Westfield W-League Grand Final Feature - Caitlin Munoz
We talk to Canberra United's Caitlin Munoz ahead of the Westfield W-League Grand Final.
Congratulations, you must be thrilled to be playing in the inaugural Westfield W-League Grand Final?
Yeah definitely thrilled to be playing in the grand final. At the start of the season, I guess many people would have thought that Canberra wouldn't be in it, but throughout the season we-ve showed that we are a really good football team.
What was the feeling like when that final whistle blew on Saturday, knowing you were on your way to the final?
Relief, we were all exhausted after the semi final. Newcastle were pumping us pretty big all second half. We-re a strong team and we were lucky enough to hold on and when she finally blew that whistle, I know personally, I was thankful because I was exhausted.
It was a tough game and Newcastle did have it chances in the second half. What was it that got you over the line?
I think everyone put in 110%; we defended our backsides off. We have a belief in ourselves; we all believe in each other and know that we are all going to the job for the team. In saying that, they were pumping us a bit and we were a bit lucky in the end.
Queensland have been pretty much been the dominant team this season, but in the two meetings this season they have yet to beat you. That must give you plenty of confidence going into the grand final?
It gives us confidence obviously, but we are not going to go in too confident, because if you do that and come away with a loss it back fires in your face and we don-t want to do that. In saying that, we are going to be confident, knowing we have beaten them in the first game (Round 2) we played against them and drew with them in the second game (Round 10). We are just going to go in and play our game; if we go a goal up we-ll stick to our plan and if we go a goal down, then things might need to change, but it's going to be an interesting game either way.
Queensland will lose experienced midfielder Alicia Ferguson through injury; will that help your chances in any way?
Helps us a little bit. We-re obviously all shattered for ‘Leish- (Ferguson) because she is a really good friend. She is a really good ball player and will leave a little bit of a hole, but I think they have got players that can step up and take her position. Lauren Colthorpe in the middle is a very dangerous player; her workrate is tremendous. Taking one player out, you are just going to have to watch somebody else with a team like Queensland.
What has been the main strength from your teams perspective that has got you to the Grand Final?
Like I said before, we just want to all work for each other; play for each other. We-re not really an individual team, we-re a good solid team that is always backing each other up; the good thing about our team is that I have never once heard us once be negative on the field, which I think is a real positive. I know the person behind me is going to do their job and if need be, someone is going to cover for me; it-s a real strong team effort that we have.
How important is your role as one of the most experienced in the team, given that at the start of the season you did your knee and it looked like you might not play again this season?
Initially when I did my knee, I thought it-s pretty bad because I have done it before, but after having the scans and they said it was only a grade two or three tear it got my spirits back up. I was actually a little disappointed because I thought I would be back before I did come back, but in saying that the girls played brilliantly without me. We-ve got a lot of other experienced players in the team that really stepped up and showed that they are ready for that level.
And your role within the team?
That-s a tough one; I guess with my experience I can help the younger players when things are getting sticky, but I tend to have fun out on the field. I just enjoy being out there.
You have a lot of young players in the squad. Have you seen a dramatic improvement in these players since the start of the competition?
Definitely, there has been a huge improvement in our young girls like Ashleigh Sykes and Rebecca Kiting, who have never played at this level before and really stepped up. Players like Ellie Brush (Canberra captain) played in the old National League, but she has really stepped up another level and other players as well and it has shown that there will be a big improvement in women-s football in the years to come.
Finally, what will it take to win on Saturday?
A lot of hard work, I think. We will stick to our game plan and not change too many things. I don-t think it will come down to an individual player, more a team effort from us and hopefully we can put a goal or two away early and keep Queensland out, because they are very dangerous. It-s going to be a very hard game and can go either way I think.
Good luck on the weekend.