Central should be favourites to take 4th position on the table and a place in next week’s semi-finals when they play the late game in the last round of the season in Women’s Capital League 1 on Sunday. They face North Canberra who are languishing on the bottom of the table.
In other games, United still have a remote possibility of a finals berth when they play ANU and Old Canberrans and University of Canberra meet in a playoff for 7th place. These games will be played at Lyneham. A top of the table clash between Tuggeranong Vikings and St Pats is scheduled to be played on Taylor Field, Tuggeranong.
Albury and Goulburn have finished their season and do not play this weekend. Albury finished their season in 6th place and Goulburn finished 9th.
All games will be played on Sunday.
Round 18 matches
United vs. ANU, 2.00pm, Carter Field
St Pats vs. Tuggeranong Vikings, 3.15pm, Taylor Field
Old Canberrans vs. University of Canberra, 3.30pm, Carter Field
North Canberra vs. Central, 5.00pm, Carter Field
ANU vs. United
ANU can warm up for their semi-final campaign with this encounter against a team which will not be easy to overcome. Since their last morale-boosting win against Central, United have dropped 6 crucial points which now leaves them just outside the top four by a solitary point. A draw against ANU may be enough. If they are to regain 4th position, they must win against ANU and then hope that Central are held to a draw or lose in the late game. This is a scenario that they would prefer not to have to face, but their form has waned in their last two outings as they conceded 12 goals while scoring just 4.
ANU has not been troubled in recent weeks with two solid wins. Interestingly both teams lost 1-3 to the Vikings in the latter stages of the season and this suggests some similarity in the way that they structure their game. ANU won a close encounter with United earlier this season and should be favourite but they will need to be on their mettle. United have much to play for and they will no doubt throw everything they have into this game as they endeavour to keep alive their aspirations for a place in the playoffs next week.
St Pats vs. Tuggeranong Vikings
Tuggeranong go into the game against St Pats knowing that they have won the minor premiership no matter what happens this weekend. We assume this is the case because if St Pats were to win this game, both teams would then finish the season with 16 wins, one draw and one loss but Tuggeranong have a superior goal difference. The Vikings face this encounter with one additional challenge before the semi-finals and that would be simply preservation of their marvellous undefeated status – a testament to their coach’s team structure and the talent in their squad across the park. St Pats will be no pushover this weekend and will no doubt be using this game to iron out any concerns in their game plan, assess their structure and ensure their strategies are finely tuned.
The teams drew in their last encounter and with a cat-and-mouse game almost certainly assured, it would not surprise if we see a similar result on Sunday: what a pity this game between the top two teams in the competition has been scheduled for Taylor Field! It should produce an enthralling preview of next week’s semi-final. We will just have to wait until next week to see these two excellent teams in action at Lyneham.
Old Canberrans vs. University of Canberra
These teams are virtually even in all criteria after 17 games this season. Both teams have 16 points after five wins, 11 losses and one draw with University of Canberra enjoying a marginally better goal difference of two. This has been a year of transition for both teams which have focussed on developing cohesion with new squads but they have seldom reached a level of consistency which would enable them to achieve playoff status. Both teams will be hoping to field a full strength side – a challenge which has been damaging for their prospects at crucial games.
University won by a goal in a high scoring game earlier this season so Checks have the incentive of reversing the result on this their last outing for the year. They have the firepower to do so but have lacked the temperament to maintain sustained pressure in attack putting unnecessary burden on their defence. In truth, this game could go either way as both teams seem to have little to play for other than bragging rights and 6th position on the table.
North Canberra vs. Central
Based on the form of both teams this season, this would have to be the game Central would choose to ensure they qualify for the semi-final. Central should be confident that they have enough firepower in attack and discipline in defence to prevail. They cannot afford complacency and will need to be much more clinical in the execution of their basics as North Canberra have proved resourceful and unwavering in their willingness to challenge their opposition. In fact, North Canberra have persevered against all teams and despite their disappointments, as the season has progressed, there is evidence of burgeoning confidence and belief in their squad. They have a defence which has been incredibly resilient and this could rattle Central who have a negative goal difference and have struggled to find the net. In fact Central average less than two goals per game – a factor which suggests that this is a game they cannot afford to take lightly. Central won their only encounter with North Canberra when the teams met in Round 8 and there is no real reason to suggest that there will be a different result this time. Central should win and in so doing, qualify for the playoffs.