by Ryan Miller-Woods
Ahead of Canberra United’s trip to Queensland to face Brisbane Roar on Saturday, the media heard from players Laura Hughes and Chloe Lincoln.
After their 2-2 draw with Perth Glory to open the A-League Women’s season, Canberra will be wanting to hit the ground running early on in Brisbane and make sure that they can get the three points when it is all said and done.
Laura Hughes opened the media conference by reflecting on last weekend’s draw at home to Perth Glory.
“Yeah, I think we showed promising signs, we were creating lots of chances and unfortunately we couldn’t keep a clean sheet or score as many goals as we wanted.”
In terms of what the side needs to focus on in terms of the Roar, Hughes admitted it’s not just matters on the pitch, but weather conditions that need to be carefully considered.
“I think you know going into any football match, we want to keep a clean sheet, we want to score more goals than them (Brisbane), so I think that’s something that we’ll take into consideration. It’s been pretty cold in Canberra and very hot in Brisbane, so I think that’s something that we’ll have to think about hydrating early and keeping check on our energy levels.”
One of the major things that defined Canberra’s season last time – and indeed that of Saturday’s opponents Brisbane, was the fact that they conceded goals late in matches. Against Perth last weekend, the Capital city side led twice but still only took a point from the game.
“I think obviously we also need to put the goals away and I think in that first half against Perth we could have had three or four goals, which also helps us keep a clean sheet because the other team mentally struggle, you know if they always think they are ahead in the game obviously it’s going to be harder at the back end of the game to keep a clean sheet, so I think keeping that focus at the end of matches, obviously our fitness will keep going up.”
Canberra United goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln offered her own thoughts on her side’s opening game of the season.
“I think all things considered it went really well. I know like Laura (Hughes) said we weren’t able to keep a clean sheet or finish some of the chances that we would have liked to but considering such a short pre-season that we’ve had, four weeks, I think the girls really put it all out there and its promising signs for what’s ahead I feel like.”
When pressed on whether she was concerned that more goals could have been conceded as the team twice blew a lead in the game, the young goalkeeper said: “No, I had faith in the girls.
“I think despite the fact that we were possibly running out of legs, you Njegosh’s (Popovich) planned for that and I think we were trying to play smart football as well, and hopefully, we can utilise that in strategy in Brisbane, where we try that and keep the ball more, sort of build up the field instead of countering the counter-attack and all this transition.
“Hopefully, that can help us get through but you know, this season’s a marathon, not a sprint. So Njegosh’s (Popovich) really emphasising that and we’re going to hit peak form soon like Hughesy (Laura Hughes) said and I’m excited to see what that looks like because that was promising signs.”
In terms of specifics needed to combat the threat of Brisbane Roar this weekend, Lincoln emphasised that it is as much about her own team’s conditioning as it about worrying about what Brisbane can do.
“I think there’s obviously things we need to tidy up from an individual perspective, definitely some things that I know I need to do better.
“Its been a long while since a lot of the girls including myself have been playing at this level, so I think for us that’s kind of getting the nerves out and having our first game to sort of see where we are at.”Chloe Lincoln on Canberra United needing to get up to speed in the A-League Women competition.
“Hopefully now where we know we are at, we can sort of be a bit more safer, take less risk, look to improve those things and hopefully keep clean sheets from now on, fingers crossed, if all goes to plan, so see how we go.”
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS:
Western Sydney Wanderers have reported that defender Clare Hunt has been named the club’s captain for the season.
Hunt, who joined the Wanderers at the start of the last campaign, has been a prominent figure in the Red and Black’s A-League Women squad after a number of breakout performances in 2021/22.
The talented defender went on to be named the Wanderers Medal winner for 2022 and was on the bench in the PFA’s Team of the Season in her first season at the club.
Western Sydney Wanderers head coach Kat Smith was proud to name Hunt captain for the upcoming season. “Clare has been an integral part of our pre-season preparations and we are delighted that she has returned to the club for her second season in the Red and Black,” said Smith.
“We have a number of leaders in our squad and Clare is one that upholds our values both on and off the pitch.”
