Wheeler not taking 'any game for granted' as Sydney turn focus to Big Blue Grand Final
Clare Wheeler produced a match-winning performance for Sydney FC in their Westfield W-League Semi Final but she believes a Grand Final against Melbourne Victory is a whole new challenge entirely.
The reigning Premiers brushed aside the challenge of fourth-placed finishers Canberra United, 3-0, at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium to set up a Championship decider against their Big Blue rivals on Sunday, 11 April.
Wheeler provided the service for Mackenzie Hawkesby to break the deadlock in the first half and then got on the scoresheet herself after half-time, before Ally Green wrapped up the result with a 79th-minute thunderbolt.
Ante Juric’s side beat Victory 2-1 to clinch the Premiers Plate at Cromer Park last Wednesday but Wheeler says Sydney cannot take the feelgood factor from that triumph to the big dance in Kogarah next weekend.
"No, I think we can’t take any game for granted," Wheeler said.
"A Grand Final is a Grand Final. It’s 90 minutes and anything can happen in a grand final so I think we are just going to make sure we turn up and get the job done."
Green’s unstoppable strike from almost 30 yards put the seal on a commanding win for the Sky Blues and the 22-year-old left back could hardly believe her eyes when her effort flew into the top corner of Canberra’s net.
"I do them at training but never did I think I’d have the chance in a game so I’m pretty stoked about that," Green said.
Sydney’s dominant performance was built on a strong defensive display by Green and the rest of the Sky Blues backline but she admits her team did benefit from the Green Machine’s leading scorer, Michelle Heyman, missing the Semi Final due to a quad injury.
"It’s unfortunate for Michelle, she’s played a terrific season all year and for her to miss out on such an important game…," added Green.
"Canberra are a rock solid team but without her finesse up top it was going to be hard for them.
"We took it for our advantage but it was unfortunate for her."
Sydney striker Remy Siemsen believes the performance against Canberra is the blueprint her side needs to take into next week’s Grand Final showdown with Victory.
Siemsen said: "This is very special group. We all work extremely hard, our pre-season was really hard and I think we can get the job done if we stick to our standards and work together as a group like we did today."
Westfield W-League Finals Series 2020/21
Grand Final – Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, 11 April 2021
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Oval
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
Tickets available from 9am AEST on Tuesday, 6 April from finals.w-league.com.au