Unfortunately for Brisbane this was a dead rubber game as both results the day before meant that regardless of the result today, the finals were out of reach. Brisbane needed Perth to continue their last-minute claw up the table / mess it up for everyone else and for Sydney to continue their winning streak and beat Victory for the glimmer of hope in today’s match.
Ha. Victory decided to smash Sydney and Perth, even with a late comeback, were not able to over-come the hungry Wanderers and congratulations to them for finally making into the finals! So, it was not Brisbane’s year, but we made it out to AAMI park to cheer on the women and hope we could at least give the top-of-the-table City a scare.
Again, ha. City were immediately on the attack and out to solidify their winning streak with only a shock draw in the first round against the Jets their blip on the radar. It was obvious why they were the Premiership winners – Watt and Mijatovic moved with such pace at the front and terminator Van Egmond, Catley and Carpenter whooshed around Brisbane’s back four like they were not even there.
Polkinghorne put in a hard day’s work keeping City at bay but it was only a matter of time before City went in for the kill. Simon with a cracker of a strike hits the post and for now, Brisbane’s blushes were saved as Arnold managed to keep the stray bouncing ball from going over the line. Brisbane then struggled to really break into the final quarter of the pitch, mostly fending off attacks from City and trying desperately to stick to their formation when moving forward.
It was unsurprising then that in the 33rd minute, Mijatovic from just outside of the box struck it home to put city in the lead 1-0. It was a beautiful cross from Carpenter and though my heart sank at the goal, it was again a clear reminder why the City women were the premiers!
Before the break, it felt like City were toying with Brisbane a bit – shooting from distance and chipping balls over a relatively tall back line so I was very pleasantly surprised to see that after HT, Brisbane were on the counter. Brisbane’s half time substitution and birthday girl, Hollie Palmer (!!!!) made the wonderful finish after Riley bullied her way onto the ball and crossed it into the center of the box. I know Riley’s mum would have been super proud at this moment.
Brisbane were back in the game and ruined City’s clean sheet but after some sloppy attempts to clear the ball away from the box, Brisbane were appropriately punished only 5 minutes later with Watt intercepting a difficult ball to put it over Arnold. City now back on top, 2-1.
It was all over for Brisbane in the 69th minute, when even what felt like all 11 women there to defend, City were able to create a goal from a relatively sloppy corner tactic. Watt grabbed a brace and it was 3-1. This is not to say that the Brisbane women gave up, but a little steam had been lost and with the force that is Williams in front of the city goal, Brisbane’s last ditch attempts at goal though pretty to watch, really did not stand a chance.
Although we’ve come to the end of the road, still we can’t let go. It’s unnatural how Brisbane belong to the Roar Corps and how the Roar Corps belong to Brisbane Roar. They will be there again next season and hopefully have a cheerier song to end on. Though I will gladly assist with back-up vocals at any point.
City deserved this win and in front of their home crowd were awarded their medals at 19/20 W League Premier winners. Onto the semi-finals against WSW they go. Top of the table winners v. first time final entrants. It is going to be wild!