A-League Women Season Preview

This week’s Midweek Dub feature sees our huge 2022/23 A-League Women season preview brought to you by our team of eight writers covering the competition this season – Kieran Yap, Kris Goman, Ryan Miller-Woods, Ben Gilby, Jonathan Tay, Ben Carey, Hayley Routley, and Johnathan Stack (16/11/22).


by Hayley Routley

Above: Adelaide United captain Isobel Hodgson is looking to lead her side to a Grand Final this season. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

Season 2022/2023 spells the rebirth of Adelaide United Women, and for good reason. United are fresh off the back of their most successful season in club history, having made A-League Women (ALW) finals for the first time.

Last season also saw accolades including Coach of the Year for head coach, Adrian Stenta, and Fiona Worts becoming their first ever Julie Dolan medal recipient, in addition to the Golden Boot for her 13 goals. The team are wanting to take that momentum into the now extended season that sees them free of COVID-related disruptions for the first time in several years.

United’s coaching staff have cleverly retained the core of the history-making squad, in addition to bolstering their ranks with some exciting scholarship players.

Current and former captains respectively, Isabel Hodgson lines up for her eighth Reds’ campaign, whilst Dylan Holmes returns on a one-year contract extension. Despite losing defender Matilda McNamara to Danish side, AGF Fodbold, Jenna McCormick is back for her third United stint after almost a straight swap between the two clubs. Kayla Sharples will also be a noticeable absence, but United have turned to 2021 campaigner, Maruschka Waldus to fill her place. Looking domestically, competition for midfield spots heats up with the addition of former Melbourne Victory and Australian under-20s cap, Mindy Barbieri.

United have secured four scholarship signings of National Training Centre (NTC) alumni. Emilia Murray lit up the WNPL for NTC alongside Sascha Coorey, who scored two of the greatest goals of the season, plus the duo of Zoe Tolland and Katie Bowler who were arguably stars of runner-up, Adelaide City.

Above: The return of local start Jenna McCormick was aother boost for Adelaide United ahead of the season. Artwork: Adelaide United.

Stenta is clearly excited by the side he has built, stating “Overall, I believe the balance of youth and experienced players is, arguably, the best it has been since being involved at United and it is very exciting ahead of the new season.”

United captain Hodgson also feels United have the upper hand against their opponents through their off-season preparation. Commenting at a recent Football SA event, Hodgson indicated the entire squad has been training together since early October.

With United set to play majority of their home games at the brand-new State Centre for Football rather than Marden, squad members who played WNPL in the off-season also hold the advantage of pitch familiarity. The increase to nine home games and completed renovations to Cooper’s Stadium, including the addition of female changerooms, allows for the inclusion of doubleheaders with the men’s side. Hodgson has indicated the stadium upgrades, due to Adelaide being a host city for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, make the team feel wanted and a part of a professional setup.

The local flavour that defines Adelaide United, the familiarity amongst the squad who have either developed together through the NTC or played alongside each other in the WNPL, and the belief amongst this team is second to none. Adelaide United will look to turn that inherent chemistry into results, to become a powerhouse amongst the ALW and strive to consistently make finals from here on out.


by Ben Carey

Above: In-form Matildas midfielder Katrina Gorry is back at Brisbane Roar this season. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

Last season was a transitionary season for the Brisbane Roar. The two-time champions and three-time premiers took a massive hit losing 2020/21 Golden Boot winner Emily Gielnik, and Matildas veterans Clare Polkinghorne and Tameka Yallop.

The Roar started the season in poor form, with two losses against Perth Glory and a draw against Canberra United, despite having led in all three matches for 80+ minutes. This killed their early season momentum and resulted in many lost points.

Despite their slow start, Brisbane Roar did manage to find some form during the remainder of the season, with a dramatic 4-2 win over the eventual champions, Melbourne Victory, and a tight 1-0 victory over Melbourne City in the second last round. They closed out their season with a 5-1 thumping of the Newcastle Jets. But it was too little too late, and they finished sixth on the ladder.

