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Live: Sydney FC host Melbourne Victory in A-League Women grand final

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G’day and welcome to Dharawal country in Sydney’s south-east for the 2021/22 A-League Women grand final!

My name is Samantha Lewis and I’ll be your live-blog host for this afternoon’s Championship decider between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, two clubs who have played out contrasting seasons but who find themselves back here at the biggest dance of the lot, fighting it out for a little piece of history.

Melbourne Victory have, in many ways, copped the full brunt of this COVID-ravaged season. After losing key players to injury before their campaign had barely begun, the reigning champions stuttered and stumbled their way through the season, barely scraping into the top four after having to play seven catch-up games in the space of a month.

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And yet, somehow, Victory have survived it all. Their semi-final win over Adelaide was full of grit and determination, while their upset of second-placed Melbourne City in last weekend’s elimination final was a reminder of just how good this Victory side can be when things fall into place.

The Melbourne club are out to claim their second consecutive championship, but to do so they’ll have to overcome a Sydney FC side who, despite their average age of just 22, play like a group of seasoned veterans.

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On their way to a second consecutive premiership title this season, the Sky Blues lost just one game, as well as setting league records for the most consecutive clean sheets and most minutes played without conceding. They also have one of the deadliest attacking trios of the lot with Cortnee Vine, Princess Ibini, and Remy Siemsen, supported from midfield by the creative powers of Mackenzie Hawkesby and Rachel Lowe. They are a hard-running, slick-passing, goal-scoring force to be reckoned with.

We all remember how last season’s grand final turned out (I still have PTSD-style flashbacks to Kyra Cooney-Cross’ 120th-minute Olimpico), and with the only meeting between these two sides this season ending in a dramatic 2-2 draw, there is little doubt today’s game will dish up the same level of drama we’ve come to expect from this crazy competition.

Tell me, dearest blog-watchers, where are you watching from? What’s your vibe? What are you hoping for, in your heart of hearts?

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