Captains call: W-League Grand Final

Two key combatants from Sunday’s Westfield W-League Grand Final – Steph Catley and Clare Polkinghorne - speak about the big game and their respective opponent.

Two key combatants from Sunday-s Westfield W-League Grand Final - Steph Catley and Clare Polkinghorne - speak about the big game and their respective opponent.

Catley, Melbourne Victory-s classy left-sided full-back, and Brisbane Roar-s ‘Ironwoman- Clare Polkinghorne will both be aiming to be key factors at Lakeside Stadium.

The pair met just a fortnight ago with Brisbane Roar edging a 1-0 win in a hard-fought contest on home soil.

Melbourne are yet to win their crown, while conversely, Brisbane are two-time champs hunting an unprecedented third title.

How is the mood within the squad ahead of the big game? Steph Catley: The mood is really good. We have a have had a few good training sessions already. We are playing some really good football so everyone is up and about and feeling good. Clare Polkinghorne: Grand Final week is always very exciting. We have a few girls that haven-t had this experience before so no doubt they will especially be looking forward to Sunday.

Is there a different feel this week? SC: We are trying to keep it as normal as possible without over-thinking it too much. It is always in the back of everyone-s mind that there is one more game, so there is an excited buzz around the group and everyone is excited of course. CP: I guess there is just a little bit compared to a normal week, but we still have the same job to do. Our game-plan is still the same, our training week doesn-t change. We know we have a job to do on Sunday and it won-t be easy. Everyone is excited but also have their heads down and doing the work.

Is there an extra layer of intensity after playing each other the other week? SC: Having played each so close to the finals means there are no secrets in terms of how each other plays. Both teams have some really good experienced and strong players. Both teams like to value possession and really attack, so it should be a great game in all areas. CP: We only played Melbourne once this year and it was the last round of the season which was different to normal years. I-m not sure whether Melbourne wanted more from that game, and probably thought they deserved a bit more. They will be out to seek a bit of revenge, and they will still be hurting from defeat in last year-s Grand Final so they will be out to do a job.

What are your opponent-s strengths? SC: They have a lot of experience, they know what it takes to win a title, and have been in a lot of Grand Finals. Our backline handled Sydney last week and we will be looking to do likewise this weekend. CP: They have strength all over the park. They have had a strong season and will be still hurting from last year so they are dangerous and will be a tough outfit to break down.

Is past Grand Final experience a benefit? SC: We were there last year and learned from that experience. Last year we perhaps got overawed by the occasion being our first time, which we very excited about. This year we have learned from that and focussing on the football and not letting the occasion get the better of us. We will be ready to play and go the full way. CP: We have experience in our team having played four of the last five Grand Finals. A lot of our girls are going into their fifth Grand Final, but it is still a football match so experience helps but you still have go in and do the job and do what you have been doing all year. We still need to put it together on the day.

Any opposition players that are particularly dangerous? SC: I suppose they have heaps of threats, most I know from the Matildas and I know how damaging they can be. But on her day Katrina Gorry can be really dangerous and someone we have to really keep an eye out for. CP: They have Lisa De Vanna up front who is lightning fast and can score from any position. They have Jess Fishlock who loves to play Lisa in. Obviously you also have the likes of Steph Catley and quality in goal with Bri Davey.

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