Australian and NZ Football

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Jets Announce Capture of Teigen Allen

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from newly arrived Newcastle Jets defender Teigen Allen and head coach Ash Wilson (25/9/22).

Artwork: Newcastle Jets.

Newcastle Jets are excited to announce the signing of Matildas defender Teigen Allen who joins the club after playing at Western Sydney Wanderers last season.

Allen joins the Jets to bolster Ash Wilson’s defensive stocks and the Jets manager is delighted to have secured her signature.

“Teigen is a versatile and solid defender who will bring a wealth of experience into this squad. She is a true competitor and has a strong winning mentality which is something I admire. She is someone who will work hard for the team and will set high expectations of herself and others and lead by example.

Above: Teigen Allen in action for Australia against Argentina in 2019. Photo: Michael Dodge.

“Teigen’s attitude, work ethic, technical ability as well as her defensive knowledge were key contributors to her signing but in addition to this, she is a good person who I think reflects so many of the values we represent here in Newcastle and I am looking forward to working with her.”

Allen is excited for the new season and is eager to link up with her new teammates.

“I’m looking forward to the season ahead. I will challenge myself on and off the field which will allow me to put myself in the best physical position for the team ahead of the new season. I’m looking to bring my experience in this league and I want to pass on that as well as my knowledge of the game to younger generations and to be a good role model that they can look up to.”

Sydney Sides Announce Signings And Perth Unveil New Kit

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from Sydney FC‘s returning duo of Cortnee Vine and Jada Whyman plus head coach Ante JuricWestern Sydney Wanderers‘ Amy Harrison, plus the reveal of Perth Glory‘s striking two new kits for 2022/23 (23/9/22).

Above: The return of Cortnee Vine (left) and Jada Whyman is huge for Sydney’s hopes to go one better than the last two seasons. Photo: Sydney FC.

Matildas’ stars Cortnee Vine and Jada Whyman will proudly wear the Sky Blue of Sydney FC in the Liberty A-League 2022-23 season.

The double Premiership-winning duo have been central to the Sky Blues’ success over the past two seasons, with their form earning both Matildas call-ups in the past 12 months.

The signature of 24-year-old Vine came despite interest from a number of clubs at home and abroad, with the 13-goal winger excited to be staying in Sky Blue.

“I feel very at home at Sydney FC and the club and our squad are like family to me so had no hesitation in re-signing for the club,” she said.

“We feel we’ve been the best club over the past few years having consistently won trophies and qualified for Grand Finals and we’ve got another very good chance this season with the players in our side.

Graphic: Sydney FC.

“Playing for the Matildas at the new Allianz Stadium gave me a real sense of how incredible it is to play there and I can’t wait to go back again this season.”

Goalkeeper Whyman, who is 22 years old, starts her third season in Sydney FC colours and is determined to complete the double after narrowly missing out in the last two Grand Finals.

“I’ve had a fantastic journey since I arrived at Sydney FC, and we’ve had some brilliant wins and successes, but there’s a real determination this season to complete the Championship set,” she said.

“We’ve another young and vibrant squad this year and I think that really bodes well for us in terms of another successful season. The season is longer and it’s going to be tough but it’s also exciting and I can’t wait to get going.”

Head Coach Ante Juric is delighted to have secured two more quality signings for his squad.

“Cortnee and Jada have been integral for us these past two seasons and without question are two of the best players in the competition. They have another season under their belts so I’ve no doubt will improve this year and it will make us stronger. Our squad is looking good and once we bring in three or four more players we’ll be even better.”

Vine and Whyman make up the 17th and 18th players in Sydney FC’s Women’s squad. The players return to pre-season training in mid-October and start their campaign away to Adelaide United on Saturday 20th November.

Harrison Return Boosts Wanderers

Above: Amy Harrison in action during her previous spell with Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo: Western Sydney Wanderers.

Western Sydney Wanderers FC today confirmed the return of Amy Harrison on a two-year deal.

Harrison returns to Australia after a two-year stint in the Eredivisie Women where she made 44 appearances with powerhouse PSV Eindhoven.

During her time in the top tier of women’s football in the Netherlands, Harrison was crowned the winner of the KNVB Beeker Women and was the runner-up to the Eredivisie Women competition.

The midfielder’s last stint in the Liberty A-League was back in 2019/20 with the Red & Black where Harrison helped guide the Wanderers to a number of major milestones including the club’s first-ever Finals Series appearance.

A Western Sydney local, Harrison said she was delighted to ink a two-year deal with the club.

“After two seasons away, I’m so happy to be back home with the Wanderers to play in front of the club’s passionate members and fans, as well as my family and friends,” said Harrison.

“I am ready to pick up where I left off with the Wanderers and to hopefully add some more club milestones and records to the tally. As a Western Sydney local, I understand the importance of playing with passion and pride and I’m so excited for the season ahead.”

The club have also re-signed talented teenager Ella Abdul Massih and Danika Matos.

Perth Glory Unveil New Season Kits

Artwork: Perth Glory.

Perth Glory’s brand new Macron home and away kits for the 2022/23 A-Leagues Season have been revealed.

Headlining the launch is the dramatically reworked new home shirt which features two orange stripes running from collar to hem.