The biggest issue for the Roar last season was their defensive line, who were often unable to repel well-organised attacks from the higher-ranked teams and who conceded several own goals. Head coach, Garrath McPherson has rebuilt and strengthened his back line.

At the heart of the new defensive structure will be 31-year-old veteran Talitha Kramer, who transferred from Wellington Phoenix. She will provide the kind of leadership in the back line that was lacking after Polkinghorne left. She will be joined by the talented young defender Jamilla Rankin, who was a key part of Australia’s Under 20 Women’s World Cup squad in August.

Above: Brisbane Roar’s Larissa Crummer (right) has been a regular member of the Matildas squad this year. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

The midfield will be contested by Matildas superstar, Katrina Gorry, who has spent the last six months playing at Swedish club Vittsjö, where she has scored three goals and bagged three assists. Since returning from giving birth last year, Gorry has become an essential part of the Matildas. In her last season with the Roar, Gorry scored four goals and bagged a whopping seven assists, which was the second most in the league.

Gorry is a midfield workhorse. She’s aggressive and wins a lot of challenges. She can score from distance, and last season she proved she can nail penalty kicks too. Gorry will be working alongside captain and fellow midfielder, Ayesha Norrie, and the newly signed French international, Margot Robinne, who transferred from Canberra United.

Leading the attack will be Matildas striker, Larissa Crummer, who was the Roar’s leading goal scorer last season with eight goals. Alongside her will be American international, Shea Connors, who won the Golden Boot with 15 goals for APIA Leichhardt FC in the most recent NPLW season in NSW. Connors scored seven goals for the Roar last season. Her ability to read the plays and her lightning-fast pace means that she will be a menace to any defensive line.

McPherson basically rebuilt the Roar last year from the ground up. This year, if he can solve their defensive woes and tighten up their late game management, they will be a serious threat, and could challenge for a spot in the finals.


by Ryan Miller-Woods

Above: Canberra United unveil new signings (left to right) Rebecca Burrows, Grace Jale, and Grace Taranto with head coach Njegosh Popovic. Photo: Canberra United.

Canberra last season had a very uncharacteristic and disappointing campaign for their very high standards as a team. Despite this, Michelle Heyman seriously showed everyone exactly why she is without a doubt one of the very best players to have ever graced the A-League Women as she proved time and time again during the season to be a significant difference maker for Canberra.

In regards to the recruitment of players made by Canberra for this upcoming season of the A-League Women they are as follows:

Chloe Lincoln and Keeley Richards have stayed at the club with Lincoln having signed on for the following season as well. Canberra additionally has brought in Keely Segavcic from Northbridge Bulls FC in the FNSW League One Women’s.

Above: Ellie Brush is back at home town club Canberra United after five years away. Photo: Canberra Times.

Emma Ilijoski and Hayley Taylor-Young are back in defence on two-year contracts while Lauren Keir has left the club moving to fellow A-League Women’s side Western Sydney Wanderers. In her place has come Ellie Brush from Sydney FC, Holly Murray from South Melbourne in the NPLW Victoria, and Grace Taranto from Adelaide United.

Midfielders Sasha Grove, Laura Hughes, and Grace Maher will be continuing at the club for the season ahead with Grove signing for an additional year while Margot Robinne and Holly Caspers have left for Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers respectively. They have been replaced by Rebecca Burrows and Emily Roach from Heidelberg United in the NPLW Victoria as well as Vesna Milivojević from ŽFK Spartak Subotica in Serbia.

Nickoletta Flannery’s return from an ACL injury is a massive boost up front as was the news that and Michelle Heyman joined her on a two-year contract. Also coming in are Grace Jale from Wellington Phoenix on a two-year contract and Ellen Gett from Brisbane Roar.

Canberra as a whole is looking like an incredibly strong team with the combination of youth and experience being massively prominent throughout the entire squad. It bodes extremely well for the club in many ways and possibly making last season just an outlier for them. The fact they boast a frontline of Michelle Heyman, Grace Jale, and Nickoletta Flannery will make Canberra a massive threat to any team. I can very much see Canberra this season finishing in the top four.


by Jonathan Tay

Above: Hannah Wilkinson, a key part of last season’s Melbourne City side, is back for another season as part of a very strong looking team assembled by Rado Vidosic. Photo: Melbourne City.

