Focus only on Jets, says Luik
Brisbane Roar’s experienced midfielder Aivi Luik says that her side will not be thinking about the other results in heading into the last game of the Westfield W-League season against Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
Brisbane Roar-s experienced midfielder Aivi Luik says that her side will not be thinking about the other results in heading into the last game of the Westfield W-League season against Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
The Roar have no chance of retaining their Premiership title after two draws and a loss in their past three encounters, but could finish second if they beat Newcastle and Central Coast Mariners overcome Sydney FC in the top-of-the-table clash at Bluetongue Stadium.
A second-place finish would see the women in orange host a semi-final, but Luik says her team will only be thinking about the task at hand when they walk out onto the pitch on Saturday.
“I think we just need to relax, and not think about outside factors, which I think is what has happened in the past couple of weeks,” the 24-year-old said.
“We know we have to win, but we'll just go into the game confident and play our own game.”
Luik joined Brisbane Roar this season from the Women-s Premier Soccer League in the US, where she has played for the University of Nevada and most recently, FC Indiana.
She also enjoyed a short-term stint in the Ukraine on loan to Women-s Football Club Naftokhimik earlier this year, before returning home to the Sunshine State to play for Brisbane Roar.
“I'm loving it here, it's been years since my family has been able to see me play,” she said.
“The biggest difference I have found is the weather and the impact it has on you during the game.”
Luik is no stranger to football success, both personally and within a team.
She captained the University of Nevada side in her senior year and scored the winning penalty to send them through to the National Colliegate Athletic Assocaition finals for the first time.
The former Palm Beach junior was also named the Most Valuable Player that season.
Luik later scored the winning penalty to win the American Women-s Soccer League with FC Indiana in 2005 and has the honour of having played more minutes in FC Indiana colours than any other player.
In Ukraine, she scored all three match-winning goals in three games for Naftokhimik to see them qualify for the second round of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
Despite her overwhelming track record, Luik said slotting into the starting team from the beginning of the season with the Roar still came as a bit of a surprise.
“I put a lot of work and effort into it but I had no expectations because I didn-t really know what it was like here in Australia after being away for so long,” she said.
Luik says her experience overseas can only be beneficial to the Brisbane Roar as they look to finish their season on a high against the Jets.
“In America, I was playing with international players from Mexico, Italy and Spain, and even though I haven-t had international experience with the Matildas, their World Cup and Olympics experiences ahead of big games has helped me.
The Roar have endured frustration in the past two matches as they have been unable to convert dominance into goals, something Luik says coach Jeff Hopkins has addressed during the week.
“We've had two good practice sessions this week, concentrating on switching the ball and knowing when to shoot,” she said.
“Hopefully, we'll be able to play well and score a few goals.”
Brisbane Roar travel south to take on Newcastle Jets in the final round of the Westfield W-League. Kick-off is at 3pm AEST on Saturday 5 December at Wanderers Oval, Newcastle.