The race to the W-League finals is on

Wayne Roar Guru

By Wayne, Wayne is a Roar Guru

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    With four weeks to go with eight teams technically still in the hunt for the premiership, here is a look at what’s in store, the danger games and the best and worst case scenarios for the entire W-League in current ladder order.

    1. Brisbane Roar
    Likely result: Premiers
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Seventh
    Brisbane Roar have one hand on the premiership, and in all honesty they’ll will probably take it out. Where Brisbane’s story is more interesting, though, is they can influence the rest of the ladder.

    After a week off this week Brisbane will head to Melbourne to take on City, then visit Adelaide, which won’t as easy as the ladder position would suggest, and finally host Canberra in what could be the match to decide the premiership, a finals rehearsal or an elimination final before the final.

    Whether or not Brisbane can put the cue in the rack for the Canberra game will depend on other results, but they are a professional outfit and will take the chance to rest players with niggling injuries before the finals if they can.

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    2. Newcastle Jets
    Likely result: Second
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Eighth
    Round 13 away against Canberra and Round 14 at home against Melbourne City will be the difference between hosting a final and not playing in the finals series at all.

    In Newcastle’s favour, they know how to score goals – they’re leading the league with 20 goals scored across their nine appearances so far. With two strikers occupying third and fourth in the golden boot chase, scoring won’t be the issue.

    The Jets also have a game at home against Adelaide this week, where they will be looking to capitalise in a similar way to Canberra did. Goal difference may be a factor, and a home final could rest on a missed penalty.

    3. Sydney FC
    Likely result: Third
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Eighth
    In such a condensed season Sydney decided to have their run of bad form at the start of year before going on a winning streak. Their last two games are Victory and the Wanderers, but the game to watch is really this week’s away trip to Perth, where stopping Sam Kerr will be the challenge.

    The referee will be watching every challenge closely, with Sydney going into the game as the league’s most foul-conceding and yellow card-earning team.

    In reality they’re banking six points against Victory and Western Sydney, which should be enough to get them into the finals even without the Perth result. However, a home final is on the line against Perth, as taking points here will likely displace the Jets.

    4. Melbourne City
    Likely result: Sixth
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Eighth
    Melbourne City face Brisbane Roar at home and Newcastle Jets away to finish the season. At the start of the year this wouldn’t have even been a consideration.

    Leading the pass accuracy in the league at 80 per cent will be helpful against the Roar, especially with them holding the defence line strong, but this year City just haven’t been putting teams away the way they did last season. However, they have beaten the Jets already this year, so it’s a chance.

    I think a team is going to fall out of the finals race, and I don’t see it being Newcastle, Brisbane or Sydney. These are two tough games to finish the season, but they easily could win and knock the Jets off course or deny Perth or Canberra a spot in the final.

    (AAP Image/Tony McDonough)

    5. Perth Glory
    Likely result: Fifth
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Ninth
    If Sam Kerr stays fit, change the likely result should be bumped up to fourth, enabling the Glory to play finals. But tough games against Sydney and Canberra still stand in the way, with Western Sydney at home before the pre-finals bye.

    Sydney and Canberra both want to win, and I see only one of those two games going Perth’s way. Which one, I don’t know – Canberra looked good against Adelaide and Sydney are in form.

    Perth, on the other hand, have dropped points to Canberra and Brisbane and drew with the Jets as well. It’s hard to draw a form line, but we will see in the next few weeks.

    6. Canberra United
    Likely result: Fourth
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Ninth
    If Ash Sykes or Michelle Heyman goes down injured again, change that likely result to sixth, but if they both stay fit, their experience on the field and Canberra’s attack-at-all-costs attitude will benefit Canberra.

    It is all in Canberra’s hands, with the team needing all six points from home games against the Wanderers and the Jets. Playing Perth in Bunbury and Brisbane at Suncorp represent either a ticket to the finals or an early break.

    For Canberra to play finals they have to beat Perth, the Jets and possibly the Roar. It’s not outside the realms of possibility, though, and with a game in hand it is in the ladies hands.

    7. Melbourne Victory
    Likely result: Eighth
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Ninth
    Technically – and this also holds true of the Wanderers – Melbourne can still technically win the premiership. It’s not going to happen, but the stars can still align.

    Realistically two winnable games against the Wanderers and Adelaide to finish the season is best way to close, but the fact remains that the Victory seem not to have recovered from the introduction of City in town.

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    8. Western Sydney Wanderers
    Likely result: Seventh
    Best case: Premiers
    Worst case: Ninth
    The Wandered have a tough finish to the season, playing Canberra, Perth and Sydney away. The Wanderers have shown improvement this season but will finish outside of the finals hunt.

    9. Adelaide United
    Likely result: Ninth
    Best case: Sixth
    Worst case: Ninth
    Round 3 was Adelaide’s last win, a 3-1 victory against Perth Glory, and a draw in Round 6 against City showed positive signs for the Reds. Just a few better results, converting some of those 1-2 losses into draws or wins, will see the Reds improve next season, but this season is dommed to end without a finals appearance.

    The race to the finals will still be live until the last round of games, such is the nature of the short W-League season. Brisbane Roar will likely win the premiership, but who will join them in the finals is a mystery.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • January 9th 2018 @ 4:08am
      Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 4:08am | ! Report

      W league is top quality this season . Only disappointing thing is not all the gsmes are televised.

      • Roar Guru

        January 9th 2018 @ 9:47am
        Wayne said | January 9th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Even a live stream on Facebook/Twitter/Twitch would be better than nothing.

        Know it was hard with City game getting moved last weekend, but Canberra home games are never televised

        • January 9th 2018 @ 10:14am
          Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          Do you think Canberra utd can make it into the 4

          What are the jets chances of their first grand final win. The few times I’ve seen them play , they look good .

          • Roar Guru

            January 9th 2018 @ 11:02am
            Wayne said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

            Canberra look good when they have Ash Sykes and Michelle on the park keeping things organised. The defence looks ordinary at times (they give opponents too much space), but they can score goals.

            When I have seen Newcastle, they have been really good. Think only thing that way hurt them is the maturity of players in high pressure finals situations (versus teams that have Matildas/Internationals that are used to it). Jets would be my dark horse.

            With it being such a short season, January form speaks volumes for finals form. Lose form now and you won’t win the Championship.

    • January 9th 2018 @ 12:30pm
      Betty B said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

      It’s all too close to call, what a great season it is.
      We deserve much more publicity as the standard is world class.

      • Roar Guru

        January 9th 2018 @ 12:44pm
        Wayne said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        Fact that Wanderers mathematically could still win the Premiership from 8th (It won’t happen, but could), shows the League is pretty even.

        Plus when I was reading through the results, a lot of the winners for the top teams against the lower ranked ones are coming post 80th minute. So the lower teams are pushing them until the end, its definitely not a have’s vs have not’s like in previous seasons.

    • January 9th 2018 @ 3:31pm
      Waz said | January 9th 2018 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

      There’s an open training session followed by a meet n greet with the W League team organised by the RSF this weekend:

      https://m.facebook.com/story.p

      Slight change of pace from the men, from the bottom of the comp with no chance of the title to the top and every chance of the title ?

    • Roar Guru

      January 15th 2018 @ 9:36am
      Wayne said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      “Round 13 away against Canberra and Round 14 at home against Melbourne City will be the difference between hosting a final and not playing in the finals series at all.”

      Or just lose to Adelaide and ruin that prediction 😛

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