by Ben Gilby (27/4/23)
Above: Charlize Rule speaking to the media today. Image: Sydney FC.
Sydney FC’s Charlize Rule is confident that her team has what it takes to end their run of three Grand Final defeats in a row when they take on Western United on Sunday at CommBank Stadium.
The 20-year-old spoke of her determination to ensure that her team gets revenge for their defeat to the competition newcomers in their semi-final clash a fortnight ago. “We can’t let them win it in their first year. We want revenge from the other week and we’re ready to take them on”
“Every game we verse them, we learn a lot and know what they are going to bring. Even though we had all the possession (in the semi), it comes down to who wins in each box, and we need to defend with our lives and take our chances.”
Western United advanced directly to the Grand Final despite Sydney creating more in that encounter at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium as Hannah Keane took advantage to score the game’s only goal. Despite the Golden Boot winner’s form this season, Rule backs her teammates to keep her out this time round.
“I feel very secure in our defence with Charlotte (Mclean) and Nat (Tobin) alongside me. We have definitely learned that she (Hannah Keane) can make good runs in the box and we’ll track her down.”
Rule also pointed to the fact that Sydney FC have the experience in season-defining matches that Western United simply cannot buy. She feels that this area will be one of the keys to deciding the outcome of Sunday’s match.
“It speaks so highly of Sydney FC as a club. We’ve made four Grand Finals in a row and had the same team together for mostly three years, taking three Premierships. I think we’ve got this one. We have the quality we go to play with no fear, Ante’ (Juric, head coach)’s been telling us all this week.
“We are all young, but we’ve been together for so long. It’s been a tight-knit group, we have a lot of experience together. Having lost those games (Grand Finals) we have a fire in our belly and we want to win this one.
“I saw an article the other day that they (Western United) are favourites to win – I don’t really know how. My team has been consistent the whole year, we’ve been Premiers. They are the fairy tale, it’s their first year.”
Whilst Sydney as club are looking to lift the trophy on Sunday to mark an outstanding season for the club, it’s a big day for another reason – club captain Nat Tobin will play her hundredth match. Rule reflected on the influence that Tobin has on the Sydney FC players.
“She has been here for so long. She has definitely been a good captain. We all look up to her, she is a role model and like a big sister. She steps up in all the big games. We want to do her proud. This game is not just about us winning the championship, it’s about marking her hundredth appearance in style.”
Tobin looks forward to milestone in Grand Final
Sydney FC’s Liberty A-League Captain Nat Tobin is set to make her 100th appearance for the Sky Blues in this Sunday’s 2023 A-League Grand Final.
Tobin made her debut appearance for the club in the 2013 Grand Final, ten years ago as a 16-year-old, in the game that her side won 3-1 against Melbourne Victory thanks to a Sam Kerr diving header, and goals from Nicola Bolger and Kyah Simon.
It’s a feat Tobin would love to recreate a decade on.
“It was fantastic to be able to win the Championship as the youngest member of that squad, but to be able to do it this weekend as captain will be even sweeter,” she said.
“To reach 100 games for this amazing club is something I am very proud of and to do it in a Grand Final will be a great feeling. We are all pumped and excited for the game, it’s going to be an incredible occasion and we are determined to prove we are the number one team in this country.”
Tobin will become only the third player to reach the milestone, following in the footsteps of Sky Blues legend and former captain Teresa Polias and current team-mate Princess Ibini.
In total she has played in 86 regular A-League Women’s matches, seven finals series games, five Grand Finals, and one International Women’s Club Championship match.
Head Coach Ante Juric praised a marvellous achievement by the Sky Blues skipper. “Natalie is a model professional and a phenomenal Captain for Sydney FC,” he said.
“To have reached this milestone over ten years at the biggest club in the country is a remarkable achievement and shows above and beyond dedication to Sydney FC and to the game.
“She is fully deserving of all the accolades that come her way and I hope the girls can put on a show and win this Grand Final for her and for each other.”
Tobin has scored six goals in her Sydney FC career and will play in her sixth Grand Final this Sunday.