Roar ready for semi-final showdown

Despite facing the same opponent just eight days prior in the last round of the Westfield W-League season, Brisbane Roar coach Jeff Hopkins has warned his team to expect the unexpected in this Sunday’s must-win semi-final against Sydney FC.

Despite facing the same opponent just eight days prior in the last round of the Westfield W-League season, Brisbane Roar coach Jeff Hopkins has warned his team to expect the unexpected in this Sunday-s must-win semi-final against Sydney FC.

An own goal to Sky Blues midfielder Teresa Polias was the difference between the two sides on Saturday and enabled Brisbane to earn the hosting rights to the sudden-death clash after the result confirmed their second-placed finish on the league ladder.

Hopkins said he knew some aspects of Sydney-s game plan and approach wouldn-t differ from last week but anticipated some surprises from coaching counterpart Alen Stajcic.

“I think one we will expect is a side that turns up that-s fully committed and in the front third is very, very effective,” he said.

“I think, any more than that, we can-t really prepare for.

“We saw them last week, we understand the way they-re going to play but I think they-re going to make a couple of changes this week and we-ll have to be prepared for that.”

The Brisbane-Sydney fixture has thrown up some memorable matches since the inception of the Westfield W-League, most memorably the past two grand finals, in which each team has won one apiece.

The Roar prevailed 2-1 in last year-s decider at Campbelltown and despite an undefeated record against their New South Wales rivals this season - a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 win - Hopkins knows it won-t be easy on Sunday.

“We-ve had some great games against Sydney FC over the years,” he said.

“We haven-t lost to them for a while.

“The game last week was a very, very tough game and to come out on top in tight games which is what the semi-final will be on Sunday, which is definitely an advantage to us.

“The girls now understand from last week that the game will be very, very tight affair.”

Brisbane are expected to be without regular shotstopper Casey Dumont for the second successive week as she recovers from a calf injury but reserve goalkeeper Hoshimi Kishi showed with her Player of the Match performance last weekend that she is more than capable of filling the role in an otherwise full-strength Roar squad.

Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC Sunday 22 January Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre, Brisbane Local kick-off: 2pm (3pm AEDT)

Referees: Casey Reibelt / Christie Robb / Renae Coghill / Rebecca Durcau

Tickets available at the game: Adults $5, concession $2, kids under 13 and Brisbane Roar members free

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Casey Dumont (gk), 2. Laura Alleway, 4. Clare Polkinghorne (C), 5. Brooke Spence, 6. Joanne Burgess, 7. Kim Carroll, 9. Catherine Cannuli, 10. Lana Harch, 11. Aivi Luik , 13. Tameka Butt, 14. Vedrana Popovic, 16. Michaela Hatzirodos, 17. Emily Gielnik, 18. Olga Cebrian Garcia 19. Ellen Beaumont, 20. Hoshimi Kishi (gk), 21. Rebecca Price *one to be omitted*

In: None Out: None Unavailable: Elise Kellond-Knight (knee - season), Ashley Spina (knee - season)

Sydney FC squad: 1. Allison Lipsher (gk), 15. Thea Slatyer, 3. Danielle Brogan, 5. Estelle Johnson, 6. Servet Uzunlar, 4. Renee Rollason, 10. Kylie Ledbrook, 2. Teresa Polias, 9. Sarah Walsh, 12. Teigen Allen, 8. Caitlin Foord, 13. Brittany Whitfield, 19. Leena Khamis, 16. Alisha Bass, 14. Rachael Soutar, 17. Kyah Simon, 21. Chloe Logarzo, 30. Sham Khamis (gk) *three to be omitted*

In: None Out: None Unavailable: Victoria Balomenos (knee - season), Monique Jackson (knee - season), Heather Garriock (injured - season)