Ante Juric – Most special Championship

Ante Juric and Mackenzie Hawkesby face the press after the game

In their seventh successive Grand Final and winning it back-to-back, Ante Juric heaped praise on his squad for being ‘the best team in history’ and highlighted the emotions and memories that come with his ‘most special’ winning medallion.

When asked about the difficulties and challenges the squad has had to endure this season, Juric commented on how this season was the ‘most special’ because of everything the squad has fought through.

“It probably is the most special, because we lost so many finalists from last season, Maca (Hawkesby) coming back, she changed a lot of the off-field dynamics, and we were struggling with leadership”.

“The age of the kids, losing 6 or 7 players to national teams, then returning injured, other injuries with nothing to do with training, just bad luck from tackles.”

“I am really happy with who came in, I want my players to believe they’re good enough no matter who comes in, that the way I coach, I am very proud because it was very hard to do what we did.”

Indiana Dos Santos challenges for the ball during the A-League Women’s Semi-Final

Ante emphasised his personal importance of the memories that come from Finals runs with this year’s squad and his teams over the past 7 years.

“I don’t do it for titles, it’s nice, but the memories are super, when I look at the medallion in 20 years’ time, I’ll remember Maca (Hawkesby) scoring in the semi-finals, I’m there to help the girls, see them progress, that’s what drives me”.

“I am still gutted we didn’t win the premiership when we had it in our hands, we could have had four championship doubles in a row, losing to (Melbourne) Victory in the 120th minute, those fine lines are close we were, that shows me this group is the best in history.”

Hawkesby turns away to celebrate the opening goal at Leichhardt Oval

With what seemed like her first touch of the game after coming off the bench in the 67th minute, Shea Connors scored the only goal to seal a famous win for the Sky Blues just three minutes after coming on.

“You have a little inkling, and you hope it works, this time it did, it was sort of set up for Shea (Connors), just one ball we needed over the top, that’s what we were waiting for, and she finished it really well”.

Shea Conn­ors celebrates scoring the winning goal during the A-League Women’s Grand Final

Melbourne City boasted an impressive 71% possession and 14 shots at the Sydney goal. Ante highlighted the importance of the team’s mentality when the games get tough.

“It was ugly, I would say, we could have made it look better, more comfortable, the ideas were right, we just didn’t execute”.

“We tried to press, we didn’t do that entirely well, and in possession, it was not our plan to give it to them every time as we did, but we defenced crazily well, that was perfect in terms of that side of the game.”

“I am super proud of the grit, we have used this word the past few months, the grind, when we got ahead one-nil I knew we weren’t losing.”