After a disappointing 2020/21 where they easily missed the Finals, Melbourne City finished second in 2021/22, pushing Sydney FC right to the last matchday weekend for the Premiership.

Under head coach Rado Vidosic, they curated a possession-hungry, press-heavy brand of football led by a spine of veteran ANZ internationals, in striker Hannah Wilkinson, midfielder Rebekah Stott, captain Emma Checker, and ageless goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

Their ball-dominant play resulted in a league-leading average of 55.4%, and was propped up by diligence in defence, where they allowed their opposition just 3.6 passes per defensive action (also first amongst all clubs). Over the regular season, they scored the third-most goals (29) and conceded the second-fewest (11). 

Wilkinson led the attack superbly, picking up 14 goals (from chances worth just nine expected goals) and the A-League Golden Boot. But she was also healthily supported by breakout seasons from forwards Holly McNamara (four goals and three assists in eight matches), Rhianna Pollicina (seven goals, three assists), and wingback Kaitlyn Torpey. 

Where City came undone was in their lack of squad depth, particularly noticeable when one of Wilkinson, Stott (SheBelieves Cup) or McNamara (ACL injury) were missing. They bowed out to eventual champions Melbourne Victory in the Preliminary Final.

This off-season, the club has looked to rectify that issue, with eyes on building upon last season’s performances. Vidosic seemingly used his Young Matildas assistant coaching gig as a bit of a recruitment drive, bringing in forward Bryleeh Henry from Western Sydney, and 16-year-old wonderkid Daniela Galic. Both started all three group games for Australia in their U-20 World Cup campaign, alongside current City players Sally James and Naomi Chinnama.

Checker was a stabilising defensive presence in Melbourne’s backline, playing every single minute of the regular season in 21/22. A key initiator of possession and distributor of the ball, the captain will be leaned upon again this time round, coming back from an offseason stint in the Damallsvenskan with Umeå IK FF.

Above: A key part of the Melbourne City squad – Emma Checker. Photo: Melbourne City.

She will however be mustering a brand new backline around her, with the absences of Winona Heatley (move to FC Nordsjælland) and Tori Tumeth (ACL injury). City will be hoping to see step-ups from youngsters Chinnama and Chelsea Blissett, having also brought in Karly Roestbakken, who’s been on the fringes of the senior Australian squad. 

The biggest question mark for Melbourne City remains their midfield. Rebekah Stott leaves a hole in the middle of the pitch, having headed to Brighton and Hove Albion in England. For all their time on the ball last season, at times City were neutered by an inability to break down low blocks of defence, and carve out shots and chances. They were middle of the pack in fifth for both shot-creating and goal-creating actions, despite having one of the highest passing volumes in the A-League. 

Another New Zealander in Katie Bowen has come in as a more defensively-minded central midfielder. With 85 Football Ferns caps and two Olympic campaigns under her belt, City will look to leverage that experience in an otherwise youthful engine room. Leticia McKenna is an option having shown some spark in limited minutes with two assists and the fourth-highest combined expected goals and expected assists per 90. Darcy Malone and Galic will also have legitimate opportunities to fight for game time.

This is a Melbourne City team that is again well-positioned to earn a spot in the top four this season. With the continuity of Vidosic and his proactive footballing principles, they will have a tactical superiority over most sides in the competition. The challenge for City will be overcoming the big guns of the Liberty A-League, Sydney FC, and crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory. Time will tell whether their offseason additions will be able to take them that one step further.


by Kieran Yap

Above: Young gun Paige Zois, seen here in action for Bulleen Lions during the most recent NPLW Victoria season, will play a key role in Melbourne Victory’s campaign. Photo: Bulleen Lions.

The two-time champions have undergone some changes in the off-season, but are well-positioned to win a third consecutive grand final.

