ABC Pod: Cornthwaite, Garb on rampant Heyman form as Roar start to build and ‘top three sides’ break away

As the 2020/21 Westfield W-League season continues, Daniel Garb and Robert Cornthwaite see three sides separating from the rest as a class above the remaining challengers.

Speaking on the ABC Grandstand Football Podcast, the two Australian football pundits marvelled at the form of Sydney FC, Canberra United and Brisbane Roar six rounds into the 2020/21 campaign.

Led by their respective attacking stars, the three teams have emerged from the looming shadow of Melbourne City, who went undefeated as they claimed the Premiership and Championship in the 2019/20 Westfield W-League season, to set up an intriguing three-way tussle for table ascendancy – and according to Cornthwaite one side is looking the best prepared to do exactly that.

Read on for all the biggest topics dissected by Garb and Cornthwaite throughout this week’s episode of the ABC Grandstand Football Podcast.

Sydney FC are the early Westfield W-League leaders

Cornthwaite lauds magnificent Heyman form

“She’s been ridiculous, hasn’t she?”

With six goals to her name from five games, Michelle Heyman has well and truly re-established herself as one of the Westfield W-League’s top talents.

Heyman returned in 2020/21 after a one-season hiatus from the league but the Westfield Matildas forward hasn’t missed a beat as she’s tore defences apart league-wide.

Dissecting the 32-year-old’s convincing return to action, Cornthwaite hailed her impact for the Green Machine while pondering what was behind her early season form.

“She’s been ridiculous hasn’t she?” Cornthwaite said.

“To score another [two] goals (against Western Sydney Wanderers), [six] for the season.

“I just wonder if that time away from the game has sort of refreshed her, made her come back so much better and made her fall in love with football again.

“I don’t know what it is but she’s obviously the driving force behind Canberra.”

Cream rising to the top as three teams break free

“You can see those three teams now have said ‘we’re the ones to catch, we’ve laid down a marker’.

“It will still be an open campaign… it will still be a crazy one, but you’re starting to see some real quality coming to the fore now.”

Slowly, but surely, the Westfield W-League table is beginning to take shape. 

There are five teams currently within touching distance of the top four, but Brisbane’s recent resurgence has catapulted them alongside the Sky Blues and Canberra as the three teams to watch in the coming rounds. 

But no team offers more promise of earning silverware than Sydney in the eyes of Cornthwaite and Garb.

“There is a little bit of separation opening up in the W-League there,” Cornthwaite said.

“You’ve got your top three sides, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. Adelaide (fourth) is sort of clinging on, their loss against Melbourne Victory (fifth) really hurt them, allowed Victory back into it.

“And then we sort of see the rest of the sides… but Sydney FC are certainly emerging as the team to beat: four wins on the bounce and Remy Siemsen scoring her first goal, which is super impressive.”

“And super important,” Garb replied.

“Because she’s such a dynamic player. She’s got so much talent, she was my Golden Boot tip for the (Westfield) W-League and for her to get on the scoresheet, all of a sudden they look so dangerous.”

Brisbane launch into the picture after slow start

“I think they’re really growing in confidence this season now. Their confidence is building and certainly they’re going to be there at the pointy end.”

It took a long time for Brisbane to find their feet, but in their last two fixtures Jake Goodship’s side have shown they are capable of anything in the 2020/21 campaign.

Wasteful attacking play was the immediate problem facing the Roar after four games. A 6-0 win over Melbourne Victory in Round 5 cast that issue aside.

The Roar followed that display with a gutsy win over the reigning Champions, fending off a City side who wiped a 2-0 deficit to draw level at 2-2 before Brisbane shook off the mounting pressure to score a winner.

Only Brisbane and Sydney remain undefeated this season, giving Cornthwaite reason to be optimistic of what’s to come for the Queensland outfit.

“Brisbane, they’re just building brilliantly,” he said.

“(Emily) Gielnik scored (against City) and (Clare) Polkinghorne scores, so the (Westfield) Matildas players coming to the fore.

“I think the impressive thing about Brisbane was they were challenged by City. 

“They put their noses in front and got pegged back and were still able to go on and get the win.

“I think they’re really growing in confidence this season now. Their confidence is building and certainly they’re going to be there at the pointy end.”

Download the full podcast, here.