They have been the form sides all year and now big guns Warners Bay and Merewether are on a grand final collision course after cruising through the second leg of their Herald Women’s Premier League semi-finals over the weekend.
Warners Bay, this year’s minor premiers and the league’s defending champions, beat Mid North Coast 3-0 at John Street Oval on Sunday for a 7-2 aggregate win across two legs.
United downed Adamstown 4-0 at Myamblah Oval on Saturday to finish 6-1 in their two-legged semi-final.
The victories were convincing in the end but the opposing grand final coaches both said they had plenty of room for improvement ahead of what is expected to be a fast-paced, high-tempo championship decider at Jack McLaughlan Oval, Edgeworth on August 20.
Warners Bay took a 4-2 lead into the second leg and were 1-0 up by half-time on Sunday after player-coach Cassidy Davis scored from outside the 18-yard box heading to the break.
Mid North Coast goalkeeper Imogene Tomasone made some big saves in the match and got her hand to Davis’s shot before it sailed into the top left corner.
Warners Bay defender Brooke Miller extended the lead when she scored with a header off a corner just shy of the 70th minute then Sass Seaborn, in her return from injury, finished from close range five minutes later.
Davis was thrilled with the effort but knew they would have to be sharper again against United.
The two grand finalists have met three times this season. Merewether won 2-1 in the first round and 3-2 in the third round. Warners Bay won 1-0 in round two.
“I thought we started slow but came home strong and we’ll get a big lift from that,” Davis said post-match on Sunday.
“I said to the girls today that we just have to be smart and play how we want to play next week, and I think we did that.”
Merewether held a 2-1 advantage going into the second leg of their semi-final with Rosebud at Myamblah Oval on Saturday.
Set-piece specialist Jamee Ellis and strike weapon Rhali Dobson both scored match doubles on home soil.
Ellis scored with a corner kick in the 15th minute. In the 87th minute her free kick from 25 metres out hit the woodwork before dropping into goal.
Dobson scored from close range 10 minutes into the second half after Adamstown goalkeeper Natalie Wiseman looked to have wrapped up the ball only to drop it at the W-League striker's feet.
Dobson struck again in the 77th minute when she pounced on Sarah Halvorsen's textbook cross into the goalmouth and smashed it into the net.
An ambulance had to be called for the second week in a row when Rosebud player Taylor Kelly had a head clash with Halvorsen and was thought to be concussed.
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen said their finishing was good but they would need to create more chances against Warners Bay and “stay switched on the entire time”.