'They're apparently favourites': Ally Green bemused by Victory hype ahead of Grand Final
If Melbourne Victory are coming into the 2020/21 Westfield W-League Grand Final as the favourites, it's news to Sydney FC defender Ally Green.
After clinching the Premiers Plate at Victory's expense in Round 14 and cruising past Canberra United in the Semi Finals, Green and the Sky Blues are primed to clinch a Premiership/Championship double this season.
But Victory's recently formidable form - particularly in attack - has turned heads of late, leading some to perceive Jeff Hopkins' side as the team in the drivers seat to win this weekend's title decider.
Speaking on Saturday morning, Green seemed surprised by the hype surrounding Victory in the lead-in to Sunday's Grand Final - but says the pre-match commentary is only stoking the flames in the Sky Blues camp.
"It’s funny, I think actually we’re coming into this game not favourites," Green said.
"For some reason, the media have set out the Victory team to be quite strong - and they are, credit to them, they’ve had a fantastic season too - but for us to be Premiers I think it’s important for us to take that (in) our stride.
"For a lot of us I don’t think it’s really sunk in how much of an achievement that is in itself.
"Hoping to win and get the double, it would be such a big thing for our club.
"To chase that Premiership, that was ten seasons in the making since last time we won it, so to then do the double… it would be pretty phenomenal.
Green continued: "there’s been a few other reports lately of again how strong Victory (are), and again they’re apparently favourites going into the game.
We’re going to take that as our motivation - that’s only going to fire us up a little bit more.
If we’re underdogs, we’ll take it and that’s probably best for us too."
It's a fourth-consecutive Westfield W-League Grand Final appearance for both Green and the Sky Blues, who return to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium - the scene of the club's last Championship win over Perth Glory in 2018/19.
Sydney have the historical advantage coming into this do-or-die Big Blue encounter, having won three Championships opposed to Victory's one, and enjoying a comprehensive ascendancy in the head-to-head encounters between the two teams (W13, D5, L4).
The Sky Blues sent Victory out in the Semi Finals in 2019/20, and beating their bitter foes in the final game of the current campaign helped Sydney lift the Premiers Plate at Victory's expense.
They're the signs which Green believes point to Sydney holding the upper hand ahead of the Grand Final. But the experienced defender knows her side will need to be at their best to avoid succumbing to a determined Victory side brimming with confidence and ability.
"We’re hoping to pull out one of our best performances yet - and I think that’s what it will definitely take to beat Victory tomorrow," Green said.
"The last Grand Final we won two years ago was at (Netstrata Jubilee Stadium).
"That was such a memorable day, winning against Perth and Sam Kerr.
"To be back there again and to have also played our Semi Final at Kogarah as well, we’re pretty familiar with the pitch now, and definitely the support that gets out there behind us as well.
"I think we’re on a pretty even playing field with Victory. They know what we can do, and we certainly know what they can do."
Green added: "they’re a pretty strong attacking force up top, and they’ve also got some pretty solid defence in the backline too.
"It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be a pretty tough one so we’ve just been preparing for that, and hopefully we can play our best game and get the win."
Westfield W-League Grand Final 2020/21
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, 11 April 2021
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
Broadcast: FOX Sports, ABC TV
Streaming: Kayo Sports, My Football Live App
Tickets available from 9am AEST on Tuesday, 6 April from finals.w-league.com.au
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