Shipard set for shock return

Former Westfield Matilda Sally Shipard could be a shock inclusion in the Canberra United side for the Westfield W-League grand final rematch against Brisbane Roar this Saturday.




Former Westfield Matilda Sally Shipard could be a shock inclusion in the Canberra United side for the Westfield W-League grand final rematch against Brisbane Roar this Saturday.

Shipard, 21, quit football a year ago citing a need for a break after being a mainstay in the national team and age sides since debuting for the Matildas aged 16.

Canberra coach Ray Junna said the exciting midfielder has been recharged by her time away and he-s poised to include the excitement machine for the clash against the reigning Westfield W-League champions at Brisbane-s Ballymore.

“We-ve just signed her this week after she turned up on our front doorstep,” Junna said at Monday-s launch of the Westfield W-League season two.

“She loved training and wanted to get back into it so we offered her a contract and she signed. Just watching her train, her enthusiasm, you can see she loves the game and is enjoying it.

“As long as she-s enjoying it, we-ll see the best out of her.”

Junna, who took over from Robbie Hooker in the coaching hot-seat during the off-season, has also bolstered his squad with the signing of two Asian internationals. Forward Shu O Tseng and defender Chiung Ying Lin have also inked deals for the capital city club.

United is looking to go one better this season after losing 2-0 to Roar in last season-s grand final in front of almost 5000 fans at Ballymore.

The Canberra coach said Roar has the strongest squad in the Westfield W-League this season but he is confident his charges can reverse the result from last January.

Canberra played a scratch match against the Westfield Matildas this week and Junna believes this and his new signings have given his side a real boost going into Saturday-s clash.

“Roar have the bulk of the Matildas- squad, so they-re a quality side no doubt about that. We hold them in high esteem for what they-ve achieved for their country,” said Junna.

“But we-re making sure our younger girls understand it-s just another game and it-s a challenge for them. We-re going to try and reverse the hurt.”

In other games in Round 1, Melbourne Victory plays Perth Glory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday while Sydney FC and Central Coast meet on Monday at the SFS. On the same day Adelaide takes on Newcastle at Hindmarsh.