It was special Sydney. I don’t know what to write. So many emotions. WE FLIPPING WON THE BIG DANCE!!! Good bye the bridesmaid tag, hello pretty shiny Championship silverware.
Full time score of 4 – 2, absolute stellar, stellar goals and completely no notes for me to refer to, meaning something immense happened. It’s not like I planned to forgo my notes taking, it’s normally how I watch games these days. However I wound up on the old Instastories for The Women’s Game, meaning I was purely watching the match, entertained, and taking happy snappy photos and videos. Unknowningly to me at the start of the match, it was absolutely the best way to get through the chaos of the next 90 minutes.
One thing is certain, the insanity on the pitch was on a level beyond that of eating vindaloo for breakfast.
On the plane over to Sydney, bright and early, chai, pastry and delays all had, I considered how the final could potentially play out. I thought the worst. Based on the intense season we’ve had, the potential for a boring final was high. The fear of a stalemate match won only by a dive from Sam Kerr resulting in a penalty (because we know that’s how it would’ve went) was real. The cost of spending another weekend away from home, being exhausted for the new week and flying out to Sydney all for a one nil, soulless game, with my side losing, would’ve destroyed me. But what happened? The absolute opposite!
So first off, I’m at a grand final in Sydney! My home away from home over the summer. Where so many of my football family are (with some ring ins from Melbourne up for the match too). Solely on a personal level from bombing around stadiums watching games all season, and my inability to get to the Cup of Nations games, this was really special.
Before I know it, kick off is upon us. I can’t honestly tell you a chronological happening of the match, but I’m gonna give you my version yeah.
The first goal, Huerta’s belter into the top post, was what set the tempo of the game. Legit. Before the goal, Sydney looked like they could be living a live replay of a huge chunk of their season, and not the kind they would’ve liked. Where they look like scoring, come close ala McCaskill’s early header off the crossbar, but to lose out because they couldn’t score even if a pancake with directions to the goals hit them in the face. However, Huerta changed that narrative to make sure all those rued chances were in the bin for this match. It was killer.
Honestly, the first half flew. Sydney turned up to the party massively from the kick off. Perth clawed their way back in a bit, with the help of a penalty, just for Sydney to have McCaskill pull one out of the hat, seeing Campbell off her line and simply putting a bit of a head to Foord’s cross to lob it over the keepers head.
What surprised me most was the way Perth played. I’d not watched them live this season, and was expecting something different. Too often they weren’t looking to expand the pitch as much as I would’ve expected with a side consisting of the forwards at their disposal. A few times I looked up around to see Campbell hitting the ball out for a goal kick and the pitch was so small and congested where the players were bunched. Meanwhile Sydney looked the complete opposite, seriously capitalising on the space of the field. Perth also looked good when they pressed, it wasn’t often and dwindled to fewer times in the second half, but they were at their most dangerous when they did.
Second half hit, it was McCaskill-ed by Sydney. Things just clicked. Ibini in the first half was special. Huerta seriously killed it and Sydney’s midfield were running a completely different race than Perth’s in the way Kathy Freeman in her prime would by running a completely different race than I ever would around a racing track. The creativity and positivity everyone wished for when Sydney’s roster dropped arrived. It was glorious.
Best part, well there were many, but absolute stellar part then? McCaskill had THE MATCH. She’s been magic all season to watch. One day when she is in the US starting XI and a bunch of fancy trophy best player lists, I’m gonna be able to say I watched her play for my team, in my colours and pick up a champions trophy all in one go. At the start of the match everyone was sold on Kerr or Foord being the game deciders. We were wrong. I was wrong. It was McCaskill. She’s a wizard. She makes me drool.
To go to your sides home grand final, win the first grand final in far too long for a team who has never missed out on the top four and just feel the atmosphere and pure joy of each goal, is beyond. The cherry on the cake. Yeah I feel a bit of a glut, finishing this season with the Championship trophy and getting to sit with the most incredible of people to celebrate with in the media overflow, on top of being in the post match presser, hearing from the coaches and player of the match McCaskill, but gee it’s nice.
Huge condolences to Perth. Their final was last weekend in Melbourne. To back up, with the starting XI all having an extra 30-60 minutes in their legs, on top of the travel, it was always going to be a massive task. They brought brought it to the party, put in an absolute stellar performance. But it wasn’t to the level needed when up against a Sydney side who looked completely primed for this match. Here’s to next time Perth. You guys now have the bridesmaid tag Sydney have so often carried, please let’s see some silverware arrive out West sometime soon hey.
Here’s to the 2018/19 season. One I’ll never forget, etched into my mind, full of hurt and brilliance. There will be some form of wind up on THE DUB that has been this season, but for now, it’s the end of the grand final and I need sleep. So over and out, catch you with the final review of the season at some point when I’ve got my feet back on the ground.