Few among the Perth Glory family have waited as long as Elisa D’Ovidio for Westfield W-League silverware and the consistent forward is aiming to end her career on a deserving high in Sunday’s Grand Final in front of friends and family.
Although never one to grab the headlines, local product D’Ovidio has been an important contributor throughout the Glory’s Westfield W-League lifespan. She sits behind only Marianna Tabain as the most capped Glory player, and her 13 goals in the purple shirt have included some crucial strikes, not least of all the opener in last Sunday’s 3-0 semi-final triumph over Sydney FC.
D’Ovidio has experienced highs and lows during her seven-year Glory career that few others could match. Just three years ago Perth suffered a barely-believable competition record 11-0 defeat against Sydney FC. Fast forward to the present day and Perth have eased to the Premiership as league leader, and are now only 90 minutes away from their maiden Grand Final triumph.
“We have been saying all week ‘we are in a Grand Final’, so maybe it hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” says D’Ovidio with a sense of excitement.
“I haven’t been waiting (to reach a Grand Final) since season one. If it was going to be any time, it was going to be this year given the players we have and the way we have played. We can’t wait to get out there on Sunday.
“Being there from the first season until now, and the many challenges we have faced, we have certainly had our ups and down, but to come where we have come this year is great. That is a credit to Jamie and the staff in the recruitment and creating a great environment which we have all enjoyed.”
Slightly built but with a big heart, D’Ovidio, has along with the likes of Tabain and Shannon May, been a Glory constant since the league’s inception.
But D’Ovidio, who will remain in the game in her role as Football West’s Womens, Girls and Indigenous development officer, says the time is right to hang up the boots.
“I had an injury at the start of the season which took me out of the game for about four or five months, but really I just want to try different things and have a bit of a break,” she says.
“The women’s game is growing rapidly here, and we are doing what we can to provide opportunities for the young girls. The fanbase has grown even since the start of the season. For me personally growing up here, having a Grand Final here and winning it would mean a lot.
“It comes down to the day, and whoever is switched on for the 90 minutes. Anything can happen. But hopefully if we do what we are capable of, then we will come out on top.”