Junna pleased with Stingrays performance

Ray Junna described Canberra United’s pre-season friendly win over the Illawarra Stingrays as “quite pleasing” as the United Head Coach reflected on an excellent afternoon’s work at Hawker Football Centre last weekend.

Ray Junna described Canberra United-s pre-season friendly win over the Illawarra Stingrays as “quite pleasing” as the United Head Coach reflected on an excellent afternoon-s work at Hawker Football Centre last weekend.

“It was quite pleasing,” Junna commented. “The Stingrays have played a couple of games against other W-League clubs and are a tough side, so to get a win, and it being quite comfortable, is pleasing. For the players who are here at the moment they really stood up and made their intentions quite clear that if the others don-t perform they are ready to step up.”

United were missing Matildas’ international trio Lydia Williams, Caitlin Munoz and Sally Shipard for the friendly clash with Ellyse Perry and Nicole Sykes also unavailable. The players recruited from Central Coast Mariners did feature however and certainly made an impression on the United Coach.

“I-ve been impressed with how well they have come along in the short time that they have been here,” Junna said. “It was good to see Michelle (Heyman) banging in a couple of goals and Lyndsay (Glohe) flying down the left flank along with Caitlin (Cooper) marshalling the defence with Ellie Brush. I-ve been quite pleased with how they are going. If they can maintain that standard and improve as we go along it will be excellent for us.”

The only downside to the victory was the loss of Ashleigh Sykes to an ankle injury, but the news is good on the United striker.

“Ashleigh isn-t as bad as we thought,” Junna continued. “She got a knock on the ankle and with an ankle injury it takes 2-3 weeks so we-ll see how well she comes on.”

Also appearing in the United ranks for the first time in the 3-0 win was local Woden Valley duo Grace Field and Sally Rojahn who have stepped up in recent weeks to outline their potential, as Junna confirmed.

“We are a little bit shy in terms of defensive numbers hence the inclusion of Grace and Sally. Hopefully we won-t have injuries so we can keep a consistent squad. But if we do we have those two who are ready to step in. They are both very young and inexperienced, in terms of their football, but have come on in leaps through their involvement with the ACTAS program and are definitely warranting their positions in the squad.”

Meanwhile two-goal Michelle Heyman was disappointed the team hadn-t added to their tally with all three goals coming in the first-half.

“We did okay, but could have scored a few more goals.” Heyman admitted.

“We will start to gel soon and hopefully that will come. This season is going to be a big plus and I-m really looking forward to it. I was a bit nervous before, because it was a new team, but to bag two has just built up my confidence up for the season.”

Having played alongside fellow new recruits Cooper and Glohe at the Mariners Heyman is in a good position to judge what they will bring to the Canberra United squad for Westfield W-League Season Three.

“Caitlin is a good leader and talks a lot on the field, which you need in the game, whilst Lyndsay is quick, tall and strong and a very annoying defender who is very difficult to play against!” Heyman revealed.

Canberra United kicks off their Westfield W-League campaign on Sunday 7th November with a trip to Perth Glory. The first home match is the following Saturday, 13th November, when Brisbane Roar travel to McKellar Park for a 5pm kick off.