Liberty A-League lessons: Sky Blues’ key edge over Victory

Sydney FC – or maybe that should be Steamroller FC? – recorded three from three with a 3-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix, with goals from Cortnee Vine, Sarah Hunter and Mackenzie Hawkesby.

This is their second clean sheet. Sydney, City and Perth are the only teams so far to compliment a win with a clean sheet, with Perth’s chance this weekend to replicate this against Canberra United sadly postponed due to border troubles.

A strong defence may just be the keys to the kingdom this season. 

MATCH REPORT: Sydney FC 3-0 Wellington Phoenix

Victory also have three from three, but leaky defending makes them vulnerable as seen with their 3-2 match-up against Brisbane. 36 minutes in, Harriet Withers made a well-placed cross to assist Lynn Williams’ headed goal, before they switched roles just after the break to make it 2-0 for Victory.

Roar’s Shea Connors broke away to get Brisbane back in the game, before Zimmerman coolly brought it to a seemingly definite win with a third goal five minutes out from the whistle. Roar weren’t done though, with Larissa Crummer polishing off her deflected shot off Dumont. While three losses in a row is a big task to overcome, Roar’s headstrong response to Victory suggests they’re up for the challenge.

MATCH REPORT: Brisbane Roar 2-3 Melbourne Victory

Cassidy Davis’ milestone weekend

The phrase “solid Dub player”, often used in a complimentary and colloquial manner, refers to someone who is a reliable and quality presence in the Liberty A-League.

They go about their jobs quietly, bringing squad depth to support the star power of big signings and leadership qualities to nurture new faces.

They may not always be making a claim for national teams or overseas moves – in fact, an ongoing presence in the competition is one of their most important characteristics of a solid Dub player.

Cassidy Davis was already comfortably in this category. Following Friday’s night’s match, she can also lay claim to being the queen of consistency.

MATCH REPORT: Western Sydney Wanderers 1-1 Newcastle Jets

Davis recorded her 100th ALW game, all of which she has played with the Jets. Not only this, she broke records by becoming the only ALW’s player to play 100th games consecutively. This feat is made more impressive given the historically short length of ALW seasons, the balance players must strike between football and livelihoods, and the astounding fact that she hasn’t been kept out by injury. 

For her achievement, Davis played alongside Tara Andrews and Hannah Brewer. Both featured in her debut game in 2013 and are further examples of the kind of players whose dedication has sustained and elevated the league. Emily Van Egmond also played her 100th ALW game – another testament to the Jets’ continued investment in local talent. 

The 1-1 result against the Western Sydney Wanderers did not provide Jets with further reason to celebrate. Tiana Jaber put the Jets up in the 21st minute with a delicious scoop hit from afar, however they struggled to produce more clean-cut chances – perhaps lacking the service of Marie Dølvik who dazzled last week.

Wanderers pushed back in the second half with numerous scuffed and shanked opportunities and Ashlie Crofts, under defensive pressure, scored the Wanderers first goal of the season in the last minute. Jets’

Coach Ash Wilson noted that the draw “was a bit more of an arm-wrestle. I don’t think we dealt with moments when we were under the pump as well as we could have.”

Jets did influence Melbourne City’s 3-1 win over Adelaide United, albeit through their prior identification and development of attacker Rhianna Pollicina.

After six brief appearances for the Wanderers in 2014/15, it would be six years before Pollicina returned to ALW, this time with the Jets. She was one of last season’s NPL-to-ALW success stories, with her confidence, creativity and physicality making her Newcastle’s Player of the 2020-2021 Season. 

Pollicina’s time at Newcastle was fleeting and the poach from City paid off on Saturday. She opened their account in the 38th minute with a sensational lob from distance. Minutes later, she sent in a floating corner for Hannah Wilkinson to head in (given the power behind both assist and goal, it’s a tad scary that Pollicina has also made a name for herself in the smaller confines of futsal courts.)

Before the end of the half, she made a searing run towards goal with the incisive pass to Holly McNamara making for another close opportunity. Chelsie Dawber’s goal to make it 2-1 meant that for much of the second half Adelaide were searching, and scrapping, for the equaliser before Wilkinson’s goal in stoppage time made the win definitive. 

City’s current campaign is shaping up to be a significant improvement on last season, which in part can be credited to an elevated front-line comprised of Pollicina, Wilkinson and McNamara. Post-game, Vidošić was complimentary of Pollicina’s performance, saying “I’m so, so happy for her that finally she performed really, really well and then as reward was a beautiful goal.”

MATCH REPORT: Melbourne City 3-1 Adelaide United