05/03/2024

Grace Maher came up against her former Melbourne Victory teammates in round 10 of the W-League. Photo: Canberra United

Canberra United midfielder Grace Maher had a fairly non-typical reunion with her former Melbourne Victory teammates in round 10.

There are not many feelings like playing against former teammates.

Fans jeer and boo, players throw friendly banter around and the media frenzy ensues.

Travelling interstate amidst COVID restrictions makes it all a little stranger. Heading home with one point from a draw leaves mixed feelings.

Canberra United midfielder Grace Maher’s first match against her former Melbourne Victory teammates was one affected by circumstance.

Being unable to spend time in Melbourne, Maher and her teammates had to fly in and fly out after taking one point away from a 1-1 draw.

“We’re pretty tight with COVID, there’s protocols in place and upheld with all the league standards and that’s fine,” she said.

“We’re there for business and we’re in and out, and I can leave my visit in Melbourne for my own time.”

Maher played 17 games for Victory from 2018 to 2020, kicking a goal in the side’s finals loss to Perth in the 2018/19 season.

She still feels nothing but love for her former teammates, lining up against four of the girls she played in that final alongside.

“It was interesting playing against an old club but I had nothing against them in that sense,” Maher said.

“It was always going to be the same game against a lovely team.

“There was a bit of heart and soul put into that but at the end of the day, every game is taken the same.

“It was pleasing but also disappointing that we didn’t come away with the win.

“It was good to see everyone, I have some really good friends there, and it was good to touch base and I was looking forward to saying hello to some friendly faces.

“Wouldn’t mind getting to face off against them in finals.”

With finals approaching, Maher is one of the players in the United line up with finals experience, both at United as a teenager and at Victory.

The unpredictability of finals is something she believes is impossible to prepare for.

“The thing about finals football is that everyone says anything can happen,” Maher said.

“You get yourself into the position of a semi final, and then you’re a real shot at the title.

“We have to get ourselves into the position first, and that comes with getting results.

“Come finals, anything can happen and I’ve had the experience so I’m ready for it.”

United now sit fourth on the W-League table after defeating Newcastle 1-0 away from home.

The team must win against ladder leaders Sydney FC on Friday to solidify a finals spot, with Victory hot on its heels.

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