Familiar foes face-off in semi-final

There’s an aura of familiarity around Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre for Brisbane Roar this week as the team prepares for their fifth straight consecutive Westfield W-League finals appearance, a home semi-final against long-time rivals Sydney FC tomorrow.

There-s an aura of familiarity around Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre for Brisbane Roar this week as the team prepares for their fifth straight consecutive Westfield W-League finals appearance, a home semi-final against long-time rivals Sydney FC tomorrow.

It-s the same venue and same opponent as the Roar-s knock-out final last season, where the home side triumphed in a fiery encounter that saw a stoppage time Brisbane equaliser, a late send off to now-Sydney captain Kyah Simon and three missed penalties in the shootout.

In the current Westfield W-League campaign, the teams have one win each in their two match-ups but Belinda Wilson-s side has the run of form heading into finals, unbeaten since round five including a 2-0 win over the Sky Blues just two weeks ago.

“I expect Sydney to line up quite similarly to how they have done over the past two weeks,” she said.

“I think it will be a more physical game [than the one two weeks ago], especially in the middle of the park where they-ll try to stop our combinations.

“It-s not a league match, it-s a semi-final, just one game and there-s added pressure there.

“Both teams will come out to play a good game and I really think whoever wants it more will win.

“The mood this week at training has been light but the intensity and focus has been of a higher quality than it has been in recent weeks which is a positive.”

Confidence is sky high in the Roar camp after the club sealed the Premiership in the final match of the season, a 5-1 thrashing of last year-s Champions Canberra United, with Tameka Butt hitting peak form with an impressive treble of goals.

The pint-sized midfielder is in arguably season best form having scored eight goals in her past five matches, an alarming statistic for Sydney, who have conceded more goals than any other of the semi-final sides (24).

Three out of the four semi-finals in Brisbane-s Westfield W-League history has been decided in penalties with Butt scoring in all three shootouts and all four of the resulting Grand Finals.

“It was hard for her at the beginning of the season,” Wilson explained.

“She was coming back from injury, then picked up a couple of niggles and she was frustrated.

“As soon as she was fit and back in the team, she was raring to go and have some fun and thankfully for us, she-s hitting peak form now.”

The biggest team news to come out of Sydney FC is dual international Ellyse Perry-s choice to play for the Sky Blues in the Grand Final qualifier, rather than her cricket team NSW Breakers- Twenty20 final against Western Fury.

Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC Saturday 19 January 2013 Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre, Brisbane Local kick-off: 3pm, gates open from 1.30pm Ticket prices: $5 adults, $2 concessions, U15 and BRFC members FRE Parking: Plenty available around QSAC

Catch the action live streaming online at www.abc.net.au/w-league and nationally on ABC1 from 4pm AEDST.

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Hoshimi KISHI (gk), 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 3. Amy CHAPMAN, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE, 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Ashley SPINA, 7. Erika ELZE, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9. Emma PITTMAN, 10. Lana HARCH, 11. Vedrana POPOVIC, 12. Rebecca PRICE, 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Georgia CHAPMAN, 15. Hannah BEARD, 16. Sachiko TATSUOKA, 17. Emily GIELNIK, 18. Kate STEWART (gk), 19. Katrina GORRY, 20. Joanne BUCKLEY (gk) *four to be omitted*

Ins: 9. Emma PITTMAN, 10, Lana HARCH, 12. Rebecca PRICE, 14. Georgia CHAPMAN, 20. Joanne BUCKLEY (gk) (all promoted) Outs: None Unavailable: None

Sydney FC squad: 1. Sian MCLAREN (gk), 2. Teresa POLIAS, 3. Elizabeth RALSTON, 4. Sam KERR, 6. Natalie TOBIN, 7. Nicola BOLGER, 9. Caitlin FOORD, 10. Renee ROLLASON, 11. Annalie LONGO, 12. Chloe LOGARZO, 13. Larissa CRUMMER, 14. Alanna KENNEDY, 16. Ellyse PERRY, 17. Kyah SIMON (C), 19. Emma KETE, 20. Sham KHAMIS (gk)

Ins: 6. Natalie TOBIN, 11. Annalie LONGO (both promoted) Outs: Meg McLaughlin (omitted) Unavailable: None