A spot in the Westfield W-League grand final is up for grabs on Sunday as rivals Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory go head to head.
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory Sunday 16 February 2014 WIN Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, Sydney Kick-off: 3pm
** Catch the action on Sunday at 6pm nationally on ABC1. Or catch up from Monday on ABC iView with a replay at 3.30am on Thursday (*live in AEDT states)
This match promises so much on so many levels. A replay of last year-s grand final between two teams packed with stars.
Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory are starting to build a strong rivalry with the latter-s rise to prominence in recent seasons.
Indeed the Victory have tackled Sydney in two of their four previous finals matches although neither ended well. The Melburnians play-off debut in 2011 resulted in a hefty 5-1 defeat, while the Sky Blues claimed the championship crown last year with a 3-1 grand final win.
Then of course there was a much-discussed 5-1 win for an imperious Sydney FC on the opening day of this season, however the Victory had the better of December-s return fixture but were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
For the first time this season both of these teams enter a match on the back of defeat. The Sky Blues were edged out of the premiership last weekend in an epic contest against Canberra; the only team they have lost against this season.
Melbourne, for their part, has now lost two on the trot following a nine-match unbeaten streak.
Both Sydney and Melbourne, however, impressed at various stages in their respective matches last weekend and with an ounce of luck could have come away victors.
Sydney are at full strength and coach Alen Stajcic will once again no doubt field a richly talented bench, let alone starting side.
Dual international Ellyse Perry, having made an impressive return after several weeks absence last weekend, again takes her spot at fullback despite the match clashing with the NSW Breakers competing in the domestic limited overs final, ironically also against the Victorians.
Melbourne Victory are still without experienced New Zealand midfielder Katie Hoyle due to international commitments and her defensive stability was missed in the 1-0 defeat at Brisbane Roar.
In her stead new American signing Lauren Barnes proved herself to be a talented acquisition and the contest between the two midfields promises to be an intriguing sub-plot.
Sydney FC squad: Casey Dumont (gk), Alesha Clifford, Danielle Brogan (c), Liz Ralston, Amy Harrison, Caitlin Foord, Teresa Polias, Nicola Bolger, Renee Rollason, Jodie Taylor, Emma Kete, Leena Khamis, Ellyse Perry, Trudy Camilleri, Sam Kerr, Chloe Logarzo, Sham Khamis (gk) (one to be omitted)
Ins: Trudy Camilleri, Liz Ralston (both promoted)
Unavailable: Anna Green (Achilles - one week), Natalie Tobin (illness - one week)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Brianna Davey (gk) 3. Jessica Humble 6. Cindy Lay 7. Stephanie Catley (c) 9. Caitlin Friend 10. Jess Fishlock 11. Lisa De Vanna 12. Jessica Samuelsson 15. Emma Checker 16. Beattie Goad 17. Gulcan Koca, 18. Emily Hulbert, 19. Alexandra Natoli, 20. Cassie Dimovski (gk) 21. Ella Mastrantonio 22. Lauren Brown 25. Maika Ruyter-Hooley (one to be omitted)
Ins: Emily Hulbert, Alexandra Natoli (both promoted)
Unavailable: Ashley Brown (knee - season), Katie Hoyle (New Zealand national team commitments - 1 week), Enza Barilla (personal reasons - 1 week)