Melbourne City FC may have won the premiership in record-breaking style but star defender Steph Catley says the team will not lose focus at the business end of the season.
City has won all ten games thus far in its maiden campaign, cracking Sydney FC’s previous benchmark for most successive wins.
With a home semi-final assured, the aim now is to maintain momentum over the coming weeks so the all-star City side can finish the season with the main prize: a Grand Final victory on January 31.
Here, Catley talks about the team’s unity and drive, as well as the unprecedented level of professionalism offered to the players by Melbourne City.
It seemed like Brisbane Roar really made you work for the win on Monday?
Brisbane put up quite a good fight and had their chances. We created quite a few chances but maybe were a bit complacent in front of goal. The good thing about this team is that we can win even if we are not doing well and finish off the game in a professional way.
And is it a time for some celebrations now?
Our only celebrating was on the field after the match and it is back to business now. The premiership is awesome and an achievement in itself, but we want to keep focussed and make sure we are fully focussed come finals time.
Is there any danger of losing your momentum or focus over the coming weeks?
I don’t think so. We are a pretty hungry team with our goals and our standards. I guess it is a mental battle when you have already qualified for the finals, but you can’t slip up now that would be the biggest mistake possible, so we will keep the momentum going and work as hard as possible.
Given your have experience of winning a Westfield W-League, what characteristics do you see that make this a top team?
We have so many great players, it would be easy to be focussed only on the big individuals. But we are a really great team on the field and we work hard for each other. Those little things on and off the field have put us in good stead this season.
It sounds there is a good camaraderie among the group?
Yes there is, but I suppose it easier when you are constantly winning compared to a bad season. It is, though, challenging each week because teams come up against us with incredible defensive plans and tactics to face us, which is something we have to work hard to overcome and be prepared for every opponent. Some of the teams we have played against in the past few weeks have really stepped it up.
No doubt you are enjoying the extra level of professionalism that Melbourne City have brought to the league this year?
The club is incredible. We are one big family and have a lot of support from the men’s side and all the club staff. We have access to some incredible facilities. You really feel like everyone cares and that it is something different for W-League clubs. The way we are looked after really sets a standard for the rest of the W-League. I’m really proud of the how Melbourne City treats us and we are very lucky.