Talking Points: Roar show Championship credentials and set up thrilling Premiers Plate race
‘We did what we needed to do’ were the words from star attacker Hayley Raso after Brisbane Roar ripped apart title contenders Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.
Raso was on the scoresheet and, by her own admission ‘should have had three or four’ as Jake Goodship’s side brought the previously undefeated Wanderers crashing down to earth in a 4-0 hammering.
Dean Heffernan’s outfit were, and still are, genuine Westfield W-League Premiership contenders but were taught a footballing lesson in their own backyard on Sunday by Raso and company.
The Red and Black themselves had demolished champions Sydney FC 5-0 only three weeks ago, proving that the chase for silverware in 2019/20 is wide open between the competition’s elite teams.
The five-star performance that stunned the football-watching nation was billed by many as a signal of a power shift in the Harbour City.
But following their own self-destruction at Marconi Stadium, Western Sydney now find themselves below their noisy neighbours in the ladder after the Queenslanders ran rampant to score four times in the space of 20 second-half minutes.
Among the rubble of the Sky Blues and Wanderers’ recent humiliations, star-studded Melbourne City have risen, unwavering, to take an outright four-point lead at the summit.
But, with Wanderers still to meet the top two sides between now and the end of the campaign, there are still opportunities for twists and turns in what could become a mouth-watering, three-way battle for the Premiers Plate – should City show any weaknesses.
On the outside looking in are Brisbane. Nine points off the pace with four matches left to play, their Premiership race is run. After finishing second last year and falling in the Semi-Finals, back-to-back losses to open the 2019/20 campaign left Roar playing catch-up following a transitional off-season.
Their impressive demolition job against the upstart challengers, Western Sydney, shows what they are capable of on any given game day. A fourth Premiership may be out of their grasp , but it would take a brave person to write them off lifting their second Championship.
With reigning Premiers, Melbourne Victory, breathing down their necks, their next job is making sure they get to the Finals Series.
“We came out, we scored goals and we did what we needed to do,” Raso said on Sunday.
More of the same is needed from Brisbane Roar over the coming weeks. Starting on Thursday.
Sky Blues go into must-win Roar clash on strong form
It had been 15 days since Sydney FC took the field when they ran out at a smoke-free McKellar Park on Monday night, but Ante Juric’s side shown no signs of rust in a commanding 4-0 win.
A quartet of the Sky Blues’ attacking stars got on the scoresheet – Remy Siemsen, Veronica Latsko, Chloe Logarzo and Sofia Huerta – while Caitlin Foord may not have netted but the Westfield Matilda looked sharp in providing a pair of assists.
The defending Champions have a more serious test of their mettle when they face in-form Roar on Thursday night in what is lining up to be a titanic showdown.
A slip up for Sydney could see them fall seven points behind City, assuming the league leaders dispatch of the Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
But, before City are anointed as Premiers-elect, bear in mind their last three matches see them go up against against cross-town rivals Victory, Western Sydney on the road and Brisbane at home. The only thing that's certain is that we are set for a sensational finish to the season.