Experience the key for semi-final showdown

Clare Polkinghorne has named big-game experience as her side’s greatest asset ahead of this weekend’s Westfield W-League semi-final.

Brisbane Roar skipper Clare Polkinghorne has named big-game experience as her side-s greatest asset when a third consecutive Westfield W-League grand final appearance goes up for grabs in this weekend-s semi-final clash against Canberra United.

One of nine Roar players who featured in the Westfield Matildas- victorious AFC Asian Cup campaign of 2010, Polkinghorne backed the wealth of experience within the Roar ranks to play a key role if Brisbane were to taste success on Saturday.

At the tender age of 22, Polkinghorne is the current Australian Female Footballer of the Year and with 37 national caps to her name, she has played in more than her fair share of high-pressure matches.

“We-ve got a lot of players who have played in big matches, both in the W-League and internationally,” she said.

“I think come Saturday there will be nerves there but that-s always good for a semi-final.

“We-ve got the players who can perform on the day and hopefully Saturday is the day for us.”

After finishing the season with two goalless draws against Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets, Brisbane had to be content with a second-place finish on the Westfield W-League ladder but will look to make amends for narrowly missing out on top spot with a strong performance in front of their vocal home crowd.

Canberra United finished the league in third place, four points adrift of the Roar, but Polkinghorne said the Jeff Hopkins-coached team was under no illusions that the knockout match wouldn-t be tough.

“Any time we play Canberra is a big match for us,” she said.

“There are so many Matildas in both teams and we always look forward to playing them because it-s always a challenge.

“Being a semi-final, there is a bit more at stake and I-m sure both teams will be ready and raring to go so it should be an exciting game.”

While she is one of the most consistent performers within the squad, the Brisbane captain has not played in the Westfield W-League since the week eight match against Melbourne Victory, succumbing to a knock at training that ruled her out of their final home fixture of the season against the Jets.

With a bye in the competition-s final round, Polkinghorne had extra time to recover and prove her fitness for Saturday-s match – a coincidence she called a “blessing in disguise”.

“It was tough to sit back and watch them play Newcastle,” she said.

“But I got another week to recover – I really needed that week because if that week was the semi-final there was no way I would have been able to play.”

The victorious club on Saturday will meet the winners of Sunday-s Westfield W-League semi-final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, with the grand final venue to be determined by the weekend-s results.

Brisbane Roar vs. Canberra United
Saturday, 5 February 2011
Ballymore Stadium, Herston
Local kick-off: 2:00pm (3:00pm AEDT)
Jacqui Melksham
Assistant referees: Airlie Keen Tanya De Boer
Fourth official: Kate Jacewicz

Brisbane Roar v Canberra United ticket prices:

Adults $5.00
Child (4yrs to 16yrs) $ 2.00
Family $10.00 (2 x adult/2 x kids)
Concession/student card/pensioner etc $2.00

Tickets available at the gate on game day. Gates open 1pm, kick-off 2pm, Ballymore Stadium.

Catch a One Hour Westfield W-League Semi-Final highlights package on ABC1 in the Primetime of 6pm

Brisbane Roar: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk), 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 3. Karla REUTER, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (C), 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Kim CARROLL, 7. Joanne BURGESS, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9. Alisha FOOTE, 10. Lana HARCH, 11. Aivi LUIK, 12. Rebekah STOTT, 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Amy CHAPMAN, 15. Erika ELZE, 16. Lauren COLTHORPE, 17. Emily GIELNIK, 18. Kennya CORDNER 19. Lisa DE VANNA, 20. Kate STEWART (gk)
*five to be omitted*

In: Alisha FOOTE, Erika ELZE, Rebekah STOTT, Kennya CORDNER (all promoted), Clare POLKINGHORNE (returns from injury), Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT (returns from injury)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Canberra United: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2. Caitlin COOPER, 4. Michelle HEYMAN, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Emily VAN EGMOND, 11. Cian MACIEJEWSKI, 13. Nicole SYKES, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Sally SHIPARD, 16. Ellyse PERRY, 18. Grace FIELD, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Jocelyn MARA (gk), 22. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE
*one to be omitted*

In: Grace GILL (promoted), Georgia YEOMAN-DALE (promoted)

Out: Leah BLAYNEY (injured)

Unavailable: Kahlia HOGG (injured), TSENG SHU-O (injured)

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