Victory and Roar locked in scoreless arm wrestle
Melbourne Victory opened their campaign with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Brisbane Roar in Sunday's Westfield W-League arm wrestle.
The two teams were engaged in a battle of attrition that showed plenty of endeavour but little in the way of chances until the encounter exploded into life late on.
Westfield Matildas star Emily Gielnik saw a stunning individual run and strike palmed away by Victory goalkeeper Gabriela Garton, while Annalie Longo fired over the bar after Angela Beard pounced on a loose ball in midfield.
It is two scoreless draws to start the season for Brisbane, while Victory begin their campaign with a point.
Both teams traded periods of supremacy but neither were able to muster enough guile or killer instinct in the final third to create chances of serious merit.
The visitors peppered the goal of Victory stopper Garton in the first half with Mariel Hecher, Leticia McKenna and Isobel Dalton all showing their intent and forcing the Victory rearguard into action.
The first half action was soured when Natalie Tathem succumbed to an injury that saw the former Roar player stretchered off midway through the first half.
Victory starlet Kyra Cooney-Cross sparkled and flashed a warning shot wide as Jeff Hopkins' side offered some attacking threat, while Tameka Yallop kept Garton on guard in the Victory goal.
Westfield Matildas' Gielnik and Katrina Gorry combined to good effect late in the half but Gorry's shot was gathered comfortably by Garton, as fellow Australia international Lisa De Vanna could only scuff a chance on goal after Polly Doran's inviting ball.
The arm-wrestle continue in the second half with Melina Ayres finding the glove of Georgina Worth, while De Vanna blazed high and wide when the veteran striker had perhaps more time to measure a strike than she first realised.
Despite the litany of creative talents on the pitch – Cooney-Cross, Gorry, Yallop to name a few – both teams struggled to craft opportunities.
It looked like Gielnik took it upon herself to break the deadlock when she embarked on a barnstorming run late in the second half but her shot lacked any real venom and was dealt with easily by Garton.
Victory had their own late chance, but Longo skied her effort after Beard pounced on a loose ball in midfield.
Brisbane Roar v Canberra United
Thursday, 7 January 2021
Kick off: 7.05pm AEDT
Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, 10 January 2021
Kick off: 4.05pm AEDT