Have you ever sat in your lounge room in your undies, 4 gins deep, waving a Chloe Logarzo shirt around while yelling at the top of your lungs?
As of grand final day, I have.
What a game to showcase our little league to the world with. 6 goals, 3 worldies, record breaking crowds and a really brilliant time. The only downer was the state of the pitch but that was probably the most Dub thing of all – an incredible game in the face of a lack of funding and respect.
The first half began at a frantic pace dominated by Sydney FC. I thought that they had blown their chance of an early lead after American superstar Savannah McCaskill hit the crossbar from close range in the 2nd minute. I guess they were watching the semi-final last week – they found out from Victory that early goals against Perth mean nothing!
Instead they got their lead through Huerta. She arrived on the edge of the box at the most opportune moment and wacked it in top bins, leaving PFA goalkeeper of the season Eliza Campbell with no chance. It was a massive moment that set the tone for the game to come.
Honestly, the real national emergency in the US right now is that Huerta isn’t starting every single game for their national team.
Perth slowly started to work their way into it. It seemed like there might be a repeat of last week, when the Glory were slow to start but managed to wrestle back control over time. The feeling that Perth would get back into it was only solidified when Colaprico kicked Sam Kerr over in the box to give the clearest of clear penalties to the away side.
Yes, we know that the only way to stop Sam Kerr is to kick her over, but can you do it outside the box next time? Please?
Kerr obviously scored. The GOAT was never going to miss from the penalty spot. 1-1.
It’s at this point that I’ve had to go check TWG’s twitter to confirm what actually happened next. My notes said something along the lines of ‘Foord MCCASKILL LKFOISIDH:LKJ,’ which is a pretty accurate representation of how I felt at the time.
5 minutes before the break, Caitlin Foord managed to lob a pinpoint perfect ball onto McCaskill’s head, who well and truly made up for her earlier miss by managing to find a way to lob it over the keeper’s head. Campbell probably shouldn’t have been off her line but bloody hell, the execution required to direct that ball over her head takes some doing. Sydney were back in the lead where they belonged and went into half time a goal up.
I could never quite shake that feeling that the Glory would come back. They had Sam Kerr. I have watched, with my own eyes, this woman score 3 goals in 10 minutes to win her side games in the NWSL. I have watched her score 4 goals so that her team can win 5-4. The GOAT is on another level completely and Sydney could never afford to switch off for a second.
But, bloody hell, Alanna Kennedy played out of her skin. I don’t think I’ve seen a better defensive performance from her at the domestic level. She worked incredibly well with her centre-back partner ‘The Rock’ Ralston to keep Sam Kerr and her sidekick Rachel Hill relatively quiet. If you’re a fan of a good defensive performance go back and watch this game.
Purely based on the performance from Matildas players in this game, we are gonna blardy win the World Cup, coach or no coach.
The pace of the game didn’t show signs of slowing down in the 2nd half. Princess Ibini, who had a solid game and looked brilliant in patches, almost scored after dancing through several defenders. Perth tried to get themselves going but invariably found themselves blocked by a determined Sky Blue defence.
Sydney broke through once more from a set piece. Perth cleared their lines very badly and it fell to McCaskill once more who placed it into the bottom corner. Suddenly, Perth found themselves very behind the game – they were making attacking subs, pushing forward, desperate. Where would their next goal come from?
Turns out they would have joy from a set piece as well. Nikki Stanton swung it in and Alyssa Mautz, the unsung hero of the Glory front 3, found the back of the net. Just when it was looking like Sydney would saunter to victory the Dub produced once more. We’ve all seen Perth win games this season from this position before…
Chloe Logarzo put a stop to those thoughts. Banger, top bins, from outside the box.
I mean, what a woman. She had been winning the 50/50 balls all game and her workrate was second to none. I don’t think she’s had the best season of her life but she stepped up when it counted and that is the mark of a great player. Form is temporary, class is permanent, etc etc WHO CARES ABOUT PHILOSOPHY SHE JUST SCORED THE GOAL TO WIN SYDNEY FC THE FLAG.
Perth didn’t stop but at 4-2 the wind was certainly taken out of their sails. Their front 3 tried and tried and tried but kept getting shut down by a world class defence.
A lovely moment in the last 10 minutes was Amy Harrison being subbed on. Having missed so much of the last few seasons with ACL injuries to see her on the pitch in a winning grand final side was really good to see. It was heart-warming stuff.
I did that weird thing at the final whistle where I stood up and applauded in my lounge room despite no one except my completely exasperated partner being around. It was one of those things. What a team, what a season, what a game.
One of the things I noticed was how quickly both the Sky Blues and Glory were up to shake the other team’s hand. It sucks losing a grand final – I’ve been there a few times. It’s the worst feeling in the world. Similarly, when you’ve just won, the main thing you want to do is run around hugging your teammates and yelling. The after-game niceties can feel like an afterthought for both teams, not out of maliciousness but just from all of the emotions. However, for both sets of players, the bigger cause always was and always will be the game of women’s football. That immense mutual respect between the teams is always lovely to see.
This game was what the Dub is all about. I’m really sad that it’s over for the season. High-paced, frenetic games, worldies, kids who get to see their heroes on the big stage. Just brilliant stuff.
See you at NPLW Vic games this season. Give me a wave if you see someone in a TLL shirt.
Long live the Dub.
By Taryn Heddo