Ryan Miller-Woods on Canberra United’s media conference with Michelle Heyman and Kennedy Faulknor, plus all the details on Perth Glory‘s new injury replacement signing which sees a hometown hero return (14/12/22).
A more ruthless attack and keeping the defence watertight: Canberra United’s priorities for Perth
In Canberra United’s first three games of the season, their attack has been quite impressive to watch having had 63 shots already this season.
Speaking to the media today, the club’s all-time A-League Women record goalscorer Michelle Heyman reflected on how her team’s attack has been coming together so far this season.
“It’s been the most creative team that I’ve been a part of in a long time, so for myself personally, it’s just a lot of fun when I get out there, just to be able to have combination play in the final third, we’re creating so many chances but now we’re starting to finally put them away and it’s something we need to continue to improve on within our side because it’s still lacking.
“I think we still had 22 shots (against Wellington) on the weekend and only to score three goals is not the stat I like to see, so I’m just hoping we can continue to grow every single game.”
With Canberra’s convincing win against Wellington Phoenix and the fact that they have been able to score in all of their matches so far this season, the striker spoke about the confidence that the capital city side has from an attacking perspective.
“There’s multiple players scoring each week and different players all the time, so it’s just going to help boost the confidence in that final third knowing that anyone can take that shot and anyone can score the goals this season, so for the other teams it’s kind of scary, so for us, we’ve got a lot of confidence now in that final third, so it’s going to be fun playing Perth.”
With one of the typical quirks of the A-League Women calendar, Canberra will be meeting Perth for the second time this season with only five rounds of matches played. Their first encounter was on the season’s opening day at McKellar Park where Canberra twice led, but were pegged back to 2-2.
Whilst Canberra have been creating a large number of chances all season, converting has been an issue. Heyman underlined the importance of this situation changing.
“It is something that we’ve improved on last game (against Wellington), so hopefully, we can continue with that and just start putting them into the back of the net. I think our defence has improved, I think the way that we hold ourselves as a team, our structure in the build-up is really impressive, so we’ve done all those big things, so it’s now just up to the forwards to start knocking them in.”
Also facing the media today at was Canberra United’s Kennedy Faulknor. After two consecutive draws to open Canberra’s season, they were finally able to get that first win against Wellington. Something that Faulknor was delighted to achieve.
“It was a great team win, great team effort. I’m proud of all of us for finally getting it done, I think each game we’ve grown as a team and so I think that was just a statement game and we’re ready to keep it going.”
As well as achieving a first win against Wellington, the capital city club also kept their maiden clean sheet of the campaign. This is a trend that Faulknor hopes will continue in Perth, against a team who have multiple threats up front.
“I said before the game (against Wellington), ‘I’m like guys, this game let’s get a shutout, let’s get our clean sheet’. I feel like we deserve it, we communicated a lot, seen areas of growth and we really wanted to work on that, this game and just get that done.
“Playing Perth from our first game to now (in Round Five), I’ve seen a lot of improvements with this team, and being that we’ve already played them, we kind of know what to expect, they have speed up top, (they are a) transitional team, so I felt like defensively we’ve grown a lot since that game and so I felt like we’ll be ready for them.”
Hometown hero’s return is a big boost for Perth
Perth Glory today announced that local born defender Isabella Foletta has joined the club on an injury-replacement contract for the remainder of the 2022/23 season.
The versatile player returns to Perth for whom she previously made five appearances over the course of the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.
Now 22, Foletta has also represented Brisbane Roar and Canberra United and plied her trade in Europe with Italian side Lazio, where fellow Western Australian and Glory team mate Ella Mastrantonio also played.
She is thrilled to be returning to the club where her professional career began. “I’m really grateful and excited to be back playing in purple for a club I have been supporting ever since I was a little girl,” she said.
“I’m ready to get out on the park and make my mark in the A-League with my hometown club. This team has so much potential and definitely has the ability to go all the way and that makes me excited to be a part of it. Alex Epakis [Head Coach], the staff and all the girls have been nothing but welcoming.”
Epakis believes that the new recruit is a great pick-up for the club. “It is great to have Izzy return to her hometown club and bring with her the experience from playing overseas and for other ALW clubs in recent seasons,” he said.
“She has been training with the team for a few weeks now and I have been really impressed with her strong character and work ethic. On the field, she brings a defensive skill-set and versatility across several positions which will add to our depth and options.
“She is very happy to be back home and eager to help the team continue to evolve and progress. I am very excited to work closely with her and prepare her to be ready to contribute to the team over the coming weeks.”