Melbourne City FC defender Emma Checker has praised her team’s togetherness following their record-breaking invincible season in the Westfield W-League.
With 11 wins and one draw, City secured the Premiers Plate and a home semi-final following a dominant regular season. Under Head Coach Rado Vidosic, the team went on to secure the double following wins over Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC in the 2020 Finals Series.
City became the first team in the W-League’s history to secure four championships when they defeated Sydney FC 1-0 behind-closed-doors at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Reflecting on the Club’s fourth championship in five years of existence, Checker – who captained Adelaide United last season and arrived at the Club with 78 appearances in the W-League – explained the feeling of what it’s like to be within the four walls of the team.
“I think there’s a number of things that makes us so strong,” Checker explained. “Personally going from being an outsider of the team to an insider, it’s just amazing, you really don’t know what it’s like until you’re in it.”
“It’s the most special Club and team I’ve been a part of, it’s just something else, it’s on another level and another standard and it’s really something special to be a part of.”
Checker praised the tight bond that was formed within the group and the team’s belief in each and every teammate.
“The way we all respect each other as a group and the way we care for each other is top notch and as much as we do have amazing players and on paper are an extremely talented list, we play as a team and that’s what’s made us so successful,” she said.
“It wasn’t just the individual talent, it was the way we played and we were technically and tactically trained really well by really good coaching staff. I think that was the biggest thing, our ability to take on board the style of play and execute it as a team.”
Following a dominant season, City’s faced a resilient and well-drilled Sky Blues outfit in the Grand Final. In arguably City’s toughest game of the season, shot-stopper Lydia Wiliams was forced to make two crucial saves as Checker and her teammates at the back fought off a well organised team in the behind-closed-doors clash.
“We were very fortunate that we were able to play the game and able to get an amazing result then spend some time together afterwards,” Checker said.
“Credit to Sydney, they played a game that we haven’t come up against this season and it was a challenge, a battle and a fight, but that’s the way you want a Grand Final to be. It was brutal, there was some big moments, big tackles, big saves and that’s how you want it to be,” she added.
“It was tough at times but yet again we backed each other, we believed in each other and we pulled through.”
The 24-year-old had a standout first campaign in City blue, where she played a crucial role in the heart of a defence which kept nine clean sheets and conceded just five goals all season.