The previews have been written and the squads assembled. The A-League season launches into action on Friday.
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Brisbane Roar have claimed the W-League championship with a 2-1 victory over reigning champions Sydney FC in a high-tempo encounter at a sodden Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.
The scores were level at half-time, but substitute Lisa De Vanna scored the winner midway through the second half.
The Roar reversed last year’s result which saw the Sky Blues triumph 3-2 in the title decider.
An in-form Sydney FC entered the match as favourites having finished top of the league ladder, three points clear of the Roar.
The two teams had contrasting semi-final results with the Roar edging past Canberra United on penalties while Sydney FC routed Melbourne Victory 5-1.
Brisbane started the match in perfect fashion with Tameka Butt heading the opening goal on nine minutes, heading home Lana Harch’s pinpoint cross.
It was Butt’s third goal in as many grand final appearances and the first time the champions had conceded a goal during the opening half in nine matches.
Despite scoring 15 goals in their last four matches, Sydney struggled to create opportunities before they finally draw level through midfielder Kylie Ledbrook’s exqusite chip over goalkeeper Casey Dumont.
Brisbane forward Harch was forced from the field with a suspected fractured ankle five minutes from half-time allowing De Vanna to enter the fray.
The Matildas star started on the bench, as has been the case for much of the season, following her ongoing recovery from a broken leg suffered at last year’s successful AFC Asian Womens Cup campaign.
De Vanna pounced in the 65th minute, getting the better of defender Danielle Brogan before beating the exposed Sydney goalkeeper Dimi Poulos with a cool finish.
“Credit to the girls, they stuck with it, put their bodies on the line and got their reward in the end,” said Brisbane Roar coach Jeff Hopkins.
“The game at the beginning of the season (4-2 defeat) gave us a wake-up call. We have worked on a number of things week by week since then and I thought our performance today defensively and also going forward was one of our best of the season.”
Roar captain Clare Polkinghorne said the team’s gameplan came off.
“Our key focus was to start well and not let them get any momentum, and the early goal was a bonus,” she said.
“It all came together for us today, we were completing passes and doing well in the final third which has been our problem lately.”