League Champions Perth Glory will meet Canberra United in the 2014 Westfield W-League Grand Final to decide the national champions. The showdown will be United’s third visit to the jamboree whilst Perth will attempt to claim the trophy for the first time. And with home ground advantage, the Glory will enter the match as favourites.
Jamie Harnwell’s team roared back into form in their semi-final last weekend brushing aside the challenge of Sydney FC with contemptuous ease at nib Stadium as they strolled to a comfortable 3-0 victory. Even without superstar Samantha Kerr Perth was too good for the Sky Blues. From the moment that Elisa D’Ovidio curled home her fourth goal of the season in the tenth minute the match was destined to end in success for the hosts.
The first semi-final played twenty-four hours earlier should, arguably, have been just as one-sided. Canberra United created enough chances to win a stack of matches as Michelle Heyman’s usual sure touch in front of goal deserted her as Melbourne Victory held on. The Westfield W-League’s all-time leading scorer wasted three glorious opportunities to break the deadlock and saw a late glancing header cannon back off the base of the post. As we know though United squeezed through on penalties to make the decider.
The heroine of that shoot-out, Kendall Fletcher who netted the match-winning penalty, will be a big-name absentee for Canberra in the showdown with the US import having concluded her seven-match guest stint in the semi-final. The impact that Fletcher has made on Canberra since her arrival mid-season cannot be underestimated and Elisabeth Migchelsen will need to shuffle her pack accordingly to make up for Fletcher’s absence.
Perth have injury concerns of their own with Kerr, scorer of eleven Westfield W-League goals this season, ruled out of contention having suffered a season ending knee-injury in the Round 12 match between the clubs at Viking Park in Erindale. Canberra came out on top in that one with that stunning, never to be forgotten match-winner, from Ashleigh Sykes giving United a narrow, come from behind 2-1 win.
The pair met earlier in the campaign as well and, on that occasion, Perth was victorious winning 3-0 at Ashfield Sports Club in Western Australia. Perversely for a match in which they were on the wrong end of the score-line, Kate Gill netting twice and Canadian defender Shelina Zadorsky scoring for Glory, Canberra actually played quite well and were unfortunate to lose so heavily.
United has the experience of having been in this situation before with a number of their players having won the title under Jitka Klimkova in Season 4. Indeed for foundation players Catlin Munoz, Ellie Brush, Grace Gill, Ashleigh Sykes and Nicole Begg (nee Sykes) this fixture will complete a hat-trick of appearances in the Grand Final.
With goalscorers littered across the rosters of both teams this has the potential to be a high scoring classic. Hold on to your hats as Perth and Canberra offer up a Grand show in the Wild, Wild West.
Perth Glory: 1. Mackenzie ARNOLD, 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Carys HAWKINS, 4. Bronwyn STUDMAN, 5. Shannon MAY, 6. Alanna KENNEDY, 7. Gabrielle MARZANO, 8. Shawn BILLAM, 9. Caitlin FOORD, 10. Katarina JUKIC, 11. Emily HENDERSON, 12. Kate GILL, 13. Elisa D’OVIDIO, 14. Collette McCALLUM, 15. Shelina ZADORSKY, 16. Thia EASTMAN, 17. Marianna TABAIN, 18. Gabrielle DEL BUSCO, 19. Kate SCHUBERT
Unavailable: 20. Samantha KERR
Canberra United: 1. Chantel JONES, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 5. Grace FIELD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Tegan RIDING, 16. Lori LINDSEY, 17. Holly HOUSTON, 18. Rebecca KITING, 20. Melissa MAIZELS, 22. Stephanie OCHS
Unavailable: 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 8. Meg McLAUGHLIN
(Capital Football Media Release)