Best of the pressers: Jets 'not threatened by City stars' says Flannery
Nicki Flannery declared her Newcastle Jets teammates will ‘not be threatened’ by a star-studded Melbourne City side on Sunday.
The three-time Westfield W-League champions, City, added Newcastle-native Emily van Egmond from the Jets and fellow Westfield Matilda Ellie Carpenter from Canberra United in the off-season.
Rado Vidošić’s team suffered a disappointing season by their own standards in 2018/19, missing out of the Finals Series on goal difference after being crowned champions in three straight campaigns.
Craig Deans’ Jets will look towards Flannery to help make up for the loss of van Egmond and the former Canberra player is desperate to make her mark at No.2 Sportsground at 6pm AEDT on Sunday.
“We have so many young players, experienced players and quick players, so we’re not really threatened by the stars,” Flannery told the assembled media.
“They can have bunch of individuals and great players on their team but we have team cohesion and that doesn’t come easily.
“Everyone has been working hard and we’ve got a really good team dynamic coming into this first round, which is awesome.
“Everyone has been so welcoming and it’s been really easy to fit into the squad. I just wanted to come in work hard and earn my position for Round 1.
“It was a big decision to have to leave a club I’ve played for for five years so I want to prove my worth in new colours.”
Melbourne City attacker Claire Emslie is set for her Westfield W-League debut against the Jets and the Scotland international cannot wait to get started.
“I’m excited to experience a different league, a different culture and a competitive competition,” Emslie said.
“In the last few years the W-League has been getting better and better.
“You look at the signings that have been made across the league, there are quite a lot of players coming from the American league, so it will be competitive.
“I’ve heard if you make the semi-final and grand final it’s a really exciting atmosphere so I’m excited for that.”
Hopkins backs in-form Dowie to keep firing for Premiers
Melbourne Victory coach Jeff Hopkins is hoping new Westfield Matilda Jenna McCormick can make an immediate impact in the Round 1 Big Blue clash against rivals Sydney FC.
Hopkins also is hopeful captain Natasha Dowie can continue her strong European when the Premiers take on the Champions at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday at 4pm AEDT.
“It was great to see Jenna [McCormick] making her debut for the Matildas,” said Hopkins.
“And not just making her debut but actually starring, she did really well.
“She’ll bring a really physical presence to us at the back and good quality on the ball as well.”
“I think we know what we get from Tash [Dowie], she thrives on goals and goal-mouth action.
‘In Norwegian season she got 19 in 20 games so she’s in good nick.
“Hopefully’s she do as well, if not, better than last year.”
The last time Sydney FC ran out at Netstrata Juliee Stadium was their 4-2 Grand Final triumph against Perth Glory back in February.
“It’s always really special to be involved in a Grand Final,” Sky Blues captain Teresa Polias said.
“You try and savour every moment but nothing can go past looking up and seeing your family un the stands for a home Grand Final win.
“That was everything to me.”
Despotovski calls on Perth youngsters to ‘take their chance’
Perth Glory coach Bobby Despotovski is looking for his talented young stars to step up and make a name for themselves against Canberra in Round 1.
The 2018/19 Grand Finalists travel to the ACT on Sunday to face the Green Machine at McKellar Park at 4pm AEDT.
"We've had four good weeks of pre-season and everyone is excited to get going," Despotovski told perthglory.com.au
"It's a long trip to Canberra, but it's good to get it out of the way early in the season and we have a bye the week after.
"So we'll look to get a good start and then we have some more preparation time before our next game.
"We are going to look to play the majority of the young girls that we have and we'll see how we go.
"We have some older girls who will be leaders on the park and help the younger ones that are coming through, plus the four internationals coming in.
"I think it's a good blend of youth, experience and the internationals.
“Now it's up to the young girls to take their chance and keep their place in the starting eleven."
Canberra head coach Heather Garriock promises that the capital side will take the game to their visitors.
“We’re absolutely ready, it’s been four weeks of preseason and this is now the moment we’ve been waiting for,” Garriock told canberraunited.com.au
“We’ll be discipline in defence, that’s first and foremost, but in attack I think you’ll see an exciting, creative team that will have a lot of shots on goal.
“I can’t wait for the fans to get out there on Sunday and see us play.”