Melbourne City FC captain Steph Catley says she is looking forward to the prospect of leading her team to a record-breaking third consecutive Westfield W-League Championship.
City became the first team in the history of the competition to qualify for three W-League Grand Finals in a row when they defeated 2017/18 Premiers Brisbane Roar 2-0 at Perry Park last Sunday.
Patrick Kisnorbo’s side will now play Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, as they look to re-write the record books.
Reflecting on her time at the Club, the City captain says she never envisaged that she would achieve such success in such a short amount of time.
“It is unbelievable,” Catley said. “Signing for City three years ago I would never have expected something like this to be around the corner.
“For new teams, it is unusual to have success so early and so consistently, so to be in a third Grand Final with a chance to win a third straight Grand Final is really exciting.
“It would be amazing [to lead her teammates to a third straight win] – I think every year has been really different and every Grand Final is just as exciting as the other,” she added.
“This year I’ve been so proud of the girls and the team that we’ve put together, the way that we’ve gotten here, so it’s exciting going into Sunday thinking about what we could achieve.”
Ahead of this weekend’s fixture, Catley reiterated the unpredictability that comes with Grand Finals, highlighting that the form guide often goes out the window.
“It’s really hard to know [how the match will be played] until you start playing,” she explained.
“Every Grand Final is a little bit different, but I suppose you go in and it’s even playing field, it’s 50-50 and nothing that has happened in past seasons really matters – the best team on the day will win, I’m excited,” she added.
“I think we’ve got a lot of big game players, I think the game against Brisbane really showed that and you know we’ve had some ups and downs this season but coming into the Newcastle game and the game against Brisbane everyone really stepped up and we’ve got four or five really experienced players that just love the big occasion, and that’s really great coming into a Grand Final knowing that we’ve got those players.”
As both teams enjoy retaining possession, Catley believes that the midfield battle will be the most decisive factor come Sunday afternoon.
“I think [their attack] is probably the most potent one,” Catley said.
“I think their midfield as well is pretty strong, Kylie Ledbrook has been great all year and Teresa Polias is always brilliant in the midfield, and they’re a massive part of why they keep the ball so well.
“I think a big thing is going to be winning the ball back from them and seeing what we can do once we’ve got it because we love to possess the ball too, so it’s probably going to be a little bit of a dogfight in that sense.”
City will travel to the Harbour City on Saturday, before facing Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, kick-off 5:00 pm (AEDT).