Brisbane Roar 3–0 Newcastle Jets
By Ben Gilby
In front of a large and vocal crowd at Lions Stadium, the Roar gained the victory that they needed to ensure a home semi-final next weekend.
Brisbane were determined to send off key players Clare Polkinghorne and Emily Gielnik who were off to Sweden with Vittsjö GIK after this game, and they produced a dominant performance to ensure that they got their wish.
The first chance came after just 21 seconds when the Jets’ Tara Andrews got away along the left and cut in. She slipped as she hit an effort goal wards, but Georgina Worth did well to hold it.
Four minutes in and Roar got their first shot away. Kim Carroll played a cross in from the left for Mariel Hecher. The Brazilian born striker didn’t quite connect with her volley attempt and Claire Coehlo held it well in the Jets goal.
The Jets’ promising start continued as they earned a corner a minute later after Rhianna Pollicina found some space down the right and won a corner. She whipped in the flag kick which saw Lauren Allan’s header come crashing back off of the cross bar. Andrews’ followed up led to a scramble which ended with Worth diving on the ball.
The see-saw nature of the opening ten minutes saw Brisbane have the next chance when Tameka Yallop found Isobel Dalton. The Barnsley born, former Nottingham Forest player has been in great form for the Roar this season and her ball in found the head of Gielnik, but Coelho saved.
Another chance came the way of the hosts when Gema Simon shoved Hecher in the back just outside of the box on the right hand side. Dalton’s free kick didn’t concern the Jets defence.
Brisbane were now taking control as the game neared the quarter hour mark. They earned another free-kick on the right hand side when Pollicina fouled Yallop. Dalton’s curling ball in was met by the head of Gielnik who brought a wonderful diving save from Coelho.
Less than sixty seconds later, Coelho was called into action once more. Hecher gained possession on the left hand side of the box and squared to Gielnik. The Matilda got away from Andrews and Taren King before hitting an effort on the turn which Coelho had to palm over the bar.
The Roar’s domination continued. Kaitlyn Torpey played in Yallop down the left with the latter trying to force a shot in from a tight angle on the left which went into the side netting.
With twenty-eight minutes gone, Gielnik found Dalton on the edge of the box and the Yorkshire born defensive midfielder hit an effort narrowly wide of the left hand post. Immediately afterwards, Hecher popped up on the right and squared for Yallop whose effort hit the right hand post and rolled wide.
Jets had a rare opportunity on the half-hour when Rhianna Pollicina got away from Kim Carroll in the midfield and played a ball towards Sunny Franco who was coming in from the right but she couldn’t quite time her run right to connect correctly.
Three minutes later there was a major scramble in the Jets’ six yard box from Jamilla Rankin’s dangerous in swinging corner. Carroll, Torpey and Polkinghorne were all in on Coelho but the Newcastle custodian dived on the ball.
The chances continued to come for the Roar. Five minutes before the half-time whistle, they forced a corner which Hecher took. Coelho palmed it away towards the right, but it quickly came in again towards the back post from Yallop. Gielnik headed back across the box and Torpey couldn’t miss grabbing her first W-League goal. Jets claimed Gielnik was offside, but referee Georgia Ghirardello waved away their protests.
Olivia Chance played a long ball out to Gielnik on the left, but Coelho gathered her effort comfortably.
Just before the break, Polkinghorne released Hecher along the right. She played a quick one-two with Gielnik just inside the box with Hecher’s resulting shot being saved.
Brisbane would be disappointed that their utter dominance had only resulted in a 1-0 lead at the break.
They set about putting that right just two minutes into the re-start when Emily Gielnik scored on her final appearance for the Roar this season. She met Mariel Hecher’s corner with a delightful glancing back header that left Claire Coelho with no chance.
Hecher came close once more as Brisbane continued to turn the screw when her long range power blaster smashed off of the bar.
The Brazilian finally got the goal that her endeavours deserved with ten minutes left when substitute Leticia McKenna’s corner was met by Polkinghorne’s head and Hecher redirected it into the Jets net.
At one stage this season, Brisbane looked red hot favourites to clinch not just top spot but a Grand Final success too. Crucially, they have claimed a home semi-final, but any hopes of progression now must come without two of the brightest stars of their season in Clare Polkinghorne and Emily Gielnik. If the Queenslanders lift the W-League trophy a fortnight today, they will certainly have earned it.
For the Jets, it was the last game of a frustrating season. One which has not seen them earn the results and the ladder position that some of their performances have deserved.
Teams: BRISBANE ROAR: Worth, Heatley, Rankin, Polkinghorne, Carroll, Dalton, Hecher, Chance, Torpey, Gielnik, Yallop. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Crummer, Horsey, Margraf, McKenna.
Scorers: Torpey 41, Gielnik 47, Hecher 81.
NEWCASTLE JETS: Coelho, Tamplin, Simon, King, Jaber, O’Brien, Pollicina, Davis, Andrews, Allan, Franco. Substitutes: Simonsen (GK), Bass, Petratos, Harding, House.
Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.
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Top four sides qualify for the finals at the end of the regular season.
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