Wanderers new skipper Hunt spoke of the honour she feels to be awarded the armband. “It is a very proud moment in my career to be named the captain of the Wanderers and a responsibility that I am eager to take on,” the defender said.
“I am a player that leads by example and sets high expectations for myself and my teammates. This drive to work hard, perform consistently and win, is something that I pride myself on and seek to instil within the team. There are a number of leaders within this squad so I feel extremely supported and well-equipped to lead this fantastic club.
“We have put in a lot of work this pre-season to make our members and fans proud of the club and look forward to continuing to have the support of the Western Sydney community behind us.”
The Wanderers side kick-off their campaign this Saturday when they take on the Newcastle Jets in Tamworth after receiving the bye in Round One.
by Ben Gilby
Western United head coach Mark Torcaso told the media today that he expects to have Tyla-Jay Vlajnic available for the first time this weekend when his side travels to face Wellington Phoenix.
“T-J Vlajnic has clearance to play this weekend. There have been complexities…(but) she is ready to go.”
Torcaso has said that all his focus turned to this weekend’s trip to New Zealand to face Wellington Phoenix as soon as the final whistle went on his side’s superb win in their first-ever match against Melbourne Victory.
“We did switch off straight away after the Victory game to focus on Wellington, and we’re hopefully ready for them. We literally moved on from that game straight away. It’s great that we beat the champions though.
“Our focus is to try and get another three points. beating Victory is great. Beating your old employer is good. It was massive for the club, our first game. A massive attendance (2,700).”
In terms of what he expects from the Nix on Saturday, Torcaso highlighted two specific areas. “They have a lot of pace, and are a tricky side. They have the advantage of playing on their home ground which is an advantage for them and the first time we’ve faced that. We need to make sure we’re on our game.”
For Western United, this is the first time that some of their players would have set foot on New Zealand soil, with the additional challenge of getting passports and travel documents sorted ahead of an away match.
“It’s a unique opportunity – some players haven’t experienced it. However, there are experienced players in our squad who can help put. I’m looking forward to it, to be honest. It’s a fantastic stadium and one of the best surfaces in the league.
“It looks like it’s going to be another windy one. Preparation was perfect as we had a windy game last week and a windy training session on Monday!” the United head coach smiled.
In terms of preparations, Torcaso was hugely positive, revealing: “It’s been good. We’ve trained pretty well. We have no additional injuries either. We had three missing last week. T-J is back. The other two – Harriet Withers is out for another week or so and Silver Bell Morris is probably another week away.”
The Western United head coach outlined that he is also managing the load that one of his star signings Chloe Logarzo has in the early stages of her own come back saying: “Chloe wants to play 90, but it is a process we have to follow with her so she follows the goals set with the Matildas (in terms of minutes/loads).”
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Western United reported that Aimee Medwin has become the first Tasmanian to represent them after signing a scholarship contract.
The Hobart local returns to Australia having played in the American college system, first for the University of Mississippi and most recently for Long Beach State University.
“I am really excited to play alongside such an amazingly talented and motivated group of players and coaches at Western United. The club has been great welcoming me so far and I’m very excited to get into games soon. After finishing College I’m really happy to be returning back to Australia to play and be a part of the club.”
The 23-year-old previously represented Australia at Under-16 level and made her Liberty A-League debut with Melbourne City in the 2018/19 season while playing 69 times in NPLW Victoria for South Melbourne.
The signing further strengthens the link between Tasmania and United, with the Club recently announcing A-League matches will return to the state for the third year running.
Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso said Medwin adds to the list of young talent in the squad who will hope to break through in the Liberty A-League this season.
“Aimee has played at a high level already throughout her young career and I’m pleased that she has committed to continuing her development here with us,” he said.
“Having been a junior international and part of an A-League environment already, she comes from a Division One college program where she has really continued to elevate her game.
“Aimee only adds to our strong presence of young talent here and it is great to have a young girl from Hobart join the Club as we prepare to head over there in January.”
Medwin has joined the squad this week after its 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory in the Club’s first ever Liberty A-League match and will take the No.5 jersey.