Sydney FC Huerta’s Brisbane Roar’s Finals Aspirations

I’m just really sad.

For the second season in a row we fell short in the semis, this time around to Sydney FC. What a season of W-League, the Grand Final will be 3 rd v 4 th . Absolutely chaotic season down to the last game, how are all your tips? The difference tonight was in the final third, Sydney created a lot more chances. There were a lot of heart in mouth moments for me and I think Brisbane did well to hold out for a 2-1 loss. At one point in the game I’m pretty sure I had a stroke.

From the stands this game was an absolute cracker to watch, a very physical contest from kick off with the first foul happening probably 2 minutes into the game. Both sides collecting yellow cards and Natalie Tathem getting a send-off late in the second half for pulling Princess Ibini to the ground when she was on goal on the edge of the penalty area. Ibini had a very impressive game tonight, she was the most dangerous player on the field, creating lots of chances barrelling through the Brisbane defence and putting plenty of shots on goal. She was unlucky not to score. It’s the first time this season Polks and McCormick haven’t looked in control of the game, neither of them sure how to handle her tonight. Ibini will be one to watch at the World Cup when she hopefully (rightfully) gets the call.

The week off in the AFLW may be a factor in our defensive struggle tonight, McCormick not as impressive as she has been all season. Her and Polks weren’t gelling as well as they usually do, accidentally collecting the same players at the same time and leaving space for other Sydney attackers to break the line and challenge Macca Arnold. Our whole team just felt a little uneasy, still creating opportunities mostly through Hayley Raso (<3) and Yuki Nagasato (<3) on the counter. Yuki
very unlucky not to put a goal away when she was one on one with Aubrey Bledsoe, she made up for it scoring one at 90 minutes. Sadly, her goal came too late for Brisbane to back it up.

Sydney were a fantastic attacking unit tonight, even without noticeable absentee Lisa DeVanna (hmmm). Foord was dangerous on the wing scoring Sydney’s first goal (the bastard, only play like this for the tillies damn it) and Ibini making herself Sydney’s battering ram. The pair had plenty of chances, Macca Arnold throwing her body in the way of most and McCormick with a lot of clearing headers. At one point, when I had my mini (miss you Gorry) stroke, the ball was ricocheting around the goal area off Sydney and Brisbane players, finally falling at the feet of Alanna Kennedy who hit side netting just to complete my heart attack.

Savannah McCaskill was another dangerous player for Sydney going forward, every time she got the ball at her feet, I was biting my nails and yelling things about shutting her down. She put a few long shots on goal that (thankfully) deflected away. I was just nervous and frustrated this entire game. My heart cannot take this season. Please let next season be a walkover (I love the competitiveness but it’s going to kill me young).

Sydney scored again, and I wanted to cry about that point in the game. Huerta hurt-a me. At 2-0 down and once Tathem had been sent from the field Roar coach, Mel Andreatta, absolutely said fuck it. Fed a note to Captain Clare Polkinghorne, setting Brisbane up to play 3 at the back, centre back being a midfielder and having everyone else push high up the field. We love a good yolo plan. Eventually it worked, with Yuki scoring in the 90+3 minute. It was too little too late sadly.

Honourable mention to the squatting tactic in Roars free kick wall. They tried something that looks crazy and sounds crazy, but it damn well worked. Alanna Kennedy sent her shot up into the balcony. I want to see more of this wall technique in football.

As a Brisbane fan, my highlight of the game came at half time during the miniroos game. Some young girls from Brisbane club, Logan Lightning were playing. One of the girls scored a goal and celebrated by doing a double backflip to surprised applause. Then she scored again and did the same celebration this time to louder cheers. By this point almost the entire stadium was watching her waiting for her to score again, and she bloody did. Completing her hattrick with yet another double
backflip celebration. Sam Kerr is having an impact on these young girls. Bloody fantastic to watch and I’m glad this future tilly got the thunderous applause and whooping she deserved.

I’m really upset, and I am taking this loss personally because the girls were my clubs (only) shining hope this season. Youth boys won our only silverware this season and I will take it, but I am also crushed. Nobody speak to me until after the Grand final when I’ve had time to bury my memories deep, deep down. Despite my team not making the final (we’re not going to talk about it) I’m excited to see what Perth and Sydney can produce, because lord knows it will inspire even more young girls
to put on the boots and play the beautiful game.

By Kianna Aquilina

Sydney FC Huerta’s Brisbane Roar’s Finals Aspirations

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