'Best friends' Maher and Flannery eye fairytale finish to Canberra comeback

It was a case of best friends reunited when Grace Maher and Nikki Flannery returned to Canberra United and the pair are savouring every moment of what could still become a dream campaign ahead of their season finale on Friday.

The Green Machine face Westfield W-League leaders Sydney FC at Viking Park at 6.35pm AEDT with their Finals Series hopes on the line, needing a point to guarantee their first top-four finish in four years.

Maher and Flannery were both in the Canberra squad that lifted the Premiers Plate during that last post-season appearance in 2016/17 and the childhood friends explained how their journeys have crossed during the past decade.

"Our paths have been similar but wierdly different and somehow they keep meeting," Maher explained.

"We actually met before we knew we met, we both did athletics and we both started playing under-12s Capital Football together.

"And then I saw a little blonde girl next to me with a big white headband and I was like 'that’s Nikki! we’ve always raced together all those years ago'. 

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Flannery added: "Grace played for a different club growing up and I played for probably the toughest opposition – North v South.

Maher said: "We were each other’s support system up in Sydney when we were both injured but we’ve been really tight knit since that under-11s team."

Flannery, who spent last season at the Newcastle Jets, and Maher, who came back  after two years at Melbourne Victory, discussed being teammates and opponents, and how they helped persuade the competition’s all-time top goalscorer, Michelle Heyman, back out of retirement.

Grace Maher and Nicki Flannery: from ball-girls and fans to Canberra stars | Westfield W-League

Round 14

Canberra United v Sydney FC
Friday, 26 March 2021
Venue: Viking Park
Kick-off: 6.35pm AEDT
Match Centre

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