The theme for Canberra United this season has been ‘unfinished business’.

They finished last season on a high, scraping their way to the top after scintillating wins over Sydney FC, and were rightly proud of their ascent back to the top having missed the finals the previous year.

Then they lost their home semi final to Brisbane Roar.

So this season’s post match interviews from captain Nicole Begg have been peppered with comments about how United wants to prove their ability, and how their quality across the park is as good as any.

As the points started to slip and opportunities were lost, Begg’s determination continued to grow.

While their consistency in front of goals in both defence and attack has stumbled at times this year, United have continued to improve as a unit.

It was Canberra’s final home match, against Grand Final opponents Perth, that was their pivotal match.

The first half was a classic arm wrestle, and while the backline was stretched by Sam Kerr, the defenders and keeper Chantel Jones took the right risks at the right time to defuse the danger.

Kerr did break the deadlock, picking the gap superbly just minutes after central defender Ellie Brush had left the field injured.

Then Canberra lifted. The goals we saw late in the half were well worked, both fed by right full back Sally Rojahn, and involved combination play in the box to be finished spectacularly by strikers Michelle Heyman and then Ashleigh Sykes with surely the goal of the year.

This is a team that knows where their team mates are.

Sure, Sam Kerr and Mackenzie Arnold had left the field injured, and Caitlin Foord and Alanna Kennedy weren’t playing that day.

But Canberra coach Liz Michgelsen has a single focus when discussing her philosophy - she is coaching her team to play a winning style, regardless of the opposition players or the formation of the other team.

The key battleground

The midfield battle will certainly be intriguing.

The vocal, strategic, skillful and battle hardened Collette McCallum from Perth is up against an equal.

Lori Lindsey has been growing in influence as the season has progressed. Lindsey has been preparing for each match as if it really were her last, having publicly declared her retirement in the US before joining Canberra United for a last sunset season.

With Kendall Fletcher out of the team the coaching team of Michgelsen and Assistant Rae Dower will make a decision on Sunday as to her replacement.

Will it be Grace Gill, the strong tall ball playing midfielder, who is just as able to stop an impending attack, as she is to launch her own? Or will they go with this season’s Rising Star of the Year for the club, Julia de Angelis; a fearless debutant who famously won her first player of the match award for a dominating performance over Katrina Gorry in Canberra’s win against Brisbane Roar?

The key player 

If Canberra win, expect Caitlin Munoz to have had a boomer of a match. Munoz has had a rebirth of sorts this season.

She has been light on the ball, she turned on a dime in the semi final against Melbourne, ball at her feet in the defensive 18 yard box to swiftly remove the danger, and delivered a perfect ball out of trouble.

Munoz does not back down. She is a contributor and a leader. She often draws the biggest cheer from the Canberra crowd, and this year she was awarded Players’ Player for a stellar season, and perhaps career best form.

The key opposition target 

There were questions leading up to last week’s semi final about how Perth would play without Sam Kerr, the dynamic goal scoring machine who seems to have been at the centre of most of Perth’s big performances this season.

Perth did just fine. While their final round match away against Canberra probably showed there is a breaking point to their depth, the semi final certainly proved that Perth have a very talented pool which has delivered them success in record breaking numbers this season.

Thinking of the biggest threats to Canberra, three names stand tall, literally, over the rest; Caitlin Foord, Kate Gill and Alanna Kennedy.

Their experience, speed, strength and sometimes cunning, make them all dangerous players in their own way, and are most often the go to players for the purple swag.

That said, foundation players Marianna Tabain and Shannon May have come of age this season to supplement the squad, Elisa D’Ovidio will be riding the emotions in her final match, and defenders Canadian Shelina Zadorsky and Canberra local Bronwyn Studman have had a defining season for the Glory.

Off the park, two very proud Chief Executive Officers, Canberra’s Heather Reid and Perth’s Peter Hugg, will shake hands before the match, and play every ball from the grand stands.

Their support of women’s football in their roles as CEOs of their respective state federations is such a positive input to the game, possibly spurred on having both held the mantle of CEO of the now defunct Australian Women’s Soccer Association.

Looking at the strengths across both teams, this may be the most complete match of the W-League season 7, something we would expect from a grand final.

Quick Quotes

"It's what you plan the whole season for, it's what the hard work is for to get to the big dance at the end. From our point, it is satisfying that the hard work has paid off to this point. Now we get the opportunity to finish it off" - Dower on making the grand final

"It's nice to be getting some good form at the right end of the season. The task for us is to carry that on. That has to be the base level and we need to then improve all over the park." - Dower on finding consistency late. 

"The players feel settled. They feel comfortable and they all know their roles, everyone knows their jobs and has that self belief, that ability to ground it out to get the job done." - Dower on the mood around the team. 

"I think the last few games of the seasons, the way we have carried ourselves has really set us up for the game. Everyone is feeling relaxed, positive and ready to get into the game." - captain Nicole Begg on her teammates. 

"We felt like we had unfinished business from last year. We had a great season last season, this season has been a little bit more up and down, but we have the expectation that we can go through and finish the job." - Begg on the motivation this season.

"Very different emotions. I think I am a lot more aware of what is happening around me now than I have been in the past. I am feeling good, relaxed and proud to lead the Canberra team out in the grand final." - Begg on captaining Canberra in a grand final for the first time. 

Canberra United squad : 1. Chantel Jones, 2. Catherine Brown, 3. Julia De Angelis, 5. Grace Field, 6. Caitlin Munoz, 7. Ellie Brush, 9. Grace Gill, 10. Grace Maher, 11. Michelle Heyman, 12. Sally Rojahn, 13. Nicole Begg, 14. Ashleigh Sykes, 15. Tegan Riding, 16. Lori Lindsey, 20. Melissa Maizels (gk), 22. Stephanie Ochs

Ins : Grace Maher (promoted)

Outs : Kendall Fletcher (end of contract)

Unavailable : Meg McLaughlin (knee - season)