Defending champions Canberra United host Sydney FC at McKellar Park, Canberra in the opening match of Round 2 of the W-League.

It’s not every season the predicted front runners are left with donuts after round one, but Canberra United and Sydney FC are both on 0 points after defeats to Brisbane Roar away 2-1, and Melbourne City 6-0 at home, respectively.

Canberra United showed signs of excellence in their first game but struggled to contain the width and tight passing of the re-built Brisbane Roar team throughout much of their first outing for the year.

A lot has been said of Canberra United’s depth this season and no doubt it was tested to the extreme last week with no less than six of Canberra’s higher profile signings unavailable due to injury, travel fatigue or personal leave.

Sydney FC pressed high against Melbourne City which made a real game of it in all senses but on the scoreboard, and they were punished at times for not protecting the space in behind their backline. Sydney FC won’t be the last team this season to receive a swell scoreline from Melbourne City but they’re the first to benefit from the lessons a quality side can teach you.

Canberra welcome Emma Kete and Emma Checker into the fold this weekend after sitting out round one with hamstring injuries, likely to play a part in the forward and backlines respectively.

The midfield gets a new look with Veronica Perez making her W-League debut, adding creativity, and Caitlin Munoz is likely to return, adding stability and leadership. Melissa Maizels steps into the goal mouth for her second W-League appearance with Lydia Williams unavailable due to Matildas’ duties.

Michelle Heyman (AUS) and Jodie Taylor (ENG) join Williams on international duty in China, but coach Rae Dower says we’ll see a strong Canberra team this weekend in their first home game of the season.

“We’ve worked well this week. [After the loss,] senior players have put their hand up – we can’t wait to right the wrongs and get out there in front of the home crowd and really turn it on.”

Sydney FC have three players out due to Matildas duty with Amy Harrison, Kyah Simon and Alanna Kennedy all in China this weekend.

Despite the round one drubbing, Sydney FC’s historic first round loss was not full of despair. Teresa Polias was a warrior in the midfield, Jasmyne Spencer worked hard all day, and Leena Khamis showed signs of her best.

Sydney still retain a strong midfield with Polias joined by Nicola Bolger and up front the will possess pace through Spencer, Sunny Franco and potentially W-League debutante Princess Ibini.

Some of the more dramatic contests in the W-League have been played out between these two powerhouses, and they are fittingly locked at four wins a piece and two draws. The last three matches have gone Canberra United’s way, with the most recent game at McKellar Park ending in a 3-0 win to the home side.

With the champions returning home and desperate to return to the winners’ podium, and their northern neighbours picking themselves up off the canvas last week, this is a contest worthy of a mighty fanfare.

Canberra United v Sydney FC

Saturday 24 October 2015

McKellar Park, Canberra

Local kick-off: 4pm

Head-to-Head: Played 4 - 4 wins (CBR) - 4 wins (SYD) - 2 draws

Canberra United squad: 3. Julia De Angelis,  4. Kendall Fletcher,  5. Jenna McCormick , 6. Caitlin Munoz,  7. Ellie Brush,  8. Meg McLaughlin,  10. Grace Maher, 12. Emma Kete, 13. Nicole Begg, 14. Ashleigh Sykes, 15. Emma Checker, 16. Tegan Riding, 17. Veronica Perez, 18. Rebecca Kiting, 20. Melissa Maizels (gk), 22. Georgia Boric (gk)

In:  Caitlin Munoz (away), Emma Kete (Fencibles United, New Zealand), Veronica Perez (Washington Spirit, USA), Emma Checker (Melbourne Victory), Georgia Boric (ACTAS, replacement goalkeeper)

Out: Grace Gill, Nickoletta Flannery, (both omitted), Lydia Williams, Michelle Heyman (both Westfield Matildas duty)

Sydney FC squad: Sham Khamis (gk), Michelle Betos (gk), Teigen Allen, Renee Rollason, Teresa Polias (c), Jasmyne Spencer, Nicola Bolger, Leena Khamis, Elizabeth Ralston, Ellyse Perry, Natalie Tobin, Trudy Camilleri, Sunny Franco, Lyndsay Kohlet, Princess Ibini.

Ins: Liz Ralston, Lyndsay Kohlet (both promoted), Princess Ibini (returns from injury)

Outs: Amy Harrison, Kyah Simon, Alanna Kennedy (all Westfield Matildas duty)

Unavailable: Olivia Price (ankle)