It’s the new kids on the block hosting the traditional elite at AAMI Park on Monday as Melbourne City aim to continue their remarkable winning form, but Brisbane Roar are not willing to easily give up their mantle as Grand Final specialists.
City’s stunning perfect record of 12 wins from as many matches this season is a feat that may never be equalled. Yet, the legacy for the Class of 2016 may not stand their test of time if they are bundled out of the finals series at the first hurdle.
All the pointers suggest City will indeed win their way into their maiden Grand Final. When the Roar visited Melbourne earlier in the season they crashed to a hefty 4-0 defeat, however it was far closer a month ago when City edged a 1-0 victory on the Gold Coast.
The Roar’s recent form has been undeniably impressive. Unfortunately suspension for key midfielder Katrina Gorry and an international call-up for New Zealander Kirsty Yallop leave a yawning gap in terms of both quality and experience of the big occasion.
The Roar put an end to a mid-season five-match winless run during December, and they have since collected 10 from a possible 15 points in securing fourth spot.
“The basis of our turnaround this season is because of our defensive aspects,” said Roar coach Belinda Wilson.
“Obviously playing against City we have to make sure we turn up, and we’re ready to play. We need to be defensively strong, stay compact and make sure individuals do their jobs.”
If Brisbane are to maintain their recent defensive record it will mean keeping a rein on two former Roar players now donning the City colours – Lisa De Vanna and Larissa Crummer.
City are not only hunting a thirteenth successive win, but with the added bonus of knowing that victory will also mean hosting a Grand Final on Sunday 31 January.
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Monday 25 January 2016
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 4.30pm
(Hyundai A-League double-header – Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix)
Tickets from Ticketek
* Watch all the action Live from 4.30pm nationally on Fox Sports (Channel 505), or ABC TV. Or catch-up on ABC iView.
** Listen LIVE on TuneIn - http://tunein.com/radio/Melbourne-City-W-League-Live-s256286/
Join the conversation on Twitter using match hashtag #MCYvBRI
Melbourne City squad: 1. Brianna Davey (gk), 3. Alex Chidiac, 4. Jennifer Beattie, 5. Laura Alleway, 6. Aivi Luik, 7. Stephanie Catley, 8. Kim Little, 9. Larissa Crummer, 10. Jessica Fishlock, 11. Lisa De Vanna, 14. Melina Ayres, 15. Amy Jackson, 16. Beattie Goad, 17. Marianna Tabain, 18. Anisa Guajardo, 20. Trudy Burke (gk)
Ins: Larissa Crummer, Lisa De Vanna
Outs: Rebekah Stott (New Zealand international duty)
Unavailable: Monique Iannella (knee – indefinite)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Haley Kopmeyer (gk), 3. Amy Chapman, 4. Clare Polkinghorne (c), 6. Angela Beard, 7. Gabe Marzano, 8. Ayesha Norrie, 12. Alisha Foote, 13. Tameka Butt, 14. Summer O'Brien, 15. Ruth Blackburn, 16. Ashley Spina, 17. Emily Gielnik, 18. Maili Forbes, 19. Sofie Persson, 20. Carrie Simpson (gk)
Ins: Ashley Spina, Maili Forbes (both promoted)
Outs: Katrina Gorry (suspended – 1 week), Kirsty Yallop (New Zealand international duty),
Unavailable: Brooke Goodrich (injured)