Talking Points: Who claims fourth spot?

Perth Glory’s shock win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon put Melbourne Victory in the driver’s seat to claim fourth place as the Westfield W-League approaches its penultimate round of action.

The Roar came into Round 12 intent on wiping out Victory’s three-point advantage over them on the table.

Victory played their part as they got thumped by Melbourne City on Sunday afternoon but Brisbane could not rise to the challenge. With a contest against the lowly Glory on the cards, the Roar fell to a 4-2 defeat, allowing Victory to hold onto their three-point advantage heading into Round 13.

SUNDAY REPORT: Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
SUNDAY REPORT: Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
SUNDAY REPORT: Canberra United v Adelaide United

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With two rounds left to play Victory will feel confident they can hold onto fourth place and secure their passageway into the Westfield W-League Finals Series, with fixtures against Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC awaiting them in the final two rounds of action.

Brisbane will need Melbourne to drop at least three points – if not more – if they have any hope of usurping them on the table, with games against Canberra United and first-placed City on the cards to round out their 2019/20 Westfield W-League campaign.

It’s not an impossible task, but one that would have seemed a lot less daunting had they not fell to a Glory outfit which has seemed incapable of winning for large parts of the season but has started to string together some decent form as the campaign heads into its final stanza.

As Jake Goodship and the Roar weigh up their chances of climbing back into finals contention, they have every right to look past Victory to the flailing Western Sydney Wanderers and believe they can overtake the Red and Black by the season’s end.

The Wanderers’ form to begin the season was frightening. Their plethora of international stars had them well and truly rolling and the emphatic results were coming thick and fast, but recent departures of gun midfielder Denise O’Sullivan and American spearhead Lynn Williams have gone a long way towards halting the momentum of Dean Heffernan’s side.

Two consecutive losses to Adelaide United and Sydney FC saw Western Sydney bundle out of contention for the Premiers Plate, and if they do not arrest their form slump fast they may find themselves out of Finals Series contention altogether.

Lynn Williams

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Both Victory and Brisbane are within striking distance of the Wanderers with two games to play. The Red and Black play Melbourne City in Round 13 and end the campaign on the road against Perth, who showed their willingness to slay giants in Round 12.

If the Wanderers lose both fixtures, the Roar and Victory could leapfrog Western Sydney into third and fourth, bundling them out of a first ever top-four finish in acrimonious fashion. 

While the Wanderers struggle to fill the void of their departed international stars, their bitter rivals Sydney FC have had no such troubles.

The Sky Blues sit comfortably in second place despite losing Chloe Logarzo and Caitlin Foord to the England’s FA Women’s Super League in recent weeks.

In their 3-0 win over the Wanderers in Round 12, Sydney FC showcased their strength in depth. In the absence of Logarzo and Foord, both Teresa Polias and Veronica Latsko starred, guiding their team to victory and both earning a spot in the Team of the Week for Round 12.

Ante Juric’s side are unlikely to catch City who sit six points ahead of them in first place with two games to play, but the Sky Blues boss will be content with how his side are tracking leading into the Finals Series where they’ll hope to defend their crown as Westfield W-League Champions.

Will van Egmond catch Siemsen in race for the Golden Boot?

All of a sudden, Emily van Egmond is a serious contender to win the Westfield W-League Golden Boot for 2019/20.

The Melbourne City and Westfield Matildas star has been a subtly consistent scorer this season, notching goals in Rounds 1,2,4,9,10 and in her side’s most recent game, a 4-0 win over Melbourne Victory in Round 12.

While van Egmond has scored at a steady, consistent rate, Sydney FC striker Remy Siemsen burst out of the blocks to build a strong lead in the Golden Boot race.

Siemsen scored three braces to race to six goals by Round 5 but has scored just once since. She has a one-goal advantage over van Egmond heading into the final two rounds of the season but considering the form of City’s number 10 there’s every chance Siemsen will be overtaken by the end of the campaign.

READ: Juric says Sydney can keep the pressure on in Premiership race
WESTFIELD MATILDAS: van Egmond keeps up stellar form in City’s Derby triumph

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Have City wrapped up the Premiers Plate? 

It’s a fact which has become almost too hard to ignore: it’s a matter of when, not if, Melbourne City will be crowned Premiers of the 2019/20 Westfield W-League campaign.

Six points ahead of Sydney FC with two games to play, City need just one point from their remaining fixtures to seal the deal, and could do so as soon as Thursday evening when they travel to face the Wanderers.

If Sydney FC win their remaining fixtures and City lose to both the Wanderers and Brisbane in Round 14 – and there’s a goal difference swing of more than seven between the two sides – then the Sky Blues would be named Premiers – but other than that highly unlikely scenario, there’s no other way the Premiers Plate will be headed, apart from out of Melbourne Victory’s hands and into the grasp of their crosstown rivals.

City have not lost a game this season, they have drawn just once in the opening round against Newcastle Jets and have conceded only three goals throughout the campaign. Whichever way you look at it, Rado Vidosic’s side are completely deserving of silverware this season and we could see them lift their first trophy of the season in the coming days.

Melbourne City

Khamis, Garriock celebration a fitting send off for a club stalwart

With Canberra United head coach Heather Garriock heading out the door at the end of the 2019/20 season, the United squad showed the former Westfield Matildas star exactly what they thought of her with a touching and fitting goal celebration in their win over Adelaide United in Round 12.

Leena Khamis had just put United ahead in the second half, and her first port of call in celebration was to bolt to the sideline and embrace Garriock, who was coaching her side for the last time on home soil.

The whole team followed to join Khamis and Garriock in celebration in what was one of the more touching moments of the 2019/20 Westfield W-League campaign. Garriock’s three-season tenure in charge of United may be coming to an end but the response from her current squad shows she will be a figure sorely missed around the halls of Canberra United in the years to come.