Roar ready for Grand Final glory


Preparing for a Westfield W-League Grand Final is almost second nature to Brisbane Roar but ahead of the 2012 edition of the competition decider, the players are leaving nothing to chance.

Preparing for a Westfield W-League Grand Final is almost second nature to Brisbane Roar but ahead of the 2012 edition of the competition decider, the players are leaving nothing to chance.

According to influential midfielder Tameka Butt, who has played in all three Grand Finals in the Westfield W-League-s short history, the Brisbane squad are relishing the lead up to tomorrow afternoon-s match-up with undefeated premiers Canberra United.

“It never gets old because you-re never guaranteed a Grand Final or a semi-final so it-s always a different experience,” she said.

While much chatter around football circles this week has hailed the Roar-s ability to qualify for four consecutive Grand Finals, another impressive statistic has been given the backseat.

Throughout Brisbane-s remarkable run, Butt has managed to find the back of the net on all three Grand Final occasions so far as well as claiming the Player of the Match award in 2009.

However, the former Mudgeeraba junior said her focus was solely on exploiting the weaknesses in the Canberra side.

“From watching their televised games and highlights of their other games, other teams have had a lot of chances that they just haven-t taken,” Butt said.

“I think there are definitely holes in the team that we are going to try and go for and hopefully we can finish one of those off.

“I think they-re definitely beatable and if anyone, I think we-re the team to do it.”

There are some eerily similar aspects between the inaugural Westfield W-League decider and this year-s Grand Final showdown.

Between United and the Roar, a combined 13 players from the 2008/09 fixture are expected to play a role in tomorrow-s match.

Brisbane-s Casey Dumont, Clare Polkinghorne, Brooke Spence, Lana Harch and Butt started against Sydney FC in last week-s semi-final and look likely to retain their spot against Canberra this weekend – all five players were in the first eleven back on January 17 2009 as well.

Vedrana Popovic sat through the first Westfield W-League Grand Final as an unused substitute but since then, following stints at Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory, has turned herself into a regular first team player for Jeff Hopkins- side while Ellen Beaumont, who started against United three years ago, will most likely feature off the bench.

For Canberra, Lydia Williams, Grace Gill and Ellie Brush will be back to avenge the Grand Final loss four seasons ago while one of their strikers from the historic match, Sasha McDonnell, will be involved for the opposition this time around, probably as a substitute.

Sykes twins, Ashleigh and Nicole, were second-half replacements in the mid-January 2009 game but are expected to start against the three-time grand finalists as they have for United throughout the entire regular season.

Even three of the four match officials from the inaugural Westfield W-League Grand Final, Kate Jacewicz (referee), Sarah Ho (assistant referee) and Casey Reibelt (fourth official), will also take the field at McKellar Park tomorrow.

The Roar were 2-0 victors on the day but Butt knows history plays just a small role on such massive occasions.

“There are a fair few players who will be playing again in this final but this season for us, we-ve had a fair few new players as well and some players playing in different position so our team has changed considerably,” Butt said.

“With Canberra and their new coach, as players they-ve come along way too so I think it-s going to be an entirely different game.”

The only fixture between the two sides during the regular Westfield W-League season was a 2-2 draw with United scoring an own goal two minutes from full time to see the points shared at Cleveland Showgrounds.

Westfield W-League 2012 Grand Final
Canberra United v Brisbane Roar
Date: Saturday 28 January 2012
Venue: McKellar Stadium – Canberra
Kick Off:
2.58pm (EDST)
The match will be shown live on ABC from 2.50pm (EDST)

Canberra United squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Caitlin COOPER, 3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 4. Christine WALTERS, 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, 17. Emma KETE, 18. Taryn HEMMINGS, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Aroon CLANSEY *three to be omitted*

In: None
Out: None
Unavailable: Kahlia HOGG (overseas – USA Scholarship), Leah BLAYNEY (injured – knee), Ellyse Perry (international duty)

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk), 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Joanne BURGESS, 7. Kim CARROLL, 9. Catherine CANNULI, 10. Lana HARCH, 11. Aivi LUIK, 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Vedrana POPOVIC, 15. Sasha MCDONNELL, 16. Michaela HATZIRODOS, 17. Emily GIELNIK, 18. Olga CEBRIAN GARCIA, 19.Ellen BEAUMONT, 20. Hoshimi KISHI (gk), 21. Rebecca PRICE *three to be omitted*

In: None
Out: None
Unavailable: Elise Kellond-Knight (knee – season), Ashley Spina (knee – season)