Brisbane Roar skipper Clare Polkinghorne is a seasoned veteran at the ripe old age of 23, having played in three previous grand finals and leading the team in two, going into this weekend’s eagerly anticipated season finale against Canberra United.
Brisbane Roar skipper Clare Polkinghorne is a seasoned veteran at the ripe old age of 23, having played in three previous grand finals and leading the team in two, going into this weekend-s eagerly anticipated season finale against Canberra United.
The feisty utility player typifies the Roar-s spirit with her lead-by-example performances. And the two-time FIFA Women-s World Cup representative took the time out to answer a few questions on the eve of the Westfield W-League grand final.
Will surviving the drama of last week provide you with a boost? I suppose so. There has been a lot said but we have just knuckled down this week and got on with preparing for the grand final. It adds fuel to the fire - we want to go out and prove what a good football team we are, so hopefully we produce our best.
The team showed great resilience in the face of adversity last week, not for the first time this season… We have a culture around club that we don-t like losing. There has been numerous times when we have hung onto games that we should have lost, or got a late equaliser. We never back down from a contest, we try to the end and that showed again last weekend.
What has the week been like in camp? Playing on Sunday we had Monday off and got back into training on Tuesday night. We had Wednesday off and a light session on Thursday and again in Canberra so we have had a pretty light week.
Will the team-s significant grand final experience be a factor? I don-t know about that. Having been in four grand finals you know what to expect, the lead-up and you know how to prepare. Having said that, it is a game of football so it is a case of "whoever turns up on the day". There will be added pressure and a big crowd so hopefully we can turn on some good football.
How do you think the two teams match-up? It will be a very tight contest and Canberra have strength all over the park. There are quality players in both teams and it will be hard for us to find a weakness, but in saying that hopefully they will find it hard to find a weakness in our team as well. The sides are very evenly matched so it will be a tight affair.
Will home ground provide a slight advantage for Canberra? We had home advantage in the semi and I know that gave us a boost and helped us out a little bit. It will be a great atmosphere at McKellar Park being a nice field with the spectators nice and close as well.
There has been much comment on the league-s quality this season. Does it feel like the league has improved in standard this year? Definitely. That is one very exciting thing about the league that it just keeps on getting better and better. Women-s football is growing quickly in Australia. To have the Westfield W-League improving every year also means everything looks good for the national team as well.
Having been skipper in three previous grand finals, what is it like to lead your team out on the big day? Overwhelming a little bit, but at the same time it is just another game so you have to try and take it in your stride. It is a proud moment to walk out on Grand Final day leading your team. It is also a great moment to lift the trophy, so if all goes well I will have that feeling again.