Junna: Pressure on defending champions

Canberra United’s Head Coach Ray Junna believes that the pressure is on the Brisbane Roar heading into the Grand Final rematch to kick off the 2009 Westfield W-League season.

Canberra United-s Head Coach Ray Junna believes that the pressure is on the Brisbane Roar heading into the Grand Final rematch to kick off the 2009 Westfield W-League season.

With eight players that weren-t in last year-s Grand Final squad to play this weekend, Canberra United will again head into the season as a relatively unknown which will be an advantage this weekend.

“I think the pressure is on [Brisbane], they won it last year so we-re up for a little bit of revenge, we-ve got a lot of new faces so we-re looking forward to the challenge rather than putting pressure on ourselves to get a result,” Junna said this morning at the airport as the team departed for Brisbane.

“We-ve got a few players in the squad that weren-t here last year with the two Chinese Taipei imports, Sally [Shipard] didn-t play last year and a few younger girls so we-re a little bit of an unknown quantity which is good because the teams don-t know what to expect so hopefully we can surprise a few clubs.”

The final make up of the squad is still to be confirmed with the club awaiting an International Transfer Clearance for Sally Shipard from her Spanish Futsal club.

One thing looks certain though, Jennifer Bisset looks set to make her first start for Canberra United after coming off the bench six times last year.

“Sally still hasn-t received her clearance from Spain so whether that comes through or not later this afternoon we won-t know the line up but Jennifer is looking like she will start up front for us,” Junna said.

“If everyone has improved as much as Jennifer this pre-season I would be more than happy, she-s done really well.”

Junna and his charges have already had a few hard pre-season matches, including a fixture against the Westfield Matildas, as the side looks to adopt a new style of football which is sure to entertain.

“We-ve had a couple of good games leading into this game against some stiff opposition and the side didn-t fair too badly so we-re in pretty good shape and we-re looking forward to the challenge [against Brisbane],” Junna said.

“In terms of technique we-re trying to keep the ball a lot more in attack while defensively we-ll be a little more aggressive.

“We-ve got a very exciting style of play and we-re hoping to ruffle a few feathers.”

With the opening fixture of the season away from home against the toughest competition in the league, Junna would be delighted with any result to kick start their 2009 Westfield W-League campaign.

“Brisbane have three quarters of the Matildas squad so it-s always going to be a challenge and we-ll give them the respect they deserve being international players but all the players are looking forward to the challenge and hopefully we can go one better this year,” Junna said.

“Tomorrow is going to be a huge test against the calibre of players but also the conditions that we-re up against.

“Any sort of result whether we come away with a point or three points will be a huge bonus for the team.”

Canberra United is encouraging all supporters who aren-t travelling to Brisbane to meet at the Tradies Club Dickson on Saturday at 2:45pm to watch the Grand Final rematch against the Roar live on ABC 1.

Canberra United squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 4. Chiung Ying LIN, 5. Kahlia HOGG, 6. Ellie RAYMOND, 7. Ellie BRUSH (c), 8. Emily van EGMOND, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Shu O TSENG, 11. Cian MACIEJEWSKI, 12. Snez VELJANOVSKA, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Nicole SYKES, 16. Ellyse PERRY, 18. Sally SHIPARD, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Jocelyn MARA
*One to be omitted
Unavailable: Rebecca KITING (back – 1 week), Christine WALTERS (calf – 2 weeks)