Saturday, December 12, 2009

Westfield W-League semi-final preview

So the time is finally upon us. For the four teams fighting it out for a place in the 2009 Westfield W-League season, it's all down to this weekend. Can Canberra United cause an upset like it did in last year's finals and knock out a team that finished above it, or will Sydney rise to its potential? Will the Mariners create a fairytale finish or will they fall to Brisbane Roar who have unfinished business after letting a chance to win the league championship slip away.

So Canberra United has never beaten Sydney FC, but the two teams have only played each other twice. Once this season, once last season. This year Sydney FC went 2-0 up thanks to Cathrin Paaske header from a corner in the 83rd minute. United then stole one back in the 89th minute, but it was a little too late. The first goal had been when Sarah Walsh just got a half a step lead on Nicole Sykes. Now Sykes is quick, very quick, but so is Walsh and that's all she needed. So convential thinking there is that United will have to be on top of every tiny detail to make sure Walsh, Paaske, Julie Rydahl, Kyah Simon or Heather Garriock don't get any room. The other strategy they could go for is an all-out attack, hope to get one early and really frustrate Sydney. Yesterday Canberra coach Ray Junna labelled Sydney's defence as 'suspect' and said they needed to get Sydney there, going in with nothing to lose, they would throw everything at the game. That's likely to mean Ellyse Perry will start in midfield again, where she dominated last week. Thea Slatyer isn't likely to get a start, but all things considered that's probably a good thing. Bronwyn Studman has been brilliant in centre-back since replacing Chiung Ying-Lin halfway through the season, plus Casey Reibelt is refeering the game. That's who sent Slatyer off within five minutes in that embarassing Adelaide game in 2008, and then the former Matildas centre-back was given a suspended sentence for confronting Reibelt after the game.
Another interesting point, that I detailed in the newspaper today, United will have eight players under the age of 20 in its starting line-up. That's some contribution from the teenage talent-pool in Canberra.
It will be a boost if Cian Maciejewski lines-up as well, she was excellent against Sydney in the first-game. I spoke to her yesterday and she's been cleared to play, now now it's just up to Ray Junna if he starts her.
But like Sydney coach Alen Stacjic earlier this week, Sky Blues captain Heather Garriock thinks that winning the league title was the confidence boost they need to make the grand final. “Winning the minor premiership gives us confidence going into the semis and finals. It’s definitely something we’ve worked towards all year but we haven’t finished the job yet,” said Garriock.
Local kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Casey Reibelt
Live and exclusive on ABC1 and ABC HD from 3.00pm AEDT
Sydney FC squad: 1. Nikola DEITER (gk), 2. Teigen ALLEN 4. Alesha CLIFFORD, 6. Servet UZUNLAR, 7. Heather GARRIOCK (c), 8. Julie RYDAHL, 9. Sarah WALSH, 10. Kylie LEDBROOK, 11. Cathrine PAASKE, 12. Michelle CARNEY, 13. Catherine CANNULI, 15. Kyah SIMON, 16. Linda O’NEILL, 18. Brittany WHITFIELD, 19. Leena KHAMIS, 20. Carla MONFORTE (gk)
In: Julie RYDAHL (returns from injury)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Nicola BOLGER (knee - season), Danielle BROGAN (knee – season)
Canberra United Squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Rebecca KITING, 3. Bronwyn STUDMAN, 5. Kahlia HOGG, 6. Ellie RAYMOND, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Emily VAN EGMOND, 9. Grace GILL, 10. TSENG Shu O, 11. Cian MACEIJEWSKI, 12. Snez VELJANOVSKA, 13. Thea SLATYER, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Nicole SYKES, 16. Ellyse PERRY, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Jocelyn MARA
*one to be omitted*
In: Cian MACIEJEWSKI (return from injury)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: LIN Chiung Ying (knee – season), Christine WALTERS (calf – indefinite), Sally SHIPARD(awaiting international clearance)

SUNDAY, CENTRAL COAST MARINERS (2nd) v BRISBANE ROAR (3rd) at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. So the Mariners have been so good throughout the regular season this year, but this is what could bring them unstuck, pressure. Mariners coach Stephen Roche brought up earlier this week that plenty of his team had played NSW premier league finals this year, including Michelle Heyman, and five of them played in the winning team. But when it comes to finals, Brisbane do have quite a record. First of all withstanding Sydney FC's push to penalities in the semi-final last year and then smashing Canberra United in the final.
Interesting to see that Brisbane have named Jenna Tristram, but according to all reports she is no chance to play.  But former Brisbane captain Kate McShea is still confident they can score anyway after that 6-0 smashing of Newcastle last week. “We were struggling to find the back of the net in a few of the games, but after getting six goals last week, the flow has come back to the team," McShea said.
“We had a meeting as a team, at training we were probably a little bit lapse, and we have stepped up the quality and intensity at training and has now came out in the way we played on the weekend.
“We have had a good week at training working on our own game and not worrying about the opposition. If we do the things we do well then I think they will struggle to contain us.
"Courtney is back in training so Jeff will have a few selection problems." From the Mariners preview on their website, Jenna Kingsley said the team will have learnt plenty from when they played earlier this year.

"They did beat us last time, though we will be ready to play this weekend," Kingsley said.
"They are a really good side, they have a lot of experience, and they move the ball around really well, so we will need to be at our best to get over them and win."
It should be an interesting encounter as both teams have very different styles of playing, again I think early goals will be crucial. But I think that Brisbane should win. So still a possibility it could be a grand final re-match again next week, Brisbane v Canberra at Ballymore. Still, plenty to happen today. Good luck everyone!
Local kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Kirralee Gardener
Live and exclusive on ABC1 and ABC HD from 3.00pm AEDT
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Jillian LOYDEN (gk), 2. Caitlin COOPER (C), 3. Lyndsay GLOHE, 4. Rachael DOYLE, 5. Jessica SEAMAN, 7. Teresa POLIAS, 9. Renee ROLLASON, 10. Kendall FLETCHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Samantha SPACKMAN, 13. Trudy CAMILLERI, 14. Ashleigh CONNOR, 15. Elizabeth O'REILLY, 16. Jenna KINGSLEY, 17. Britt SIMMONS, 19. Lydia VANDENBERGH, 20. Rachel COOPER (gk)
*one to be omitted*
In: Caitlin COOPER (return from suspension), Britt SIMMONS (promoted)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Kelly GOLEBIOWSKI (knee – 1 week)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk) 2. Kate MCSHEA, 3. Karla REUTER 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 6. Joanne BURGESS, 7. Pam BIGNOLD, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9 Jenna TRISTRAM, 10.Lana HARCH, 11. Aivi LUIK, 12. Steph LATHAM 13. Tameka BUTT, 14.Sasha MCDONNELL 15. Leah CURTIS 16. Lauren COLTHORPE 18. Courtney BEUTEL, 19. Ellen BEAUMONT, 20. Kate STEWART (gk)
*two to be omitted*
In: Alisha FOOTE (promoted), Leah CURTIS (promoted), Jenna TRISTRAM (promoted), Courtney BEUTEL (return from injury)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Emily GIELNIK (foot) Brooke SPENCE (ankle - season)

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