A pair of Westfield W-League success stories will be on show when Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory battle it out for a grand final spot.
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
nib Stadium, Perth
Sunday 20 January 2013
Kick-off: 1pm local (4pm AEDT)
Live on ABC 1
A pair of Westfield W-League success stories will be on show when unlikely semi finalists Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory battle it out for a grand final spot on Sunday.
While traditional competition heavyweights Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC fight out the first Westfield W-League semi final on Saturday, Sunday's match at nib Stadium will showcase two teams that have paved unique paths to the finals.
Neither side has played in a grand final and both have overcome the odds just to get this far. The Glory had to rebuild after finishing second-to-bottom last season but a new-look squad strengthened by Westfield Matildas Collette McCallum, Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna impressed to finish second on the competition table behind the Roar.
It's been a journey for the Victory too, with their season ravaged by coaching disruptions. The departure of former coach Vicki Linton in pre-season rocked the boat and, just when they were enjoying stability under new coach Mike Mulvey, he was hired for the top job at Brisbane Roar in the Hyundai A-League.
Still, Melbourne have maintained their form under promoted coach Fabrizio Soncin and captain Stephanie Catley is confident their title hopes remain intact.
"The coaches have been sort of on and off this year and it has been pretty hard in a sense but we've pulled through, put a lot of trust in each other and we'll be looking to do the same this week," Catley says.
"We're all really happy with what Fab's done and we're feeling confident and ready to go."
The second-placed Glory gained home ground advantage for the clash after beating Adelaide United 3-1 last week while the Victory were held to a 3-3 draw by the Newcastle Jets to finish in third.
Perth captain McCallum feels playing at home could be key to their hopes of a debut grand final appearance, but warns anything is possible in finals football.
"I think it [home ground advantage] is going to be huge," McCallum says.
"But football's a funny game and it comes down to one day.
"It's not just about the technical and tactical side, whoever really wants it more is going to win."
Both sides have reported a clean bill of health for the match, which intriguingly pits the league's best attacking side Perth against defensive specialists Melbourne, who conceded fewer goals than any other side during the season.
The sides last met in round one, with Perth prevailing 2-0, but Catley says Melbourne had put that result out of their minds.
"We didn't have any of our international players and we hadn't had a coach for that long. We're sort of disregarding that game a bit and starting again," she says.
Both sides will be looking to their top scorers to make an impact with Perth Glory's Gill (11 goals) and Melbourne Victory's American attacker Jessica McDonald (7) proving lethal this season.
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory will be shown live on ABC 1.