We catch up with Sydney FC captain Kylie Ledbrook just days out from the Championship decider.
1. Congratulations on winning the minor premiership this season. In your view is winning the minor premiership or the grand final more important?
I think they-re both important. To have a home Grand Final and to have all your friends and family come out to support you is definitely an advantage. It feels unfinished to only win one of the titles and we want to do the double, we want to win the minor and the major and win it twice in a row as well. But losing any game is depressing, so we don-t want to lose the game, and hopefully this Saturday we come away with a win.
2. How has the teams preparations been going for the grand final? Do you or the team do anything differently when preparing for a final?
Not in the way of training, we had recovery on Monday after a pretty hard game on Sunday, Monday was just a light session with a bit of recovery, and tonight we-ve got training as well. I wouldn-t say we-re going to do anything different as it-s worked for us all season. On game day we-ll be a bit more pumped up because it-s a big match.
3. You have been the captain since Heather Garriock went down with injury. Are you excited about having the extra responsibility of captaincy? Will this change the way you prepare mentally for the match?
The way I prepare mentally will be the same as I prepare for every match. I don-t think it will change for me that much and I have been captain in the previous years so I am happy to take on that extra bit of responsibility, and I-m happy to hold up the trophy at the end of it. It-s a privilege to be captain but at the same time I-d rather have Heather playing and not injured. For me it will be all the same on game day, just to make sure I play well and the team plays well, with that extra privilege of holding the trophy up if we come away with a win.
4. You are facing Brisbane Roar in the final on Saturday, the same team you beat in last year-s grand final, but also the team that beat Sydney FC 1-0 in January this year. What will you and your team do differently to make sure you revenge that defeat?
Earlier this year we played in a lot of heat and mentally we switched off in important parts of the game, and when they got their goal we switched off on a corner. I think our physical ability will be able to match Brisbane but we must make sure we don-t switch off in those important periods. If it is hot on the weekend or we get tired we-ve just got to make sure that we-re mentally prepared and switched on for every second of the match, while making sure we match them physically.
5. Both Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar have won one W-league title a piece. Does the chance to become the team who has won the most championships add an extra bit of motivation for you and your team?
The girls are very excited to try and make it the double and that-s been our goal all year, to be minor and major premiers for the second time. The W-league has only been going for three years but to be the only team to have done it will be an honour, so that motivation is definitely going to be there on the weekend, as it has been all season. I think it will pump us up a bit more and we don-t want to lose, especially to Brisbane. The girls have not only the match to play for but also a place in the Australian World Cup squad.
6. You have represented Australia in some very important international competitions. How does playing in the W-league Grand final rate compared to playing in say the Olympics in 2004 or the World Championships in Russia in 2006?
I think it-s the same. To get to a final and to have a league in Australia which we haven-t had until the W-league started two years ago is really great. Playing the Grand Final still gives you the nerves, and still gives you that competitive edge, even though you-re not playing for your country. Sydney FC is just as good as Australia for me. I feel, and I think that all the team feels like it-s the same when putting on the Australian jersey and the Sydney FC jersey. We go out with a job to do and we go out and try to accomplish it.
7. If the grand final goes down to the wire. What do you think could give Sydney FC that special edge that will get them over the line?
I think we-ve got more depth on the bench, with Catherine Cannuli and Nikola Bolger on the bench, players with their experience can come on and change the game. We-ve been together longer as a team than Brisbane has and I think that might be crucial. We also only played ninety minutes this week, we finished off Melbourne 5 -1 after ninety minutes, while Brisbane played one hundred and twenty plus penalties in their semi-final, so hopefully their fatigue will set in much quicker than it will for us.
8. And is there a message you would like to send to everyone out there to get them to get to the Grand Final on Saturday?
Just come out and watch and you will be surprised. I know people from work who have watched me and they didn-t realise that girls can play the way we do, with technique and with brains. We can-t match the men physically but we definitely can technically. I think it will be a very good game to watch and everyone should come out and support us. Its only $10 to get in and we-d love to have the support from everyone out in Sydney as that-s why we played for the minor premiership, so we could have all our fans out there. So all those girls that want to make the Australian team one day, come out and watch us play and hopefully learn and have fun.