Round one, what a ride hey. There were some stand outs, scrappy matches and stunning sneaky results. Round two, some of the shine from the start of the season is dulled and the necessity to have some points on the board intensifies. Given the short season, not sitting on zero points is essential.
Here’s a punt at what round two could bring us.
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory
Last season’s clash between the titans in Queensland was an absolute baller. End to end, nitty gritty, goals and flying challenges all resembling something delicious in the form of a rocky road, you don’t know what’s in the next bite but it’s all delicious. If the two can rustle up something similar this early in the season, this is a scintillating match up.
The Roar will be keen to set their campaign off with a flier. While there’s some changes in the offseason, the principal of bringing home players provides a great sense of familiarity to the squad. On the other foot, Victory looked fresh last weekend, a change to the core of their starting eleven faced teething problems.
If Brisbane were taking notes from the last match, they would have circled the game plan to isolate Natasha Dowie. This is where the role of Annalie Longo will be vital in providing that link from Victory’s midfield to the front line.
While for Brisbane, it’s their midfield that looks the most impressive. The likes of Celeste Boureille, Katrina Gorry and young Hollie Palmer with Tameka Yallop likely working a false nine or number ten role, it’s to drool at. Victory will either need to find some answers in the middle of the park, or Roar fail to click in the way they have seasons past.
Prediction: Brisbane Roar 3 – 1 Melbourne Victory
Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets
This game has heart stopper written all over it. Commitment to winning the fifty fifty balls was the ethos for both clubs in the opening round. If you’re looking for clean football, maybe tune into a different match, because this will be like trying to eat hummus and pita bread with your hands.
The Wanderers are looking special with that little bit extra which the Courage element brings. Kristen Hamilton on the ball was pure magic, add in the likes of Lynn Williams and Denise O’Sullivan and it could be frightening. This, and the difficulty of beating Abby Smith in goal will be a headache the Jets will need to find some panadol for.
One area the Wanderers will be looking to remain clean is their passing around the defence. The Jets are more than capable of springing a quick counter off the back of a loose ball, and shoot with the same high frequency I search for food in my empty fridge.
Prediction: Western Sydney Wanderers 2 – 1 Newcastle Jets
Adelaide United v Sydney FC
It’s back to back Sydney opponents to open the campaign for Adelaide, who host the team in Sky Blue. Impressively, these are the two teams in the competition who probably know best their system and game plan. Both clubs bring a strong element of consistency in their line ups, much like coriander does in a curry, it just permeates.
Travelling to Adelaide is never a give-me, despite Sydney’s seemingly starting where they left off last season. Adelaide know how to maintain their structure, and will be hard to break down. With the way Sydney’s attack can stretch defences from one side to the other, Adelaide will need every ounce of discipline they can muster.
An area of interest will be how deep Sydney hold their defensive line. Adelaide’s attack lead by Mary Fowler proposes a contrasting challenge to that of Dowie’s Victory. The potential return of Alanah Kennedy will likely see Sydney return to a higher line of last season.
Prediction: Adelaide United 0 – 1 Sydney FC
Canberra United v Melbourne City
Do opposites attract in the way the smell of a freshly baked cake draws people in. Melbourne City once again are Pass FC. Afraid to shift them forward, many passes in the final third will look to draw Canberra to force a turnover higher up the park. While Canberra won’t look to shift it around the back, instead they’ll pump it forward quickly.
With Canberra’s defence relatively unchallenged last round, how they stack up against the likes of Claire Emslie and a string pulling Emily van Egmond in the middle will really determine their weight in gold. For City, they’ll be hoping for no repeat of last weekend where the Jets capitalised on a patient City with direct play and attempts on goal.
Canberra won’t have the rule of the roost as they did against Perth. Will they be able to adapt in the same way hot chips adapts to a delicious life when served with gravy? Or will City break down a largely inexperienced defence with silky ease?
Prediction: Canberra United 4 – 2 Melbourne City