Canberra United hosts Brisbane Roar in Round 1 of the Westfield W-League
Westfield W-League Season 5 kicks off with a mouth-watering Grand Final re-match as Canberra United welcomes Brisbane Roar back to McKellar Park, scene of the home side-s epic 3-2 success in the 2011/12 showdown.
On that balmy January Saturday a brace of goals from the league-s Golden Boot winner, Michelle Heyman, helped United claim the silverware and cap an incredible unbeaten season. In a match that was a tremendous showcase of the qualities that the Westfield W-League has to offer, both teams went at it hammer and tongs with chances aplenty, quality goals and all played in the best possible spirit. Is it too much to ask for a repeat in this encounter?
On the face of it the answer is a resounding no, as the two competition heavyweights lock horns in a potentially explosive Round 1 match-up. And, whilst many of the cast members remain the same from that five-goal thriller, such is the nature of the elite level of Women-s football that new faces on both sides are inevitable. The champions welcome highly-decorated German international Ariane Hingst into their squad as well as a brace of new goalkeepers with Mackenzie Arnold and Trudy Burke tasked with the unenviable task of filling the gloves of the 2012 Player of the Year Lydia Williams.
Outside of that it-s pretty much a settled squad for the champions with newcomers Samantha Wood and Catherine Brown adding some fresh faces with Grace Field returning to the squad after a year-s absence.
Brisbane Roar meanwhile have undergone some changes of their own, not least in the hot-seat as Belinda Williams replaces the departing Jeff Hopkins. They still have bags of class in their line-up though with leading scorer Emily Gielnik back for more and Tameka Butt, who has scored in all four Westfield W-League Grand Finals to date, adding pace and penetration to a side that just loves to attack and score goals!
The return of Elise Kellond-Knight from injury adds further impressive credentials to their stocks and Wilson can also call on the presence and goal scoring prowess of Lana Harch, another seasoned Westfield W-League player. Matches between the pair are often tight affairs with very little to choose at the end of ninety minutes. The Roar have had the edge overall having won four of the ten matches played with United having only emerged victorious from the encounter twice.
However, the last three matches have ended 2-2, 2-2 and 3-2 (the latter in last season-s Grand Final) suggesting plenty of goals! Canberra v Brisbane is fast becoming the most entertaining of all Westfield W-League fixtures and the fans that will no doubt flock to McKellar Park for the opening league match of the season will find two teams who will go at each other hammer and tongs in an effort to take away the three points on offer and get their campaign off to the best possible start.
CANBERRA UNITED 2012/13
1. Mackenzie ARNOLD, 2. Caitlin COOPER, 3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 4. Christine WALTERS, 5. Grace FIELD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Hayley RASO, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Snez VELJANOVSKA, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole SYKES, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Sally SHIPARD, 16. Catherine BROWN, 17. Arian HINGST, 18. Samantha WOOD, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Trudy BURKE
Arrivals: 1. Mackenzie ARNOLD (Perth Glory), 5. Grace FIELD (Woden Valley/ACTAS), 16. Catherine BROWN (Woden Valley/ACTAS), 17. Ariane HINGST (Newcastle Jets), 18. Samantha WOOD (Canberra FC), 20. Trudy BURKE (Illawarra Stingrays)
Departures: Lydia WILLIAMS (season-long injury), Aroon CLANSEY (returns as video analyst), Emma KETE, Ellyse PERRY (Sydney FC), Kahlia HOGG (USA scholarship)
Tickets: Adults $10, Concessions $5, children udner-12 FREE