Junna issues challenge to young players

Canberra United head coach Ray Junna has issued a challenge to the squad’s younger players to step up in this weekend’s Grand Final rematch after the club has been ravaged with injuries.

Canberra United head coach Ray Junna has issued a challenge to the squad-s younger players to step up in this weekend-s Grand Final rematch after the club has been ravaged with injuries.

The centre back pairing of Lin Chiung Ying and Ellie Brush will both miss this weekend-s fixture against the Brisbane Roar at McKellar Park while fellow defender Ellyse Perry will be unavailable for selection.

Lin will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament during a challenge in the 30th minute in Canberra United-s 1-1 draw with the Central Coast Mariners.

While Brush is in doubt and likely to miss her first ever Westfield W-League match after sustaining an ankle injury early in the first half despite returning to action after briefly receiving medical treatment on the sideline.

“The weekend was pretty brutal so we-re just waiting to see how some players recover over the week,” Junna said.

“We previously played Melbourne who is a rugged side as well and now for the league leader-s Brisbane.”

“They-re the top three sides in terms of physicality and experience so they-ll come out aggressively especially if you-re going to try to play football and that-s how our players are trying to play.”

The injuries will provide some of the squad-s younger players an opportunity to step up and show off their talents on the national stage.

“This is a chance,” Junna said.

“The local players have a good opportunity here on the national stage where national coaches will take note so in that sense it-s a good opportunity for them.

“Obviously you would like to blood them slowly in bits and pieces here and there to build up their confidence but this has sort of been unplanned so they-ll be thrown into the deep end and let-s see how they manage.

“It could work either way but that-s the way things are at the moment so we-ll see how they fair.

“This could make them a hero or provide a reality check of where they-re at.”

With Brush in doubt for the match, Junna will be looking to his young backline this weekend to step up and take charge of the defence.

“At this high level and the tempo, things are done a lot faster than just at training,” Junna said.

“Recognising the situation quickly enough is a juggling act for the young players.”

“Being able to adapt to the faster pace, with their head spinning on their shoulders and organising each other will be the difficult part.

“They-re used to the senior players organizing them now they-re the ones that will be needing to make the calls.”

One thing is for certain, regardless of the result, this weekend-s fixture will certainly be a great learning opportunity for the young squad with one eye on the future.

“It-s either going to be right or wrong but they-re going to be the ones paying the price,” Junna said.

“It-s all part of a learning curve so hopefully there are more right decisions than wrong decisions out there on the weekend.”

Canberra United host the Brisbane Roar in a Westfield W-League Grand Final rematch at McKellar Park on Saturday, 7th November to be televised live on ABC 1 and ABC HD from 3:00pm.

Tickets for the much anticipated fixture are available through Capital Football and at the gate which open at 2:00pm.