ABC Pod: Weber reflects on NWSL journey as Garb, Cornthwaite analyse split Westfield W-League table

At the conclusion of Round 6, Daniel Garb and Robbie Cornthwaite saw three sides beginning to separate from the rest as the clear front-runners in the race for Westfield W-League silverware this season.

But, on this week’s episode of The ABC Grandstand Football Podcast, the pair of Australian football pundits saw the resurgent Melbourne Victory and steady-going Adelaide United sneak back into the picture. 

Sydney FC’s domination of Canberra United after the podcast’s release sent the Sky Blues steaming ahead toward the Premiers Plate at the end of Round 7, leaving four teams within a point of each other between second and fifth to battle it out for the remaining three Finals Series places. 

Read on as Cornthwaite and Garb assess the current Westfield W-League standings, and hear from Reds striker Mallory Weber on being drafted to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in America, her journey to Adelaide and her thoughts on how the Reds are placed heading into the pointy end of the 2020/21 campaign.

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Top five cluster as Westfield W-League table breaks in half

“It’s almost a race in five for those Finals spots now.”

Like a square peg in a round hole, there’s no room for all five of the competition’s best teams to compete in the Westfield W-League Finals Series this season. 

But the race to see which sides can muscle into the top four – and which side bows out – will be one of the main plot lines to keep an eye on in the upcoming rounds. 

Adelaide, Victory and Brisbane Roar are all currently locked on 10 points, with Canberra United holding second place on 11. 

The Sky Blues have raced away out in front, creating a seven-point gap to sit top on 18 points notching six wins from six games. With Sydney’s pathway to the Finals Series all but secure, Garb and Cornthwaite ponder who will join them in the top four by the season’s end.

“We have some serious separation in the league right now,” Garb said.

“A clear top five… Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, the Victory and Adelaide.

“Adelaide’s on ten points in fifth, then you drop all the way down to Newcastle on four points in sixth.

“It’s almost a race in five for those Finals spots now.”

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“We mentioned last week the division was coming, and it’s only gotten bigger,” Cornthwaite said.

“The places from second (to) fifth are really bunched up.

“I thought Victory have made a really good turnaround. You look at Melbourne City and their struggles, they haven’t been able to turn it around.

“Victory had a defeat in the Derby, then they got thumped (6-0 by Brisbane). Jeff Hopkins has been able to fix the problems, he got the win at Adelaide and then another win against Newcastle. 

“They’re looking good all of a sudden again – it’s exciting.”


Weber reflects on American draft experience, challenges Reds to clinch Finals spot

“I think just from the past years of the club not usually making (the Finals Series), to be in this spot halfway through is pretty good… I think we’re all really excited.”

Mallory Weber is back for her second season in Adelaide after a successful loan for the 2019/20 Westfield W-League campaign.

Weber picked up Adelaide’s Golden Boot, Player of the Year and the Players’ Player award last season, on loan from NWSL side Utah Royals.

Now with Kansas City, Weber is back for a second season with the Reds. The American forward has one goal to her name and holds an equal share of the lead in assists league-wide with three.

Speaking to Garb on the ABC Podcast, Weber reflected on being drafted in 2016 by the Western New York Flash – a unique aspect of football in the United States.

“There really isn’t much communication,” Weber told Garb on the podcast.

“I had no idea until I heard my name called on the webcast, it wasn’t even on TV it was just an online stream.

“You just have to finish your senior year in college then you enter the draft, and pretty much anyone is eligible. Then you just wait. I think there’s 40 picks.

“I was pretty confident I would have been drafted but I had no idea where, because it’s based on what different teams need and the draft order.”

At 21 years of age Weber was acquired by the Flash with the 14th pick in the draft.

Weber went on to get traded to Portland Thorns FC before joining Utah in 2019, the year she made her first loan move to Adelaide.

Now in her second season with the Reds, Weber sees the team with an exciting opportunity ahead to clinch a Finals Series spot – which would be a first for the club.

“I think just from the past years of the club not usually making (the Finals Series), to be in this spot halfway through is pretty good,” she said.

“I think the girls realise that and have a lot of belief in what we can do this season, so I think we’re all really excited.”

Mallory Weber