This article was written by Sydney FC member Melissa Muscat.
Friday night saw me debut my first ever live women’s football match and I can say I will be back again! Growing up, my family were heavily involved in NSL Football and Saturday night outings consisted of mainly watching the mens Marconi and Melita games. I wasn’t really exposed to a lot of women’s sports, especially being predominantly musical myself but with all the hype and success of the Matildas of late, I’ve been very curious to catch a game.
The W League match I watched on Friday night was Sydney FC V Brisbane Roar, preceding the A League Match, Sydney FC V Perth Glory. It was a perfect opportunity to arrive early and watch the game beforehand. It was promoted quite well in the media so I had plenty of time to prepare for the match and it didn’t disappoint…these girls can play! A double header is an ideal schedule although 5.20pm on a Friday night poses a problem for many who work. I look forward to the next double header on a Saturday night. In a big city like Sydney where the majority of people are time poor and tired, like most, I would struggle to fit in another event through the week but a game preceding a game you’re already attending allows supporters to arrive early, avoid the car park congestion and enjoy some quality pre match entertainment and talent, especially to inspire the youngsters.
Whilst the result didn’t go Sydney FC’s way, it was an exciting game to watch. A depleted Sydney side with six starters out due to suspension and international duty, there were still some very strong moments from the players in the team.The match had it all, a goal 20 seconds in by Roar’s Katrina Gorry (I was still finding my seat), some quality saves from Sydney FC keeper Sam Khamis and what appeared to be an obvious penalty with a high kick close to the head of Leena Khamis which almost wasn’t given! Luckily justice prevailed and Emily Sonnett struck a wonderful penalty kick to give Sydney their only goal in the 3-1 defeat. Apart from Brisbane’s second goal which was a little scrappy, the other three strikes by both teams were outstanding. Personally I feel the result wasn’t an accurate reflection of the final score. As mentioned Sam Khamis made some stunning saves and Amy Harrison struck some beauties that were narrowly denied.
What impressed me most though was the quality of support in the stands. Numbers were low due to the fact, as previously mentioned, it was early on a Friday night, but the quality outnumbered the quantity. Spectators were cheering with some gust…and the crowd was varied. There were young people who had obviously travelled straight from school with their parents who knew the names and backgrounds of most of the players. There were also seniors who were cheering as loudly and as passionately as they were for the A League team. It’s safe to say, the Australian Women’s League has come a very long way and is now getting the exposure and support it deserves. If the scheduling has been completed correctly, we could see support for women’s football in this country like never before. And that is an exciting prospect for all the aspiring young men and women football tragics out there.
I look forward to my next W League game where Sydney FC’s squad will be bolstered by the return of many of their starters including The Matildas Princess Ibini and Lisa De Vanna. Nice work ladies, keep it up. Fans, keep that support going and if you couldn’t make it to the last game, plan to make it to the next…you won’t be disappointed.