Sydney's women sum up their season
After an absence of several years top-flight women’s football made a return in Australia this-season in the form of the inaugural Westfield W-League, and after enduring an up and down campaign Sydney FC recovered from a mid-season slump to fall just a penalty-shot short of a place in the Grand Final.
After an absence of several years top-flight women-s football made a return in Australia this-season in the form of the inaugural Westfield W-League, and after enduring an up and down campaign Sydney FC recovered from a mid-season slump to fall just a penalty-shot short of a place in the Grand Final.
“It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride because we started off well with some good wins, some poor losses, some great performances, some injuries and then that whole rollercoaster was exaggerated in the final,” assessed Coach Alen Stajcic.
After starting as title favourites the Sky Blue women finished in fourth position following the ten-game regular season. While there were plenty of positives for Sydney FC, including the competition-s Golden Boot award for prolific striker, Leena Khamis, the team fell just short of its own expectations, going out in a thrilling semi-final penalty shoot-out against the eventual champions.
“We were fairly disappointed with the result because we made it our job to win the competition and make the Grand Final, so to lose the way we did was absolutely gut-wrenching,” explained Stajcic.
“We thought we played well (against Queensland), we fought to the death and we-re all really proud of the way the players performed that day.”
Sydney Captain, Heather Garriock had the misfortune of spending most of the season battling a rare hip injury which kept her watching her team-mates from the sidelines. The Matilda-s midfielder now has her sights set on a stint in America playing with the Chicago Red Stars, but she-s already thinking about her next season with the Sky Blues.
“It was disappointing and pretty frustrating because I know we had a really good chance to win that one, and just watching from the bench like I-ve had to has been one of the lowest points in my career,” said Garriock.
“Even though I didn-t get a chance to honour my role of being Captain at Sydney for as long as I would-ve like to - I was so proud and I look forward to it getting better for next season,” she said.
Garriock-s regular replacement as Sydney skipper, defender Lisa Gilbert said she was thrilled to be a part of the first ever Westfield W-League.
“We can only get bigger from where we are and we seemed to get some really good ratings on ABC coverage so I think we can only move forward,” said Gilbert.
The competition was not just about giving the country-s experienced female footballers a place to play, but also served to unearth a wealth of young talent, such as Sydney-s Servet Uzunlar.
“It was great because it put women-s football out there more so and we even got some crowds, and next season should definitely be more interesting,” explained the excited the midfielder.
“It was such a big success because there was a demand for women-s football and with plans already being scheduled for this year-s season - we do need to prepare early so we can be even better,” added an enthusiastic Stajcic.
The Sky Blues- camp has already begun gearing up for version two and is confident it can deliver an even stronger showing in an improved competition next season.
Preparations for the follow-up season are already well underway with the Westfield W-League scheduled to return to the National sporting calendar later this year.