The two most successful clubs in the history of the W-League will go toe to toe this Saturday, behind locked gates at AAMI Park, in the 2020 W-League Grand Final.
Both hosts, Melbourne City and Sydney FC will be hoping to emerge with the greatest number of W-League championships, each having won three grand finals.
Sydney FC is the reigning champion, looking to go back to back for the first time, following last season’s memorable 4-2 grand final win over a Sam Kerr led Perth Glory. But they’ll have to defeat outright favourite Melbourne City which has been in dominant form in the lead up to this Saturday’s grand final. Twelve straight wins including last week’s 5-1 sweeping aside of Western Sydney Wanderers in the semi-final, has seen City march to an undefeated Premier’s Plate and a Grand Final berth.
In contrast, last week, Sydney FC had to draw on its experience, organisation and determined defensive efforts to give it passage to the grand final, when it defeated Melbourne Victory 1-0, thanks to an early goal by US import Veronica Latsko.
The grand finalists have met just once in the league this season, back in December, with City prevailing 2-1 in a tight contest, thanks to a late winner. Since that game, Sydney FC has lost two key players in Matildas stars Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo, who were snapped up by English clubs in the January transfer window.
Sydney’s opponent in contrast, is brim full of Matildas’ talent with no less than six current Matildas in the team.
Despite this, there will be few players out on the AAMI Park arena this Saturday who will be able to match the grand final experience of Sydney FC skipper Teresa Polias. The 29 year old midfielder will be playing in her sixth W-League Grand Final for Sydney FC and will be attempting to win her third championship. She admits that the build up to this weekend’s grand final has been dramatically different given the Corona Virus emergency.
“There’s a lot of talk about what’s going on and it is quite distracting, but at the same time we’re lucky in a way to keep doing what we want,” Polias told AAP.
Given that many other sporting events have been suspended. Polias is happy to go ahead with the grand final, trusting in the advice of the game’s authorities , even if the game is to play out behind closes doors.
“I guess it’s crossed my mind seeing so many other things cancelled,” Polias said.
“But we’re just following the advice of the decision makers, we trust that what they say is the best for us.
“Each day we’re following their word and it’s good to hear that it’s definitely going ahead.”
Polias added that Sydney’s three American imports Aubrey Bledsoe, Veronica Latsko and Sofia Huerta, being so far from home, hadn’t shown any signs of anxiety during the week..
“They have been really professional about the whole situation and nothing is sort of different at training, they look focused and happy,” Polias said.
“It’s understandable if they had a few concerns being away from home, but we’ve got a big game to prepare for and the club is working with them to ensure that they will be able to get home.”
“To get the win we’re going to have to be at our best and we know that and we’ve been preparing really meticulously this week for a really, really huge game,” Polias said.