You can’t imagine a Macarthur Rams midfield without Melissa Caceres and it will be no different on Sunday when she lines up in the National Premier League NSW Women’s Grand Final.
Being no stranger to a grand final build up week, Caceres is thrilled to be in this situation again.
“It’s great to be in this position again. We’ve worked hard to be here,” said Caceres.
“There are players in this team who will be taking part in their first senior grand final. It’s always an exciting time but the girls are relaxed and focused on the task ahead and we will prepare like we do every week.”
For the second consecutive year, Caceres will represent the Rams in the final game of the women’s season and will look to make it two Championship trophies in two years.
“Going back-to-back is massive, it’s not an easy thing to achieve but it would be great for the club if we can do this. It’s not something we’ve spoken about too much,” said the midfield magician.
“We just want to focus on the game and execute our plan and hopefully, if we do that, the result will follow.”
Caceres stated that this season has been different to last as they have been the team to beat from the opening fixture of the NPL NSW Women’s campaign.
“Last year I think we flew under the radar for most of the season, we grew and began to connect as the competition went on and to come out as grand final winners was a great achievement for the girls and the club,” Caceres said.
“This season we continued to build off the back of our successful year.
“We kept a good bulk of our squad, and also acquired some great new additions that have had a positive impact and allowed us to really take our game to another level.
“I think it has showed in our results and form during the competition.
“This team is capable of displaying some great football, we will look to continue our form into the grand final.”
Looking back over the last 24 months and the success that the Macarthur Rams have enjoyed, Caceres has acknowledged coach Stephen Peters and his staff.
“I think the coaching staff have worked hard on building a club culture and a style of football that the squad has really embraced,” said Caceres.
“I also believe we have great individuals that can change a game in any moment, but we have also come together to gel as a team most importantly and that’s because of the environment and quality we have at training every week.
“I think being able to win this grand final would be the optimal reward for the hard work put in by everyone at the club over the past two years.”
On their opponents, Bulls FC Academy, Caceres feels they deserve their place in the grand final and pinpointed some of their strengths.
“I think t Bulls have grown and improved as the season has gone on, coming in late to snatch a spot in the finals.
“They are secure defensively and also have players that are tidy on the ball and can create opportunities going forward.
“No doubt it’ll be a great game to watch for the neutral.”
2023 NPL NSW Women’s Grand Final
Sunday 17th September
Bulls FC Academy v Macarthur Rams
Valentine Sports Park
By Nikola Pozder