Sydney look to retain their title | TWG
W-League history is calling Sydney FC. Prior to this week, the Sky Blues have already set numerous records; most undefeated W-League games, most goals in a season (29) and the back-to-back premiership.
This Saturday Alen Stajcic’s side have the opportunity to add another first; back-to-back championships.
From the outset the Sky Blues have been the side to beat. Although considering the players they had lost in the off-season, that wasn’t a given. The experienced Danish pair of Cathrin Paaske and Julie Rydahl didn’t return and Sarah Walsh was ruled out at the season.
Despite those setbacks, Stajcic picked up former Central Coast Mariners Teresa Polias, Renee Rollason and American Lydia Vandenbergh. With those additions, he was very confident about the squad he had compiled.
“In some respect we are going to be probably even more attacking and have even more dynamic movement in the front third. We have a lot more options with Kyah, Leena, young Caitlin Foord and Catherine Cannuli up front.”
That was back in September of last year and boy was he ever right! Coming into this game, the Sky Blues have scored an astounding 34 goals. It has been that offensive game plan that Stajcic believes has given his side the edge.
“I think our strength is our variety in attack,” he said. “We have had so many different goal scorers and so many different ways that we have scored goals.”
“When you can score goals in so many different ways and have so many different people contributing to the goal, it just makes it really hard for the opposition to target one particular area.”
The Melbourne Victory found that out the hard way for the second time this season as they went down 5 – 1 to the defending champions in the first semi-final. While the result was satisfying, the Sky Blues quickly refocused their attention on Brisbane Roar.
“Everyone focused for this game straight away. We can’t look into the weekend’s game. That is all history now so we can only control the upcoming game.”
The Sydneysiders know that Brisbane will be a tougher opposition. These two sides have met twice this season and its 1 – 1 in terms of results. In fact, the Roar inflicted the Sky Blues’ last loss on the very ground they are to play on. With that in mind and the title on the line, motivation has not been lacking this week.
“All the girls know how hard it is to play against Brisbane so it doesn’t take too much extra motivation from me to make sure they are switched on for a game against them.”
“The same preparation has got to go in as we have done every other week. At the end of the day it’s a great occasion, so we will enjoy the week anyway.”
Sydney will go into the grand final confident. Why not, the side is stacked with talent from goalkeeper Dimi Poulos returning to Australian football after 5 years away overseas to striker Kyah Simon returning to the forward line after spending last season in defence.
While the stars have done their job, it has been the evenness and depth of the squad that has caused other sides so much trouble. You know you are in good shape with the New South Wales Women’s Premier League top goalscorer is coming off the bench for you.
As to where Sydney will win the game, it’s a simple answer for the championship coach.
“When you come down to a game like this when all the players are fairly equally matched and they do know each other inside out, it’s the people who are going to do that extra little bit that will make the difference.”
“We know we are good team and we know we can match Brisbane, and we know that on our day, if we play to our potential, that we will beat Brisbane.”
FOUR KEY PLAYERS
|SERVET UZUNLAR |
One of the most attacking centre-backs you will ever see. Uzunlar’s reading of the game and positioning is second to none. But the 23 year old is most devastating in her runs from defence where she more often than not picks out a midfielder in the perfect position.
|TERESA POLIAS |
This diminutive midfielder has been the find of the season for Sydney. She has played the holding midfield role beautifully allowing her teammates in Ledbrook, Rollason and Vandenbergh to stream forward with no worries. Oh and her distribution is not too bad either!
|LEENA KHAMIS |
While Kyah Simon has rightfully taken the plaudits, Khamis hasn't been too bad either. The striker sets the tone for the game with her pressing and aggression early. Add to that a deadly finish and you see why she is the Westfield W-League all time leading goal scorer.
|CAITLIN FOORDLinking up with fellow teenager Teigen Allen, Foord was excellent last weekend at right back. For one so young she already makes good decisions; knows when to go and when to stay. Quick and knows when to take on the game, she will be devastating if she can get her final ball right.|