Melbourne Victory will be desperate for a post-Christmas boost but they could barely have asked for a tougher task than facing up to a star-studded Canberra United side who have really found their form.
Wednesday’s match will provide a holiday treat for armchair fans nationwide and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports/ABC TV.
Canberra’s new signing Lisa De Vanna has not been named in the squad, while doubts remain about the fitness of captain Ellie Brush and Hayley Raso after recent injury.
Canberra sat out an abbreviated Round 8, but sat top prior to that on the back of two sensational wins.
Their 2-1 win over champions Melbourne City will live long in the memory, as will the shocking nature of a record 5-1 defeat inflicted upon Brisbane Roar.
At the other end of the spectrum are Melbourne Victory sitting second from bottom and without a win to their name thus far.
On paper the Victory may appear to have little chance, but in striker Natasha Dowie and midfielder Christine Nairn they have two genuine game-breakers capable of matching up to any opponent.
It promises to be a gala occasion for players and fans alike at AAMI Park, with the match to be followed by an Hyundai A-League match as the Victory host Central Coast Mariners.
“The more we can get on that stage, I think the better the girls do because they really rise to the occasion,” said Nairn. “To be on that stage is just a glimpse of what things could be like all the time in the W-League.”
Melbourne Victory v Canberra United
Wednesday 28 December 2016
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 5:05PM (Local)
Referee: Rebecca Durcau
Assistant Referee 1: Laura Moya
Assistant Referee 2: Sarah Wikeley
Fourth Official: Joanna Charaktis
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and ABC TV from 5.00pm (AEDT)
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To purchase tickets visit www.w-league.com.au/tickets
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Alexandra NATOLI, 5.Alex GUMMER, 6.Annabel MARTIN, 7.Lia PRIVITELLI, 8.Ayesha NORRIE, 9.Natasha DOWIE, 10.Christine NAIRN (c), 11.MelindaJ BARBIERI, 13.Laura SPIRANOVIC, 15.Adriana TARANTO, 16.Samantha JOHNSON, 17.Gulcan KOCA, 19.Rachel ALONSO, 20.Bethany MASON-JONES (gk), 25.Kariah WHITE, 30.Emily KENSHOLE (gk) **one to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Lia PRIVITELLI (promoted), 8.Ayesha NORRIE (promoted), 19.Rachel ALONSO (promoted)
Outs: 3.Alex CHEAL (omitted), 24.Kirsty YALLOP (unavailable)
Unavailable: 1.Bianca HENNINGER (gk) (knee – 1 week), 4.Melissa TARANTO (knee – season), 14.Selin KURALAY (knee – season)
Canberra United squad: 1.Trudy BURKE (gk), 2.Yukari KINGA, 4.Clare HUNT, 5.Jenna McCORMICK, 7.Ellie BRUSH, 8.Hayley RASO, 9.Jasmyne SPENCER 10.Grace MAHER, 11.Michelle HEYMAN, 12.Hannah BREWER, 13.Celeste BOUREILLE, 14.Ashley SYKES, 15.Emma CHECKER, 16.Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 19.Nickoletta FLANNERY, 20.Georgia BORIC (gk), 22.Stephanie OCHS **two to be omitted**
Ins: 15.Emma CHECKER (Return from Injury), 7.Ellie BRUSH (Promoted), 8.Hayley RASO (Promoted)
Outs: 17.Laura HUGHES (Not selected)