Canberra United W-League: mid-season report card

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We are at the mid-point of the W-League season and the time has come to analyse how Canberra United have fared so far this term.

Semester summary: After completing a massive squad overhaul for the 2018-19 campaign, Canberra has had a mixed season thus far as they sit fifth in the competition. Two wins, two draws and two losses has seen the outfit put on some fantastic showings, but performances on the road have not been positive.

Striker Rhoda Mulaudzi has proved an absolute peach of an acquisition from South Africa as she leads the line for the ACT side with three goals in six appearances.

As we turn over into the second part of the season, United will be looking to notch their first away victory as they look to secure a finals birth after last terms exclusion.

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Areas of excellence: Heather Garriock’s use of the 3-5-2 formation has shown to beat the very best that the league has to offer. In their first game of the season, United comfortably beat reigning champions Melbourne City 2-0 to put down a massive statement. United managed to defend brilliantly with Melbourne’s 61% possession of the ball but when they got it, they switched play to their high and wide wing-backs in order to stretch the opposition.

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As mentioned, Mulaudzi has shown to be one of the clubs best signings so far and her tireless work rate and ability to find the back of the net has contributed to Canberra’s two wins this season.

Scotland international and Canberra captain Rachel Corsie has made her presence felt at the heart of her teams defence by helping them already secure two clean sheets for an outfit that had the equal worst defensive record in the competition last season with 27 goals conceded.

Midfielder Refiloe Jane has adapted to her role as a screen for the back three, while exploiting her technical ability to set the pace and find forward options to give players the opportunity to explore forward spaces.

Areas of improvement: Despite noting their defensive progression, it is still an area of the pitch which needs tightening up.

United have the fifth best defensive record in the league this season and their frailties at the back were exposed when Perth Glory came back from 4-1 down to level the contest at 4-4 in the last eight minutes of play.

Their fortunes on their travels also need an improvement if they aspire to play finals football. While United have made McKellar Park somewhat of a fortress, they have no wins from their three games outside of Canberra this season and it is why they are looking up at the current top four.

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Top student: 

Refiloe Jane has been the standout for United. She has started just four times for United  this season while finding the back of the net twice.

Though her South African teammate Mulaudzi stole the headlines in the teams first win of the season against Melbourne City, Jane provided the fantastic assist to set her up.

Not only has she done a good job of protecting Canberra’s back three, she also stops the oppositions creative players getting the ball on the turn to create chances.

Grade: C 

Outlook: Canberra are within touching distance of the finals spots which will breathe confidence into Garriock’s team heading into the second part of the season.

While United do not look like serious title contenders at this moment in time, solid performances away from home is what the Canberra outfit needs to cement themselves as a major threat.

Garriock will hope Mulaudzi keeps her form up in forward areas, but attaining more clean sheets and victories will be top of the agenda for this United outfit. The question is whether they have what it takes to crack into finals football this time around.

 

 

 

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Michael Djordjieski
Bachelor of Sports Media graduate from the University of Canberra. Live and breath everything to do with football.