After a third clean sheet in five undefeated matches at home, Heather Garriock has praised her back line for their performance in recent weeks.
The back three of captain Rachel Corsie, Taren King and Karly Roestbakken kept Adelaide United largely at bay on Sunday afternoon in a sensational performance, 10 days removed from all but shutting down Perth’s deadly duo of Rachel Hill and Sam Kerr.
Garriock has used the same back line where possible since Natasha Prior was ruled out with a season-ending concussion, but on Sunday played Nikola Orgill out wide and pulled Roestbakken into the back three where she performed brilliantly against Veronica Latsko and Michelle Heyman.
Post-game Garriock was full of compliments for the side as a whole but singled out the defensive spine for their form in recent weeks and the leadership of Corsie at the back.
“In my opinion our defence has been excellent for much of the season,” Garriock said.
“There’s been some changes forced there through injury and tactics, but everyone has responded well to that and they’ve put in some really solid performances and Sunday is just one example.”
United’s defence has the lowest number of shots faced in the league outside of Melbourne Victory, and are second in duels won and tackles won only to Perth Glory.
Skipper Rachel Corsie said this week that maintaining the solid defensive line has been hard work, and the result of an entire team putting in plenty of effort.
“Heather prides herself on being organised and the team has worked hard every single day in training to make sure we’re together and that we keep teams to as few chances as possible,” Corsie said.
“At home we have been excellent, everyone that has come into the defence has played a part and played that part well.
“The number one thing that we have stressed is the importance of communication, and I think everyone has stepped up in that regard.”
“There is still room for us to improve in that area, and the more we do the better we will get.
“It is obviously a short season, so you need to be good from the start, and I think we’ve largely played well and improved as we’ve gone on and with two games left we’ll be looking to keep two clean sheets.”
Garriock noted the impact of Corsie at the back and the improvement of United’s defence since last season.
“Rachel has been so important at the back for us,” she said.
“She not only provides an exceptional amount of experience and great leadership, her skill level and ability to marshal the team from the back is brilliant.”
“For someone who is a world class defender, and the captain of her club and country she is still very underrated.
“Having her around the club this season, with her professionalism both on and off the field, has been such a pleasure.”
United take on the Victory’s strong defence on Thursday night at Seiffert Oval in what is shaping as a blockbuster meeting of two form teams.