Above: Melbourne City’s Holly McNamara pictured whilst at the Asia Cup with Australia. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Football Australia.
With tomorrow’s huge A-League Women match between Melbourne City and Sydney FC, Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from City striker Holly McNamara and head coach Rado Vidosic (19/2/22).
Melbourne City’s teenage Matildas star Holly McNamara spoke of how much she is looking forward to Sunday’s huge game with Sydney FC after missing out on their previous encounter last month.
“I was away at the Asia Cup last time we played them, so it’s exciting. After their 2-2 draw with Victory (on Wednesday), I think we can really do well against them. If we can play our game, we are one of the best in the league on our day. We know they have big players, need to focus on ourselves, play our game and we can do well.”
City go into the game without key players Rebekah Stott and Hannah Wilkinson who are on international duty, but McNamara is confident that the team have more than enough depth to worry Sydney.
“They are big losses, but we have strength and depth in our squad to cover that and bring people in. (Rhianna) Pollicina has scored five goals, had lots of assists but is underrated doing a lot of work that no-one sees. She’s having a great season.”
Asked about how she assesses her first A-League Women campaign with City, the teenager beamed: “I’m just having fun. It’s so much fun playing for City. Playing with players like (Rhianna) Pollicina and Wilkinson is great. Knowing that Rado (Vidosic, head coach) is backing me too is great.
McNamara knows how well she has progressed over the last four months. “At the start of the season I was less composed and I was missing chances, now I’ve grown and got confidence. Rado has given me confidence to go out there and just have fun.”
Looking ahead for the remaining weeks of the campaign, the 19-year-old striker said: “We’re still pushing hard to make Finals. We need to play our game because one slip-up could ruin everything. We really want a home Final. Everyone is buzzing and keen to play. Getting to those Finals makes everyone so keen to play.”
Melbourne City head coach Rado Vidosic knows that his team has a lot to prove when they take on Sydney after their 3-0 defeat to the table toppers last month, but he is confident that things will be different this time.
“This will be Sydney’s third game in a week, so we can expect that maybe they will be a bit tired. We must stay in the game. The longer we can stay in the game, the more chances you get.
“We’re not going to change anything in our approach – just maybe work harder, but that’s it. If we can score the first goal, that would be big. I don’t think they’ve gone 1-0 down in a game yet. We will need to defend though, but you never know. Victory showed on Wednesday that you will get your chances.”
Vidosic explained what he wants to see from his team on Sunday. “Before every game, we go in to win. We have to be realistic though. They have really been smashing teams for 10, 11 games now. They were even dominant against Victory the other night. We need to stay in the game for as long as we can to exploit their weaknesses.
“The first time we played them, they finished us off before we had a chance to stay in the game. Things should be more even this time, even though we are missing a few players. We have worked on our culture and our environment. Regardless of how we go against Sydney FC on Sunday, this season has been successful.
“Some people have been saying that we are clearly the best two teams in the league, but that is not true. Adelaide United haven’t played Sydney yet! For us to play Sydney so close to Finals is important for us. It’s in our hands, although if they win on Sunday they will probably clinch the title. It gives us insight on how to play them in the Finals. If you want to win the Grand Final, you will have to play them again.”
Focusing on Holly McNamara, who wasn’t available the last time City played Sydney due to Asia Cup duty, Vidosic observed. “It’s not like she hasn’t been noticed, so it’s not going to be a surprise for them seeing her. We need speed upfront and that is the key. Especially late in the game is fatigue kicks in for them. Holly is their problem so lets see how they deal with her. We’re going to use her smartly. She has the x-factor for all parts of the game.”
More widely, City’s head coach spoke of his pride in how the season has gone. “It’s been great. A lot of the players hadn’t played (due to COVID-related NPL cancellations). The enjoyment has been high and for me to see that as a coach is wonderful.”
On the availability front, Rebekah Stott and Hannah Wilkinson are both on international duty with New Zealand at the SheBelieves Cup. Vidosic also revealed that there may be some further changes.
“There were a few niggling injuries after the Perth game. This meant training was a bit disjointed earlier in the week. Stotty has been inspirational and Wilkie has been a great scorer. It is hard to replace them, but it opens up the door for younger players and maybe youth will shine on the weekend.”