Emotions run high for semi clash

Friday, December 12, 2014

Perth Glory Women’s Westfield W-League semi-final will take on special significance for Elisa D’Ovidio after her decision to hang up her boots at the end of the season.

Table-topping Glory take on Sydney FC in Sunday’s Pink Ribbon semi-final at nib Stadium aiming for a victory that would seal the club’s first Grand Final appearance. The loser will be eliminated.

D’Ovidio has experienced the highs and lows of every Glory season since the W-League kicked off in 2008 and is determined to end her playing days as a winner.

“To be able to walk away as a winner would be amazing and obviously it would be very emotional for me,” D’Ovidio said.

“It’s been a fantastic season so far and we want to go all the way. For me to have been part of the Perth Glory journey and how great this season has been has just been incredible. But it’s not finished yet and we all known we have to be switched on

against Sydney to make it to the Grand Final.”

Glory coach Jamie Harnwell said he would have a “quiet word” with D’Ovidio, who is in the mix to start in the absence of injured striker Samantha Kerr, before the game to ensure she does not allow emotions to get the better of her.

“It can be quite emotional and you do have to settle yourself down,” said Harnwell, who made a record 256 Glory appearances before retiring in 2011.

“Vids has been a huge part of Perth Glory both on and off the field and she has given so much to the club. She’s played a few roles as a player, development officer and as a girls coach and she’s shown great professionalism to juggle all that.”

D’Ovidio and Gabe Marzano are front runners to replace Kerr, whose knee injury last weekend cruelly robbed her of a place in the finals.

Harnwell is confident the team, which won the premiership with a record number of points, can overcome Sydney.

“It’s a one-off game and you’ve got to be aware that any team can take the chocolates on the day,” he said.

“It’s about rocking up on the day and having the same level of performance that has been so successful to this point.”

*On Sunday, fans can donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, which raises money for research into the prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer.