There's everything to play for as the Westfield W-League reaches a weekend of high drama.
Like the weather, the action is heating up for the Westfield W-League final round.
Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory are already assured of semi-final spots. The minor premiership and home finals, however, are yet to be determined. Everything is still to play for, as the battle for fourth position between Sydney FC and Canberra United will also be decided this weekend.
Wanderers FC have fallen off the pace after a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Canberra in their rescheduled match on Tuesday. Meanwhile, separated by a solitary point at the foot of the table, Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets will be glad to see the back of the 2012/13 season, and both sides will be doing everything possible to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.
Round 12 kicks off Saturday morning with a replay of last year's grand final between Brisbane Roar and Canberra United. Canberra have done enough to keep their fate in their own hands for now - they sit in fourth, one point above Sydney FC - however their assignment against a high-flying Brisbane side undefeated in their last six couldn't be tougher.
The Roar will want to secure a home final, and their form suggests they're good enough to do so. They're also yet to miss a finals series, which suggests a strong will to win big games. Canberra United, meanwhile, will be far from pushovers with a title to defend and quality across the park, including Westfield W-League all-time leading goal scorer Michelle Heyman.
While it's difficult to read too much into their round one encounter that ended in a 0-0 stalemate, another close contest is expected. Should Canberra miss out on the finals, they'd be the first defending champions to do so.
Saturday afternoon sees Adelaide United host Perth Glory. Despite unexpectedly dropping points last round in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets, the women from the west are still well placed for the upcoming finals. Expect Perth to bounce back with a strong showing here and finish on a final tally of 24 points, which could be good enough for a top two finish.
Elsewhere, Sydney FC need a win against what's likely to be a deflated Wanderers FC outfit. Their previous meeting this season resulted in a 1-0 win for the Sky Blues and this will be the minimum requirement for the Sydneysiders, who'll be sweating on a slip up from Canberra United.
Finally, all indicators point to a positive result for Melbourne Victory (who've won their last three) against Newcastle Jets. Regardless of the result, it's been a fine season for Melbourne who were without a coach prior to round one when Mike Mulvey took the role. Mulvey was then appointed head coach of Brisbane's Hyundai A-League squad in December, causing another reshuffle for the women's Victory side.
With five teams still in the running, the possible outcomes for the Westfield W-League final round are:
- Brisbane Roar - Best finish: 1st, Worst finish: 3rd
- Melbourne Victory - Best: 1st, Worst: 3rd
- Perth Glory - Best: 1st, Worst: 4th
- Canberra United - Best: 3rd, Worst: 5th
- Sydney FC - Best: 4th, Worst: 5th
- Western Sydney Wanderers FC - Best: 6th, Worst: 6th
- Adelaide United - Best: 7th, Worst: 8th
- Newcastle Jets - Best: 7th, Worst: 8th
One thing's certain - it's going to be a helluva weekend.