Ryan Miller-Woods reports on Canberra United’s media conference with A-League Women all-time top scorer Michelle Heyman and Emily Roach with both players positive about their team’s second half to the season (19/1/23).
Above: Michelle Heyman speaking to the media today. Image: Canberra United.
Canberra United will be looking to win their third match in a row to further boost their finals ambitions on Sunday at Wellington Phoenix.
One of the feel-good stories of this A-League Women’s season has been the triumphant return of Nicki Flannery who has returned after missing the entirety of the last campaign due to an ACL injury.
This season, she has been one of Canberra’s best players. Against Newcastle Jets last time out, Flannery produced arguably her best performance so far this season with two assists in the first half aiding her team’s comprehensive win against the Jets.
Canberra captain and all-time leading goalscorer in the A-League Women Michelle Heyman revealed her joy at seeing her strike partner come back from all those adversities.
“It’s been awesome, she’s one of my best friends. To see her just playing with confidence, it’s everything that I want for her. I think coming off a knee injury like did, she’s built confidence within her game and she tells herself before every game certain things that she wants to improve on and she’s going out there and she’s doing it and that’s big, that’s a mental game and I think she’s just overcoming all the fears and is starting to feel more like herself.”
Focusing specifically on Canberra’s upcoming match against Wellington, Heyman observed: “They’ve got a pretty solid pressing team, they press really well, they’re all young so they can run for days. So I think we’ve just got to make sure we’re aware of that and we’ve got to try and beat that press, so that’s being calm on the ball, making sure we move it and try and step them out of positions.
“They did really well against us (when the two sides met previously in round four), we were just lucky to finish (our chances), so I think that’s something that’s improved in our game, we’re finally starting to score goals, so we’ve got to continue to be ruthless and first 15 minutes come out firing and scare them.”
Emily Roach goes into Sunday’s game at Wellington Phoenix looking to add to her two appearances off of the bench.
The pre-season signing from NPLW Victoria side Heidelberg United has featured in her side’s last two games against Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets, feels she can definitely add to her team’s offensive opportunities.
“I think more like an attacking (number) 10 role, just coming in and kinda helping the team in the last minutes is handy whenever (I get minutes),” she said.
With Canberra United making their first-ever trip outside of Australia to play an A-League Women’s game, Roach outlined what she expects from the New Zealanders: “I feel they’ll be buzzing cause they do play really well in (their) home field cause they’ve got a good crowd but like Michelle (Heyman) said they can run for days cause they’re all pretty young (Wellington Phoenix’s average age is 21.70 years) but we’re (as a squad) pretty fit, so it should be a pretty good match up.”
For Canberra, with three wins on the bounce, it feels like they are finally finding their feet this season. Roach believes the team are ready for a major assault on the top four in the second half of the season: “Definitely! I think having two wins, back-to-back, is really shown everyone what we can do and what’s coming this season, so it’s (a) really exciting time.”