All the news as three sides looking for their first win of the season spoke to the media. Sofia Christopherson, Alex Epakis, Lauren Keir, and Kat Smith were involved (8/12/22).
by Ryan Miller-Woods
Canberra United face Wellington Phoenix at McKellar Park on Saturday with both teams looking to get their first win of the season.
Canberra have come off two consecutive draws to open their season whilst Wellington have suffered three defeats so far. A win for either side is crucial, for momentum.
Christopherson, an academy product made her debut for the senior side in their season opener against Perth Glory, a memory that will stay with her. “Yeah, it was a very good feeling, a bit of a surprise in a way but at the same time I’ve worked hard and I think I do deserve it,” she told the media this week.
“Getting on the field at McKellar Park, my hometown, family and friends watching, was a crazy feeling, especially with the last 12 minutes or so, in a big game like that as well Round One, you don’t expect itbut I’m grateful for it, enjoyed it and hopefully, many more to come.”
Now that she has been integrated into the side, the attacker detailed how she feels the team are coming together this season: “Yeah, it’s a very positive environment at the moment, I think the girls get along very well on and off the field and I think it is showing in our games, we’re building and we’re getting stronger every single round, so hopefully this weekend we can go out and show each other, that we are a strong team, we are (Canberra) United.”
Asked what she expects from this weekend’s opposition Wellington Phoenix, Christopherson said: “Hopefully, a good game, you know (its) two strong teams.
!We would like the win, we’ve had two draws now (to open the season against Perth and Brisbane), and it’s time for us to get those full three points, which I think we deserve. So, it should be a good game, a physical game, and hopefully lots of goals to come.”
by Ben Gilby
Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis is in a positive mood ahead of his team’s game with defending champions Melbourne Victory at Macedonia Park on Sunday stating: “We’re in a good frame of mind.”
Despite the Western Australians having only taken two points from a possible nine so far, Epakis believes that the squad just needs a bit of fine-tuning to reach their potential, and he knows exactly what they need to do.
“From a structural point of view and shape…with and without the ball we are where we need to be, it’s just little moments where we can be a bit more clinical. A big focus (in training this week) has been on aggression without the ball and being hungry to win the ball higher up, knowing that if we press aggressively and don’t win it, we’re ready and comfortable to recover back. We want to tidy up that part of our game which is our bread and butter.”
Glory’s opponents in the City of Stirling this weekend have not made the start they would have hoped, only accruing three points out of nine, but the Perth boss is not fooled by those stats and knows his side face a stern test. “You look across the field at the squad they have, they have some really experienced players. They have an experienced coach (Jeff Hopkins) and are a team that have done really well in recent years. We have to respect that.
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re ready and the best version of ourselves. I’m confident, and I’ve said this to the players, if we’re good enough for long enough, we can compete with and beat anyone, regardless of what form and what players the opposition has.”Alex Epakis, Perth Glory head coach.
“Both teams are really going to want to win this game…we are really clear that this is a good opportunity for us to put a performance together. We want to win this for us, and we need to focus on our own performance.”
Epakis outlined that his squad selection will see a bit of a shakeup for Sunday’s match as he revealed: “There will be a few changes, some forced on us, some performance-based. We’re continually assessing that through training.”
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS:
by Ben Gilby
Western Sydney Wanderers defender Lauren Keir emphasised to the media how determined her team are to build on the positives of last week’s display in defeat to cross-city rivals Sydney FC, when they face Adelaide United at Wanderers Football Park on Sunday.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted, but it was a derby and we went into it with fire in our bellies. There are definitely a lot of positives to take away. We definitely improved on set pieces, we created a lot of chances in front of goal. We need to continue to improve on that this week (against Adelaide United).
“Adelaide are a tough side to play against. We want to have a positive performance at home. We were so close last week, and this weekend, coming off two losses, we really want it this week.”
Whilst Western Sydney are one of only two sides without a point so far this season, the former Canberra United defender is certain that will soon change.
“Despite the two performances we’ve had, we are sticking together and keeping each other accountable. We’re backing each other and know we can do more and be better.”
Wanderers head coach Kat Smith sees growth in her team all around as they look to claim their first points of the season against Adelaide United on Sunday.
“Individually we can see the progression of players, but (our) mindset is about collectivity in what we are trying to achieve (as a team).”
Reflecting on last weekend’s defeat to Sydney FC, Smith said: “The result is one thing. We have to look at the performance of the girls. We were competitive all over the park and unlucky towards the end. That’s another positive we can take ahead of this week against Adelaide.”
In terms of what she expects from their South Australian opponents, the Western Sydney boss said: “They are a similar group to Sydney. They are players who have been together for a long time. They have a familiarity in their game plan and we need to disrupt that and put our players in positions where they will be dangerous.”