The established A-League Women’s order of Melbourne City and Sydney FC saw off their underdog challengers in last week’s semi-finals, and will meet in Saturday’s decider for the fourth time in a decade.

The result will split the record four Championships apiece the clubs share, and for the Sky Blues presents an early chance to atone for last month’s calamitous loss to Melbourne Victory, that opened the door for City to lift the Premiers Plate on the season’s final afternoon.

While Western United led the league for multiple weeks, the Newcastle Jets found raring late form that saw them to the semi-finals and the Mariners pushed Sydney across their two-legged semi-final, ultimately the knowhow of these clubs have seen City to their sixth Grand Final, and Sydney to their seventh straight.

‘We spoke at the start of the season of not being sure what would happen to Sydney when they lost all those players: Sarah Hunter, Rachel Lowe, Madison Haley, Remy Siemsen. We wondered who’d come in and tie them all together’, Steph Brantz told Box2Box.

‘There were a few naysayers wondering what [manager] Ante Juric would do, but he can spot talent and we should remember he spotted Mackenzie Hawkesby playing in the State league only a few years ago. She’s been an absolute gun and if they’re to win it, it will be through her having an absolute blinder.’

The Grand Final marks the close of the first season post-home soil Women’s World Cup, and the first to run twenty-two matches. Aami Park will draw a crowd on Saturday, as did the semi-final venues (average of 5,000 across four matches), but Brantz feels the general leverage expected has been underwhelming.

‘I know crowds and eyeballs are up, but I actually expected more of a knock-on effect. I thought there would be bigger crowds turning up; although the ones that have, have become aware of the players and teams and are really engaged, and that’s definitely been a knock-on success of the World Cup.

‘Looking back on how well the Mariners did in their first season back in the league, the fact they are back and we have a growing league, is really important. We also know the Jets are struggling… but it was good to see such a push through the finals, they went for it and the support that was behind them in the Hunter was really important, and I don’t think that would have existed without the Women’s World Cup. But, I’ve been disappointed.’

Beyond Saturday the attention of Australian Women’s football turns back to the national team, as the Matildas to play two friendlies against China at the end of the month before meeting Germany in their Olympics opener on July 25.

A medal in France would tick a long-elusive box for the side, with the frustration of their fourth-placed finish at Tokyo 2021 not too-distant a memory; it would also provide the capstone glory this generation deserve, for all they’ve provided Women’s football and Australian sport more broadly.

Less-discussed is just how brutal the Olympic football tournament is: twelve sides crammed into three groups, almost all elite by nature of their qualification to such a condensed event, and with two of the four previous winners (Four-time winners USA and Germany) in Australia’s group.

‘I think the semi-finals would be fantastic for the Matildas. It’s a hard group, although if they get through they will have ploughed through two really tough teams. We’ve never excelled at the Olympics, I remember Tokyo and how disappointing it was because I felt we really could have been on the podium.

‘I think when people talk up our expectations they forget the rest of the world is actually really good at football! Especially through Europe, and we know that the USA are like, used to big tournaments and stepping up when it matters.’