W-League | No captains, no problem: Dower confident despite loss of leading duo

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Canberra United coach Rae Dower is confident her side has the depth to cover the loss of co-captains Michelle Heyman and Ellie Brush ahead of their clash with Sydney FC on Tuesday.

Heyman came off during United’s 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory after landing awkwardly on her ankle.

Despite being cleared of any structural damage Canberra will be without her services for up to a fortnight.

“Unfortunately she’ll probably miss a couple of weeks and we’ve just got to get the rest of the girls to do the job without her,” Dower said.

“Just a good old fashioned grade three sprain….we’re really confident, we’ve got a great medical team here.”

With fellow captain Ellie Brush still out with a knee injury Canberra head to Sydney for a top of the table clash missing almost 200 games of experience.

Despite the apparent setback, Dower is confident her side’s new-found depth will ensure Canberra’s relatively smooth campaign remains that way.

“It’s nice, everyone was sort of wondering how we were going to fit everyone in….

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that’s one of the reasons we looked at trying to boost our depth,” explained Dower.

“Last year we were probably really lucky that players like Michelle didn’t really get injured at all.

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Guest player Lisa De Vanna is a natural replacement and despite confirming she’ll take her place in the match-day squad, Dower refused to guarantee a start for the Matildas veteran.

“We’re really excited you’ll see Lisa make her debut in green tomorrow. I think you’ll have to come to Lambert Park at 4 o’clock tomorrow afternoon to see [whether she will start].”

United’s opponents Sydney have started the season in a similar fashion having only dropped points twice this campaign.

Having developed a rivalry since the league’s inception, Tuesdays match will be given added meaning after the Sky Blues eliminated Canberra in an intense semi-final last season.

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“Any game against Sydney FC is good, there’s certainly a fierce rivalry between the two teams, always has been since day one,” said Dower.

Despite the history between the sides, the United boss insists her side is only focused on the 90 minutes.

“No love lost between the squads but we’re just treating it like any other match to be honest.

“We want to continue to improve, [it] wouldn’t matter if it was Sydney or anyone else, we want the three points and for us if we continue to get the three points then we’ll stay on top of the ladder.”

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Dominic Unwin
Third year Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Interests include sports history and stats...you know, all the fun stuff.

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