Following a well-earned week off, Brisbane Roar Women are back in Westfield W-League action this weekend in a mouthwatering clash with fellow high-flyers Canberra United.
While it has been almost a fortnight since most of the Roar side last took the field, an incredible five players return to Brisbane this week following international duty with the Westfield Matildas.
Versatile winger Hayley Raso joined goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, defender Clare Polkinghorne, midfielder Katrina Gorry and attacker Tameka Butt in the Australian squad last week for two friendlies against China in Melbourne and Geelong.
Remarkably, Brisbane Roar made up almost half of the Australian starting XI in the first clash with all five players taking the pitch.
“It was great and exciting for Brisbane Roar as a club,” Raso said.
“It helped that so many of us play and train together every week so we gelled quite well on the field.”
Australian comprehensively won both matches against the Chinese, but attention has quickly turned back to duties at club land with an important clash against Canberra United on Sunday afternoon at McKellar Park (3:30pm KO QLD time).
With four teams locked up on nine points at the summit of the ladder, a win against second-placed Canberra would catapult the third-placed Roar inside the top two.
The contest will have a little extra spice for Raso and American midfielder Celeste Boureille – both former Canberra United players.
“It’s always exciting to play against a team you used to play for. It’ll be a tough game, as every match this season has been, but we have prepared well and are confident we will play well and continue to push for top spot,” she said.
The Roar enter the match with excellent momentum following consecutive victories, the last coming on the back of an 86th minute strike from Raso against Adelaide United.
Mel Andreatta’s side will be aiming to put in another strong performance and dominate the contest with and without the ball this weekend.
Raso returned to Brisbane Roar following a standout 2017 NWSL campaign for Portland Thorns, winning a Championship and being named as the Thorns’ Supporters’ Player of the Year.
With this season’s Westfield W-League shaping up to be one of the tightest ever, Raso says she feels refreshed and ready to hit the ground running for the rest of the campaign.
“I’m feeling good now. I had two weeks off which I think was good for me backing up from the NWSL season but I’m raring to go for the rest of the season now,” she said.
Westfield W-League 2017/18: Round 6 – Canberra United v Brisbane Roar
Sunday, 3 December (3:30pm KO QLD time)
BRISBANE ROAR WOMEN SQUAD
Goalkeepers: 1.Mackenzie Arnold, 20.Georgina Worth, 30.Kirsten Vereen
Defenders: 2.Carson Pickett, 4.Clare Polkinghorne (c), 8.Kaitlyn Torpey, 11.Natalie Tathem, 14.Summer O'Brien
Midfielders: 3.Amy Chapman, 6.Celeste Boureille, 7.Ayesha Norrie, 10.Katrina Gorry, 18.Lucinda Pullar,19.Hollie Palmer
Attackers: 9.Wai Ki Cheung, 12.Allira Toby, 13.Tameka Butt, 15.Abbey Lloyd, 16.Hayley Raso, 17.Emily Gielnik
Coach: Melissa Andreatta