Launching a Christmas toy drive with local charities, Canberra United are back home after a few rough weeks on the road hoping to get back to form.
Captain Rachel Corsie saw the focus of the week for the team to make some adjustments and do the work.
“I think it’s an important week for everyone on the field. You earn your right to be in the starting XI from how you perform at training. So we’re going to be working hard," she said.
"I think there’s not going to be too many drastic changes, as you know we believe in our system and our players, our style of play and we know it can be effective as you’ve seen in the first few games of this season.
"We need to get back to that, and so there’s some things we need to tighten up, and tidy up and we’ll do that through the week - and come Sunday we’ll be ready,” Corsie said.
Facing a Sydney FC side similarly under pressure in Round 5, Corsie is looking forward to the contest.
“They’re a fantastic team. All their players have a huge amount of credibility and individual capacity. So there’s a lot of danger there. We need to make sure that we’re up for it and in the 1v1 level you compete," she said.
"We also know we have good quality in our team, and we have to make them worry about us. We’ll look to be positive, and create opportunities and we know that the fans will get behind us and that’s a huge support for us, it really spurs us on. It’ll be a great game.”
A new face in the side, Paige Nielsen, will make her first home appearance in green, joining from Suwon UDC in South Korea earlier this month.
Corsie has played previously with Nielsen in the NWSL and praised her as a professional.
“It’s been tough for her to come in and integrate herself and be thrown into games, two in a row. It’s exciting for her to get to experience a bit of a routine now and be back at home. She’ll hopefully get a warm reception and welcome. She’s a hugely talented player and she can be an asset for us.”
Nielsen, having previously played for Western Sydney Wanderers is excited and impressed by the ever-improving league.
“I think the biggest surprise for me, is how good this league has gotten in just a short amount of time. Two years ago, it was still very good but this year every team is really competitive. You have no idea; you can’t come into a game not ready because every team has the potential to win," she said.
"I think it’s going to be exciting to see where teams end up this year. Hopefully, we’ll get that playoff spot. It’s definitely exciting, it’s an exciting year to be in the W-League.”
She is excited about the challenge set by high expectations as an international player, and starting to find her way around Canberra.
Following two games this week United have over a fortnight off in December, so there’ll be plenty of time with locals like Melissa Maizels to show imports around.
The two spoke of the challenge of scheduling at this time of year and maintaining momentum.
“Obviously it’s not ideal, every team would love every game to be seven days apart. That’s not how it works. We’re really grateful for the new media coverage that we’re getting, having standalone Thursday night games," Maizels said
"We just need to be professional about our approach. We trust our staff, we trust their scheduling with our training and making sure that our loads stay where they need to be. And we get the right training that we need whether we have a big break or a small break between the games so we can be best prepared,” she said.
For Nielsen, it is much more about how the games go.
“I think it all depends on results. If we win a game and we’re on fire we want to keep playing, if we lose a game a break gives us a chance to regather and refocus and fix things we need to fix.”
Canberra United host Sydney FC at McKellar Park on Sunday December 2 at 4.00pm.