Canberra United Academy v Gungahlin United | Elimination Final | Saturday, 2pm @ AIS Grass 1
The Canberra United Academy and Gungahlin United enter this match off the back of heavy final round defeats, and both sides will be looking to bounce back in the NPLW elimination final on Saturday. The two sides played out a thriller when they met in round 17, with Hayley Taylor-Young scoring deep into stoppage time to lift the Academy to a dramatic win. Taylor-Young will again be crucial for the Academy up front, who are likely to be without Mia McGovern after she was called into the Junior Matildas training camp. But Heather Garriock still has a wealth of talent at her disposal and the Canberra United head coach will know that, on their day, the Academy can match it with any team in the competition.
Gungahlin United scraped into the top four after Woden-Weston were held to a draw by the Monaro Panthers on the final day of the season. Their form over the last month has been shaky, but the side has arguably dealt with more injuries and departures than any other club. The loss of Nat De Marco, who headed back to College football in the US, left a huge hole in the team. But young gun Elke Aitolu has stood up in her absence and, like Taylor-Young, will be crucial for her side moving forward. Gungahlin beat the Academy 2-1 when they met in round 8, and led for a long time in round 17 before conceding twice in the final five minutes. If those two encounters are anything to go by, this game should go down to the wire.
Belconnen United v Canberra FC | Qualifying Final | Saturday, 4:30pm @ AIS Grass 1
The Belconnen United and Canberra FC rivalry is set for its latest installment, as the two sides meet in the NPLW qualifying final on Saturday. Belconnen have already secured the Federation Cup and Premiership this season, and will be eyeing off another treble in the coming weeks. The Blue Devils have been totally dominant in the league this season, finishing on 46 points and boasting a goal difference of plus 100. Their squad is stacked with talent; from Captain Lauren Keir at the back all the way through to striker Nicole Jalocha, who has been close to the competitions best player in 2019. Belconnen will be highly favoured throughout the finals’ series, and they’ll be desperate to win another piece of silverware for outgoing coach Antoni Jagarinec.
Canberra FC have more than matched it with the Blue Devils this season. They held them to a 0-0 draw at McKellar Park in round one, before losing narrowly in both round 10 and the Federation Cup semi-final. Nik Brozinic has got plenty of firepower up his sleeve, with Brittany Palombi and Rachael Goldstein both enjoying superb seasons up front. Grace Gill will be the key in midfield though, and Jagarinec will understand the importance of keeping her quiet. A horror run of injuries held Canberra FC back last season, but they enter this finals’ series in full health and look the most likely to knock Belconnen off their throne.