The squad going into 2022/23 is in some ways the reverse of 2021/22. Last year, they began with a strong defence, but one lacking in options. Polly Doran, Kayla Morrison, Claudia Bunge and Courtney Nevin were joined in defence by returning goalkeeper Casey Dumont.

On paper, it looked like a difficult side to score against, but it took only one significant injury to Morrison to create a domino effect throughout the team.

Up front, Victory’s forward line looked like one of the most dangerous ever assembled in Australia. Although Melina Ayres was injured, they still boasted Catherine Zimmerman, Alex Chidiac, Lia Privitelli, Harriet Withers, and American superstar Lynn Williams.

They had few problems scoring goals, or creating chances, but with midfielders filling in at centre back and attacking midfielders like Kyra Cooney-Cross shifting to deeper roles, Victory was rarely at their very best.

Despite this, coupled with an incredibly congested schedule and a COVID outbreak, Victory rallied and after scraping into fourth on goal difference, fought their way admirable to a second consecutive Grand Final win away to Sydney FC.

Coming in to 2022/23 Jeff Hopkins has once again recruited well. This season, their attacking options are slightly less in numbers but still high in quality. Privitelli has enjoyed a strong season with Bulleen in Victoria’s NPLW, Zimmerman is back and as the hero of the finals series, Ayres.

Above: Alex Chidiac – impressive for the Matildas recently – her return to Melbourne Victory is a massive bvoost for Jeff Hopkins’ side. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

This time, it is in defence where they have significant depth. Morrison and Bunge are reunited in the centre of defence, but Hopkins has also added Jessika Nash, Nat Tathem, and Gema Simon. The three new arrivals are experienced and versatile. The likelihood of stylish midfielder Tiffany Eliadis or Grand Final goalscorer Amy Jackson filling in at centre back are very low.

What this means is that Victory’s talented midfield can be at their best, supported by a strong defence and aided by a dangerous attack.

Alana Murphy will return. The young midfielder impressed last season with her composure in midfield that belied her age. Paige Zois is another who could make a major impact. After being on the edges of the first team in 2021/22, the skilful playmaker enjoyed a dominant NPLW season and earned a call-up to the Young Matildas squad for the Under 20 World Cup.

Victory will be stronger this season, even if Chidiac and Cooney-Cross do not return. They have a fully fit Melina Ayres and an ever-improving Zimmerman to score the goals and will be difficult to score against.

Beattie Goad has also joined. Given Victory’s defensive stocks the former Tenerife full-back will likely return to the midfield role she played with Bulleen and Melbourne City.

Goad will add another level or versatility and skill to the side. She has the ability to link the midfield and attack, while also playing in wider position if required.

Victory is well-positioned to counter what the other contending sides have to offer. Another Grand Final appearance is expected and will likely be achieved even if they are beaten to first place on the ladder.


by Johnathan Stack

Above: The arrival of Ausralian international Teigan Allen is a major signing for Newcastle Jets. Photo: Michael Dodge.

Newcastle Jets will be going into the new Liberty A-League campaign looking to improve on last season. With back-to-back eighth-place finishes, the Jets will be searching for their overdue rise up the ladder.

Ash Wilson was re-appointed back in May of this year for her third campaign at the helm. Under her last season, the Jets only amassed two wins as well as finishing eighth out of 10 clubs, so she will be looking for improvements.

As the Jets prepare for the season opener on 19th November away against Brisbane Roar there has been many changes.

Club icon Gema Simon moved on to pastures new after 13 years and over 130 matches at Grand Final winners Melbourne Victory. Also departing the club were Sophie Harding, Sunny Franco, Bethany Gordon, Tiana Jaber, Kirsty Fenton, Marie Markussen, and Elizabeth Eddy came to the end of her loan.

Staying for the 2022/23 season are Jets captain Cassidy Davis, youngster Lara Gooch who re-signed on a scholarship deal, Josie Allan signed her first senior deal from the club’s academy, defender Taren King, goalkeeper Claire Coelho, defender Lucy Johnson, striker Tara Andrews, attacker Ash Brodigan, attacker Lauren Allan, and youngster Josie Morely are on board.

