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MyState Women’s Super League Round 18 Preview

Photos: Solstice Digital

Match report: Dan Thurley

Devonport Strikers vs Clarence Zebras

Date: Saturday August 14

Venue: Valley Road

Kick-off: 12:00 PM

2021 Record:
Devonport Strikers: 7-1-5 (second in WSL)
Clarence Zebras: 13-1-1 (first in WSL)

Top Scorers:
Devonport Strikers: Jazmin White (15)
Clarence Zebras:
Zoe Nichols (20)

Preview:

This first vs second clash gives the Clarence Zebras a chance to clinch the WSL title with a win or draw, while a loss to the Devonport Strikers will simply delay the inevitable.

The Strikers claimed second place from the Olympia Warriors last week, and they still hold a game in hand over third place. The worrying thing for the Strikers ahead of this weekend’s clash is their negative goal difference; they are the only side above the bottom two to have conceded more goals than they have scored. While they definitely know how to find the net, they will have to tighten up at the back to have any hopes of beating the Zebras. They will be well aware they have lost their last two meetings with the Zebras by an aggregate score of 12-4.

The Zebras will be crowned champions, it is simply a matter of when. A loss this weekend will delay the outcome another week, but with the chance to claim the trophy three weeks early it would be a shock to see the opportunity go to waste. The only reason they are not champions already is because mathematically, the Strikers can make up the 18 points if they won out and the Zebras lost every game remaining, however the Zebras goal difference is a whopping 46 goals better than the Strikers, which would take some catching. Zoe Nichols scored five in last week’s 8-2 thrashing of South Hobart and she will eye off a few more against a Strikers defence prone to conceding a goal or two.

Key Player: Zoe Nichols, Clarence Zebras

Try as you may, you will not find a more influential player on the field this weekend than Zoe Nichols. Five goals last week take her season tally to 20, and with three of the top four goal scorers all on the same field in this match, she will no doubt be determined to show teammate Allie Berry and the Strikers’ Jazmin White that she is the best in the competition.

 

Launceston United vs Kingborough Lions

 

Date: Saturday August 14

Venue: WMPS Park

Kick-off: 1:00 PM

2021 Record:
Launceston United: 7-0-7 (fourth in WSL)
Kingborough Lions: 5-4-5 (fifth in WSL)

Top Scorers:
Launceston United: Danielle Gunton (8)
Kingborough Lions: Laura Davis (16)

Preview:

The previous two meetings between Launceston United and Kingborough Lions have ended with one win a piece, and it could go either way when the two sides meet again this weekend with the chance to move as high as second on the table.

While United won the first meeting 5-2, it was their final victory before a five-game losing streak that culminated with a 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture. Recent results have seen improvement in terms of wins and losses, but Launceston United have struggled in front of goal since that victory. They have only scored nine goals in eight games compared to 18 in their first six, but the good news is that Danielle Gunton has scored in consecutive matches for the first time since round four. If she can continue to find the back of the net, United may rediscover that early form.

Laura Davis is having an incredible season and is likely to finish the year with her best goal-scoring record since her WSL debut in 2017. In previous years, the problem for the Lions was that they did not have a second 10-plus goal scorer and this season is shaping up to end the same way with Danielle Kannegiesser the second-highest scorer with six. Even so, the Lions have scored two or more goals in every game since round nine and with United’s poor scoring record, they will fancy their chances of doing enough to get over the line. If other fixtures go their way, the Lions could even see themselves as high as second this week.

Key Player: Danielle Kannegiesser, Kingborough Lions  

Danielle Kannegiesser returned to the scoresheet last week for the first time since round 13 and some consistency in front of goal would go a long way to easing the pressure on Laura Davis. Davis is on track to put up career-high numbers, but Kannegiesser has the ability to be just as influential and with second place up for grabs this weekend, she can be the player the Lions have been missing.

 

Olympia Warriors vs South Hobart

Date: Sunday August 15

Venue: Warrior Park

Kick-off: 2:15 PM 

2021 Record:
Olympia Warriors: 6-3-5 (third in WSL)
South Hobart: 3-2-9 (sixth in WSL) 

Top Scorers:
Olympia Warriors: Madison Chambers (8)
South Hobart: Pishon Choi (5)

Preview:

The Olympia Warriors are three spots above South Hobart on the league table, have scored 15 more goals and conceded 11 less, but the statistics may not tell the whole story ahead of this weekend’s clash.

The Warriors suffered defeat to Kingborough last weekend and are still adjusting to life without Madison Chambers. She played her last game against the Devonport Strikers in a 2-1 loss which the Warriors followed up with another defeat against the Lions last week. Josie Mamic is the only player other than Chambers to have scored since round 12 which is a worrying sign, but Innocent Michael is still one of the best players in the league and the spine of Mamic, Mia Cane, Kate Ollerhead and Leah Gubb remains intact. It will take someone to step up and fill the role of key attacking threat, but once that happens the Warriors are likely to find that spark again.

South Hobart’s defensive record had been looking much better this season up until being overrun by the Clarence Zebras in an 8-2 defeat last week. They conceded a single goal against the Kingborough Lions in both meetings, kept a clean sheet against Launceston United in round nine and held the Warriors to a 0-0 draw in round six. Whether last week’s outcome is an outlier or a result of their post-bye form is yet to be seen, but it is apparent that South can shut down a good offence on their day. Only time will tell whether or not this weekend is one of those occasions.

Key Player: Kate Ollerhead, Olympia Warriors

Kate Ollerhead’s second season in Tasmania and first in the WSL has been impressive so far, but the Warriors are crying out for a defensive leader and Ollerhead fits the bill. Having not kept a clean sheet since round 12, this clash with a struggling South Hobart could be the perfect time for her to lead by example and get the Warriors back on track as they chase second place.