Adelaide United have long been dismissed as Westfield W-League semi-final candidates, but the Lady Reds are leading the way in a season of upsets.
Adelaide finished bottom in four of their first five seasons, but the club have built significant momentum in the past few years under Ross Aloisi. Now the Lady Reds, under former Perth Glory premiership-winning coach Jamie Harnwell, are moving even further forward and have shocked many to sit in equal second after stirring away wins over Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory.
And this Sunday they will have the chance to strut their stuff in front of both a nationwide TV audience and their home fans. United will host Newcastle Jets on the plush Coopers Stadium surface with the match to be broadcast on Fox Sports and ABC TV.
Forward Tiarn Powell has been an integral member of the Adelaide charge this term. The Sydney-raised Powell is now in her third season at Adelaide United, and along with Marijana Rajcic, is the most capped player for the club among the current squad. Here, Powell talks though some of the reasons for the clubs success and their ambitions for a maiden semi-final berth.
Did you expect the season to have gone so well?
To be sitting in second is great, but with the group we have led by Jamie, we knew we had a good squad. We have proved that we can play and haven’t just gone out and got one-nil’s. We are scoring goals and securing wins. We knew we had a good bunch, but it is good to do it on the field.
Adelaide don’t have the star power of other clubs and thus there was little expectation. Have you enjoyed flying under the radar?
To go out and prove ourselves has been great. We have embraced the underdog way and now we can go out there and show what we have.
What has Jamie Harnwell brought to the table this season?
We have a really good culture. He puts game plans in place, but you can also show what you have yourself (as an individual). We really respect what he has as a coach, given what he did last year at Perth, and that has been really good for us.
How did you match-up against Melbourne City’s superstar line-up in the 2-0 loss last Saturday?
We didn’t play our best but I think at times we had some great play, keeping the ball and breaking them down, but we didn’t do it for long enough. There are a great team for 95 minutes and we have to aspire to that.
No doubt there is excitement about this weekend playing at Coopers Stadium in the TV match?
It will be a good game for us. We haven’t been at home the past month. Hopefully Adelaide fans will come out and support us given we have been so good on the road these past weeks. We want to show fans what we have in front of a home crowd.
Adelaide have never made the semis. Was breaking that drought a planned goal pre-season?
It is always a goal. We can feel (it) a little bit. But we are not looking too far ahead. Hopefully working hard will pay off for us.