Preview: Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar

What a contest awaits Westfield W-League fans as two star-laden sides line up in a crucial contest for both clubs.

These two played out one of the all-time great Westfield W-League contests in last season’s semi-final in a match eventually won by Melbourne City on penalties.

Anything approaching that level would be well worth the price of admission, and with a host of international imports and Westfield Matildas on show a high-quality contest is assured.

The pair line up in what is effectively a battle for the fourth and final spot in the play-offs.

A win would keep alive those dreams very much alive, but at risk is the unthinkable - failure to make the top-four.  

The Roar are one point off fourth-placed City but, with a bye in next weekend’s final round, a win here is absolutely essential.

Brisbane have not beaten City in four previous match-ups, including a tight 2-1 defeat at home earlier this campaign.

The absence of Roar goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold through suspension will potentially be an x-factor in this contest.

Melbourne are on a barely-believable run of six matches without a win, having previously gone 18 matches undefeated.

And City, sadly, have lost Larissa Crummer for the season, with the Westfield Matildas forward having only just returned from a lengthy injury absence. But their squad has a level of depth rarely seen.

It is all or nothing for City from here on in if they wish to retain their crown. They will face a winner-takes-all meeting with Newcastle in the final round, should the Jets win this weekend. Then two more do-or-die finals series matches await.

Can they do it? The form-book says no, but the quality of their roster says yes.

Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Sunday 22 January 2017
Venue: C.B. Smith Reserve
Kick-Off: 5:00PM (Local) (5:00PM (AEDT))

Referee: Lara Lee

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Melbourne City squad: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2.Teigen ALLEN, 3.Lauren BARNES, 5.Laura ALLEWAY, 6.Aivi LUIK, 7.Steph CATLEY (c), 10.Jessica FISHLOCK, 11.Erika TYMRAK, 13.Rebekah STOTT, 14.Melina AYRES, 15.Amy JACKSON, 16.Beverly YANEZ, 17.Marianna TABAIN, 18.Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 20.Emily SHIELDS (gk) **one to be omitted**

Ins: 14.Melina AYRES (promoted), 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC (promoted)

Outs: 9.Larissa CRUMMER (ankle – season)

Unavailable: Nil

Brisbane Roar squad: 2.Nina FRAUSING-PEDERSEN, 3.Amy CHAPMAN, 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5.Brooke SPENCE, 6.Angela BEARD, 7.Sunny FRANCO, 8.Kaitlyn TORPEY, 9.Cortnee VINE, 10.Katrina GORRY, 12.Allira TOBY, 13.Tameka BUTT, 14.Summer O’BRIEN, 15.Abbey LLOYD, 17.Emily GIELNIK, 18.Maddy EVANS, 20.Georgina WORTH (gk), 30.Ayana AOYAGI (gk) **two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Brooke SPENCE (promoted), 15.Abbey LLOYD (promoted), 30.Ayana AOYAGI (gk) (short term contract)

Outs: 1.Mackenzie ARNOLD (gk) (suspended – 1 match)

Unavailable: Nil