Prediction Thursday – Semi-Finals!

Semi-Finals baby!! We’ve made it. Well four teams have. Five other teams across the country are now licking their wounds in a world full of coulda, shoulda, woulda beens. The regular season saw plenty of action, from banger goals in the top corner to crunching tackles to stunning acrobatic goalkeeping saves, a lot has gone on this season.

Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets
Saturday 4.45pm on Fox Sports and live streamed on the World Game
Sydney take on the Jets. After an absolute thriller of a game between the pair a month ago, this game is going to be one for the spectators. Fans hold onto your seat because it’ll be a bumpy ride, and if you have heart conditions maybe just tune in for the final result because if you’re a Sydney or Jets supporter this could be a tough one.

Sydney FC|| Sydney will be looking to take on their current form into this game, having just thrashed cross town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers 4 – 1 last weekend. Every season of the W-League so far has seen Sydney FC make it into the top 4. Last year their late season slump accumulated in a dismal defeat at the hands of Perth Glory in the semi-finals. Will the clubs experience and history help Sydney seal a spot into next weekend’s final? Or will they replicate last year’s performance and not make the cut? (Please, please don’t replicate last year’s performance).

Newcastle Jets|| After last week’s lesson from Melbourne, where the Jet’s lost 3-0, they will want to demonstrate themselves as worthy of a spot in the finals. In the ten years of the W-League, this club have only one prior appearance in the semi-final way back in the first season of the league. Will this opportunity of a semi-final bring out the best in the side to book a spot in the grand final? Or will inexperience haunt them and stop them in their tracks?

Key Battle
Teresa Polias v Emily Van Egmond
Both these players are the engine room for their teams. With Polias provides that shield in front of the Sydney FC defence, while Van Egmond pulls the strings for the Jet’s attack. In her 100th game Polias is going to need to use all of her experience in an effort to shut down Van Egmond. The winner of this battle will have a massive impact on the game. If Van Egmond is not contained, the Sydney FC defence is going to have a headache dealing with her balls around the box. If Polias comes out on top, the Jet’s ability to go forward will come to a halt and the Sydney midfield will be able to press on to their advantage.

Prediction: Sydney FC 3 – 2 Newcastle Jets (With a late goal winner by Lisa De Vanna, I’ve called it here first guys)

 

Brisbane Roar v Melbourne City
Sunday 11th February 4.00pm on Fox Sports and SBS Viceland
Let me tell you a little story. The last time these two sides met in a knockout stage was two years ago. I was on a boat, arriving into Melbourne on the good old Spirit of Tasmania after my day sailing across the Bass Strait. Thanking the footy Gods, the game was on one of the tele’s on the Spirit of Tasmania. As I don’t go for either of these sides, and had already arranged to watch whoever Sydney was taking on in the other final that was going on, I thought it would be ok to watch this game in during an already stressful time of travelling across seas and plenty of land. Boy was I wrong. The game between these two back in 2015 was STRESSFUL TO THE T. Legit, Brisbane held onto dear life. City at this point had NEVER lost a game (they were only introduced to the competition that season). At one point I was convinced Brisbane were going to win. I remember, the game was heading into extra time and then the announcement of the Spirit of Tasmania occurred “Time to get to your vehicles”. Normally I’m the first one to get there. This time, I almost set a mutiny and was close to refusing to leave my spot in front of the tv. I did move, but it was only because I accessed a radio stream on my phone. In the end though, I was left banging the wheel of my car in frustration because somehow City magically found a way to win the game.

So what do I want for this final? Anything less stressful than 2015 I will take. Also if Brisbane can beat City, giving them their first finals lost ever, that would be flaming brilliant too.

Brisbane Roar|| They have been the go steady all season. A philosophy of who cares what other teams are doing, we’ll just keep hacking away and get results, has seen the team finish on top of the table and carrying some good form into this game. When tested Brisbane on occasion this season, they have demonstrated a tenacity to hold on and press in the last 10-15 minutes, where they have regularly got the break through to seal a win (just look at their game against Adelaide United recently). After last season seeing their worst performance since the inception of the league, the Roar have fought back and look a determined outfit. But can they stop a City side who have yet to lose a finals game?

Melbourne City|| Somehow they’ve snuck into the finals. All season they have been unpredictable. At times they look unstoppable and could beat anyone in the world, such as last week against Newcastle where they were just too good. Other times they have looked underwhelming at best, demonstrated by losing in the derby against second-last Melbourne Victory. What’s going for City? They’ve never lost a semi (or grand) final. Their team is full of winners, who won’t take getting knocked out of the semi-final lightly. Will the unstoppable City side turn up this week? Or will their performances replicate that of their underwhelming season?

Key battle
Clare Polkinghorne v Jodie Taylor
Presuming Jodie Taylor gets the nod at number 9, and a spot in the starting 11, the battle between her and Brisbane Centre Back, Clare Polkinghorne, will be an epic of drool worthy proportions. Polkinghorne has been on fire this year and has proved CB’s get better with age after 10 seasons in the W-League it would be hard to argue against this one being her best. Meanwhile Taylor is your out and out centre forward who will be happily running at the Brisbane defence all day long. Both players are experienced internationals for their country and spectators will likely see them use every bit of that experience in their attempt to get the better of the other. So will Taylor get the better of Polkinghorne and cause havoc for the defence? Or will Polkinghorne stop Taylor in her tracks.

Prediction: Brisbane Roar 2 – 0 Melbourne City (Two second half goals, with Tameka Butt getting her 50th in the W-League)

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