Matildas At Home: Absence of Asian Cup stars to help spice up finals race

Round 6 of the A-League Women sees a logjam of quality sides bunched around the crucial top 4 positions, with the competition set to tighten further as the big hitters prepare for further squad loses over January

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National Team coach Tony Gustavsson has recently announced his initial 25-player squad for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in India, with a number of A-League Women's stars, on the Swede's radar.

Unsurprisingly, the three sides that have started the season so promisingly, Sydney FC, Melbourne City, and Melbourne Victory, are all heavily represented in Gustavsson's selection. For the chasing pack that sit just one or two victories behind, the focus must be to make up that ground over the next four rounds and rejoin the finals positions.

MORE: Initial selections in for 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup

Saturday afternoon sees current league-leaders Sydney FC hosting the ever travelling Perth Glory. Ante Juric has once again assembled a star-studded team, with Sydney four points on-top and yet to taste defeat. The Glory match will see an understrength Sky Blue line-up however, with selected internationals Remy Siemsen and potential Australian debutant Cortnee Vine, joining the Asian Cup training squad in Dubai on Sunday.

Sydney may have lost arguably the deadliest attacking duo in the competition, but will provide little respite for the West Australians, with Juric still possessing a plethora of international stars including Jada Whyman, Charlize Rule, and Jess Nash.

Siemsen Vine


Three hours down the Federal Highway, Canberra United will be hurting from the absence of their golden girl Karly Roestbakken, as she joins the Commonwealth Bank Matildas in Dubai.

While Sydney have already created a gap at the top to sustain them during the Asian Cup period, the team in lime green will be hoping for a victory at home to Adelaide United, or else a gap between themselves and the finals may form, despite only being halfway through the season. Adelaide enter the contest with no absentees including the return of international Dylan Holmes.

The Reds may have never played finals football before, but a victory on Saturday night, will undoubtedly edge them closer to that elusive milestone.

Sunday's double-header sees title challenger Melbourne City play host to a Wellington Phoenix side, who are yet to record a victory this season. City may have avoided the mass exodus of international players for the Asian Cup, but they will farewell two youngsters Holly McNamara and Winonah Heatley, who will both hope to impress Tony Gustavsson in Dubai and earn a spot in final Asian Cup squad. 

If Wellington are going to achieve the club's first ever win, they still need to overcome the immense experience of Emma Checker.

To finish the round off, in-form Brisbane Roar will bring a winless Western Sydney Wanderers to a hot and humid Queensland. It seemed Brisbane couldn't score or catch a break, yet two weeks later, the Roar found themselves defeating the league leaders, with just three points separating themselves from the top four.

Much of that turn-around is due to the leadership of Katrina Gorry in the middle of the park. The Wanderers are looking for a similar sort of spark to resurrect their campaign, with Bryleeh Henry, perhaps the player to fill that role, as the club's only current international.

Bryleeh Henry and Jess Nash battle for the ball