Stingrays issue warning with big win

FOOTBALL

If the Illawarra Stingrays's preseason cup triumph put their rivals on notice, a 5-1 win over defending premiers Marconi should have them running scared.

A week after securing the new campaign's first piece of silverware, the Stingrays extracted a slice of revenge on the side who beat them in last year's grand final.

Ironically, it was by the same scoreline the Stallions handed Illawarra in the 2013 decider, albeit with a different squad.

While the defending champions were missing some of the W-League talent which guided them to the title, Stingrays coach Graham Shaw said the victory was satisfying nonetheless.

"It mightn't of been the same team but it was the same club who beat us in the grand final last year," Shaw said.

"To have that replay in round one and reverse the result was a great start to our season, at a place we know is a hard place to go to get three points on the road.

"We set out with a game plan to shut down their players who we know are dangerous and I think it worked."

Marconi's W-League attackers Helen Petinos and Catherine Cannuli were at the centre of those plans and Shaw believes they were managed effectively.

Michelle Foscarini marshalled the back four stoutly, as Caitlin Cooper and Chloe Middleton controlled the midfield in front of her.

"We knew we would be up for a hard challenge defensively but we really managed to keep them out of the game and towards the end just frustrate them," Shaw said.

"They really didn't get the opportunities that they were obviously looking for."

While the Stallions attack was misfiring, the Stingrays showed they will again be a force in the final third.

Michelle Carney picked up where she left off last campaign, scoring twice, with Cooper, Zoeie Redman and Kaleah Austin all getting on the scoresheet.

"I think the way we went out there looking to get one back on them showed the girls were really up to the challenge," Shaw said.

"In front of goal we were quite clinical.

"We both sort of had the same amount of chances but we finished ours off."

The Stingrays now face a double-header weekend at their new home, the Collegians Sports Ground, against Football NSW Institute on Saturday and Manly United on Sunday.

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