W-league: Sydney shush the Roar

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The replay of last season’s grand final promised to be a great showcase for the upcoming W-League season and we weren’t disappointed, this match being a perfect example of women’s football at Australia’s highest level and the viewing public watching on ABC would have been delighted. Sydney FC started out of the blocks at 100% with short crisp passing and an eye for goal.

Within the first six minutes Sydney was ahead after a layoff from Kyah Simon to a flying Heather Garriock who started her run from half way. Although the Roar were initially stunned, a fourteenth minute rebound ball from a corner found Tameka Butt on the edge of the ‘D’ who calmly stroked it over everyone’s head (including the keepers) into the top right hand corner of the net.

While Roar were still celebrating evening the scores, within two minutes some great combination between Simon and Leena Khamis (which was the order of the day) lead to an excellent chance not put away for the sky blues. After countless attempts at goal, Sydney finally broke through for the lead once again after a controlled far post shot by ‘Rolls Royce’ Renee Rollasson.

For the rest of the half Roar were on the back foot and this was never more evident than when Simon went straight through the middle to place it past Brisbane’s keeper Casey Dumont. It did appear throughout the whole game that the combination between the centre backs for Brisbane was lacking. With next to no reading of the play, Roar’s centre pairing presented Sydney with numerous goal scoring opportunities and were lucky to only be 3-1 behind at half time.

Brisbane had to come out strongly in the second half to have a chance of getting anything from this match, and Lana Harch took it upon herself to get the ball rolling, nailing what could already be the goal of the season just four minutes into the second half.

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With space on the outside the crowd groaned as she turned back inside thinking the opportunity was lost, but those groans instantly turned into cheers as she hit a 35 metre bullet into the top of the net.

Not to be undone though, star of the day Heather Garriock did it all; taking the ball all the way in and with the sweetest of shots restored Sydney’s two goal margin.

While the crowd’s increasingly loud voice urging Brisbane on turned to nothing, Sydney continued to pressure the home side showing their class with real quality chances in the 55th, 67th and 78th minutes. Sydney was doing it all; fantastic dribbles, long shots and even headers on goal! Brisbane were lost, looked beaten and had no Plan B, with coach Jeff Hopkins content with watching his side fade away without making any telling changes.

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With more Matildas playing for Brisbane compared to Sydney, an excuse could be more of the side recently going through the tough Asian and Peace Cup campaigns topped off with a match against world champions Germany on their own turf just one week ago. But Brisbane simply did not appear to be at the races on this occasion lacking ideas, creativity and the quality of execution.

Sydney was the better side, and far and away proved this fact.

Although Sydney are noted for their devastating attack with quality the likes of Leena Khamis, Kyah Simon and Catherine Canulli, the real standouts for the blues were Sydney’s captain and player of the match, barnstorming Heather Garriock.

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Holding midfielder Teresa Polias was also impressive, and new American Import Lydia Vandenbergh showed her quality

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