Sydney FC, Roar can't be split
Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar have shared the spoils in their Westfield W-League Grand Final rematch in extremely warm conditions at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The Sky Blues had the better of the match but lacked a cutting edge in the attacking third as they sought revenge for defeat at the hands of the Roar in last season's decider.
Both teams were missing a host of key players, but the two squads nevertheless featured over 20 players with international experience. The Sky Blues were without injured duo Kyah Simon and Heather Garriock, while Leena Khamis has playing commitments in Denmark along with the Roar's Elise Kellond-Knight and Kim Carroll.
Sydney FC were able to field their star recruit, Megan Rapinoe, however, and while the highly regarded USA international was unable to lift her side to victory there was plenty of flashes of brilliance in the first of a two-game Australian cameo.
The grand final rematch commenced in scrappy fashion in the warm conditions and it took until the 24 minute mark before either goalkeeper saw action as Sydney's Teigan Allen drove in a low cross with Sarah Walsh's deft near-post flick well held by Roar goalkeeper Casey Dumont.
However that moment proved to be the catalyst for a far-more cohesive contest. Just two minutes later Renee Rollason sent a spectacular 30-metre effort over the head of Dumont, who was caught marginally out of position, giving the Sky Blues a classy opening goal.
Sydney went into the sheds in the ascendency but the Roar restored parity six minutes after the interval. Jo Burgess slipped a cool finish through the legs of debutant goalkeeper Monique Jackson having exchanged passes with fellow forward Emily Gielnik to outwit the Sydney defence.
Young gun Caitlin Foord entered the fray with 20 minutes remaining and made an immediate impact. The young player of the tournament at this year's FIFA Women's World Cup set up Rollason with her first touch but the Sydney midfielder lifted her shot over the cross bar from 12 metres in what proved the best chance of the half.
The home side continued to press in the final stages of the match but the high-tempo contest remained without further goals thanks to some last-gasp defending.
Sydney FC 1 (Rollason 26)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Burgess 51)