Canberra United and Melbourne Victory played out a 0-0 draw in wet conditions to bring the W-League regular season to a close.
“I think for us it was a bit of a strange game, obviously having won the league, but I think it was a great opportunity for players that have worked so hard throughout the year and maybe not got as much game time to be given their opportunity. You look at Alex Gummer, she hasn’t travelled with us this year, and she had a great game at left back today.”
“For players who had a lot of games, it was probably nice. I want to play every game but it was nice to get a little bit of a rest. Now, where hopefully everyone’s all pulled up fully fit and we can focus fully now on the Perth game.”
Hopkins was also impressed with players on the longer list being able to perform.
“I think for me, it’s credit to our depth that we’ve got in the group.
A credit to the girls that came on, our back four I think was magnificent. We had two players playing in a position they’d never played before. For me, most probably the happiest thing was that that didn’t really faze them at all. They just got on with it, and played the game.”
Dowie paid tribute to the togetherness of the Victory side, and how it resonates with players all across the park, and the bench.
“We’ve all got each other’s back and we all want each other to do well. I think that gives players confidence when they go onto the pitch that even if they are nervous they know that they’ve got another ten people behind them and on the bench supporting them.”
Though the draw was bittersweet, Canberra captain Rachel Corsie found a lot of positives in the match.
“I think it says a lot that a game that could easily not mean much, for us to go out and dominate the team who’ve been champions, who’ve been the best team consistently this year. It shows a lot of courage.”
A wry smile on Corsie’s face gave nothing away on whether she’s started thinking about Season 12 in the W-League.
“It’s a busy year for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. It means a lot to have been a part of this club. I would love to come back and continue the work that’s started. It’s a short season, and we’re just beginning. I think Victory is a prime example of that, they’ve had a consistent team over the last few years and it shows how much that can have an impact on the field. We want to build a culture at this club where it feels like a home. And we want to become that team that’s unbeaten and finish on top.”
Coach Heather Garriock was again left feeling like the draw -Canberra’s fourth this season- was a loss.
“The story of our season. Possess the ball, play great football, just the final third – we can’t score.”
“I think we’ve addressed some things throughout the season, but I think a big thing is just being able to start the game, and get a goal up, and then build momentum.”
Canberra’s last match is a good reflection of their season: lots of opportunities but not quite able to make the most of them. If Canberra can keep the playing group together they have set a good foundation for next season.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory host Perth Glory FC in the first semi-final on Sunday afternoon.