What a way to kick-off the new Westfield W-League season as the two keenest rivals of the competition shape up.
Numerous Westfield Matildas stars will take the field and indeed, many of the players are familiar with each other having served for the various national teams down the years. That might go some way to explaining the extra level of intensity that always seems present when Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC meet.
The pair have always been well-matched, a fact borne out in the historical statistics. There have been six wins apiece in the 18 Westfield W-League meetings. There have also been two Grand Final encounters with – yep, you guessed it – a win apiece.
While there are several Roar stalwarts lining up – Clare Polkinghorne, Katrina Gorry and Amy Chapman among them – it is a new-look side wearing orange. The challenge for new coach Mel Andreatta will be to find early cohesion and momentum.
Sydney FC will hope to have no problems in that regard. Not only did they have few departures during the off-season, their squad is arguably the most experienced in the league. Many have tipped Sydney FC to be the main challenger to champions Melbourne City. The Sky Blues, however, will be wary of opening their season in rather different fashion to last season – a club record 6-0 loss against City.
But whatever the outcome at Spencer Park, this is one not to be missed.
Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Saturday 5 November 2016
Spencer Park, Brisbane
Local kick-off: 4pm (5pm AEDST)
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Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Mackenzie ARNOLD (gk), 2.Nina FRAUSING-PEDERSEN, 3.Amy CHAPMAN, 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5.Brooke SPENCE, 6.Angela BEARD, 7.Sunny FRANCO, 8.Kaitlyn TORPEY, 10.Katrina GORRY, 11.Maili FORBES, 12.Allira TOBY, 14.Summer O’BRIEN, 15.Abbey LLOYD, 17.Emily GIELNIK, 18.Maddy EVANS, 19.Natalie TATHEM, 20.Georgina WORTH (gk) **two to be omitted**
Unavailable: 9.Cortnee VINE (international duty – 1 week), 13.Tameka BUTT (overseas – 1 week)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Sham KAMIS (gk), 2.Teresa POLIAS (c), 3.Gabrielle MARZANO, 4.Elizabeth RALSTON, 6.Servet UZUNLAR, 7.Nicola BOLGER, 9.Caitlin FOORD, 11.Natalie TOBIN, 12.Olivia PRICE, 13.Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 14.Alanna KENNEDY, 15.Sarah EASTHOPE (gk) 17.Kyah SIMON, 19.Leena KHAMIS, 21.Penny PETRATOS
Unavailable: 3.Remy SIEMSEN (international duty – 1 week), 16.Hannah BACON (international duty – 1 week), 20.Princess IBINI (international duty – 1 week)