Polkinghorne: Roar building in ‘extremely close’ Westfield W-League title race

The race for finals football in the Westfield W-League heats up over the Summer of Football, and Clare Polkinghorne knows Brisbane Roar must maintain their momentum.

Brisbane edged competition front-runners Melbourne Victory in a 4-3 thriller last Sunday, a match that saw the Roar jump from eighth to third at the close of play.

Polkinghorne, an inaugural Roar defender with three Westfield W-League Premierships to her name, says this year’s title race is hanging in the balance ahead of Round 8.

“It’s very close. There’s only a few points separating first place and seventh and eighth now.

“It’s extremely close but we’re only halfway through so it’s important to keep getting as many points as we can and hopefully toward the end of the season we find ourselves at the right end of the table.”

Only six points separate first-placed Victory and eighth-placed Melbourne City on the Westfield W-League ladder with Roar kicking off Round 8 on Thursday night against Western Sydney Wanderers.

It has been a thoroughly unpredictable season so far, but Polkinghorne thinks Brisbane are peaking at the right time ahead of the finals run-in – with the imminent return of Hayley Raso a huge boon to the Queenslanders’ hopes.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot. We’ve almost got everyone back from injury, we’ve just got Hayley Raso to come back and she’s going to play a really key role leading into the back end of the season,” the defender said.

“We’re really looking forward to getting her back out for us. Everyone’s in good spirits and every week we’re building and working on the way we want to play and improving the way we want to play.”

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Polkinghorne relishing crucial Cup of Nations audition

The Westfield Matildas will look to give coach Alen Stajcic an almighty selection headache in next year’s Cup of Nations, says Polkinghorne.

Australia will welcome Korea Republic, New Zealand and Argentina in a six-match tournament which serves as a launching pad into the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

And with a host of key players returning and emerging talent bursting onto the Westfield W-League scene, Polkinghorne knows the Cup of Nations looms as a crucial audition for a ticket to France.

“It’s going to be a tough job for the squad to be selected but that’s the way we want it, we want to make Staj’s [coach Alen Stajcic] job as hard as possible to choose the squad.

“The depth of the squad is going to be extremely important leading into the World Cup.

“We’re not going to get too many camps together before the world cup so every time we are together it’s really important and these games are going to be a really important part of the preparation leading into France.”

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Clare Polkinghorne