by Ben Gilby (20/4/23)
Above: Sarah Hunter speaking to the media today. Image: Sydney FC.
Sydney FC defender Sarah Hunter today told the media that despite their semi-final loss to Western United, confidence is high in the camp ahead of this weekend’s Preliminary Final showdown with Melbourne Victory.
“Everyone is super determined. Everyone knows that this is the big game for us as once you are in a Grand Final, anything can happen. This is the one we want to win, 100%. We’re pretty pumped for this game, especially with it being Victory, someone we have some history with (losing to them in the last two Grand Finals).
“We’re pretty relaxed, pretty excited, there’s obviously a lot of different emotions. Coming off that loss (to Western United last weekend), there are some negatives, but we’re moving off that game and focusing on Victory now. There are positive vibes.”
Looking back at last week’s 1-0 defeat to Western United, Hunter felt that the game ultimately came down to which team was able to convert their opportunities.
“We had lots of chances. I think Hannah Keane is in some good form, she is the Golden Boot leader, and she put away that chance like a good striker. That’s something we didn’t do, so we will look at that. We put six away against Victory last time, so we have that ability to score lots of goals. It’s about how we can connect those chances into goals.
“We have to capitalise on chances and take advantage. We need to learn and take what we learned from that semi-final (against Western United), and how can we put that experience into this game, turn the page, look at Victory and how we can beat them. Take the learnings from that game and take the fresh ideas into this game.”
With three of the four Finals places this season being taken by the league’s Melbourne-based teams, the 19-year-old outlined how she feels it has taken the rivalry between to the two cities to a new level.
“Since the A-League started, there has been that Sydney-Melbourne battle. There’s three teams this year (Melbourne teams) and just us (in the Finals), so we’re flying the flag for New South Wales. With the Grand Final being in Sydney, obviously, we want to be in it, we don’t feel pressure, but want to be there. It’s definitely part of our motivation for there not to be two Melbourne teams in in it (the Grand Final).”
Hunter also revealed the outlook for Cortnee Vine to play in the big match on Saturday is positive. “She looks good. She says she feels fine, and I think she’ll be ready to go at the weekend. She has come off a lot of high-intensity games. She’s recovering and allowing her body to be ready for this game.”