Grand Final showdown one to remember

When Melbourne Victory host Sydney FC in the Westfield W-League Grand Final, the league’s biggest rivalry will be taken to the next level.

When Melbourne Victory Women host Sydney FC in the Westfield W-League Grand Final this Sunday at AAMI Park, what is already the league-s biggest rivalry will be taken to the next level.

Kicking-off at 3:30pm, the showpiece event for women-s football in Australia brings together two foes whose rivalry extends beyond that of a single match.

With tensions between Melbourne and Sydney evident even in pre-federation days, the W-League grand final will be the latest instalment of a long list of battles which have encompassed trade policies, sporting preferences and even railway gauges.

This is a fact not lost on foundation player Enza Barilla, who claims victory over Sydney is the sweetest taste of them all.

“Out of all the teams we want to beat Sydney would be on top of the pile, so to have the opportunity to win a W-League Championship against them at AAMI Park is what dreams are made of,” Barilla said.

“The rivalry between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory in the A-League has flowed down to the W-League and matches between the two and the will to win among the players is as intense as our male counterparts.

“Every match against Sydney FC is a battle, whether it-s at home or in Sydney you always see a great game – everyone goes in hard, putting in that little bit extra so this Grand Final is going to be a classic.”

Currently on a club record seven match undefeated streak, Melbourne head into the match as favourites against a Sky Blue outfit which has yet to beat the Victory at all this season.

“It-s taken us five seasons to get into the final, and the fact we get to host it is amazing,” Barilla said.

“We-re playing the best brand of football in our history, we work for each other and we can go all the way.

“Each and every girl loves Melbourne Victory and to have the opportunity to win silverware in front of our home crowd against our biggest rivals is something special.”

Having already more than doubled their previous crowd record this season, Melbourne Victory are hoping to break the league attendance record of 4,554 spectators.

“We-ve had great crowds this season so far; the fans truly are a twelfth player for us. They inspire us and intimidate the opposition so it works two ways.

“With a large group of Sydney fans expecting to stay back after the Australia Day match on Saturday, we need as many Victory supporters as possible so we can keep our advantage.”