Brisbane Roar Women head to Dorrien Gardens to take on two of the most lethal strikers in the Westfield W-League on Friday night (9pm KO QLD time) – but that’s the kind of challenge Captain Clare Polkinghorne thrives on.
The experienced skipper has been in stellar form in the heart of the Roar defence in the opening half of the campaign, earning a PFA Player of the Month nomination in the process.
Polkinghorne says confidence is sky-high within the squad, with the Roar to enter Friday's clash on the back of the club’s maiden win over two-time defending champions Melbourne City.
“We’ve come a long way since that loss back in Round 2 and I think we’ve developed as a team," Polkinghorne said.
"If we keep using the momentum we built in the last win against Melbourne City, we’ll definitely put in a much-improved performance.
She will this week lead a Roar back four who will look to nullify the attack of the second-placed Perth Glory in what will be a mouth-watering clash in the West.
“You want to be challenging yourself against the best players in the league. Sam (Kerr) has proven that she’s one of the best strikers in the world, and Rachel (Hill) scored a hat-trick against us last time,” Polkinghorne said.
“This season we have focused on playing how we want to and worrying less about the opposition.
“We need to be wary of the weapons they have all over the pitch but as a group we are confident we can limit their chances at goal.
“That’s the kind of challenge I love as a defender and I’m sure we’ll all rise to the occasion.”
The Glory inflicted the Roar’s first defeat of the season in their last meeting back in Round 2, but Brisbane has bounced back in sparkling fashion to be sitting pretty at the top of the Westfield W-Leader ladder at the Christmas Break.
The first player to reach 100 Westfield W-League games has been one of the in-form defenders of Westfield W-League 10 and credits both an increased focus on her own personal game and playing among the most stringent defence in the league.
“One thing that I wanted to improve on this season was my consistency. I wanted to make sure my performances was as good as it could be every week. I’m in a really good spot physically at the moment and it’s great to be able to contribute to the team,” Polkinghorne said.
“We’ve kept the most clean sheets in the league which as a defender – that’s all you can ask for.”
Westfield W-League: Round 9 – Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
Friday, 29 December (9pm KO QLD time)