Finale to be the icing on a great cake
All good things must come to an end – and let’s face it, this Westfield W-League season has been a good thing. Great, in fact.
All good things must come to an end - and let-s face it, this Westfield W-League season has been a good thing. Great, in fact.
But, it will all conclude this weekend at the picturesque Lakeside Stadium when Brisbane Roar take on hosts Melbourne Victory.
If you look at the league table, it-s probably not the grand final most would have predicted. But as Tom Sermanni would say, football is a funny old game and anything can happen, especially in the cutthroat sudden-death format of the Westfield W-League.
Much has been said about the no-second-chances nature of the Westfield W-League finals system. Some fans love it (who could argue that it provides great drama), while players and coaches in particular believe the top two teams should get more reward.
Personally, while I would like to see more reward for the top-placed team in particular, if third or fourth does happen to win the Grand Final, they have to beat two of the top four teams along the way. So, the eventual winners certainly have to earn the Championship, regardless of where they finish at season-s end.
Fourth at the end of the regular season, Brisbane scored a dramatic 2-1 semi-final win over my beloved team, Canberra United, at a packed yet drenched McKellar Park last Saturday to book their place in the season decider.
Granted, I really wish we were playing on Sunday but Brisbane certainly earned their spot by taking their opportunities away from home in what was a thrilling end-to-end match.
The fact that they have FIFA World Player of the Year Nadine Angerer between the sticks doesn-t hurt, either.
Us Canberra gals had the momentum heading into last weekend-s match - with five consecutive wins to finish the regular season as Premiers we were confident of taking one more step.
But unless your name is Bayern Munich, it-s incredibly difficult to maintain long-term momentum in football. So now I will be putting my feet up at the Dickson Tradies Club alongside my beloved teammates and friends to watch what should be a cracking game unfold.
Hosts Melbourne Victory - who finished the season in third place and booked their spot in the big one with a dramatic 3-2 win over bitter rivals and defending champions Sydney FC - will be hoping this year takes a better turn than the 2013 Grand Final.
There-s an old saying when it comes to grand finals - you have to lose one before you can win one. That, in a prophetic sense anyway, should point to the Victory taking out the title after they lost last season-s decider 3-1 at home to Sydney FC.
But experience counts for so much at the pointy end of the season, and Brisbane have appeared in four of the five Westfield W-League Grand Finals.
The Roar - whose squad is riddled with Matildas - will be looking to the likes of the fit again Clare Polkinghorne, especially considering they are lining up against world-class stars such as Jess Fishlock and Lisa De Vanna.
Individual players such as De Vanna and Polkinghorne have me the most intrigued as I think each individual performance could go a long way to deciding the match.
However, I-m also very interested to see where Victory coach Dave Edmondson plays the brilliant Fishlock. Will he line up the Welsh star alongside De Vanna in the front line? Or, will he drop her in behind so she can play in those perfectly weighted through-balls?
When I was first asked to write this piece, of course I was asked to tip which way the game will go. After sitting on the fence all week, I-ve twisted my own arm into tipping the Roar. Why? Mostly because I have strong personal friendships with a lot of their players.
I know that sounds biased, but hey, you asked for a tip!
Regardless of the result, I know for sure that this will be a wonderful match-up between two brilliantly entertaining teams.
The only thing left is for the fans to turn up in droves - and there-s no better place to watch football than Melbourne-s Lakeside Stadium.