ABBEY (returns from injury), 16.Kelsey ZAFIRIDIS (promoted)||Nil|
|Out||10.Racheal QUIGLEY (hamstring – 1 week)||Nil|
|Unavailable||5.MÔNICA (international duty), 8.Emily CONDON (illness), 30.Alex CHIDIAC (groin – 1 week)||1.Melissa MAIZELS (gk) (finger – 4 weeks)|
Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne City
Surely a little deflated following their shock-loss to Canberra on the weekend, top of the table City will look to regroup and retain their dominant form in this week’s contest against the Wanderers as opposite ends of the table meet on Sunday afternoon.
Both newer to the league (City’s second season, Wanderers’ fifth), the two sides have only met once, City getting the better of the Wanderers in a comfortable 4-0 triumph.
What to watch for: How will City recover from their first ever loss? Despite their point margin in first place, City aren’t the highest scoring team in the league. They rely on high passing accuracy and clearing the ball from their defensive half, allowing minimal goals to be conceded. This will be important against the Wanderers, a team who enjoy shooting from outside the box. Western Sydney haven’t tasted victory for a few weeks and will be looking to capitalize a potentially vulnerable Melbourne City after learning that they can be beaten. There were flaws in the Wanderers’ defensive performance against Victory last week and the team will need to convert contests for any chance of overtaking City.
Player to watch: International star Joanne Burgess has proved essential to the Wanderers offense since returning to the league this year. Her ability to score and assist in the forward half will be crucial against tight-ship City.
Laura Alleway, City’s steading rock in defence. Alleway in addition to Williams, Catley and others have been a huge reason for Melbourne’s ongoing success. She owns that back third.
Head to Head: Played 1 | 0 wins (WSW) | 1 win (MCY)
|Western Sydney Wanderers||Melbourne City|
|Team Form||D (MVC), L (BRI), W (ADL), L (SYD), L (PER)||L (CNB), W (BRI), W (MVC), W (CBR), W (NEW)|
|In||3.Nikola ORGILL (promoted), 13.Eliza AMMENDOLIA (promoted)||Nil|
|Unavailable||23. Joey BURGESS (calf)||9.Larissa CRUMMER (ankle – 3 weeks)|
Canberra United v Brisbane Roar
(Broadcast live on ABC and Fox Sports)
No doubt the closest contest this week, Canberra and Brisbane face off for the 21st time after a see-saw of tight, low-scoring results against each other over the years.
With a Sydney bye this week, both sides will be fighting for their fourth season win which could very well reward them the upgrade into a highly-contested second position. Canberra will be confident, finally ending City’s 419-day, 18-W League match winning streak in a historic win for the club.
Despite their long playing history going in favour of Brisbane, Canberra have won their last two duels. Better yet, the game is televised so be sure to be watching!
What to watch for: A tight, highly-contested game that could very well end in a nail-biter. Canberra United score, on average this season, in the second half while Brisbane usually put one away well inside the opening half of play. Early goals will be important for both teams, to set the mood and essentially shift the momentum of the game in favour of either side. This has been easier for Brisbane in the past.
Both teams are similar in their performances this season; tights passes, impressive set play and real urgency in their attack. Sure to be a great game.
Player to watch: At just 15 years of age, Canberra’s Karly Roestbakken made her mark in last week’s match with the winning goal against Melbourne City. It was her efforts in the 82nd minute that not only broke City’s historic streak but also made her the second youngest W-League goal scorer. Will she score again this weekend?
For Brisbane, Katrina Gorry was firing at her usual pace last weekend as she dominated the midfield against Adelaide, and will play a pivotal role in Roar’s quest to overcome Canberra.
Head to Head: Played 20 | 6 wins (CBR) | 10 wins (BRI) | 4 draws
|Canberra United||Brisbane Roar|
|Team Form||W (MCY), D (ADEL), W (NEW), W (BRI), L (MCY)||W (ADL), L (MCY), W (WSW), L (CAN, D (PER), W (SYD)|
|In||9.Jasmyne SPENCER (promoted), 17.Laura HUGHES (promoted)||7.Sunny FRANCO (promoted), 15.Abbey LLOYD (promoted)|
|Unavailable||15.Emma CHECKER (knee – 1 week)||9.Cortnee VINE (fractured fibula – 2 weeks)|
Bye: Sydney FC