Sydney FC face rivals Melbourne Victory in a colossal Grand Final rematch this Saturday at Cromer Park as we preview the top five story lines for the Big Blue.
Both the Sky Blues and Victory suffered 1-0 first round defeats to Adelaide United and Western United respectively as they seek their first points in round two of the 2022/23 Liberty A-League season.
Grand Final rematch
Despite Sydney FC winning back-to-back Premierships and being the most consistent team in the competition over the last two campaigns, Melbourne Victory boast the upper hand in Grand Final settings.
Victory claimed narrow 1-0 (AET) and 2-1 Grand Final wins over Sydney FC the last two years at Kogarah Oval to deny the Sky Blues their first Championship trophy since 2018/2019.
A 120th minute extra time winner by Kyra Cooney-Cross in 2021 and a big performance by Victory keeper Casey Dumont in 2022 broke Sky Blue hearts, but Ante Jurić’s side are sure to use these setbacks as fuel to bounce back on Saturday.
Remy Siemsen returns
After representing AIK for eight months in the top tier of women’s football in Sweden, Remy Siemsen has re-signed for Sydney FC and returns to the squad to face Melbourne Victory at her home ground of Cromer Park.
The prolific goalscorer has netted 19 times in just 34 matches for the Sky Blues and is a two-time Liberty A-League Golden Boot winner.
Siemsen, who has three career goals against Victory, will be looking to get on the scoresheet once again as the 23-year-old Matilda aims for national team selection at next year’s Women’s World Cup.
Cromer Park fortress
Sydney FC have fond memories of Manly United’s Cromer Park – beating Melbourne Victory 2-1 in the final regular season match of 2020/21 to lift the Premiers Plate – denying Victory the trophy in the process.
Support for the Sky Blues Women’s team is also abundant on the Northern Beaches, so Cromer Park is anticipating a strong crowd for the first home game this season.
An intimate and local suburban ground in a region filled with Sydney FC supporters, Cromer is set to generate a lively homecoming atmosphere for the returning Premiers.
The Matildas star, who is one of fifteen players with over 100 caps for the women’s national team, impressed in midfield in Victory’s season opening loss to Western United – winning 100% of her aerial duels and notching up an 84.6% pass success rate.
Kellond-Knight has represented the Matildas at three World Cups and the 2016 Rio Olympics – also featuring for Australia in their 2-0 win over Thailand last week in Gosford after knee injuries kept her out of international action for over two years.
The 32-year-old is one to watch on Saturday and will look to utilise her experience from playing overseas in Germany, America and Sweden to boost Victory’s Championship defence as she seeks 2023 World Cup selection.
In a match filled with Matildas stars, Sky Blues forward Cortnee Vine is set to light up Cromer Park after threatening the Adelaide defence last weekend – producing 8 shot-creating actions.
The elusive winger, who was voted the PFA Team of the Season captain last campaign, averaged 0.98 goal involvements per 90 minutes in 2021/22 for Sydney FC.
Vine also scored her first Matildas goals against South Africa last month in London – scoring twice in a 4-1 victory – a performance certain to boost her confidence for the new Liberty A-League season.
See Vine and the Sydney FC Women’s team in action at Cromer Park on Saturday as the Premiers take on the Champions in a mouth-watering Grand Final replay – kick-off 3:00pm.