Perth Glory women’s coach Alex Epakis says the 4-0 loss to Sydney in January proved to be a key turning point in the team’s bid for a dream finals berth.
Glory were winless last season on the way to collecting the wooden spoon, but they have bucked the odds this campaign to be within touching distance of a top-four finish.
Fifth-placed Glory take on ladder leaders Sydney in Tasmania on Sunday, before rounding out the home-and-away season with a match against last-placed Wellington.
Glory copped their humiliating four-goal thumping at the hands of Sydney on January 8, but since then have posted four wins and two draws from seven matches.
Epakis believes the heavy loss to the title favourites was an important moment.
“I look back on that performance and it might have been a real turning point in our season,” Epakis said.
“From a scheduling point of view, it didn’t help us, because it was our third game in seven days.
“We were a bit flat, we weren’t at our best. We also learnt a lot about ourselves as a team and where we’re at, and since then we’ve matured.
“We’ve learnt from our mistakes. I think we’re going to go into this match a lot more prepared.”
Sydney suffered their first loss of the season on Sunday when they went down 2-1 to second-placed Melbourne City.
Despite the blip, Sydney remain the team to beat this season, but Glory aren’t running scared.
“We’re not going there to take a backward step,” Epakis said.
“We’re going there to be the best version of ourselves, to attack the game.
“We’re going there with the idea that we can certainly put on a performance that can get a result.
“I don’t want to put a limit on this group. There’s some really special players here and they’re a special group. We can achieve what we want if we all believe in it.”
Glory will be ‘hosting’ the game in Launceston in a move that will bring Sydney out of their comfort zone.
“They’ve been really fortunate where they haven’t left Sydney for many games,” Epakis said.
“I’m not totally sure how it’s worked out where they’ve played so many games within Sydney, but I certainly think it’s a bit of a leveller (for them to come to Tasmania).”