For the first time in the club’s history, Western United have secured a spot in the Liberty A-League finals series after a strong inaugural season.
The side went on a stunning 7-0 run to start the season which put them on the map early and whilst having dropped a few games since then Mark Torcaso’s side has themselves firmly in the race for a championship.
Speaking to the media earlier in the week midfielder Emma Robers said that it’s a pretty special feeling to make the finals in the team’s inaugural season.
“[It’s] Super exciting, I think for everyone here it just means a lot to us. I think we’re a very community-based team and I love what we stand for,” Robers said.
“The fact that we are very local and we’ve been the underdog all season long and to find ourselves in a position where we’re now competing for a premiership and championship, I think it’s pretty special and something a lot of girls are looking forward to.”
Torcaso and Western United put together a strong side, with the core of the group having played together in the NPL whilst then adding strong players with the likes of Hannah Keane, Danielle Steer, and Hillary Beall to the side.
“I think it’s the coaching staff have done really well. I think half the squad came from Calder United, our local NPL team and I think having that chemistry kind of already built-in within our group has really helped transition [us] into the A-League Women and in this professional environment.
“I think coming from that and then obviously the addition of some real high-quality internationals being brought into that, week by week game by game we’ve just combined more unified and I think that’s really starting to show and should put us in good stead to finish off the season in a really positive spot.”
United started the season with international Jess McDonald for the first half of the season before McDonald returned to Racing Louisville FC.
Whilst McDonald is a big loss to United’s fold, Robers said it’s meant that some of the side’s young players have had to step up both on and off the field.
“I think Jess was so important at the beginning of the season, as a role model. She brought a lot of experience with her. They helped a lot of us grow as well and transition into this environment,” Robers said.
“I think it was really special having her here for the first half of the season and now it’s an opportunity for us younger ones to step up and take on more leadership roles. Everyone’s doing it to their credit, everyone’s stepping up.
“We know we’ve got big games coming up and everyone’s ready for it and ready to fight.”
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From a personal perspective, it’s been a strong season for Robers after making the move to United from Melbourne Victory. Since making the switch she’s started 13 matches this season.
“It’s been a special one for me,” she said.
“Obviously, last year I was coming back from an ACL injury and I played bits and pieces but not as much as I would have liked at Melbourne Victory.
“So, transitioning here to Western [United] and the belief that the staff have had in me to play me and start me is something I’ll be forever grateful for, and I’ve just loved it. Soaking up every opportunity and just showing the league what I’ve got and competing with the best.”
On the field it hasn’t been the fortnight that Western United have wanted, going down to both Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar. The side now has the chance to bounce back against Canberra United – the last time these sides met it was a Western domination taking out the game 5-0.
Robers said that now is the perfect opportunity to fix the little things that aren’t quite working for United across the final two games of the regular season.
“I think to be honest, if you had to lose a couple [of] games, now is probably the perfect time because we can fix those nitty gritty things that aren’t quite going right,” she said.
“We can fix the formation, we can fix all our tactical side of things and come into this back end of the season with two games left, we can fix what we need to fix and then that puts us in a really good strong spot come into finals off the back of a couple wins.”Embed from Getty Images
The final two games of the regular season will be held at Western United’s home ground City Vista Pavilion and after several weeks on the road Robers said it’ll be great to play in front of a home crowd again.
“It’s exciting, I feel like it’s been a long time. Everyone’s buzzing to be back at home and to have the fans in the stand is really important for us, we hear them and they’re honestly amazing they go above and beyond to support us,” she said.
“So to have them here, to have friends and family here, I think that just makes it all more exciting.”
Robers and Western United will be looking to get back on the winners’ list when they face Canberra United at City Vista Pavilion on Saturday at 3pm.
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