Westfield W-League finals take centre stage

The Westfield Women's League semi-finals kick off this weekend with Sydney FC taking on Canberra United and Central Coast Mariners doing battle with Brisbane Roar for the two berths in the final on Saturday, December 19.

The Westfield Women's League semi-finals kick off this weekend with Sydney FC taking on Canberra United and Central Coast Mariners doing battle with Brisbane Roar for the two berths in the final on Saturday, December 19.

Sydney FC grabbed the WWL premiership thanks to its 2-0 win over previous ladder leaders the Mariners in the final round of the regular season last weekend and will be out to extend its unbeaten run to 10 matches on Saturday at Shark Park in Cronulla against the team from the nation's capital.

While Sydney FC will go into the game as favourite, having not tasted defeat since going down to the Mariners in the opening round, Canberra United did play off in last season's decider and also boasts the joint coach and young player of the year award recipients.

Youngster Ellyse Perry, who has played for both the Westfield Matildas and has also represented Australia's Southern Stars in international cricket, capped an impressive season by sharing the young player award with Brisbane's Elise Kellond-Knight.

And Canberra United coach Ray Junna, whose team picked up the WWL 2009 Fair Play Award along with Sydney FC as they accrued the fewest infringements for the season, took out coach of the year honours along with Mariners boss Stephen Roche.

Canberra United will also take some momentum of its own into the semi having booked its spot in the final four with its 3-0 win over Adelaide United last week which allowed it to leapfrog Melbourne Victory when it was beaten 2-0 by Perth Glory.

There will also be two players taking part looking for belated birthday presents with Sydney FC defender Lisa Gilbert turning 31 on Wednesday, the same day Canberra United's Kahlia Hogg turns 16.

In the second semi-final, to be played at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on Sunday, the Mariners will be out to open their account against a Roar team that has beaten them in each of the three previous meetings between the clubs.

Captain Caitlin Cooper, who had to watch on last weekend as her team surrendered top spot and the premiership with its defeat to Sydney FC because she was suspended, will return to bolster the Mariners.

And apart from Cooper, her team-mates Michelle Heyman and Jillian Loyden will be full of confidence too after star striker Heyman was named player of the year and Loyden won the goalkeeper of the year gong after conceding just seven goals.

Golden boot winner Heyman, who netted 11 times, won't be the only prolific goal-scorer in action though with Roar star Tameka Butt, who like Heyman also notched a hat-trick during the season, looking to maintain the visitors' 100 percent record against the Mariners.

Last season's champions the Roar are also fresh from a 6-0 demolition of the Newcastle Jets last weekend but while the Heyman and Butt boast 16 goals between them each team only conceded seven times in 10 games so the battle to see which team's attack and defence get on top will be intriguing.

Both semi-finals will be live on ABC1 and ABC HD, with the kick-offs at 3pm AEDT Saturday for Sydney FC and Canberra United and the same time on Sunday for Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar.