So lots of goals and lots of upsets in Round 1, will everything be a little bit more settled in Round 2 or will the rollercoaster continue? In a league where points are at a premium, every game counts even more than usual. Here's what I think will happen in Round 2, although after last week, I wouldn't bet on it!
SATURDAY, Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets at ME Bank Stadium, Perth
Local kick-off: 12.00pm (3.00pm AEDT)
Referee: Lee Corey
So pretty much all teams are missing players due to the Young Matildas tour this week, but Perth's is a big-one, Sam Kerr. Indentified by Tom Sermanni as one of the most talented players in the league, she will be missed. But an interesting match-up, Perth didn't have a great start last week with a 0-2 loss to Melbourne while Newcastle could only manage a draw with Adelaide. Will be interesting to see if Perth can turn their home ground into an advantage this year, which they didn't really do last year. If they can gain points in all their home-games, that should be enough to make the finals for the first time. Seems Perth coach John Gibson agrees with me, as in the Glory press release “It is a very, very short season, we require a victory this weekend and we will be going out there to win the game” Gibson said.
“Home ground advantage is crucial and we will be looking for maximum points from all five home games. It is a great venue at ME Bank Stadium and it’s our first home game so we need to come up with the points this weekend.”
He's also promised to provide some exciting football.
“We will go in with a slightly different approach but the basic organisation will stay pretty much the same. The fans might see us be a little bit more adventurous this weekend," Gibson said.
The match is also a fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation with both teams wearing pink armbands during the match and proceeds of ticket sales and merchandise going to the fight against cancer, so get along for a great game and also to support breast cancer research.
Canberra United v Sydney FC at McKellar Park, Canberra
Local kick-off: 5.00pm
Referee: Peta McCallum
So Sal Shipard has been named to play again for Canberra, but it doesn't seem very likely as per my story in The Canberra Times today.
'Canberra United coach Ray Junna doesn't expect Sally Shipard to be available for another month as the stoush over her international clearance from Spain escalated this week. Shipard signed for a club in Barcelona two months ago to play futsal, with the intention to stay on and play out the season. But a one-week trip back to Australia last month caused the former Matilda to change her plans and restart the Australian soccer career she abandoned when she retired last year. The contract Shipard signed in Spain had a clause that if she wanted to play outdoor soccer, she could. But after she signed for United two weeks ago, the clearance process has been held up by the Spanish club's demand for money. Just 24 hours from last weekend's round one game United discovered Shipard wouldn't get the clearance and that Barcelona FC was demanding $8200 [or 5000 euro] in expenses.
Canberra has refused to pay and Junna said he wasn't confident the issues could be resolved easily. ''I've seen these types of things drag on in men's football and they can certainly take a while, it's turning into a big of a saga,'' Junna said. ''So if she plays in the next month I'll see that as a bonus but I'm probably not expecting her to play.''I'll be very happy if I am proved wrong though.'' It's a huge blow for United as the former Matildas World Cup midfielder would have made a perfect replacement for Emily van Egmond, who is away on Australian representative duties.'
Hmm, so can Canberra rebound after their worst loss in the short W-League history last weekend? Also spoke to Heather Garriock today, Sydney FC captain, who said the focus this week had been all about tactics to hopefully rectify their poor start last week, ie 18 shots on goal to the Mariners six but the Central Coast won 3-1. She thinks they are ready to improve, particulary as on paper, they have an amazing team and she doesn't think their short preparation should be an excuse. Fingers crossed its a cracker at McKellar Park!
Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar at Epping Stadium, Epping
Local kick-off: 6.00pm
Referee: Catherine Hofmann
So Melbourne Victory will be confident after their 2-0 start to the season, but Brisbane more so thanks to their 3-0 romp over Canberra. A very interesting match-up. Also interesting in that best mates Sasha McDonnell and Kara Mowbray, who moved to Canberra last year to play for United in the first Westfield W-League season, could play against each other this week. Mowbray played for Melbourne and was in the thick of the action, while McDonnell didn't make the bench for Brisbane but has been included in an extended squad this week. Also two of the keepers in Australia at the moment going up against each other in Casey Dumont and Melissa Barbieri, so goals could be harder to score than last week. If Brisbane striker Courtney Beutel is in the same amazing form as she was last week though, I expect Brisbane to come out on top.
SUNDAY, Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Local kick-off: 12.15pm
Referee: Kate Jacewicz
It's only been a short history, but Adelaide probably won't like to remember the last time they played the Mariners. The 5-0 demolition in Adelaide last year was led by Kyah Simon for the Mariners, who is obviously not there anymore, but going on last week's 3-1 win over Sydney FC they have a more than capable replacement in double-goal scorer Michelle Heyman. Heyman is certainly hit the spotlight this week, she is the focus of the preview from the Mariners this week, saying it was a great way to start the season. “It was just an amazing feeling, the girls put together such a huge e ffort at training and it paid off in the match,” Heyman said.“All the hard work from training in the pre-season, and the girls just gave 110% percent – the final result showed."
An interesting inclusion note for Adelaide though, former Mariner Karina Roweth has signed with them in time for this weekend's game. In the few games I saw her play last year, thought she was a gutsy, technically good defender. Watch out for how she goes for her new team.
And keep an eye out for more on Mariner Heyman on girlswithgame tomorrow! Enjoy Round 2!