Westfield W-League Grand Final Preview: Victory v Roar

Just two teams remain in the hunt for Westfield W-League glory, and a tense finale seems assured with the final pair extremely well-matched.

Just two teams remain in the hunt for Westfield W-League glory, and a tense finale seems assured with the final pair extremely well-matched.

The two sides, however, boast a very different Westfield W-League history.

Brisbane Roar are two-time champions with four Grand Final appearances over the five previous seasons of the competition.

Melbourne Victory, in contrast, are yet to claim a title losing last year-s decider on home turf.

Until last weekend, when a 3-2 defeat of Sydney FC overturned last year-s Grand Final result, the Victory had yet to even win a finals match; a semi-final penalty shoot-out win aside.

Brisbane are historically Melbourne-s bogey team with the Queenslanders undefeated against their rivals in all 11 matches they have played - a Westfield W-League record.

Little wonder Victory coach Dave Edmondson was at pains to point out during the week that history matters little come Sunday.

Of perhaps more relevance is their most recent encounter a fortnight ago - their only meeting this season - as the Roar edged a 1-0 win on home soil. In truth the contest could have gone either way with missed chances at either end.

Both teams boast big-match players with the home side looking to the x-factor of former Roar forward Lisa De Vanna - who scored a Grand Final winner for her former team three years ago - as well as the experience and midfield drive offered by the inspirational Jess Fishlock.

There is also a tough selection quandary looming for the Victory, especially in midfield with Katie Hoyle returning from New Zealand international duty.

The Victory, meanwhile, will also have to find a way past no less a figure than newly-crowned FIFA Women-s World Player of the Year Nadine Angerer.

For the Roar a major injury cloud hangs over skipper Clare Polkinghorne, who seems likely to again be forced to watch from the bench.

So too the jet-heeled Hayley Raso must pass a fitness test after a nasty head knock last weekend, with veteran Joanne Burgess ready to step into the breach in what will be the final match of her long and glittering career.

The Roar lack little for firepower in the middle of the park with the classy Elise Kellond-Knight increasingly finding form, while great friend and midfield cohort Tameka Butt is one to watch.

The Gold Coast-based Westfield Matildas star has, somewhat improbably, scored in all four Grand Finals and few it would bet against that unlikely record being extended further come Sunday.

Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Brianna Davey (gk) 3. Jessica Humble 4. Katie Hoyle 5. Laura Spiranovic 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 Barnes (one to be omitted)

Ins: Katie Hoyle (returns from New Zealand international duty)

Outs: None

Unavailable: Ashley Brown (knee - season)

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Nadine ANGERER (gk), 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Joanne BURGESS, 7. Kim CARROLL, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9. Larissa CRUMMER, 10. Katrina GORRY, 11. Vedrana POPOVIC, 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Natasha WHEELER, 16. Hayley RASO, 17. Emily GIELNIK, 18. Sunny FRANCO, 19. Ayesha NORRIE, 20. Kate STEWART (gk) (one to be omitted)

Ins: None

Outs: None

Unavailable: Amy Chapman (knee - season)

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar Sunday 23 February 2014 Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne Kick-off: 3pm

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