Kennedy reveals key to Sydney FC’s Westfield W-League title defence
Sydney FC star Alanna Kennedy is expecting more of the same from the Westfield W-League Champions this season as they gun for back-to-back titles.
And in Sydney’s pursuit of consecutive Championships, Kennedy has placed her faith in their winning formula to take them all the way once more.
“Me personally, I’m looking forward to seeing if we can back it up again at Sydney,” Kennedy told w-league.com.au.
“For the most part we do have a very similar team, I’m very familiar and we are all familiar with playing with each other.
“We had a successful season, we definitely have had a couple of changes in terms of a few players not coming back but we’ve found other players elsewhere who can come in and do a job as well.
“Hopefully we can do something special again this season.”
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The Sky Blues finished third last season but wrestled their way into the Grand Final after a gritty Semi Final win over Brisbane Roar.
An action-packed Grand Final against Perth Glory eventually went in favour of Kennedy and Sydney FC who won 4-2 at Jubilee Stadium to claim the title.
And Sky Blues Head Coach Ante Juric has trusted in his tried and tested squad, recalling 15 players from his 2018/19 side to the Sydney FC squad ahead of the upcoming campaign.
“Obviously we had a really successful season last year especially towards the back end, and kept most of the group together,” Kennedy said.
“I think there’s no need to change too much for us. I’m confident we can win again but I know it doesn’t come easily.
“You have to be pretty consistent throughout the league, so that’s our aim this season and I’m confident we can do it with our Sydney team.”
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Defending the Westfield W-League title is not going to be an easy feat for Kennedy and Sydney FC, who face a stern test straight off the bat in Round 1 against Premiers Melbourne Victory.
The best team of the regular season bombed out of the finals after a Sam Kerr master-class in the Semi Finals ensured Perth Glory progressed to the Grand Final to face the Sky Blues.
Looking ahead to the Big Blue in Round 1 Kennedy is wary of the threat posed by Victory to their title hopes this season.
“They [Victory] had a great season last year and unfortunately fell short towards the end,” Kennedy said.
“I’m pretty sure they kept together quite a solid team – as have we – so it should be a good game at Jubilee (Stadium), and I’m looking forward to it.
“The league is only 14 weeks, 12 games, so it’s important you do have a good start.
“A couple of weeks here and there with a poor performance is okay but you don’t have too much room for a bad run, so hopefully we get off to a good start unlike last year.”
There’s sure to be plenty of eyes on the blockbuster Round 1 clash as the Champions host the Premiers, and the hype has only been magnified by a landmark television deal which will see all Westfield W-League games this season broadcast free-to-air on ABC.
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It’s a coup for the league which Kennedy thinks will only add to the growing interest of women’s football, leading into a crucial year for her and her Westfield Matildas teammates.
“I know we say it every year but it just goes from strength to strength this league,” she said.
“I think it’s really important to have all or games covered on TV for our fans to watch, and our family and friends.
“In particular ahead of our bid for the 2023 (Women’s) World Cup, to get Australia behind the W-League and Australian football, women’s football, it’s exciting to see.
“We’ve (the Westfield Matildas) got a big couple of months coming up, an important couple of months, so the W-League is good preparation for us and the environments that we’re in.
“I think that’s really important for us ahead of the Olympic qualifiers early next year.”
Kennedy and Sydney FC get their Westfield W-League season underway against Victory at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday, November 17 (4:00pm AEDT).
The match is part of a double-header with the Hyundai A-League Big Blue also being played afterwards.