Women look to roar back

Brisbane Roar Women coach Jeff Hopkins expects his team to fight hard to defend their Westfield W-League crown after falling to their first loss of the season at the hands of Perth Glory on Saturday.

Brisbane Roar Women coach Jeff Hopkins expects his team to fight hard to defend their Westfield W-League crown after falling to their first loss of the season at the hands of Perth Glory on Saturday.

The 2-1 result gave the Roar their first taste of defeat since round two last season, ending an unbeaten streak which lasted an incredible 18 games.

However, it proved a costly slip-up as it leaves the defending champions fell in third place on the ladder, four points behind the the first-placed Central Coast Mariners with one match remaining before the finals.

Although the result has come at the wrong end of the season for Hopkins, he said he still had plenty of confidence in his players to turn things around heading into the finals.

“I expect a really strong reaction from them and I-m sure we-ll get that leading into the game on the weekend to get us back on course,” he said.

“More than anything, what I know about this squad is the character of the players and if things get tough on the field I-ll back our players against most others in this league.”

The Roar-s only chance of finishing second and earning a home semi final will be with a win away to Newcastle on Saturday, but they will also rely heavily on the result between the Mariners and second-placed Sydney.

If the Mariners win, any win for the Roar will be enough, but a draw on the Central Coast would require Brisbane to win by four goals or more.

Hopkins will hope the Mariners do his team a favour, but he said his focus was with his own team.

“I-d back them home and away (in the finals), but we can-t really waste our energy thinking about the finals in two weeks- time,” he said.

“We need to put all our focus and energy on going to Newcastle and winning the game, because if we don-t win the game nothing else matters.”

The former Wales international will be hoping for better luck in front of goal against the Jets, after watching the Glory hold out a barrage of Roar attacks to come out on top in hot conditions in Perth on Saturday.

Despite 30 attempts at goal from the team in orange, Courtney Beutel-s 11th minute opener was the only one that made it past Perth ‘keeper Emma Wirkus.

The striker latched onto an incisive pass from Lana Harch and put the ball over the advancing Wirkus to give Brisbane something to show for their dominance in the opening stages.

However, the lead lasted just seven minutes as Katie Gill headed home a Samantha Kerr cross against the run of play.

Despite regaining control of the match, the Roar went behind just after the hour mark when Gill made the most of one of the few chances that fell the Glory-s way to secure an unlikely win.

Brisbane Roar-s match against the Newcastle Jets kicks off at 3pm AEST on Saturday at Wanderers Oval, Newcastle.

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