Road to the W-League finals

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After 12 rounds of fantastic Westfield W-League action we have reached the final two rounds, with three teams still with a realistic chance of claiming fourth spot and a place in the Finals Series.

Runaway Premiers Melbourne City are rightfully the favourites to take home the Championship too, but reigning champs Canberra and always-thereabouts Sydney FC still threaten.

With the weekend looming, here’s a guide to the teams qualified for finals, the ones who are still in the running, and those who have tumbled off the back of the finals truck.

1st – New kids on the block – Melbourne City

What’s happening? Well, the newly crowned Premiers claimed an 11th win from 11 matches on the weekend, and assured themselves a home Semi Final a number of rounds ago. A bye this weekend, followed by a final clash with Sydney FC stands before the finals campaign will have no bearing on where they play in finals, however their performance against Sydney can affect the shaping of the top four.

What They Want? They’ve already locked it in, Eddie. A home Semi Final, and assuming progression, a big dance at home awaits them, and they stand on track for the best first season anyone could ask for.

What they don’t want? Canberra to make the Grand Final. The reigning champions pose the biggest threat to City’s perfect campaign and despite a solid win over them earlier in the season, Joe Montemurro would probably like to steer clear again.

 

2nd – The Reigning Champions – Canberra United

What’s happening? Merely a point away from a home final at fortress McKellar, the side from the capital have been in relentless pursuit of bullet-from-a-gun Melbourne City. A point this weekend at home to Western Sydney will be enough to secure a home Semi Final and a shot at City again in the Grand Final. United however were dealt a tough blow during the week, with defender Emma Checker tearing an ACL during last weekend’s warm up.

What they want? A result of some form to guarantee a home final before possibly resting players for the taxing away trip to Adelaide would be the perfect run into two weeks of finals football.

What they don’t want? A loss, obviously, would increase the pressure on the final week ever so slightly, but outside of results, an injury to a key player would be the worst possible outcome from the final two weeks.

3rd – The Everpresents – Sydney FC

What’s happening? At home to Newcastle this weekend, a win would put Sydney out of reach of Adelaide, Newcastle & Brisbane and secure a matchup with Canberra. A draw or loss this week coupled with other results would see their clash against undefeated Melbourne City in the final week take on far greater importance.

What they want? Simple, a win this weekend. Being guaranteed third place and a short hop to the nation’s capital is far more desirable than a high-stakes match in the final week and a trip to Melbourne for finals; if they make it that far.

What they don’t want? As mentioned, a loss or draw against Newcastle puts the onus on the Sky Blues next weekend, and coupled with wins to any of the chasing three would see a few fingernails wear down in Sydney next week.

 

4th – Suffering Vertigo – Adelaide United

What’s happening? Having never made the finals, Adelaide United sit in fourth heading into the final two rounds but are placed precariously on the same points as Brisbane and Newcastle. Fixtures against Perth away and at home to Canberra make up their final two rounds of play.

What they want? Wins in both fixtures would be ideal and would go a way to making sure of Adelaide’s first ever W-League finals appearance. A win against Canberra will be tough however the Lady Reds would like a Canberra win this weekend to allow for resting of players in their own clash. Losses for Newcastle and Brisbane would be ideal to allow breathing space heading into the final week.

What they don’t want? A loss in either of these fixtures would spell problems, and in both? Well, it would be all over red rover and would even lend to them been overtaken by sides at the very bottom of the table.

 

5th – Once upon a time – Newcastle Jets

What’s happening? With games against Sydney & Brisbane to come in the final two rounds, the Jets are in the fight to secure only their second finals appearance in their W-League history. Wins against both of those sides, whom they are directly dueling with, would transform their chances immensely.

What they want? With Brisbane playing lowly Melbourne Victory, the Jets will know that they likely need to beat Sydney away this time out, to ensure that they are still in the hunt for finals football. A loss for Adelaide in Perth would be welcomed, particularly with the Lady Reds facing second placed Canberra in the final round.

What they don’t want? A loss this weekend would heap a huge amount of pressure on their final match against Brisbane, as well as complicating the number of factors coming into play. Worst case scenario is a loss to Sydney, and Adelaide and Brisbane both picking up maximum points from their clashes.

 

6th – Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt – Brisbane Roar

What’s happening? Roar are on the verge of missing the finals for only the second time in history but their final two fixtures are against the struggling Melbourne Victory and then the Jets, which could end up becoming a massive clash.

What they want? Fourth place and the finals football it offers. While a trip to Melbourne would be a tough ask the Roar would back themselves on their day. A win this week and a loss for Adelaide would set up a crunch clash with the Jets on the final weekend.

What they don’t want? If Brisbane fail to pickup maximum points then they need Adelaide and Newcastle to do the same to remain a chance. Too much on the line on the last day is never a great bet and the Roar will despair a loss to lowly Melbourne.

 

7th, 8th & 9th – The Middle Child, We Nearly Made it & Uh-oh.

Western Sydney, last years Championship runners-up Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory will all be looking to not take home the prized utensil that is the wooden spoon. Victory are in prime position for it with a bye inside the last two rounds, while capitulations from either of Perth or Wanderers and a Melbourne win could see the order shuffle. The winner/loser/unfortunate recipient of this battle receives the ignominy of becoming the only side to have finished ninth in a Westfield W-league season.

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David Jordan
David Jordan
Former Media Manager of Canberra United and Central Coast Mariners. Get in touch at @DavidJordan33.

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