Impetus’ Ryan Miller-Woods, Ben Gilby, and Denise Duffy report on three media conferences as attention begins to turn to this weekend’s A-League Women matches (8/2/23).
Canberra United will be looking to continue from where they left off last round against Newcastle Jets when they face Sydney FC this weekend.
Speaking to the media today, midfielder Laura Hughes gave some insight into what life has been like in the camp recently as United ended a run of two consecutive 5-0 defeats with that win over the Jets.
“It has been a tough couple of weeks. I think it not only propels us up the (A-League Women) ladder and keeps our finals hopes alive but it also helps our team morale and everyone feels good after three points.”
Canberra know that, with the gap between them ane fourth-placed Melbourne Victory standing at seven points, they cannot drop any points ahead of a game that Hughes admits will be significantly more challenging for them.
“It’s a bigger step against Sydney FC, they’re a very good team but I think if we have a good training week this week, look after our bodies, recover, I don’t see why we can’t get those three points.”
Also speaking to the media today was fellow Canberra United midfielder Hayley Taylor-Young, who gave further insight into life at the club as they bounced back from two heavy losses.
“We’ve been quite positive the past few weeks but getting the three points on the weekend will be able to boost our confidence.”
Taylor-Young emphasised the additional challenge that Sydney FC will pose to her team this weekend, but believes they are capable of getting a result.
“They’ve been together for so long and they know each other, they know how they play, they’re just very quick and very skilful and I think we (Canberra) just need to get on top of things, stay together and just keep communicating to each other.”
When asked what a win against a team such as Sydney FC would do for confidence within the Canberra side going into the back end of the A-League Women’s season, Taylor-Young said: “It would be huge!
“From now we just need to keep going up, try and get as many wins as we can but against a team like that (with Sydney FC) would be pretty special.”
by Ben Gilby
Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis believes the Western Australians “are a different side” to the one who started the campaign – and believes that his team cannot be ruled out of qualifying for Finals football.
Not surprisingly, confidence is high in the Perth side after they produced an excellent performance to defeat league leaders Western United away from home last weekend.
Looking back at that match, Epakis revealed: “The players celebrated that game really well and deservedly. It was a great performance and it’s something that we’re hoping sets the tone for the second half of the season.”
Whilst some may have expected the Glory to look rusty in Ballarat after going three weeks without a match, the Perth boss outlined why his team’s performance was anything but.
“There was definitely a lot of energy for us to unload into a performance as we hadn’t played for three weeks. We were restless and we’d trained very hard and we wanted to put into a competition match. We used the time to fine-tune, and we did so.”
One of the most influential players in Perth’s improved run of results and performances over since the turn of the year is locally-born Izzy Foletta.
“She’s been awesome,” enthused Epakis. “I can’t talk highly enough of the impact Izzy has had. She came in late, she spent a bit of time with us in pre-season, and she really earned the contract.
“It really means a lot to her as she is a local. She knows she is representing a big part of her – it’s her home club. It drives her performances. She is a fearless character. She has added class.”
Whilst the Glory are currently nine points adrift of the top four, they have two games in hand of Melbourne Victory. Whilst it will be a challenge to qualify for the Finals, the Perth boss believes it is possible.
“It’s an exciting opportunity. Our backs are against the wall. We’re not expected to make Finals from where we are, but our thinking internally is if we treat every week like a final, we give ourselves a real chance. We love doing it the hard way. We’re not writing it off. Let’s see where we go.”
Looking ahead to this Sunday’s game with Newcastle Jets at Macedonia Park, Epakis believes that if his team keep their standards high, then they can record another win. “It’s a hard week for them having played Western United (in midweek). We know if we nail our processes, we’ll find a way to win.
“We’re a very different team to who we were two or three months ago when we (last) played them. It’s about not taking our focus away from the 90 minutes.”
by Denise Duffy
Wellington Phoenix are taking on the Western Sydney Wanderers this Sunday after coming are coming off a bye week. Before the break, the team earned their first win and then a draw.
Speaking to the media today, senior leader Betsy Hassett said: “Now we can really believe that we can do it. It’s good for our confidence. I think we’ve shown that in the last few games that yes, we are capable of winning games and scoring.”
Sitting at the bottom of the table, the Nix need to continue to earn points to stay away from the wooden spoon. With the Wanderers only two places above them this weekend’s game is a key encounter.
Emma Rolston also joined her team’s media conference today. The Football Fern is returning from a two-match suspension, and spoke about how motivated she is to keep her team’s positive run of results going.
“You don’t want to be that team that’s on the bottom of the table, you want to be able to prove yourself. And I think that’s something that we believe in as well. We want to prove ourselves, we want to move up the table, we want to show that we can win and that we’re just not going to sit back.”
One big shift in the Phoenix strategy has been moving Hassett up the pitch to a more into an attacking position.
“Yeah, it’s so much fun playing higher. I can just create more and get on the ball more and hopefully, score more goals. I’d love to score a few more. Hopefully, I stay injury free and they can keep playing me higher up.”
It’s clear that the Wellington Phoenix want to prove the team’s capability and move up the table. With the extra space of the bye week the biggest question is whether they can keep the momentum going through the remainder of the rounds.