Calder United won its fourth consecutive Nike F.C. Cup crown on Sunday, defeating South Melbourne 3-0 in the final at CB Smith Reserve.
After a tightly contested first half, Calder blew the game open in the second period with a brace to Aleksandra Sinclair and a long-range stunner from Montana Mathews.
Calder’s head coach Mark Torcaso was delighted with the performance given the difficult circumstances over which the squad prepared for the match, citing a complete team effort from all players.
“Proud of this team is an understatement. They way they trained for this game all week and prepared for this occasion was perfect,” he said.
“It was probably one of the most complete performances I have experienced as a coach. Every player did their job, if it was for five minutes as a sub or 90 minutes, everyone executed the plan perfectly.”
The side had only trained together for five weeks prior to the Grand Final after the NPLW season cut short due to COVID-19.
But Torcaso praised the Western United Women’s Development squad for allowing many of the players to continue to work and develop over the season’s break.
“It’s been really good. Early Wednesday mornings at George Cross, the players have not missed a beat, they’re there early ready to go. Those eight weeks have really helped.” Torcaso said.
Aleksandra Sinclair stepped up on the big occasion again
Captain Sinclair stepped up when the team needed her most as she so often does, opening the scoring in the 50th minute with a cool left-footed finish after beating a defender in the box.
She added her second to seal the win in the closing minutes with another brilliant solo effort before picking up Player of the Match and lifting the trophy as captain of the side, capping off a special day.
“It was a highly emotional feeling. We knew what we were chasing, we knew there’d be pressure thrown our way from the start. We played super well, and to win it all was amazing,” she said.
With that performance, Sinclair continued her knack for stepping up in the big games for Calder, adding to her goal in the 2019 cup final as well as a Player of the Match display in the 2019 NPLW Grand Final.
“I was so pleased to score for the team. We were doing everything right, the only thing missing was goals. To put two in the back of the net for them was incredible, and I think it showed in the celebrations,” she said.
“I’m a firm believer that no goal is ever scored alone, and to step up as leader and help get the win, I’m so pleased.”
After a difficult year all round, both Torcaso and Sinclair are already looking ahead to leading Calder United, and indeed Western United’s own women’s program, into an exciting future.
With more sessions and more exposure in line for next year in the lead-up to Western United’s A-League Women licence, this trophy will inspire the group to take those upcoming challenges head on.