Sydney FC comfortably beat Western Sydney 3-0 in the season opener. A brilliant double from Princess Ibini and a strike from Cortnee Vine sent the Sky Blues on their way. The game left a lot to be desired about the state of the 2020/21 W-League season.
1. The W-League cannot afford such a huge gap between the top teams and the rest. The young Wanderers fought valiantly yesterday but couldn’t compete with a Sydney FC team who were well drilled and had played together a lot longer.
If it wasn’t for Wanderers keeper Courtney Newbon, the scoreboard would of looked a lot worse.
To be fair to Western Sydney, they had five debutants and were coming up against last year’s grand finalists who contained a few Matildas and a few future Matildas.
The Wanderwomen had a few Matildas of their own but it wasn’t enough and that simply isn’t good enough for the W-League if it wants to grow.
Women’s football deserves a fair chance to succeed. The only way it will is if we attract fans. As we know, being competitive and winning is the only way to do this.
A powerful club like the Wanderers should be leading the way when it comes to having a strong fanbase for women’s football. A decent crowd turned up yesterday to watch the ladies and many were disappointed. To see them dominated like they were yesterday is not what the fans want to see and will do nothing to bring them back for more.
The Wanderers received widespread praise last season for putting together a star studded team. The challenge now is to develop a youth program that will help NPLW players transition quickly into W-League. It is no easy feat but with quality coaches like Dean Heffernan and Catherine Cannuli around, Wanderers fans should have every faith this can happen.
They need support though. Last year’s investment is yesterday’s news, now and the future is what counts.
2. A winning culture is always evident.
Sydney FC as a club have set the benchmark for football in this country. The women’s team have made four of the last five grand finals and one can see why.
From the outset yesterday they made a statement. They took it right up to the Wanderers and weren’t afraid to throw their weight around.
Teresa Polias will go down as a W-League legend. Absolute quality yesterday and led her team well. Princess Ibini was back to her best. Two classy goals will help her confidence.
Natalie Tobin and Ally Green were also strong as the Sky Blues showed they will be up there come finals time.
3. Libby Copus-Brown is one of those types of players that every coach loves to have. She was ferocious yesterday and refused to give in despite her teams struggles.
Every time she got the ball, was the only time the Wanderers really looked threatening. When the going got tough yesterday she stood taller than her 155cm.
She put her head down and tried to crash her way through the stubborn Sydney FC defence. She brought her younger team mates into the game with some nice balls down the wings.
It is hard to believe she is only 23 and she made her debut seven years ago. Copus-Brown has the type of fight and quality that would mean a Matildas jersey may be something she could aim for down the track.