Above: Tara Andrews – always an integral part of the Newcastle Jets team. Photo: Newcastle Jets.

Coming in for the Jets this season are several new players brought in by Wilson in the hope that it will send them in the right direction. Leila Puxty from NPL side Adamstown Rosebuds, American defender Emily Garnier who has European experience having previously been at Napoli Femminile from NWSL side Chicago Red Stars, Chloe Walandouw from the Jets Academy, Matilda Teigan Allen has been brought in from Western Sydney Wanderers, American defender Cannon Clough from Brisbane Roar, Tessa Tamplin from Servette FC in Switzerland, and goalkeeper Georgina Worth.

Jets have also signed Maitland Magpies captain Sophie Stapleford, striker Adriana Konjarski from NPL side Warners Bay FC. The third American joining the club this season is forward Murphy Agnew having recently spent time playing in Iceland and finally versatile attacking player Sarah Griffith comes in from NWSL Chicago Red Stars.

Having bolstered the defensive ranks for this upcoming season it is likely that Wilson will opt for a defensive formation such as the 4-2-3-1 she favoured last season. This will aim to achieve defensive stability early on in the season and will hopefully give the side more consistency throughout the campaign.

After a busy off-season at Newcastle Jets, things look to be slowly falling into place. The club may not find themselves in finals this year, but improvements have been made. It will be interesting to see if this overhaul of Newcastle Jets pays off.


by Ben Gilby

Above: Perth Glory’s Sofia Sakalis (centre) is in the form of her life and could well be one of the top players in the competition this coming season. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty Images.

Whilst Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC took the silverware last season, Perth Glory emerged with the respect of the women’s footballing community in Australia with Alex Epakis’ side having a sensational campaign despite everything seemingly conspiring against them.

Due to Western Australia’s tight border restrictions, Glory only played one home game and then spent the remainder of the season based almost 4,000 km away (2485 miles), but fired by a contingent of the country’s hottest young talent, only missed out on Finals football on goal difference.

With good reason, there is huge confidence in the West that this season will see them go one better at least. Macedonia Park will be a cauldron, particularly under lights as Perth will get to experience the advantage that home games afford them on a regular basis for the first time since 2020.

Above: Perth Glory fans delivered a raucous atmosphere at the club’s only home game at Macedonia Park last season. Photo supplied by: Perth Glory.

On top of the partisan nature of a WA crowd and the implications of the opposition spending hours on a plane just to get to the west coast, Alex Epakis has, without question the strongest overall squad that the club has had since their last Grand Final appearance in 2019.

Last year’s major rebuild brought in a large crop of talent on multi-year contracts, meaning the likes of Alana Jancevski, Sarah Cain, Susan Phonsongkham, Sofia Sakalis, and Claudia Mihocic were already confirmed to be in purple, with local talent such as Hana Lowry, Abbey Green, Bella Wallhead, and Tijan McKenna also on board. Epakis moved quickly at the end of last season to successfully extend the contract of Cyera Hintzen, whose physicality and sharpness in front of goal were so impressive last time round.

Perth’s head coach has also bolstered his already strong squad with further arrivals as home town hero Ella Mastrantonio returned along with former Brisbane Roar American attacker Rylee Baisden.

Above: Perth Glory’s home produced star Hana Lowry, who represented the Young Matildas at the U20 World Cup in August. Image: Football Australia.

On the negative side of the ledger, the loss of Deborah-Ann de la Harpe back home to New South Wales is huge, as the new Sydney FC signing was a stand-out player for the Glory last season, but Perth can point to the presence of the experienced heads of Tash Rigby and Kim Carroll at the back

Going into pre-season, the team has a large number of players who have had stellar campaigns in various NPLW competitions. Sakalis and Cain jointly won the Most Valuable Player award in the Victoria competition, Wallhead, Mihocic, and Wallhead all caught the eye in the same league, Morgan Aquino was a Grand Finalist in the NSW competition and both Hintzen and Phonsongkham enjoyed a sensational season in Iceland.  On top of this Lowry was part of the Young Matildas side which played in the U20 World Cup in August.

