Ring the bells, ring the sirens, it’s time for the semi finals. It’s going to be an absolutely HUGE. It’s levels isn’t one you can contain in a fridge. It’s the type of big where if you’re not gonna look at it now you’ll have to put it into the double chest freezer out the back. But you know it’s not going to make it there because the moment everyone lays eyes on that bad boy, they’re going to want a piece of it. I’m so excited. Yeah I love the regular season, but semi finals have been the regular season on steroids. Considering this regular season has been one on steroids (purely in the metaphorical, what the heck is going to happen next sense) then yeah, Sunday AKA Semi final day, is going to be next planet. Like next planet level you just discovered the moon is indeed made out of cheese levels.
Let’s get to it.
MELBOURNE VICTORY V PERTH GLORY
The big dance, as Kat Smith has put it on The Women’s Game podcast. The Melbourne assistant coach didn’t leak any of Victory’s secrets, I’m slightly disappointed, but only because I reckon she would’ve told us two things. Clearly Victory’s success this season is based on all the players wearing rainbow socks under their regulation ones, and providing a sacrifice of KFC to the footy gods before each match. Perth better get on that KFC wagon ASAP for a spot in the finals, because clearly their Big Mac sacrifices aren’t up to scratch, having succumbed twice to the Premiership winners this season.
On a slightly serious note. The way Melbourne tore apart Perth in the first half surely has to be fresh in the western sides mind. So say Perth wanted revenge… well it would be served up on a silver platter right now for them. Only a little over a week after losing, there is no better time to get one back. And what better than with the promise of a grand final afterwards? For Perth to do this they will need a bunch of things to go their way. But the key will be to play to their strengths, and find the back of the net. Up top, we’ve got to see more than a hit and hope Kerr or Hill can produce some magic. Both forwards appear to be good working the flanks and inside the box to put away chances created from the wide areas. Perth will need to use their width much more, Victory’s fullbacks love an adventure forward, a quick ball to the flank and players in the centre in support for the ball into the area, that’s where Perth should find their chances. Why do this? Because Johnson and Alleway have Kerr and Hills number if it’s a simple game of pumping the ball high. The duo drop off quickly, won’t allow the turn and are just quality at dealing with forwards.
Meanwhile Melbourne are coming in hot. Yeah they drew against Canberra, but any side who have had the turn around Victory have had in recent years must be riding a super high at this moment and be backing themselves to go all the way. They’ve already shown themselves capable of dealing with Perth. Nullifying their threats up front, allowing their midfield to do the talking. With Nairn doing some absolutely breathtaking things in the middle of the park, pulling the strings, Victory have the creativity to really cause problems for Perth. Stanton on her game might be able to contain Nairn. But then look to other places across the park, and Weatherholt is capable of producing the goods, along with Mastrantonio or Maher in the centre and the midfield is just vibing on a different channel to Perth’s.
So who’s going to win? I’d love to back Perth to do something magical, however Melbourne’s midfield is pinging and a grand final this season without Victory in it would feel odd. Also I just really want it so I can do a sneaky trip to Melbourne for the Grand Final hey.
Prediction: Repeat. Melbourne Victory 2 – 1 Perth Glory
BRISBANE ROAR V SYDNEY FC
If there is any semi final that leave me feeling anxious it’s Sydney FC meeting Brisbane Roar. Yup, you can pull out the statistics from this season. Sydney have won both games against the Roar this season, so surely a repeat performance and they are through yeah? Well. How I see it. Roar have a sore ego from losing both matches. The match is right in front of their noisey lot. Add on to win the matches against Brisbane, Sydney found other planet levels in the right moments, and this matchup is far from straight forward. I’m scared (maybe). I would’ rather be up against either of the Melbourne sides, of who Sydney haven’t defeated this season, than going to Brisbane to battle this one out for a spot in the final.
The match yeah. Ok so the match, it’s at Brisbane so I’m going to expect them to want to play with the ball at their feet and by holding onto possession. At least from a Sydney perspective, this would play right into their hands. The threat Roar hold is having both Ubogagu and Raso running menace down the flanks. That’s Sydney’s weak point right now. Sydney’s full backs get caught too high, or simply out ran, there will be space to expose or fouls to be found. Brisbane have the personnel in Pickett to be deadly from a dead ball, plus tall timber in Polkinghorne and McCormick to get heads on to high balls off free kicks. So in my book, for Roar to expose Sydney, it will be down the flanks.
For both teams, their centre backs are the heartbeat of the sides. With their ability to hold good lines, both exceedingly clever and adaptable, add on being better than rocky road in being rock solid one on one situations, and both sides will require their centre backs to be switched on here. Oh and did I mention both sides have centre backs capable of producing the most gorgeous defender runs that I am literally drooling onto my keyboard right now just thinking about it. I just love both sets of centre backs, whether Sydney maintain Green in the centre with Kennedy, or put Ralston back in, happy days in my book. McCormick back for Brisbane, with Polks? Mate. Can’t wait.
How Sydney are going to want to win this game is to soak up the pressure Roar is going to throw at them, and then like wringing out a sponge, at the right moment Sydney will attack. Sydney have the clever players who will be two steps faster than most others on the park, think how many steps a thieving dog is to getting a birthday cake, that’s the level of the likes of McCaskill and Foord aided by Caloprico who will release them at the opportune times. The pace of Sydney’s front three, whatever the combination, plus the lethal form Foord has been in for the back end of the season in front of goal, is what is going to put Sydney over the edge. JUST.
Honestly, I can totally see this being like how my dog Charlie stole cakes. My mum tells me, my childhood dog, a dalmation, stole three birthday cakes in a row. All three were a result of momentary lapse in concentration of guarding the cake, and each time Charlie capitalised and ate that delicious cake. Hopefully things come in threes, because this could be an instance of Sydney capitalising again on the rare lapse of Roar’s concentration and ability to get numbers back, to out pace them and score some delicious cake.
Prediction: Brisbane Roar 2 – 3 Sydney FC
BRING ON A MELBOURNE V SYDNEY FC FINAL.