One of the traditional highlights of the Westfield W-League season takes place on Saturday in the nation’s capital as Canberra United host Sydney FC.
Unusually both teams are coming off defeats, even if one was far more demoralising than the other. Canberra United started with a tight 2-1 loss at Brisbane Roar, while Sydney FC suffered an astonishing 6-0 reversal against the visiting Melbourne City.
Not only is this a different week, but there will a completely different set of team dynamics, as both sides are without their Westfield Matildas stars. Arguably, Canberra are hit harder, shorn as they are of star goalscorer Michelle Heyman and inspirational goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
United, however, have some seriously impressive cavalry arriving on the scene this week in the shape of Caitlin Munoz, Emma Kete, Mexican international Veronica Perez and Emma Checker. They also have won three straight against Sydney who crashed 3-0 in Canberra this time last year.
The Sky Blues, for their part, are without Kyah Simon, Alanna Kennedy and young midfielder Amy Harrison. But almost as important as their available personnel, will be their ability to bounce back from that demoralising defeat last weekend.
Without doubt Sydney have the ability, and coach Dan Barrett says the side are showing few signs of being deflated. “To be honest the game cannot come quick enough,” he said.
“We are very eager to get back to the performances the team is capable of. We know playing the champions away is always tough but we are looking forward to the test. The focus this week has been to ensure we do the little things right and we do them all the time.”
Canberra United v Sydney FC
Saturday 24 October 2015
McKellar Park, Canberra
Local kick-off: 4pm
Join the conversation on Twitter using match hashtag #CBRvSYD
Canberra United squad: 3. Julia De Angelis, 4. Kendall Fletcher, 5. Jenna McCormick , 6. Caitlin Munoz, 7. Ellie Brush, 8. Meg McLaughlin, 10. Grace Maher, 12. Emma Kete, 13. Nicole Begg, 14. Ashleigh Sykes, 15. Emma Checker, 16. Tegan Riding, 17. Veronica Perez, 18. Rebecca Kiting, 20. Melissa Maizels (gk), 22. Georgia Boric (gk)
In: Caitlin Munoz (away), Emma Kete (Fencibles United, New Zealand), Veronica Perez (Washington Spirit, USA), Emma Checker (Melbourne Victory), Georgia Boric (ACTAS, replacement goalkeeper)
Out: Grace Gill, Nickoletta Flannery, (both omitted), Lydia Williams, Michelle Heyman (both Westfield Matildas duty)
Sydney FC squad: Sham Khamis (gk), Michelle Betos (gk), Teigen Allen, Renee Rollason, Teresa Polias (c), Jasmyne Spencer, Nicola Bolger, Leena Khamis, Elizabeth Ralston, Ellyse Perry, Natalie Tobin, Trudy Camilleri, Sunny Franco, Lyndsay Kohlet, Princess Ibini.
Ins: Liz Ralston, Lyndsay Kohlet (both promoted), Princess Ibini (returns from injury)
Outs: Amy Harrison, Kyah Simon, Alanna Kennedy (all Westfield Matildas duty)
Unavailable: Olivia Price (ankle)