Perth Glory have a team of players who are ready to hit the ground running. Sakalis is going to be an absolute gun, and Jancevski is always a firecracker all over the pitch. There is so much to be excited about in this squad, and qualifying for the top four is the minimum that Perth should aim for.


by Kris Goman

Above: Cortnee Vine, Impetus‘ A-League Women player of the year last season, is now a regular international starter and will have a major influence on Sydney FC’s season. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Sydney enter the 22-23 A-League Women (ALW) season as premiers from last season, but once again, were pipped at the post by Melbourne Victory in another close Grand Final ending in a 2-1 win for the arch rivals.

It was Sydney’s fifth Grand Final appearance in a row, of which they won just one. They’ve been to the Grand Final nine times in total but only hoisted the trophy three times and they’ll be looking to change that result this year.

Once again Sydney have managed to maintain the core of the premiership winning squad, including retaining superstar Matildas forward, Cortnee Vine who was briefly looking for a European side to join. And this is the real strength of the Sydney FC team, having a well-oiled group that understands each other, knows what everyone is going to do and where they will be. The lack of upheaval each year must make it very easy for Ante Juric, himself a rusted-on part of the furniture in his sixth season with the club.

While they’ve lost Ellie Brush to Canberra, Angelique Hristodoulou to the Wanderers and gun forward Paige Satchell to Wellington Phoenix as well as Taylor Ray to yet another ACL injury (although she is training with the team and according to social media is now running so may appear mid-season), Remy Siemsen is expected to join the team once after her spell with Swedish team AIK which saw the Solna-based side relegated from the Damallsvenskan.

In terms of new players, Kiwi national team defender, Anna Green, Perth Glory escapee, Deborah-Anne De La Harpe and Young Matilda and ex Newcastle Jets player, Kirsty Fenton, will be tightening up the back line. In the midfield, Young Matilda Abbey Lemon and scholarship signing Anika Stajcic, yes, Alen Stajcic’s daughter, will bring new energy.

Above: Mackenzie Hawkesby, back in sky blue. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

There’s plenty of excitement in the forwards with sisters Jynaya Rose Dos Santos (another Young Matilda) and Indiana Dos Santos (also on scholarship) and NWSL Chicago Red Stars and Stanford centre forward, Madison Haley coming on board. Shay Evans is also returning to Sydney after a stint with Adelaide United last season.

Seeing another season with the team and the real core is Captain, Natalie Tobin, Mackenzie Hawkesby, who has been rated as the most valuable player in the league in the fantasy football competition, Rachel Lowe, Charlotte Mclean, Sarah Hunter, Charlize Rule, afore-mentioned Cortnee Vine and keepers, Jada Whyman and Katie Offer as well as Shay Hollman and Mary Stanic-Floody who are both now on full-time contracts after scholarships last year.

A mix of youth and experience has always been the mainstay of Sydney FC and it’s a formula they are repeating again this season. Even the young players are very experienced with five Young Matildas and three Junior Matildas in the squad and they’ll all be keen to prove their talent. Having this sort of depth leaves Juric in an enviable position and Sydney FC will once again be a serious contender to take the premiership and maybe, finally get the double.

The first match of the year will be against Melbourne Victory and there’s going to be a few points to prove in the Grand Final replay. See it live at Cromer Park on Saturday 26th November at 3pm.


by Ryan Miller-Woods

Above: Paige Satchell – one of a series of impressive new signings by Wellington Phoenix. Artwork: Wellington Phoenix.

The most important thing throughout Wellington’s debut campaign in the A-League Women last season was not so much the results but the fact that they kept improving as a squad and subsequently build team cohesion from match to match.

It needs to be said that despite finishing on the bottom of the table last season (only on goal difference), they showed adversity in defeat, and played better than results and the final ladder may have shown. They all did themselves incredibly proud.

