Elise Thorsnes hat-trick helps Canberra United thump Adelaide United in W-League
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Elise Thorsnes hat-trick helps Canberra United thump Adelaide United in W-League

Her versatility's seen her play down back, but Norwegian international Elise Thorsnes's hat-trick sent an emphatic message to Canberra United coach Heather Garriock — she's a forward.

Those three goals were Thorsnes's first in the W-League and they helped set up Canberra's 6-1 thumping of Adelaide United at McKellar Park in oppressive heat on Sunday.

Canberra United's Ashleigh Sykes celebrates a goal against Adelaide United.

Canberra United's Ashleigh Sykes celebrates a goal against Adelaide United.

Photo: Rohan Thomson

It means Canberra keep in touch with the W-League top four — they're still four points off fourth-placed Melbourne City, but they have a game in hand going into the final four rounds.

United almost scored from the kick-off, with Canberra centre-half Toni Pressley hitting the crossbar from halfway.

They were 1-0 up less than three minutes later when midfielder Ellie Carpenter scored — even though she wasn't meant to even be playing.

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While Adelaide equalised in the 10th minute through Alyssa Mautz, parity was gone before half-time when Thorsnes had her first and returning co-captain Ashleigh Sykes had also scored.

The rout was complete before the hour with Thorsnes completing her hat-trick, Karly Roestbakken scoring and Sykes going off in her first game back from an ankle injury.

Thorsnes has been used in defence this season, where she plays for Norway, but showed where she preferred to play.

"I like more to play up front than in the backline, but I play where the coach wants me to play. I hope so [that I stay up front]," she said.

Garriock was thrilled with Sykes' return — scoring one and setting up another.

She said the former Matilda was not only crucial as a player, but as a leader as well.

While Sykes came off limping, Garriock said it was just precautionary after the forward missed the previous two games due to an ankle injury.

United will wait anxiously over Clare Hunt's ankle, after the defender had stress fractures in the same ankle earlier this season.

"[Sykes] just knocked her ankle. She'd been out for four or five weeks with her ankle and it was just precautionary," Garriock said.

"For a player that hasn't played for so long she had a massive impact today, not only from a footballing perspective, but a leadership perspective as well.

"Clare, we'll see how she pulls up tomorrow. She had stress fractures mid-season and it was on that ankle so hopefully she pulls up OK and she's good to go next weekend."

Canberra midfielder Carpenter was sensational from kick-off, getting forward to get on the end of striker Michelle Heyman's cross to score and barging her way through the middle of the park for the rest of the game.

Not bad, considering she wasn't even meant to play with Garriock revealing she'd pulled up sore during the week.

"Ellie had a bit of a niggle before the game and wasn't supposed to play. She pulled up sore after training," Garriock said.

Garriock said Canberra went into the clash against the bottom-placed Adelaide treating it as a grand final and they would continue do so for the remainder of the season.

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Their next grand final is against the Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park next Sunday.

CANBERRA UNITED 6 (Ellie Carpenter 3, Elise Thorsnes 37, 47, 54, Ashleigh Sykes 43, Karly Roestbakken 54) bt ADELAIDE UNITED 1 (Alyssa Mautz 10) at McKellar Park. Crowd: 1050.

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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