Ahead of Sunday’s A-League Women Grand Final, Western United‘s Hillary Beall and head coach Mark Torcaso spoke to the media about their team’s incredible achievements across their inaugural season and their preparations for the big game – Ben Gilby reports (28/4/23).
Above: Western United goalkeeper Hillary Beall speaking to the media today. Image: Western United.
Western United’s Hillary Beall believes that her team has used their extra week’s advantage over Sydney FC positively and it will stand them in good stead for Sunday’s Grand Final.
The Victoria side in their inaugural A-League Women campaign qualified for the Grand Final a fortnight ago with a 1-0 win at Sunday’s opponents Sydney FC thanks to Hannah Keane’s goal, forcing the Premiers into a do-or-die game with Melbourne Victory last weekend.
Speaking about the preparation, Beall said: “The week leading up is always a big week. To extend that into an extra week is good. We had things we needed to work on after the Sydney (semi-final) match and I think it has meant more time together, more time to enjoy being together.
“We’ve had a good week of training. It’s a big one for us. It’s been a fairytale the whole season being an inaugural season and we’ve made the Grand Final. It’s amazing for the whole club. They have put a whole lot of time and money into us. For us to get there, it’s been the cherry on top.”
Beall believes Western United’s previous victories over the Harbour City side this season mean that confidence is high in the camp. “They are a great side. We have to do the same as we did before. We’re prepped and ready for it.”
Whilst this will be Sydney FC’s sixth successive Grand Final with the majority of their squad having played in the last two together, the American shot-stopper pointed to the fact that Western United have players with big game experience who are supporting those who are new to it all.
“We have different experiences – Chloe (Logarzo), Angie (Beard) have all been in Finals, we’re also learning on the girls from Calder (United) who have had that experience in Finals (in the NPLW Victoria). It is a unique experience and good for us.”
With the club reaching a Grand Final in their maiden campaign, Beall is bursting with pride at her achievements and those of her team.
“I’m really proud of our group. It’s come whole circle. We came in with fresh eyes, and training for a whole year, now being in the Grand Final is a fairytale thing to kick off my career. I played in the big ten Finals in college, but no Grand Final.
“I’m proud. There’s a lot in my life last year that went on. To step into this role and get the award from my peers (PFA A-League Women Player of the Season) and to be in this situation after last year (when Beall spent the whole season on the bench for Racing Louisville) is amazing. If you told me six months ago I’d be in this position, I wouldn’t have believed it!
“We’re all ready for it. We stepped it in the last game (against Sydney FC). Big players step up in big games. We’re ready for it.”
Western United head coach Mark Torcaso spoke to the media today about the immense pride he has in his team’s achievements this season and believes that they can go all the way on Sunday.
“It’s unbelievable. To have had that conversation when we brought these players into the set up to get on this journey to literally be in this situation is amazing. I’m proud, but I can’t put it into words really.
“It’s like a circus at the moment. It’s a good celebration, the girls are excited and pumped. We aimed for a Grand Final from our first meeting (together as a team back in pre-season). To be here is an amazing feeling and an acknowledgment of how hard we have worked all season.”
With Western United putting in a performance full of character to get past Sydney FC in the semi-final, Torcaso has emphasised to his squad that what happened a fortnight ago has no influence on Sunday’s game, and preparations have focussed on getting the players in the best possible shape to reach their potential at CommBank Stadium.
“It was very important to make sure that wasn’t our Grand Final against Sydney in the semi-final. It’s important that we stitched off after that match and focus on who we would play next. We literally switched off the second we finished celebrating.”
“We gave the girls a good freshen-up after that (semi) final. They trained the whole week and then had a weekend off to enjoy time away from football. We were able to sit back and (let) soak in that we were in a Grand Final. We then came back in. The last three or four days we’ve kept them ticking over just to make sure they are ready for a big game rather than pushing them hard.”
The Western United boss knows that whilst Sydney have the Grand Final experience, his own squad are capable of success if they concentrate on what has got them this far.
“There’s no doubt Sydney are the best team in the competition. They are in a great space because they have worked with the same coach for six years, and a lot of them are the same players (that have been through it together).
“We’ve worked hard on what we want to do. As long as we bring that same mentality that we brought last time, I back us to win. They are a well-organised team, a dangerous team. If we have our processes in place then we will be fine.”