Sport

Spence ready to roar against arch rival Sydney FC

Brisbane Roar defender Brooke Spence is confident her team can beat Sydney FC to make it five-straight grand final appearances in the W-League.
Brisbane Roar defender Brooke Spence is confident her team can beat Sydney FC to make it five-straight grand final appearances in the W-League. Brisbane Roar

BRISBANE Roar defender Brooke Spence suggests overcoming adversity and proving its doubters wrong has steeled her team for Saturday's knockout semi-final with fierce rival Sydney FC in Brisbane.

Unbeaten in their last seven starts - a run which includes a 2-0 victory over Sydney FC on January 5 - the minor premiers have every reason to feel confident.

However, Spence, a Hervey Bay product, points to the many challenges the Roar has risen above this season as to why it is just one win away from featuring in its fifth straight W-League grand final.

That started with its coach, Belinda Wilson, given just a couple of weeks to prepare her squad, which wasn't finalised until the day before the season opener, and welcoming 10 new faces.

"The group took on a lot of changes at the start of the season and there were a few who were thinking we might not make the top four this year," Spence said.

"If we can crack the grand final again it would definitely be up there as one of my proudest sporting moments of my life, especially being involved with this group."

After losing to Canberra 3-2 in last year's grand final, the Roar is intent on bagging its third W-League championship.

And Spence, who was involved in the Roar's 2009 and 2011 triumphs, said she was confident this year's playing group, which includes another Fraser Coast product, goalkeeper Kate Stewart, would prevail.

"There is always something special about playing for Queensland and even when the chips were down this team has been able to show so much heart," the 24-year-old said.

"It comes with the territory of wearing the orange jersey.

"Even when people doubted us we all thought we could make it there (finals) and had enough talent in the group.

"We all believe in each other and want to play for each other."

Spence, who has earned 12 caps with the Australian Matildas, believed Saturday's clash with Sydney FC, which has been boosted by Ellyse Perry's decision to put soccer ahead of cricket, would be a tough battle.

"It's never an easy one playing Sydney and we know we will have to dig deep and work together to win," she said.



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