Stingrays coach Brett Wallin believes Illawarra are building perfectly towards the finals and potentially a regular season crown after his team hammered ladder leaders Macarthur Rams on the weekend.
Illawarra were at their destructive best in front of goal as they put five unanswered goals past the Rams at JJ Kelly Park.
Michelle Carney, Logan Garard, Emma Rolston and Erica Halloway all got on the scoresheet in a dominant 5-0 win.
The emphatic triumph lifts Illawarra to the top of the competition.
They now sit above the Rams on goal difference, but have played one more match than several of their premiership rivals.
“We do have a game on the other teams but at the moment we have our eyes on the premiership and the finals,” Wallin said.
“We have a couple of tricky games to get through then we can focus on the finals.
“I think the win on the weekend showed we are building towards the finals rather than just scraping in.”
Sunday’s win was the biggest statement the Rays have made so far this season.
They were in control from early on in the piece when Garard and Carney both hit the target in quick time.
Illawarra scored a third time in the first half when a cross from Blaize Kendis deflected off a number of players and found its way into the net.
Leading 3-0 at the break, the Rays showed no mercy in the second half.
Rolston headed in to make it 4-0 inside the hour mark before Halloway sealed the victory late in the piece.
"We were dominant," Wallin said.
“Their coach even said to me that we were way too good on the day.
"We were up for it. We saw this game coming along way away. We thought we were hard done by the first time we played them.
“There was just no way in the world that we were weren’t going to get the points. You could see it in their faces.”
Illawarra now have just two matches remaining in the season, but won’t play next weekend. They will also be without star defender Caitlin Cooper from the end of the month, who was selected in the Matildas squad for the Tournament of Nations to be held in the United States.
“We will lose her for probably three or four weeks but it is great news,” Wallin said.
“She is fantastic. She works so hard for it and has really dedicated herself to it.
“She deserves it and we are really proud of her.
“Personally I am really happy for her because she missed out on the last World Cup by the skin of her fingernails so it is pleasing she gets this week.”