'Six Point Sunday': 3 things we learned - City vs Roar
It turned out to be a dream double-header on Sunday with both of City’s senior teams coming away with the three points in their respective clashes against the Brisbane Roar.
In the final W-League game of the regular season, our City girls were at their usual dominant best, winning the game 3-1 thanks to a typical Milica Mijatovic stunner and a brace to recent recruit Ally Watt.
The men’s clash was a much tighter affair, with only Josh Brillante’s optimistic long-range volley separating the teams, a strike which would later be denoted as an own goal thanks to the ball ricocheting off the left upright and off the back of Jamie Young, eventually crossing the line.
Following such a successful weekend for the club, here are three things we learned from our double-header delight:
Watt a pickup
Despite having already been the dominant outfit in the W-League and enjoying another unbeaten season to that point, City’s late-January acquisition of American Ally Watt seemed to be an intelligent late-campaign squad-strengthening signing, but as it turns out, the speedy forward could also play a huge part come finals time.
Watt was at her rampaging best, with the speedster being slipped in behind the Roar defence by her creative teammates multiple times throughout the match and eventually having her persistence rewarded with two opportunistic goals which she capitalised on without hesitation.
With Watt coming into form at the best possible time, her inclusion in the squad can only be seen as an amazing bonus for us, doing wonders for our tilt at a record fourth W-League Championship.
Rostyn’s bossin’ and Nate’s been great
After a fairly questionable start to the season in regards to our defensive solidity, Erick Mombaerts has made some changes to the back four in recent weeks which has seen City become a much more defensively-sound unit who’re harder to break down.
Rostyn Griffith’s renaissance as a centre-back following the suspensions and inconsistent form of Harrison Delbridge has surprised more than a few City fans, despite the veteran’s composure, tough-tackling and generally imposing physical frame making him an excellent candidate to step into that vacancy with injuries to regular central defenders Richard Windbichler and Jack Hendry.
In quite a different vein, Nathaniel Atkinson’s form since stepping in at right-back has also been a pleasant surprise for fans, with the youngster keeping back four regular Scott Galloway on the bench. In fairness, we’ve been crying out for more game time for the promising and versatile talent ever since he returned from his ankle injury sustained in his breakout 2017/18 campaign.
With both Griffiths and Atkinson continuing to turn in consistent performances, Delbridge and Galloway might find it difficult to earn their starting spots back anytime soon.
Back in the hunt
Following our loss to Wellington two weeks ago, things looked bleak for City’s chances at securing Asian Champions League qualification for the first time in our history.
Having initially had a strong grip on second place earlier in the season, our excruciatingly inconsistent form over the past few months has allowed for the rise of fellow contenders Perth, Wellington and, to a lesser degree, Adelaide, who all seemed destined to leave us in their dust given the way we’d been performing.
However, in a truly incredible turn of events, our vital win over the in-form Roar has seen us miraculously step back into prime position, with Perth and Adelaide fortunately slipping up against Newcastle and Victory respectively, with Perth also kept to just the draw against Brisbane the week prior.
Now with a three-point buffer over Perth and Wellington (though they’ve got a game in-hand), the assertive argument would be that second place has become ours to lose once again and that our fate lies within our own hands.
There’s no two ways about it – next week’s do-or-die clash away to Perth is EVERYTHING.