With five games to go in the Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL), the Lion City Sailors Women find themselves in pole position to secure the league title in their debut season.
The Sailors currently sit atop the WPL standings on 19 points, five clear of their nearest rivals, Tanjong Pagar United, who have played a game more. Next up for the Sailors women is a clash against Balestier Khalsa on Saturday (20 August) at the Yishun Stadium.
The Sailors – who have won all of their games so far, bar one – are now widely expected to become WPL champions this season.
But the women are not taking anything for granted.
Indeed, midfielder Madison Telmer insists that the Sailors will continue to head into each of their remaining five games with the same sort of must-win mentality that they displayed in the first half of the season.
“Complacency is always a worry when a team is doing very well,” Madison mused. “To avoid this, we focus on winning each game at hand individually, rather than focusing on the full picture. As a team, we go into every match expecting it to be a challenge.
“In addition, I think that there is a lot more pressure on us as a team in the second round of the WPL, especially because many teams have improved over the course of the season. However, there is a mutual trust in our team that every player is giving their 100% in training and games. We all believe that our coaches will lead us to victory, which helps deal with the pressure.”
Despite the approach, Madison admits that everyone in the team is excited at being within touching distance of becoming WPL champions.
“It feels amazing to be in such a strong position to win the title, especially since we’re closing in towards the end of the season,” said Madison. “Winning the WPL title has been our goal from the very start and we have worked very hard in training to be where we are at now.”
The Sailors strengthened during the recent transfer window with the addition of German winger Paula Druschke, who made her debut for the club in their 4-0 win over Albirex Niigata (S) last weekend.
Madison is confident that her new teammate will be a success at the Sailors, saying: “I thought Paula did very well on her debut, I was impressed by her work rate on the pitch, especially in winning possession. I think she brings a new aspect to our game as a left-footed winger so I’m definitely excited to see what more she can bring to the team in future matches.”
The last time they met Balestier, the Sailors ran out 4-0 winners – the scoreline, however, did not accurately reflect how tight the game was, with Tigers’ defensive low-block frustrating the Sailors for large parts of the game.
And Madison fully expects Balestier, who are currently second from bottom in the WPL, to employ similar tactics this weekend.
“I think it’s likely that they will sit deep and defend again for our upcoming match because many of the teams in the league have learnt that the compact block is the best strategy for playing against us,” Madison mused. “It is definitely frustrating to play against a team that focuses only on defending, but it’s our job now to strategise and figure out how to overcome this.”