PS4 NPLW Preliminary Final Preview
PS4 NPLW Preliminary Final | Sunday 10th September, Deakin Stadium 4pm
Gungahlin United and Canberra FC will face off for a spot in the PS4NPLW Grand Final on Sunday, as they battle in the Preliminary Final at Deakin Stadium.
Canberra FC hold the upper hand so far across these matches with United unable to beat them so far, in three matches Canberra FC have won 4-1, 4-3 and had a 2-2 draw, scoring 10 goals against United.
While their performance against big sides has been impressive it is the smaller games which saw them slip throughout the season, and they must show off their big-game pedigree this weekend.
Grace Gill and Chantel Jones form the crux of Mark Risteski’s midfield and both scored in last weekend’s win over Woden-Weston. Their performance in this match will be crucial to success and Gungahlin midfielder Grace Field admitted that Gill and Jones are two of the people that they need to stop. The last meeting between these two saw Canberra FC break out to a two-goal lead in the first half before they were pegged back, and a more complete performance is essential in this matchup.
Playing at home too, by virtue of scheduling, must play into their hands as well.
For Gungahlin, this is a revisit of last season’s Preliminary Final and they will seek revenge on a team that prevented them getting into the big dance that time. United have continually challenged Premiers Belconnen United this season, including being one of only two sides to take points off them in the regular season, and will want to get another chance at them in the Grand Final.
They have struggled however against Canberra FC so far, and bucking that trend on a big stage will be a tough task. Darby Whiteley has been in impressive form up top for United and will play an important part, while Ashleigh Palombi and Field will have their usual big roles. United will have the disadvantage of playing at Canberra FC’s home ground despite finishing higher on the table, and having conceded four goals there in Round Seven will be eager to avoid a repeat of that. Their defence wavered at times during the season but there is no doubting their attacking effectiveness, and that is what they must utilise to its full effect here. If United can dictate terms early on then they stand a good chance of winning this match, but if they fail to, and allow Canberra FC to control the game at home then it spells trouble.