Winner too hard to predict for Sermanni
Exclusive: Finding a winner of Saturday’s Westfield W-League Grand Final between Queensland Roar and Canberra United at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane, is too hard to predict according to national women’s team coach Tom Sermanni.
Exclusive: Finding a winner of Saturday-s Westfield W-League Grand Final between Queensland Roar and Canberra United at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane, is too hard to predict according to national women-s team coach Tom Sermanni.
Quizzed on his thoughts for the inaugural final, Sermanni, while not wanting to sit on the fence, just couldn-t separate them, as to which team will come out on top, although he believes it will be won in normal time.
“I think if you look on paper, Queensland Roar will go in as favourites,” Sermanni said from FFA headquarters in Sydney. “They won the competition comfortably; only lost one game; are playing at home, so looking at it from that side, Queensland are favourites to win.
“However the team that-s beaten them this season is Canberra and they also drew with them in the second game and probably should have won that game as well, so Canberra is a bit of a bogey side for them.
“As much as I hate sitting on the fence and throwing in clique-s at the same time, I honestly can-t separate the teams. I think there will be goals and it will be 2-1, one way or the other; I just don-t know which way at this stage.
“You-ve got pro-s and con-s in both teams; hopefully there will be a great crowd there and if it-s a really big crowd that may sway it slightly in Queensland-s favour.
“But it-s a very difficult one to predict.”
Queensland indeed finished the home and away season some eight points clear of second-placed Newcastle Jets, with Canberra a further point behind, but it was Canberra that inflicted the only defeat upon the Roar plus held them to a draw in the final round.
And Sermanni believes this, plus the loss of key midfielder Alicia Ferguson has brought the two teams closer together for the big clash.
“I think for Canberra, what it does (getting those two results against Queensland), it makes going into the final feeling very, very confident and not go in feeling like an underdog.
“I have no doubt that ‘Hooks- (Canberra coach, Robbie Hooker) will use this in the media appropriately, but I think they will feel confident they can beat Queensland.
“Queensland on the other hand, might have a little bit of trepidation, saying that this is our bogey team.
“The other main issue is that Queensland has lost Alicia Ferguson from last week and she is a major player to try and replace. She-s a big influence on the side and has huge leadership qualities, so they will miss her.
“Canberra from the best of my knowledge is going in with a fully fit squad.”
The final will be the last chance for these players to impress Sermanni, before he names his squad for the Westfield Matildas two-match international series against Italy later this month and February.
Many players from both teams have put there hand up for their debut international call ups and a good performance could seal them a place in the squad.
Asked what he thought the key match ups would be, Sermanni went for two girls that are very much in his mind for the games at Parramatta Stadium and Canberra Stadium.
“I think the goalkeepers are the first key match up. In Casey (Dumont) and Lydia (Williams), I think we-ve got the two best goalkeepers form wise in the competition this year. I think the two have been outstanding and particularly in the semi finals, they were both flawless.
“When it comes to the match winners, who are going to win you the games, I think Courtney Beutel (Queensland) has been a big surprise to a lot of us and had a tremendous season; Lana Harch (also Queensland) has looked dangerous and scored goals.
“For Canberra, Caitlin Munoz has got a reputation and background of scoring big goals in big games, so she will be dangerous and then you have young Ashleigh Sykes, whose caused major problems with her pace.
“They are the kind of players who I think will make a difference.
“Defensively both teams are very strong and will be very difficult to breach and then you have both goalkeepers who will be difficult to beat, but in saying that both teams have got match winners,” he added.
After two absorbing semi finals, Sermanni also believes Saturday-s final will most likely go along the same path and provide huge entertainment for the fans.
“The semi finals were sensational; you couldn-t have actually scripted semi finals much better,” he enthused.
“In this case I think the final will live up to expectations, because I think the semi finals were actually more pressurised games than what the actual final will be. When you get to the final, a lot of the time the pressure comes off you, because you are actually there in the big game.
“For the players that had never experienced finals pressure before, I think the semi finals will stand them in good stead and going into this game, feeling less stressed; less tight if you like.
“I think it will be a memorable game,” he concluded.
Saturday-s final between Queensland Roar v Canberra United will kick-off at 3.00pm AQST (4.00pm AEDT). Tickets for the match at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane, can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.au or phone 136 100. The match can also be seen live on ABC TV with coverage starting at 3.50pm AEDT (check local guides for more details).
* Present a valid ticket for the Queensland Roar v Sydney FC match on Saturday 17 January (kick-off is at 7.00pm AQST), or a valid 2008-09 Queensland Roar membership card at the gate at Ballymore Stadium Brisbane, to receive complimentary entry to the Westfield W-League Grand Final. One entry per ticket or membership pass presented.