Ryan Miller-Woods reports on Melbourne Victory and Canberra United’s media conferences, plus news from Sydney FC about an exciting opportunity for girls in New South Wales later this year (25/1/23).
Ahead of his side’s match tomorrow against Sydney FC in the ‘Big Blue’, Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins told the media that he believes that Alex Chidiac needs more protection from referees.
Chidiac is the most fouled player in the A-League Women this season, and on being asked whether she is getting enough protection (from referees), Hopkins said: “Definitely not, no. Some weeks she is, other weeks she isn’t.
“I just hope that we get a strong enough referee… if they step over the mark, they (need to) get punished for it.”
Tomorrow’s match against Sydney FC could be very crucial towards either side’s season, and Hopkins was asked about what the mood in the team is like ahead of such a big occasion.
“These are the games that as a footballer you want to play and you’re disappointed when you don’t get to play and I can sense the excitement, there is a real buzz around the players, it’s a doubleheader, AAMI Park. Big, big day, I think by the end of our game we could have a fair ole’ crowd in there getting behind us.
“Obviously as well, it’s us versus Sydney and there’s a lot of feeling between us, and this team, not kind of shying away from that. We’re still a little bit sore about the first game (against Sydney this season in Round 2) up in Sydney and we’re just hoping to put things right.”
In being asked about his thoughts on the current form of Sydney FC, Hopkins said: “I think (in) their last game (they) were beaten at Western (United) but they’ve been as usual very consistent. It’s quite clear where their strengths are, similar to last year, they’re a very similar team doing similar things and doing it really well.
Canberra United will be going into their upcoming match on Saturday against top-of-ladder Western United with a significant point to prove after their 5-0 defeat at Wellington Phoenix last Sunday.
United’s Kennedy Faulknor, who made her return from injury in the match reflected on the causes of the heavy loss when see spoke to the media today saying: “I think Wellington just showed up on the day and they were hungry for their first win and I think simply we got outplayed but a lot to grow from.
“Hopefully, we’re better this week against (Western) United ’cause that’s going to be another big game for us.”
Canberra’s opponents Western United have been arguably the best team so far this season with eight wins and just one defeat in nine matches with the side looking strong all-round, especially with team cohesion. However, Mark Torcaso’s side go into the game without Jessica McDonald who has returned to the USA.
In terms of what she expects from their opponents this weekend, Faulknor said: “I’m expecting them to be a good team. I know they have a lot of good players, they’ve done well throughout their season, it’s going to be a tough game so we just have to show up and prove to everyone that we are good in this league, so I think we’ll do that and put up a fight.”
Canberra United defender Holly Murray told the media today that she backs her team to hit back from last weekend’s disappointing result in Wellington when they return to action against leaders Western United.
“It was a tough game…Wellington came out stronger and we’ve got to have those losses to really appreciate our wins and just work really hard this week and come out stronger next week.”
On whether the match against Wellington has made both Murray and Canberra hungrier for the match against the ladder leaders Western United, she said: “Definitely! We’ve never played Western (United) before and they’re a new team, they’re doing really well so this week it’s just focusing on ourselves. I think it has made us more hungry but we’ll just see what happens.”
For Murray, this season has been both her first in the A-League Women and for Canberra United after coming from NPLW Victoria side South Melbourne. Having made three appearances from the bench so far for the capital city side, Murray reviewed her debut season to date by saying: “It’s been really cool!
“Just getting any bit of experience is a really nice feeling. If I get 10 minutes or five minutes just anything, it’s really helping me get experience, and playing near players like Brushy (Ellie Brush) and Michelle (Heyman) definitely shows how crazy it is and I’m really enjoying it.”
Sydney FC Announce Junior Girls Festival
Sydney FC will celebrate the arrival of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia by hosting an exclusive Female Football Festival for junior girls in New South Wales.
The inaugural event is one of the first of its kind and will take place in the April/Easter school holidays and be open to junior girls teams from all over New South Wales.
Girls teams of all ages and abilities from under eight to under 15 are invited to enter the tournament which will be hosted in Kiama and enjoy a two-day seven-a-side festival away from home.
Sydney FC’s Matildas’ stars Cortnee Vine and Mackenzie Hawkesby believe it is a fantastic way for young girls to get involved and celebrate the upcoming World Cup in Australia.
“It’s a really great opportunity for young girls to enjoy playing football socialize, and enjoy spending time together as a team,” said Vine.
“Women’s and girl’s football is growing on a huge scale and this will only encourage more participation and more young girls to get involved and have fun playing ahead of the World Cup.”
Sydney FC players will also be on hand at the tournament to give their support and encouragement.
“There were no opportunities like this for me when I was growing up as a young girl playing football, whereas there were always festivals for boys,” said Hawkesby.
“This is a really exciting development for girls of all ages and skill levels and I’m sure those who come during the holidays will love every minute of it.”
The 7-a-side competition will be held at Kiama Sporting Complex over two days (13th-14th April) with teams playing a minimum of six games, in a round-robin format. Each team will need a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 players in their squad.
Participants will receive a Sydney FC boot bag, posters, an A-League Women’s Liberty Season Pass for Season 2023/24, trophies for the winning teams, plus other giveaways.
Clubs are encouraged to register and plan their trip to Kiama as early as possible.
For more information click here