When it comes to Finals football Wanderers star midfielder Ella Mastrantonio has been through many highs and lows during her distinguished 12-year Westfield W-League career.
It has certainly been the full gamut of emotions from winning premierships to losing them on goal difference, from heart-breaking Semi final losses in a penalty shoot-out to exhilarating wins, from the joy of making your first grand final to the crushing disappointment of losing one.
Now preparing for a finals series with her third different club, Mastrantonio knows only too well what to expect when the Red & Black play Premiers and raging championship favourites Melbourne City in a grand final qualifier at ABD Stadium on Sunday.
The Wanderers have created history in qualifying for the first time for the W-League Finals and Mastrantonio’s calmness, competitive nature and big-game experience will be invaluable to the club’s chances of taking the next step to the championship decider.
“I’m pretty excited ... it is the first final for the club and everyone is buzzing,” said Mastrantonio. “We are all so excited to even get to this point.
“We had the weekend off, so we all refreshed mentality and physically and we are ready to go.
“For me, there’s a real sense of pride because it was one of the goals I wanted to accomplish when I came to the club at the start of the season.
“I am glad as a team we have done that and that goes back to all the staff and everyone from the top to bottom. Hopefully, we can keep creating more history for the club.”
So what advice can the 28-year-old, who played finals football with Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory and won a Premiership with the Victorians last season, pass on to the younger players in the squad?
Mastrantonio says she is prepared to have a “chat in the ear” with some of the players.
“I’ll tell them just to have no fear. It’s finals football and anything can happen,” said Mastrantonio. “We are playing City who have stacks of full internationals, but on any given day anyone can win.
“I have full belief we can beat anyone and go all the way.
“I feel the young girls are a bit quiet some of the time. Sure, a few of us are experienced heads in the camp, so we will be willing to give any advice any time and try to lead by example.”
Mastrantonio joined the Red & Black from Melbourne Victory at the start of the season and is delighted with the way things have worked out for her.
Mastrantonio has been a huge influence in midfield having missed just one (through suspension) of the 12 games during the regular season.
“To be honest, I’m not thinking of what has been. I am just focused on this week,” said Mastrantonio.
“But I am very happy that I have contributed as much as I can to the club’s success.”