Round 2 preview: Canberra look to build momentum as Victory, Jets get season underway

Canberra United are preparing to consolidate their positive start to the 2020/21 Westfield W-League campaign against a Melbourne City side eager to taste victory for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon.

Canberra’s Round 1 win over Adelaide United will feature in the conversation for game of the season by the end of the campaign; trailing 2-0 at half time, Canberra surged to a remarkable 4-3 victory thanks in large to a second-half hat-trick scored by returning legend Michelle Heyman.

Canberra – without a Westfield W-League Finals Series appearance since finishing first in the 2016/17 season – now face a greater test when Champions Melbourne City come to Viking Park on Sunday (kick-off 4:05pm AEDT).

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Heyman’s hat-trick heroics as Canberra edge Adelaide in seven-goal thriller

City come into the contest having drawn 0-0 with Brisbane Roar in Round 1, but don’t let that result fool you: Rado Vidosic’s side played out a 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets in their first game of the 2019/20 season before winning 13 on the bounce to romp to the Premiership/Championship double.

The two sides also met in Round 2 of last season, where Canberra held City at bay until a stoppage time penalty converted by Emily van Egmond crushed Canberra hearts and handed City a 2-1 win, the first of their many for the campaign.

Their encounter in Round 9 was less of a tight affair: City were playing at their brilliant best as they made light work of Canberra in a statement 4-0 win.

With shining star Heyman leading the attack and the excitement of the unknown well and truly up in the air as a new Westfield W-League campaign unfolds, can Canberra get the better of the Champions this time out? 

Canberra United v Melbourne City
Sunday, January 3
Kick-off: 4:05pm (AEDT)
Match Centre

Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets

Western Sydney Wanderers will be desperate to bounce back from their Round 1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Sydney FC when they host Newcastle Jets on Saturday evening (kick-off 7:05pm AEDT).

The toothless Wanderers fell to a 3-0 Sydney Derby defeat to the Sky Blues which left Dean Heffernan’s side on the foot of the Westfield W-League table. 

Ashley Wilson takes the reins as Newcastle Jets Head Coach this season, and will be eager to get the Jets off to a good start as her side attempt to avoid a second wooden spoon in as many seasons.

Only a penalty scored by former Wanderers midfielder Amy Harrison could separate both sides when they last met in Round 2 of the 2019/20 campaign – the Wanderers were enjoying an early season flourish at the time, but Heffernan’s side will be approaching this season’s early contest with the Jets with motivation of a different kind after their devastating Sydney Derby defeat in Round 1.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets
 Saturday, January 2
Kick-off: 7:05pm (AEDT)
Match Centre

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

​​​​​After the postponement of their trip to face Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens in Round 2, Melbourne Victory will now prepare for a fixture-reshuffle which sees a clash with Brisbane Roar present itself on Sunday afternoon.

Both the Roar and Victory approach the 2020/21 Westfield W-League campaign with the intention of improving on the performances of recent campaigns: both clubs have made the Finals Series three times each in the past six seasons, and the three-time Premiers Brisbane finishing in fifth place in 2019/20, its third-worst finish across 12 campaigns.

The early signs are encouraging for the Roar, who held the Champions City to a 0-0 draw in Round 1, but coming up against the Victory will be an entirely different challenge in itself. 

Jeff Hopkins and his Victory outfit will make their bow in the 2020/21 campaign without former captain and talismanic striker Natasha Dowie leading the line; whether or not her absence will be notable remains to be seen, but with the acquisition of Westfield Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna and the return of Kyra Cooney-Cross after a season with the Wanderers there are plenty of reasons for Victory fans to be encouraged ahead of the club’s first hit-out.

Both sides met twice throughout the 2019/20 campaign. Victory took the spoils in a 3-2 win on the road in Round 2 before a tense 0-0 contest saw the points shared in Round 6.

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
Sunday, January 3
Where: CB Smith Reserve
Kick-off: 6:05pm AEDT