Liberty A-League Finals Preview: ‘H’ word inspiring Jets & Central Coast’s plan to ‘spoil the party’

The Liberty A-League Finals Series gets underway this weekend! With two spots in the Semi-Finals up for grabs, previews the two do-or-die contests…

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Saturday, 6:30pm (AEST): Western United v Newcastle Jets

More history will be made in Tarneit this weekend as Western United host their first ever A-Leagues Finals fixture at the Regional Football Facility.

For the second time in less than a month, 2022-23 Grand Finalists Western will welcome Newcastle Jets to Melbourne’s west on Saturday night but this time there is a Semi-Final berth up for grabs.

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Last month, Kat Smith’s Western opened the new Tarneit venue with a shock 3-1 defeat against the Jets, who went on to secure their top-six position with a history-making 8-0 demolition of lowly Adelaide United in Round 22.

The winner of the Elimination Final will progress to meet premiers Melbourne City in a two-legged Semi-Final and Philippines star Sarina Bolden is eyeing more history.

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“It’s exciting. We made history having the biggest win against Adelaide. Making it to play-offs, we haven’t been to the play-offs for a while,” she told reporters.

“We are just exciting to make more history. Get our first win in the play-offs. I believe that hasn’t happened yet for the women. It’s an amazing opportunity.

“I’ve been telling the girls we’ve been playing like it’s the play-offs the last three games so I think we’re the most prepared going into this, mindset wise.”

All eyes will be on Bolden, who scored in the recent meeting and finish the regular season with 12 goals – equal second in the Golden Boot race. She has scored seven goals when scores have been level this season, the second most of any player (Michelle Heyman – 11); in fact, Bolden has scored one goal in each of her last two games against Western United FC in the competition.

Western enter the must-win contest without a win in four matches (D3 L1) and will be missing their leading goalscorer Hannah Keane following a season-ending knee injury.

However, the home side have given star and Matildas midfielder Chloe Logarzo a chance to prove herself fit for selection having been sidelined since mid-March due to a hip problem.


  • Western United: D – L – L – L – W
  • Newcastle Jets: W – W – W – L – D


  • Western United: 3rd
  • Newcastle Jets6th


  • Newcastle Jets have won three of their four games against Western United (L1), including their last two by a combined score of 7-3; in fact, the Jets also won 3-1 in the only previous clash between these teams at Regional Football Facility in Tarneit.
  • Western United have given an average of 56 minutes of game time per game to substitute players this season, the second fewest of any team; though, Western have scored five goals via substitute players this season (Newcastle Jets – 57 mins average, six total goals).
  • Sydney FC (+149) were the only team to outshoot their opposition by more than Western United (+95) and Newcastle Jets (+60) during the 2023-24 regular season.


Sunday, 4:00pm (AEST): Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners

“Spoil the party” is the aim of the game for Central Coast Mariners when they visit star-studded Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon.

Victory love this time of the season, having won two of the past three Championships while they are stacked with Matildas talent – Emily Gielnik, Alex Chidiac, Elise Kellond-Knight and Emma Checker, as well as Rachel Lowe, Beattie Goad and others.

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But the visiting Mariners – who boast Matildas forward Kyah Simon – are not daunted as they look to stun the local crowd at the Home of the Matildas.

“We’ve played them twice already this year, and I thought they were both good games,” said Central Coast head coach Emily Husband. “Marginally decided by a couple of goals, a few moments.

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“I know that we can go toe to toe with them. It’s just about who takes the moments on the day and we know they’ll try and play good football, they had a really good round 22 against Sydney FC and showed the league what they’re truly capable of.

“We know that they have a a routine of coming into finals pretty strong over the last few seasons, but we’re not just here to be fifth, sixth place to make up the numbers, we want to make sure that we compete in this game and spoil the party.”

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Jeff Hopkins’ Melbourne Victory qualified for the Finals in emphatic fashion – dismantling defending champions Sydney FC 4-0 in a result that ruined their hopes of an historic fourth straight Premiership in the final round.

Sunday is also set to be a milestone match for soon-to-be retired defender Checker, who is in line to make her 150th Liberty A-League appearance.


  • Melbourne Victory: W – L – D – W – W
  • Central Coast Mariners: D – L – W – W – W


  • Melbourne Victory: 4th
  • Central Coast Mariners5th


  • Melbourne Victory have won four of their last six A-League Women games at the Home of the Matildas (D1 L1), scoring four of more goals in three of those games, while Central Coast Mariners have won six of their last eight games away from Industree Group Stadium (L2).
  • Central Coast Mariners have scored the opening goal of the game on 12 occasions this season, earning competition points from every one of those fixtures (W8 D4); in fact, they are one of only two teams (also Sydney FC) yet to lose a game when they’ve scored first on the day this campaign.
  • Kayla Morrison (Melbourne Victory) has won more aerial duels than any other player in 2023-24 (37/50) while only one player with a minimum of 30 aerial duels contested has a higher success rate than Morrison (74%).
  • Jazmin Wardlow (Central Coast Mariners) has a passing accuracy of 86% from 255 passes in the A-League Women since the beginning of March 2024, the second highest of any player to attempted at least 20 passes during that time (Taylor Otto – 91% of 319 passes).