Why Glory are a ‘different proposition’ for Sydney FC in Grand Final rematch
Perth Glory boss Bobby Despotovski says his new-look side will pose a completely new challenge to reigning Champions Sydney FC in Sunday's Westfield W-League Grand Final 2019 rematch.
Despotovski has reshuffled his pack amid an off-season of evolution for the WA club, which included Sam Kerr's move to English giants Chelsea.
But he is relishing the visit of Sydney in Round 3's showpiece fixture, the first time the two clubs have met since Sydney's 4-2 win in the big dance last February, and a big chance for Perth lay down a marker.
Moreover, it is another opportunity for Perth to demonstrate the new possession-based blueprint Despotovski is instilling.
“We took a different direction this year, and we’re going to see where that’s going to take us,” he said.
“It’s a different proposition for us with different playing personnel.
“You’re not going to see us with speedy strikers so we’re going to take a different approach, using possession football to break defences down if we can.
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After a bye in Round 2 Perth sit on the bottom of the Westfield W-League table, and come up against a Sydney FC side already in first position.
But Sky Blues boss Ante Juric is wary of underestimating last season’s Grand Finalists, who he admits are an unpredictable entity at this early stage of the 2019/20 campaign.
“We know their system, and that’s as much as we know at the moment,” Juric said.
“I don’t know which foreigners they have, I don’t know if they’ve come in for this week.
“We know they’ve got a few young players and inexperience in a way, but again they cause problems in their own way.
“We focus on ourselves more than others, when we do that - play at our highest level and work at our highest level - we’re hard to beat.”
Sydney attacker Caitlin Foord admits last season’s Grand Final is nothing to go by in terms of predicting and preparing for their clash this weekend, as any memories of the game itself have been wiped away by the euphoria that followed the full-time whistle.
“At the end of the day you don’t really remember the game, you remember accomplishing something with all your teammates,” Foord said.
“It’s just the feeling of being complete... we’d finally achieved what we’d worked so hard for.
Leading Perth into battle this season in Kerr’s wake is Natasha Rigby, Glory’s athletic full-back who is embracing the pain of last season’s Grand Final heartbreak to fuel her desire to get one over the Sky Blues in her second game captaining the side.
“It was a devastating game,” Rigby said.
“It was really tough for us specifically because we’d just come off that super tough [Semi Final] against Victory; we played a massive game against them which went to extra time obviously.
“We were pretty knackered both physically and mentally, but not making any excuses, Sydney were absolutely amazing on the day and outplayed us in the end.
“Coming up against them is going to be incredible, we’ve got a very different team, a very new team, so it’s going to be awesome to bring some young and fresh talent onto the field and show them what we’ve got now.”
Perth Glory host Sydney FC in the Grand Final rematch at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon (4:00pm AEDT).