Western Sydney’s Westfield W-League season goes on the line when they play Perth Glory in the final round of the regular season at Dorien Gardens on Saturday night.
It’s a high stakes game for the Wanderers, who will be looking to make history by qualifying for the W-League Finals for the first time in their eight-year history.
The Red & Black go into the contest in the fourth spot on 19 points but have the Brisbane Roar, two points behind, breathing down their neck.
A loss to the vastly improved Glory and a win for Brisbane Roar against premiers and undefeated Melbourne City would wreck the Wanderers’ dream.
While City will be strong favourites to beat the Queenslanders, the Wanderers won’t want to leave anything to chance so a win is imperative against a Perth side that has strung together three successive wins.
Head coach Dean Heffernan’s side will get a tremendous boost with the return of striker Kristen Hamilton and tough midfielder Ella Mastrantonio from suspension. Both missed last week’s 4-0 loss away to Melbourne City.
Despite their absence, the under-strength Wanderers produced a gallant effort against a City side that was on a roll and had won nine games in succession.
Now it is down to one game for the Red & Black, who will be looking to recapture the form and mojo that saw them recognized for their exciting and relentless brand of football as they went unbeaten in their opening six games of the season.
Having been hit hard by injuries to goalkeeper Abby Smith and Erica Halloway, the suspensions and the loss of key striker Lynn Williams, the Wanderers have lost four of their past five games.
Their last victory was against Perth Glory at Bankwest Stadium on 19 January.
Still, coaches Heffernan, Beauchamp and Cannuli and the squad have been working hard to turn things around.
The return of Hamilton and Mastrantonio will be a huge lift for the side as both players have been instrumental in the club having it’s best season in the W-League.
However, the Wanderers will face a stiff test against a Glory side coming off a shock 2-1 away win against Sydney FC last week.
The West Australians have had a late-season revival winning their past three games against Newcastle, Brisbane, and Sydney since losing to the Wanderers.