Cortnee Vine's Sky Blues aim for back-to-back championships

Joanna Guelas
AAP
3 Min Read
Cortnee Vine and the Sky Blues are determined to win the grand final after losing out on the plate. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)
Cortnee Vine and the Sky Blues are determined to win the grand final after losing out on the plate. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Even Matildas star Cortnee Vine is surprised Sydney FC have made it to the A-League Women grand final.

Knocking out Central Coast in two defiant semi-final performances, the Sky Blues have booked themselves a ticket to the grand final, against Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday.

It will be the club’s seventh straight appearance in the grand final under coach Ante Juric.

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Sydney may be the reigning champions but the idea of being one of the last two teams still standing once seemed far-fetched, given their challenges with season-ending injuries and off-season player departures.

Vine herself concedes she and her teammates believed reaching the grand final appeared unlikely, making the achievement one to cherish.

“New squad, young girls, it just looked a bit different from the years before,” Vine said on Thursday.

“To be in the grand final now, I’m very, very proud of this group. It feels like the sweetest one to be a part of just with the challenges we’ve had this year.

“Even Ante himself says it’s been a different year. It’s been his most challenging year and it has for us as well as senior players that have been here for the last three years.

“This my fourth consecutive grand final myself and Ante’s seventh.”

The Sky Blues have weathered a number of long-term injuries in their crusade for another grand-final victory.

Juric was already mulling over the makeup of his most effective side, given a number of players had departed in the off-season, when defensive stalwart Nat Tobin succumbed to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in their opening-round win over Western United.

Star attackers Rachel Lowe (Melbourne Victory) and Rola Badawiya (Central Coast) were among the players to leave the club.

Vine was then sidelined for eight weeks with a hamstring injury before fullback Kirsty Fenton damaged her ACL, medial cruciate ligament and meniscus in March.

Sydney were dealt a further blow when Lowe’s Victory pulled off a 4-0 win to dash their hopes of claiming a consecutive Premiers’ Plate, but Vine believes the loss has added a further incentive to emerge victorious in enemy territory.

“Obviously, we missed out on the premiership this year, which was devastating for us,” Vine said.

“I wanted both. I wanted to be greedy. I wanted the double. We all lost that game and I think we all do want to win this grand final.

“The girls that haven’t been in that situation before where they could have won the premiership, I think they’re now like, ‘I want to come away with something’.

“We’re ready for the grand final. I think they want that as much as I do.”

Should Sydney emerge victorious on Saturday, they will hand Melbourne City their first-ever grand-final loss.

City have won every grand final (2016, 2017, 2018, 2020) they have appeared in, with the Sky Blues finishing runners-up to their interstate rivals in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

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The front page of The Nightly for 14-06-2024

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