Sydney FC Win Grand Final To Be Crowned Back-To-Back Champions

Sydney FC’s Women have added 10th trophy to their growing cabinet after making A-League history with a record five Grand Final wins and their first back-to-back Championships.

The 1-0 victory over rivals and season Premiers Melbourne City marked Shea Connors first goal in a Sydney FC jersey to be confirmed as Champions.

Sydney FC 1 (Shea Connors 69’) def. Melbourne City 0.

Moments That Mattered

01’ – THOMPSON CHANCE – Hawkesby curled in the ball from the corner finding Chauvet on the left edge just outside the penalty box. Chauvet lobed it over the City defence with an overhead kick, finding Thompson whose shot was saved by Melbourne goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

05’ – WHYMAN SAVE – Sky Blue goalkeeper Jada Whyman denied City the lead after going into the splits to save the shot from Wilkinson following a set piece from the Melbournians.

28’ – HAWKESBY ATTEMPT – a yellow card for Julia Grosso set the Sky Blues up for a free kick taken by Hawkesby, but the strike went wide and was caught by Barbieri.

Sydney FC’s Trophy lift

46’ – TUMETH BLOCK – Tori Tumeth turned up the heat on Emina Ekic forcing the forwards left footed shot from the left side of the box to go out.

69’ – CONNORS GOAL – Shea Connors scored the opening goal with a first time shot following an impeccable centre-field pass from Indiana Dos Santos after a fast break.  

83’ – HOLLMAN DEFELCTION – Shay Hollman cleared Rebekah Stott’s attempt at goal over the crossbar with her forehead to save Sydney FC’s Grand Final campaign.

Shea Conn­ors and team mates celebrate victory during the A-League Women Grand Final match against Melbourne City.

What They Said: Ante Juric and Mackenzie Hawkesby

“We wanted to win. Tactically, a lot of things looked right, but we just didn’t execute… I am super proud of the grit. It has been two, three months of grinding. When we got ahead one nil I knew. It wasn’t pretty and wasn’t perfectly how I wanted it to come out but in terms of heart we were through the roof,” Juric said.

“We tried to press. Our plan B was to sit back and them have a little bit of the ball but in possession our plan wasn’t to give it to them every single time. We defended crazily well and that was perfect in terms of that part of the game.

“We have lost so many Grand Finals… I am super proud. I want my players to believe they are good enough to play. It was very hard to do what we did.

“We could have had four championship doubles in a row – that’s how close were. That tells me how good this group has been… and they don’t get enough credit for what they achieve because that is enormous for being that close to four doubles in a row. No other team has been close like that.

“We got a championship as we were defensively perfection all year,” Juric concluded.

“When I first came to Sydney FC, it was in the era of internationals and the Matildas, this next season we transitioned into a younger squad with younger players. Ante brought in a lot of young players and from there, we have still won a lot of titles and I think that era it is just unbelievable. Jada and Cortnee are the only Matildas in our team. We have such a young squad and every season we stand up and we win,” said Hawkesby.

“I think we are the most dominate.

“I don’t think I was at my bets execution wise but I think that a lot of players in our team tried to play with their hearts on their sleeve and give everything possible. I play for my family, I play for Ante, I play for the girls and Nat Tobin. There are a lot of factors that drive me wanting to win and the team as well. All season I have seen in the girls eyes how much we want to win and that is Sydney FCs identity.

“We do our job and get on with it. We love each other and we are like a little family which is the heart of this team,” Hawkesby added.

Match Report:

Ante Juric’s Sky Blues have made history with five Grand Finals wins, and double back to back Championships after Shea Connors locked away the opening and only goal for the match.

The Sky Blues made a valiant effort in a stalemate of a first half with only two key attempts.

The opening minutes was an attacking frenzy. From the corner, Mackenzie Hawkesby curled the ball towards the left wing of the field, finding Margaux Chauvet just outside the penalty box.

Chauvet launched the ball past the Melbourne defence with an overhead kick finding Thompson in the six yard box.

Thompson’s close-range shot was clear to scrape inside the left goal post, but the quick hands of Melbourne goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri kept the visitors from notching the opening goal.

Melbourne City were next in line to take a shot at goal. Following a set piece, Rhianna Pollincia set up Hannah Wilkinson for a one-on-one challenge with Sky Blue goalkeeper Jada Whyman. City players crowded the box, but this didn’t stop Whyman from an outstanding save, diving into the splits to block Wilkinson’s strike.

Just shy of the 30-minute mark, Melbourne City defender Julia Grosso was shown a yellow card for a bad foul against Hawkesby. Opting for a long range shot from the free kick, Hawkesby’s strike was caught by Barbieri.

The remaining 20 minutes of play was a tit-for-tat affair ending nil all at the halftime whistle.

Leaving no time to waste in the opening of the second half, Emina Ekic from Melbourne City set herself up for a left footed shot from the left edge of the box but Sky Blue defender Tori Tumeth kept the intensity and pressure high, forcing the ball out before Ekic could take the strike.

Indiana Dos Santos made a clean break from the centre of the field, launching a hard and fast ball to an open Shea Connors – who was fresh off the bench. Darting to the centre of the box, Connors scored her first goal as a Sky Blue off her right foot, landing in the right-hand corner of the net to give Sydney FC the lead.

Melbourne City fought back edging closer to their goal, but young gun Shay Hollman headed Rebekah Stott’s strike away from the cross bar, saving the Sky Blues from a potential extra time showdown.

After nine minutes of injury time, the Harbour City club were crowned the Liberty A-League 2023/2024 Champions for a second year in a row.

Sydney FC celebrate victory during the A-League Women Grand Final match against Melbourne City.

Sydney FC: 1. Jada WHYMAN (GK), 2. Margaux CHAUVET (18. Taylor RAY 59’), 3. Charlotte MCLEAN, 4. Tori TUMETH, 11. Cortnee VINE, 14. Abbey LEMON, 15. Mackenzie HAWKESBY, 16. Jordan THOMPSON, 20. Princess IBINI (9. Shea CONNORS 67’), 21. Shay HOLLMAN, 22. Indiana DOS SANTOS

Unused Subs: 6. Lucy JOHNSON, 24. Caley TALLON-HENNIKER, 30. Tahlia FRANCO (GK)

Yellow Cards: Tumeth 81’

Red Cards: None

Melbourne City FC: 1. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 5. Taylor OTTO, 7. Julia GROSSO, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA, 11. Emina EKIC, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14. Laura HUGHES, 17. Hannah WILKINSON (6. Leticia MCKENNA 77’), 18. Leah DAVIDSON (20. Caitlin KARIC 86’), 22. Bryleeh HENRY, 24. Daniela GALIC

Unused Subs: 3. Naomi THOMAS-CHINNAMA, 19. Tijan MCKENNA, 30. Emily SHIELDS (GK)

Yellow Cards: Grosso 28’

Red Cards: None

Venue: AAMI Park

Referee:  Casey Reibelt

Attendance: 7,671