Former Bathurst soccer star Erica Halloway will be a vital part of the West Sydney Wanderers’ push to make the W-League semi-finals over the next few weeks but also their bid to build a dynasty in coming years according to her coach.
Halloway has been one of the Wanderers’ most consistent performers in 2015-16, netting her first goal at the top level against Canberra in December and generally being one of the focal points of the side’s forward structure.
The Wanderers take on second-placed Canberra this Sunday afternoon knowing that only a win will keep their finals aspirations afloat as they currently sit in seventh, three points adrift of Adelaide, Newcastle and Brisbane who are tied on 12 points.
Two wins, three draws and five losses have made for an up and down season so far but Wanderers mentor Norm Boardman is still reasonably happy, and says that Halloway has acquitted herself strongly throughout the competition.
“Erica has always been a talented player, I had seen her playing in State League last season as coach of the Macarthur Rams, she was playing for Illawarra and going back a long time I had her in the state side as well,” Boardman explained.
“It is no secret that she is an exceptional player, we were happy to have her onboard. Her work with the emergency services meant that she couldn’t train at certain times but that hasn’t been a problem.
“On the field she has been a great asset, the goals haven’t necessarily been there but she gets into great scoring positions, sets up a lot of her team-mates for their own opportunities and generally adds a lot to our attack.
“We’ve tried to start something this season with a lot of support from the club itself, where we build a good side based around youth with a handful of experienced players there to guide them and help them.
“There are a handful of other country kids there, and we are putting a big emphasis on the future and whatever happens in the next two weeks, Erica is going to be a big part of that.”
The hopes of the Wanderers hinge on an upset in the nation’s capital this Sunday and having been defeated once already by Canberra they will have their work cut out against a side who have only lost twice all season.
If they can win that game and other results go their way, they have a very winnable match against Perth, ranked below them on the ladder, in the final round which could earn them a finals berth.
“It is going to be a very tough ask, there’s no escaping that,” Boardman said.
“But I never go into a match thinking we won’t win it. We don’t play for draws, we don’t ever think our opposition will be too strong for us and we will maintain that attitude this weekend.
“We have to attack them pretty hard and Erica is going to be a big part of that but we need to recognise that we are playing against a very strong opponent and try and balance things out just a bit.”