W-League: D’Ovidio seeks a glorious end

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Perth Glory veteran Elisa D’Ovidio hopes to claim a maiden Westfield W-League championship on Sunday before bringing down the curtain on her playing career.

D’Ovidio told her teammates before last Sunday’s semi-final win over Sydney FC that she would hang up her boots at the end of the season due to increasing work commitments and a personal desire to travel the world.

The 25-year-old is one of three original Glory squad members, alongside Marianna Tabain and Shannon May, to have played every season of the W-League for the club and she has experienced several highs and lows along the way, including a heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Melbourne Victory two seasons ago.

Sunday’s season decider against Canberra United at nib Stadium will be the pint-sized attacker’s first grand final and she can think of nothing better than to leave the game she loves with a championship win.

“It would be the perfect ending,” D’Ovidio said after Glory’s 3-0 win over Sydney FC in front of 1,397 fans at nib Stadium last Sunday.

“It’s probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to mak, but there’s obviously other things I want to do and want to see, travel the world, etc.

“There’s always that bit of temptation to keep going but I’m pretty happy with the decision I’ve made and I’m happy to have made it into the final with these girls.”

The influx of Matildas representatives at Perth this season has restricted D’Ovidio to mostly bench appearances this season but the season-ending knee injury to Sam Kerr saw her thrust back into the starting side for last Sunday’s semi-final.

D’Ovidio made the most of her recall, scoring the opening goal in the win over Sydney and playing with the freedom that has been highlight of her game for many seasons.

“It is frustrating when you are not in the starting XI and coming off the bench but we’ve got a great side this year and we proved that again last Sunday and throughout the year,” she said.

“You have ups and downs every season and there’s been a lot of mentally challenging moments but to be able to play with this team all year has been fantastic and I’m so glad I get to be part of a grand final with them.”

D’Ovidio is likely to start against Canberra on Sunday and is wary of the team which stunned Glory 2-1 in the final game of the regular season only a fortnight ago.

However, the women’s and indigenous development officer with local body Football West hopes another big crowd will turn out to support the team on Sunday and inspire Glory to a historic championship victory.

“The women’s game is growing and it’s growing massively and the support we’ve had this season has been fantastic and hopefully we can get more for the final,” D’Ovidio said.

“Canberra are a strong side and they have been all year. They’ve shut us down quite well last time we played them, but we’ll stick to our game and what we can do and just worry about ourselves.”

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