For six seasons now, conversations I’ve had with people who otherwise love and support football have invariably followed the same trajectory: I tell them there’s a W-League game on and encourage them to attend.
They’re keen until they realise it’s not being played as a curtain raiser to an A-League game, but on another day at a pitch far, far away.
‘Why don’t they play before the boys?’ they invariably say. ‘I’d go if they were on straight before or after an A-League game.’
Consider this your chance. Same day, same venue, a curtain raiser/double header: Brisbane Roar Women will be hosting Western Sydney Wanderers Women just before Roar Men host Wellington (Men) at Suncorp Stadium.
There are myriad reasons why you should be getting along to watch this match at 4pm on Friday January 24, but here are 12 (one for each W-League round):
1. If you’re in Brisbane and a Roar or Wellington supporter, you’ll be heading to Suncorp anyway. The stadium’s centrally located, convenient to get to, and you already know your way there
2. You get two for the price of one, with your entry fee covering both matches, as well as ensuring free public transport to and from them. Who wouldn’t want two games of football, and especially two games of football for the price of one?
3. It’s a Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend. You don’t need an excuse to give yourself an early mark. But if you do: It’s a Friday afternoon, there are two games of football to be supported—this is the perfect early mark excuse
4. It’s your chance to see the world’s best women’s player in action. Her name is Nadine Angerer and she’s the female equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo, as voted and awarded in the last-week-announced Ballon d’Or. (She beat two esteemed strikers to not only win the award but to be the first goalkeeper to do so. Brazil’s Marta has five times won the Ballon d’Or and Abby Wambach holds the world record for international goals for either female or male footballers with a whopping 163 goals.) Last year Angerer saved two penalties—one in each half—to help Germany to a 1–0 win over Norway to secure their sixth successive European Championship title
5. Suncorp has beer (if you’re that way inclined). The food and beverage areas will be open early. This will enable you to eat, drink beer, and to start drinking beer earlier than you may otherwise have (I am not advocating irresponsible beer consumption, but I’ve heard beer might be a selling point. Queensland’s putting on a steamy one this week, so I recommend pacing yourself and imbibing plenty of hydrating water too.)
6. Fox Sports is broadcasting the match, so you can see the match even if you’re not in Brisbane (the ‘but I don’t have pay TV’ whine is no longer valid. There are so many pubs and venues with Foxtel you don’t have to own it at home. For example, the indoor sports centre where I play football has it on—I’ve turned up there to watch games a bunch of times. Or if you’ve got a friend with Foxtel, get yourself the Foxtel Go app and pilfer your friend’s feed for free)
7. The players are talented. Truthfully, I’m miffed I even have to put this on the list, but it seems there are still some people who are: a) surprised women play football; and b) when they see them in action, even more surprised at just how skilful the women are. So if you’re in that category, consider yourself forewarned: The players are talented and you’ve been missing some incredible football. Many of these players will be in the Matildas squad defending the Asian Cup in May of this year—this is your chance to get aboard the bandwagon
8. The game will be fierce. Western Sydney is returning to full strength, having missed a bunch of players through a bunch of injuries in the season’s pre-season or early rounds. Roar will be bouncing back after going down to traditional rivals Sydney on the weekend and will be trying to ensure a top-four finish, having had a games or two go pear-shaped early on in the short season
9. Suncorp Stadium has big screens and replays. This is a biggie for those of us who attend W-League matches week in, week out with the absence of replays. We invariably find ourselves in the toilet or gossiping when goals are scored. Replays. On big screens. That should be selling point enough alone
10. It’s apparently the last day of school holidays, which means it’s a fantastic last hurrah for families to hang out (or represents an affordable and exciting way for exhausted parents who’ve run out of entertainment ideas to pass the last bit of time)
11. Brisbane and Western Sydney are the two clubs that have wholly incorporated the W-League teams into their folds (most of the W-League clubs are run by state associations and borrow the relevant club’s branding). That means the media and event teams that do such a professional job running the A-League are the ones doing a stellar job running the W-League matches too (have you noticed Roar’s brilliant and lived-and-breathed #OneTeamOneGoal motto?). You’ll also notice a serious rapport between the men’s and women’s teams—I wouldn’t be surprised if the Roar Men are there early to cheer the girls on
12. Double headers are expensive and we need to demonstrate our support for them. I refer you to the earlier paragraph in which everyone asks why the A-League and W-League aren’t played as double headers and say they’ll attend if they are. This is a water-testing double header, if you like. It’s pricey to hire a stadium like Suncorp so regardless of how much we’d love to see it happen all the time, the clubs need it to be financially viable. That is, we football lovers need to show up and demonstrate our support.