As for this season, the recruitment of players made by Wellington for this upcoming season of the A-League Women is impressive. With the goalkeepers, it is unchanged from last season with Wellington captain Lily Alfeld and Brianna Edwards.

In defence, Mackenzie Barry, Zoe McMeeken, vice-captain Kate Taylor and Saskia Vosper will be continuing at the club while Talitha Kramer has left the club for Brisbane Roar. Coming in at the back are Claudia Cicco from APIA Leichhardt in the NPLW NSW and Marisa van der Meer from Melbourne City.

Above: Betsy Hassett’s arrival adds vital experience to the Wellington Phoenix squad this season. Photo: Ian Hitchcock.

There is quality in midfield as Isabel Gomez, Chloe Knott, Alyssa Whinham and Grace Wisnewski have remained at the club Knott and Whinham on two-year contracts. They have been joined by experienced New Zealand international Betsy Hassett. The 135-cap Football Fern comes in from Stjarnan from Iceland.

There have been changes up front. Ava Pritchard has stayed on while last season’s top goalscorer Grace Jale has joined Canberra United. In her place has come Michaela Robertson from the club’s Academy and the hugely impressive arrival of Kiwi international Paige Satchell from Sydney FC.

Whilst Jale’s loss is significant as half of the goals that Wellington scored last season came from her, the experience that Betsy Hassett brings to the club and the unlimited potential that exists with so many of their young players means this squad are hungry for success. I can see Wellington finishing this season a very respectable seventh.


by Kris Goman

Above: Clare Hunt – a major part of the Western Sydney Wanderers squad. Photo: Western Sydney Wanderers.

Western Sydney Wanderers have scored a massive coup in snapping up Tom Sermani as the Head of Women’s football. They are the only club in the league who have appointed someone to this sort of position and Sermani comes as one of the most experienced managers in the women’s game, having previously coached the Matildas twice, the Football Ferns most recently, and other teams like Orlando Pride and New York Power.

Cath Canuli was let go after one season as head coach last year and she’s been replaced by Kat Smith. Smith will concentrate on management of the senior team while Sermani is responsible for overseeing the Liberty A-League side, development programs, and the recruitment strategy.

Sermani’s brief is to set the foundations for the women’s program and to create a new culture and environment at the club. Smith has been Assistant Coach with the Junior Matildas and was Assistant Coach for Melbourne Victory in 2018. She’s considered one of the best up and coming coaches in Australia and will be mentored by Sermani.

After making the finals for the first time ever in the 20-21 season, the 21-22 season ended disappointingly after a solid start. It’s not often a team hangs together on one player but losing Clare Hunt mid-season to an ACL injury made the difference for the Wanderers.

The good news is that she’s back for this season in defence and is joined by Angelique Hristodoulou from Sydney FC and Lauren Weir from Canberra, both excellent defenders in their own right. This looks like one of the most solid defensive lines in the competition. They are backed up by Junior Matilda Ella Abdul Massih, and Young Matilda, Sienna Saveska.

Between the sticks, in case anything actually gets through the defence, the Wanderers have imported Jordyn Bloomer from Racing Louisville in the NWSL. She only played during the Challenge Cup for Racing but was awarded the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the year in the 2021 and 2019 NCAA Tournaments so clearly has potential.

The experienced Sham Khamis is back for another year after backing up for Sarah Langman last season. Teresa Morrissey is a Young Matilda shotstopper who’s been playing in the US college system for Rhode Island while completing her degree. She’s back now and it should be a fight to see who gets playing time between these three.

Above: Angelique Hristodoulou, who has joined the Wanderers from crosstown rivals Sydney FC. Photo: Daniel Carson.

Wanderers seemed to have gone long on midfielders and it’s going to be a battle to decide who to play. As there’s a lot less choice of forwards and pure defenders, it’s logical that some might play up or back and they may have to if there’s any injuries. The exciting news is that Amy Harrison is back home after playing for PSV in the Netherlands. The Matilda grew up in Western Sydney so should feel right at home and bring valuable European experience.

