Mackenzie Arnold will line up in goals for the Matildas. (Liam Kidston.)
Mackenzie Arnold will line up in goals for the Matildas. (Liam Kidston.)

Brisbane Roar stopper eyes No.1 in semi-final

BRISBANE Roar goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold has another chance to show she is fast closing the gap between her and Matildas' first-choice custodian Lydia Williams at Perry Park today.

Having won the W-League premiership last Sunday, the Roar can book a spot in next weekend's grand final, and earn hosting rights, with a win over reigning champions Melbourne City.

Both teams have a host of national team representatives, including Arnold and City's keeper Williams.

It's a case of master versus the apprentice, but Arnold, 23, believes she is ready to unseat 29-year-old Williams in the Matildas' best 11.

"Growing up she was a mentor for me because I've been in the system since I was 15 or 16 years old," Arnold said.

"It's grown into a healthy competition between us now - we're one and two for Matildas.

"I'm not settling for number two. I'm always pushing for the number one spot.

"Whether that comes when she (Williams) retires or before that, that's up to the head coach (Alen Stajcic)."

Arnold concedes Williams is the better shot-stopper of the pair, but believes she is superior with her feet and her distribution.

"We balance each other out in that regard," she said "Of course we're friends, but it's healthy competition. We push each other on the field."

Arnold's immediate focus is ensuring the Roar survive Sunday's sudden-death encounter.

"It's not ideal, having such a successful season, having all those wins and then potentially being knocked out in the semi-final," she said.

"But … we've got to treat it like any other game. Hopefully we'll get the result on the day."


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