It's reassuring to see how nice an atmosphere can be created with a relatively small crowd.

The difference between 1,000 people through the gates and the 2,300 that made Manly's Cromer Park sing tonight may seem relatively slight, but at the end of the day, it can make or break a derby.

We saw a similar story with the just over 5,000 that packed into the Matildas against China.

We don't need huge crowds to build an atmosphere at football matches, we have that luxury of being able to focus on the game-day experience instead, pay less for smaller venues and set our sights on a feel good, family dynamic.

To watch kids playing football up on the hill behind the goals may seem like a discouragement to the level of professionalism that these players offer. Certainly, the standard shown by Sydney tonight was excellent.

Female football is undergoing a transitional phase, where the true audience potential of the Matildas and by extension this league remains somewhat unclear.

We all want to see NWSL attendances verging from the 4-5,000 mark all the way up to the Portland Thorns esque 20,000 that packed out BankWest. Double headers in big stadiums. The lot.

But in the meantime, it is a comfort to know that by setting our expectations lower and focusing instead on providing that relaxed sense of community that other sports can't, the W-League already occupies a unique place on the Australian sporting calendar.

And what a place it is.