Monday, October 5, 2009

girlswithgame Westfield W-league Round 1 wrap-up

So after months of wondering what the second season of the W-League would bring, now Round 1 has come and gone. It had a grand final rematch that went all too much the same for Canberra fans at Ballymore and the rest of the girls all had a chance to play on the best pitches in Australia as curtain raisers for A-League games. So what has girlswithgame learned so far?

BRISBANE ROAR 3 (Courtney Beutel 32', 69', Tameka Butt 63') bt CANBERRA UNITED 0 at Ballymore Stadium.

Canberra was the only team to beat the Roar last year, but going on this game they, and every other team, are likely to find it tough against Brisbane this year. The main reason? Roar striker Courtney Beutel. Last season Beutel came in as a replacement striker for Jenna Tristram (who tore her ACL against Canberra in Round 2, 2008) and she made the most of it. Beutel ended up being Queensland's leading goalscorer and into the W-League allstars camp. Also in the entire league, she was the only player to pretty much completely surprise Tom Sermanni. Every other player that did catch his eye, he had known through junior championships or their state insititue programs. Anyway, so back to this year and this weekend. Beutel was brilliant. Canberra dominated possession for the first 30minutes, but Queensland got a break and Jo Burgess sliced in a perfectly weighted cross from the right wing that Beutel got her head two. Sure United goalkeeper Lydia Williams was way off-line in a mix-up with Ellie Brush, but Beutel's header dipped pretty perfectly in so it would have been hard to stop anyway. From there, Beutel had almost every one of Queensland's real chances. Just before half-time she pressured Williams and forced her to drop a goal-kick. She got the rebound and put the ball in the net, but it was called back for a handball. In retrospect, it was probably a lucky break for Canberra. Tameka Butt scored the next, but Beutel scored the sealer again with another beautiful header, just getting enough touch on another brilliant cross from Burgess. Beutel was lively and crucially for a striker, almost every touch was gold. And yes, it was a young Canberra defence who didn't handle her very well, but what defence can this year? The best defenders in Australia are in the Brisbane team. If Beutel can keep that form coming, surely the golden boot will be coming her way this year.

MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 (Enza Barilla, Katie Thorlakson) bt PERTH GLORY 0 at Etihad Stadium.
Hmm, may it be that I have talked up Perth too much already?, or perhaps just underestimated Melbourne. I don't think it's the second, I always thought Melbourne would challenge this year, but it would maybe be their consistency that was going to be the question mark. But I certainly didn't expect such a Melbourne dominance (similar shots on goal to Brisbane compared to Canberra, the Victory had 15 shots on goal to just 3). Of course, I wasn't at this game and I don't know how exactly things went, but a very interesting result. Great to see Kara Mowbray start though, considering the former Canberra United girl didn't have a club a week and a half ago, she didn't just start, she apparently created a number of chances. I thought she was a great player for Canberra in season one, and she scored some very crucial goals in that campaign, so great to see she had an impact for Melbourne too.

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 3 (Michelle Heyman 12',63', Kelly Golebiowski 90+1')  bt SYDNEY FC (Sarah Walsh 46') at Sydney Football Stadium. So it seems there is a theme here with the teams I have made wildly encouraging statements about, but wow, bravo the Mariners, because it seems at least the stats still agree with me. Sydney FC had 18 shots on goal to 6 and four corners to none for the Mariners. To cop that barrage and walk away 3-1 winners, well, it's pretty amazing and what a great result for the Central Coast. Their three late American inclusions all played and its seems in particulary, goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, will make a huge difference for what I (obviously foolishly) considered a weak Mariners squad. But also, I wouldn't like to be Canberra next week. Sydney FC probably have a right to feel pretty annoyed after dominating like that and getting thumped.

And finally over in Adelaide, ADELAIDE UNITED 0 drew with NEWCASTLE JETS 0 at Hindmarsh Stadium. So the first stalemate of the season, I'm pretty sure there was only one last year? Between a 10-women Adelaide and Canberra United? (and wasn't that the worst possible game to show on TV last year). But anyway, it seems both teams had a handful of chances, hopefully they will both start scoring next week.

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