Early prediction: Canberra will win the league

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Sitting second on the ladder with three wins, two draws and one loss. Canberra United is putting up quite the fight to stay intact with last season’s finalist Sydney FC and are looking the most dangerous they have in years.

Vicki Linton’s revitalised squad is one of the youngest and most potent teams in the competition this season. Not only have they put last year’s winners Melbourne City to the sword, but they are showing no sign of stepping down from a challenge.

Even when it comes down to injury time, United’s belief never shies away from the chance of three points. And with the squad they have conjured up this year, they have every chance at taking out the title.

Why is this the case?

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So far, out of the five matches they have played, eight out of the eleven goals they have scored this season have come after half time. Seven of those were after the 75th minute.

This may not seem like much, but these players are showing grit and determination right down to the wire of every game.

The belief within the players, staff and fans at each of their games this year has never faded, right to the final whistle.

Linton’s coaching experience has not only brought out the best of the players physical ability, but mentally prepared them to take on any opponent.

To have such a solid and merit based squad, with the majority of their squad under 24 years-old, is insane for the discipline they display.

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The passion from these players has been evident from the very first match of the season against Adelaide United. To come back from 0-2 down at half-time and win it 4-3 in the final five minutes is no easy feat.

Sure their veteran striker Michelle Heyman has netted more than half of their goals this season, but how those goals came about is far from a one person act.

Her first goal against City came off a beautifully placed lobbed pass from Lauren Keir in defence.

Nicki Flannery took it upon herself in the 92nd minute to put the winner in the top corner from outside the box.

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And the second goal against the Western Sydney Wanderers came from a quick counter-attack. Involving a long ball from Kendall Fletcher, to a cross from Flannery, then finished with poise from Heyman.

But without the desperate and organised defence when they need it most from the whole team, none of these would matter. Or even happen in the first place.

The culture within the squad has truly lifted for the better. Now will they be able to keep this up, or will all these last minute efforts take its toll?

Feature image credit: Canberra United

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Rory O'Connor
23 year old student at the University of Canberra studying Sports Media.