W-League GF Preview

Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar meet in the final of the W-League on Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Stadium.

Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar meet in the final of the W-League on Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Stadium.

Who’s playing?

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

When and where is it on?

Sunday, February 23 at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne, kicking off at 3pm

How did they get there?

Both sides pulled off big upsets to book their spot in the decider. Brisbane, who finished the regular season in fourth spot, travelled to Canberra to take on the minor premiers and came away with a thrilling 2-1 win thanks to goals from Kim Carroll and Elise Kellond-Knight. Victory also had to go on the road to progress, getting revenge on Sydney FC for last year’s grand final defeat by winning 3-2. Despite giving up a 2-0 lead, the Victory girls regrouped and made it back-to-back home decider’s thanks to American import Lauren Barnes’ penalty 19 minutes from time.

Head-to-head this season

The two sides have met just once this season and it came in the final round just a fortnight ago. In an evenly matched contest at QSAC, it was the Roar who prevailed thanks to Katrina-Lee Gorry’s inch-perfect free-kick five minutes before half-time.

Injury concerns

Brisbane are sweating on the availability of youngster Hayley Raso, who lasted only the first half of last weekend’s semi-final after a nasty head clash with Canberra’s Ashleigh Sykes. Roar boss Belinda Wilson said she will monitor her progress through the week but it likely to Raso right up until kick-off to prove her fitness. Raso has scored four goals in 12 appearances for the Roar this season.

Key players

Victory – Lisa De Vanna

The Matildas attacker probably hasn’t enjoyed her most prolific Westfield W-League campaign but still looms as a major threat to the Roar. Her lightning speed caused them plenty of problems in the clash a fortnight ago but De Vanna only lasted 45 minutes on that occasion, much to the relief of Brisbane’s back four. De Vanna thrives on the big occasion and if she is anywhere near her clinical best, the home side should go one better than last season.

Roar – Nadine Angerer

To win big matches and trophy’s it helps to have top-class players and in Angerer Brisbane have the world’s best. The German shot-stopper, who was recently crowned FIFA’s Women’s World Player of the Year has played a key role in the Roar’s march through to the decider. Her superb save to deny Michelle Heyman a goal early in the second half of semi-final proved valuable as they were able to withstand the home side’s pressure before striking the winner themselves soon after. She will need to keep the likes of De Vanna, Barnes, Steph Catley and Jessica Fishlock at bay if the Roar are to come out on top.

What they said:

Victory midfielder Lauren Barnes – ‘Our focus now is just on ourselves and the team. Last week we had great preparation and I think we will go in with the same feel, excitement and positivity and I think we will do great. I don’t think (the recent 1-0 loss to the Roar) will dent our confidence at all. Both sides are great soccer teams, it will be a great game and it is a great match-up for both of us.’

Roar midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight after semi win – ‘I don’t think we controlled the game, but we put in a solid performance. It wasn’t pretty football, but we’re content with the win. It’s exciting to be into the grand final but we know we’ll need to play at our best if we want to win. Hopefully we can.’