United issue rallying cry
Canberra United has sounded a rallying cry to the city’s football supporters in a bid to make the finals of the Westfield W-League, urging them to attend Saturday’s crucial clash with Adelaide United.
Canberra United has sounded a rallying cry to the city-s football supporters in a bid to make the finals of the Westfield W-League, urging them to attend Saturday-s crucial clash with Adelaide United.
United face seventh placed Adelaide in the final round of fixtures at Deakin Football Stadium knowing that even a victory might not be enough for them to claim the coveted fourth place on the ladder, and with it, a shot at repeating last year-s Grand Final appearance.
“It would be fantastic to have a good crowd out there,” midfielder Grace Gill commented.
“We want to end on a high note, so we want to play some quality football and get some numbers out to Deakin. We trained there last week and it-s a pretty good venue, with a lot of good seating for spectators, so if we can get a good crowd out there it would be awesome.”
Canberra-s narrow last-minute loss to Melbourne in Round Nine has heaped the pressure back on the team, with United also requiring Perth Glory to upset the Victory in their fixture at Clipsal Stadium.
“We-re under a bit of pressure at the moment,” Gill confirmed.
“Obviously we would have liked to have come away with a win last weekend and we-ve put ourselves in a pretty tough position for this weekend-s game. But, we-ve showed throughout the season that we can step up to the mark, and the younger girls have fitted into the positions well, so I have no doubt that we will be able to handle the pressure, we-ve just got to be able to capitalise on our chances.”
The mood in the camp has been upbeat since the weekend with the focus firmly on making sure that Canberra completes its half of the equation by seeing off the challenge of the South Australians.
“I think this weekend we really need to focus on playing our game and, although it will depend on other results, we just need to concentrate fully on getting the win,” Gill continued.
“Everyone is pretty excited for the match. Our destiny isn-t in our hands, as such, so we just really need to play our game and hope that the other result does go our way.”
Gill-s mood was matched by striker Ashleigh Sykes, who is confident that the team can claim the three points.
“There-s a bit of pressure as we really need to get a result this weekend, but I have faith in the players and I think we can win,” Sykes said.
“We just need to keep playing our game and trying hard, like we have all season, and hopefully it will come together and we-ll get the win.” Sykes is aware that the eyes of the Capital-s football supporters will be on the team this weekend as they strive to emulate the season one heroics that saw Canberra reach the Grand Final.
“There-s a bit of pressure to make the top four, at least, because of last season,” Sykes said.
“We obviously got to the Grand Final so we would really like to make the semis just to get closer and, once you make the top four, well anything can happen. This year the team is a little bit younger, but we have put a little bit of pressure on internally, and the public is also looking out to see how well you do as we try to emulate last years- results.”
In order for United to take a giant step towards that feat the team needs to be ruthless in front of goal and clinical when the chances come, a facet of the game about which Sykes knows all too well.
“I-m planning on putting the ball in the back of the net as a starting point!” she joked.
“I don-t really care how it goes in, as long as it goes in the net.”
Canberra may have to do without midfield powerhouse Cian Maciejewski for the second week in succession, but otherwise are looking in good shape ahead of the encounter.
“Injury wise we are looking pretty good. Obviously, Cian might be a struggling a little bit with her ankle injury, and Ellie Brush has a couple of little niggling knocks, and they are important players for us, but we do have enough players who can come in if required and do the job,” Sykes said.
With the season on the line Sykes echoed Gill-s call for support as Canberra searched for the points.
“Come on Canberra, come and support us,” Sykes urged.
“We need all you guys cheering us on to watch us win the last game and make the top four.”
United faces Adelaide at Deakin Football Stadium on Saturday evening, with a 5.00pm kick off. Tickets are available from the Dickson Tradies Club, the Canberra United Capital Football office or at the gate.