Football: Wauchope juniors Rhali Dobson and Caitlin Cooper to play off for W-League grand final glory

Celebrations: Yukari Kinga (left) and Rhali Dobson (right) celebrate on full time after winning the W-League semi-final at Perry Park in Brisbane. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

Celebrations: Yukari Kinga (left) and Rhali Dobson (right) celebrate on full time after winning the W-League semi-final at Perry Park in Brisbane. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

RHALI Dobson has only seen inside her newly-bought Newcastle home for a total of 48 hours in the last six months.

In September, Dobson sacrificed what she had known for almost 10 years in the Hunter for a fresh start in Melbourne.

On Sunday, the Wauchope junior will appear in the W-League grand final for Melbourne City in Sydney.

It makes the tears, phone calls and countless airport goodbyes with partner Matt Stonham worth it as the most successful W-League club in history aim to complete three-straight premiership triumphs.

“You sacrifice a lot of yourself (in a move like this),” Dobson said.

When I moved to Melbourne I decided I was going to chuck it all away and build myself back from the ground up.

“I sacrificed a lot of time with my family, with my friends and obviously a lot with Matt and we’ve done exceptionally well the last six months to see each other as much as we have.

“I managed to fly home at Christmas, but he was doing a lot of the travel for me.”

Sunday’s W-League decider will have a distinct Wauchope flavour with Sydney FC centre back Caitlin Cooper set to line up in defence for the Sky Blues.

You sacrifice a lot of yourself (in a move like this.

Rhali Dobson

The duo are Wauchope juniors although age differences ensured they didn’t play a lot of junior football together.

“Caitlin is a bit older than me and she’d moved on and was playing in the Sydney comp so I never played against her at home,” Dobson said.

“I played against her sisters in Wauchope when we had the women’s competition because we had two female teams at the time.”

Dobson sees Sunday’s match as a win for regional and grassroots football, particularly on the Mid North Coast.

“What is so important is remembering where your roots are because they’ve essentially been a major part of where we’ve both gotten to today,” she said.

“It’s a little victory for all the rural parts of Australia that two very rural-based girls from the same town have made a grand final.

“I hope it reinforces to coaches across the competition that you shouldn’t rely on your urban areas to provide you with players.

The Melbourne City midfielder conceded there are so many players that never get an opportunity because they are never discovered.

“Wauchope has now provided three Matildas and to have two Wauchope players in a grand final will be special in itself,” she said.

It’s a little victory for all the rural parts of Australia that two very rural-based girls from the same town have made a grand final.

Rhali Dobson

Dobson said she had enjoyed grand final week and was now starting to look ahead to the 5pm kick-off on Sunday at Allianz Stadium.

“To make a W-League grand final is the ultimate; there are players that go their entire careers not making a national grand final so to do that is special in itself,” she said.

The 25-year-old said she would look forward to stepping up to the spot with a premiership on the line.

“The aim is to have it all done and dusted in 90 minutes, but I’d happily put up my hand to take a penalty,” she said.

The W-League grand final will be broadcast on Fox Sports from 5pm on Sunday.

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