Remaining from last year, is Danika Matos, Olivia Price, Football Fern; Malia Steinmetz, Young Matilda, Alexia Apostolakis and Young Matildas Captain, Sheridan Gallagher. New for the midfielders this year is Melissa Caceres, local Bethany Gordon coming from the Newcastle Jets and on scholarship, Young Matilda, Amy Chessari.

A potentially exciting signing is that of Theresa Boade from the NWSL. She’s made five appearances for the North Carolina Courage and scored twice since, debuting during the Challenge Cup this year. So the midfield looks solid and versatile.

Intriguingly, Jitka Chlastakova is listed in Keep-Up fantasy football as being with the Wanderers but there’s no official announcement from the club as yet. She has played for Sparta Prague and is on the Czech National team but it remains to be seen if she’s on the team but would bring some much needed experience.

Where the Wander Woman seem a bit light on is in the forwards and this was a problem last season too. At the beginning of the season, while they conceded very few goals, they weren’t scoring many either. Bryleeh Henry showed plenty of potential but it didn’t convert to goals. Similarly with Teigan Collister, lots of gang busting runs but not so many goals.

Holly Caspers has signed for the Wanderers up front from Canberra where she had a successful first ALW season. Joining her from Newcastle Jets is Sophie Harding in her third ALW season. And from Wellington Phoenix comes Young Matilda, Cushla Rue. Gallagher can play up front too, still there’s no big names in the forwards and this is where the team might struggle a bit.

Sermani has put together a very young team and losing the experience of club stalwarts, Caitlin Cooper and Erica Halloway may tell. There’s six young Matildas and one Junior Matilda in the squad so the youth holds plenty of talent but the lack of experience may be their downfall. On the other hand, Smith has a team she can mold to her shape that will be very willing to learn.

The Wanderers have a first round bye so their first match is against the Newcastle Jets away at Scully Park on 26th November and their first home match is 3rd December at Marconi Stadium in the local derby against Sydney FC.


by Kieran Yap

Above: Back in Australia – Western United’s big name signing ahead of their first A-League Women season – Chloe Logarzo. Photo: Justine Burch for Impetus.

A new side in the A-League Women is something to get excited about. Western United’s first season comes on the back of years of work and a long-term plan. The club forged a link with Victoria’s NPLW champions Calder United.

United formed a development squad aimed at improving the skills of Victoria’s best-unsigned talent and giving an opportunity for players to earn an A-League contract.

The result of this and the recruiting skills of coach Mark Torcaso’s squad has a core group made up from Victoria’s best and some added some impressive signings.

Alana Cerne, Melissa Taranto, Adriana Taranto, Stacy Papadopoulos, Raquel Derales and Aleks Sinclair headline the arrivals from Calder United. Harriet Withers joins from Melbourne Victory and Khali Johnson arrives after the Under 20 World Cup adventure.

In midfield, Jaclyn Sawicki has been signed. The Philippines international will add some high-level experience to the young side. Alongside her is the biggest signing of the season. After two seasons away, Chloe Logazro is back in Australia.

Above: Aleks Sinclair is a renowned figure from the local football scene and will be a crucial part of Western United’s inaugeral season. Artwork: Western United.

Logarzo joins Western United to get some much-needed game time ahead of the 2023 World Cup. Her return to The Matildas from a year-long recuperation from a knee injury was one of the best moments of 2022, and the star midfielder will hope to add many more this domestic season.

Logazro is a game-changing midfielder. She can score spectacular goals and link the team together. Her defensive efforts equal her attacking threat and she will suit Torcaso’s style of football perfectly.

New sides can take time to adjust, but the addition of Sawicki and Logarzo means that although they will likely not win the league, Western United will be no easy prey for other sides.

This is a club that has built this squad to compete. The Calder United players are accustomed to success and Mark Torcaso has made winning a habit in his time in management.

Western United has the players to be an entertaining and competitive side. They will make for interesting viewing for neutrals and have the team in place to attract a fan base from the outset.

This will be an exciting season for the league’s newest team.

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