With alternating purple and orange colour blocks trimming the sleeves and orange also inlaid into the sleek collar, the shirt is a mixture of a futuristic design feature with nods to proud club tradition.

The away kit, meanwhile, sees the club return to a classic white colourway which is texturally styled with a chevron shadow weave and trimmed with a simple purple collar and cuffs.

There is also an extra nod to the club’s home on the back of the away shirt in the form of an embossed image of the Perth skyline. The shirts are currently available for pre-order.

Artwork: Perth Glory.

Double Delight For City Fans As Henry & Pollicina Sign

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from both Bryleeh Henry and Rhianna Pollicina plus Melbourne City head coach Rado Vidosic as City announce two key signings ahead of the new A-League Women season (22/9/22).

Above: Bryleeh Henry’s arrival is a big piece of business for Rado Vidosic’s club. Artwork: Melbourne City.

Melbourne City have made two big additions to their 2022/23 squad, starting with the news that 19-year-old Matildas forward, Bryleeh Henry has joined the club for the next two years. 

Henry, who made her Matildas debut in October last year, arrives in Victoria after making 21 appearances for Western Sydney Wanderers across the last two seasons. 

She also recently was part of the Young Matildas squad for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, playing under Rado Vidosic who was the teams’ Assistant Coach. Henry started all three fixtures and got on the scoresheet in a 3-1 win over Costa Rica. 

Vidosic said that Henry will further add to the teams attacking depth and provide another exciting option on the pitch this season. 

“We’re excited to be bringing one of the brightest young attackers in the country to our club for the next two years. She’s a player we’ve been following for a long time and she has always performed well when playing against us. 

“Bryleeh has an enormous amount of potential and importantly, she’s also a good person whose values fit well within the culture of the group.” 

Henry said she was “super excited” by the opportunity to join City and continue to work under Vidosic. 

“Melbourne City’s one of the biggest clubs in Australia and having worked with Rado over the past couple of months and talking to him before that as well, I knew this was the best environment for me,” Henry said. 

“Personally, I’m just hoping to have a good season and really grow to become the best player that I can possibly be. Under Rado and with a great group of girls around me, I think that’s something that’s really achievable.” 

Pollicina Delighted To Re-Sign

Artwork: Melbourne City.

The re-signing of Rhianna Pollicina is another piece of good news for Sky Blues fans. Pollicina enjoyed a breakout campaign in her first season at the club, starting in all 16 fixtures, and scoring seven goals. 

That scoring record, including a midseason run of goals in four consecutive games – to finish equal sixth in the Golden Boot, while also passing off three further assists. 

Pollicina was voted PFA Player of the Month by her peers in both January and February, while she also took out the Coaches Award at City’s Player of the Year night. 

Head Coach Rado Vidosic said he was delighted to have Pollicina back at City for the new season. “Rhianna is a player we had high expectations for last season, and she was still able to exceed those. 

“She brings a great energy to the group and helps set the standard for what’s expected both on the training pitch and on matchday. Rhianna’s consistency across last season brought stability to the team and we can’t wait to see her continue to work hard and go to another level in 2022/23.” 

Pollicina herself said the professionalism at City made it an easy decision to return to Melbourne and continue to push for silverware after coming so close last season. 

“I absolutely loved my first season with City. We had a great bunch of girls and coaching staff which led us to having a successful season on and off the field. This season I just want to keep improving and to be the best teammate I can, both on and off the pitch. 

“As a team we want to build on last year and to continue to push for more success as a squad for the club and fans.” 

Pete Rakic: Building On Foundations To Move Perth SC Forward

In this week’s WA On Wednesday, Perth SC head coach Pete Rakic speaks to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about developing his squad, the season-long battle with Perth RedStar, and how the game needs to develop in WA with the players at the forefront of thinking (21/9/22).

Above: Perth SC head coach Pete Rakic shares tactical advice during this season. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Whilst Perth SC may have ended the season with another second-place finish in the NPLW WA and a preliminary final loss to Hyundai NTC, head coach Pete Rakic saw a number of steps forward from his charges – and knows exactly what needs to be done to make further progress in 2023.

He took over the team ahead of the season just gone and set about implementing several changes which he felt necessary to lift standards at Dorrien Gardens.

“Above all I really wanted this team to feel significant changes to the standard of football that I believe should be on display at NPL level, and to recognise that their true potential is still yet to be shown. I put my energy in combining these changes with the ambition to fight for a title and so much more, as it goes without saying that every coach wants to win silverware for their respective clubs, but it’s more important to understand that success is never immediate.

Rakic then looked at changing his team’s style of play, to one which involved more of an emphasis on passing and looking at ways to maintain possession whilst looking to utilise the many attacking weapons in the Azzurri side. This was something that his squad brought into quickly. “For me, it was about making the message clear from the start. Not only implementing a new brand of football, but ensuring that all players understood why.

“From our whiteboard sessions, to video and data analysis, and more importantly what we executed on the training pitch, it was vital that each one of these tools were used effectively together to create something that we all felt. Possession-based football may be a dying art, and perhaps less exciting to those who prefer vertical play, but I firmly believe these players will continue to grow into complete footballers, driven by a mentality of protecting the ball, understanding when to use it to manipulate the movement of their opponents and to have total control of the game.

“The way the girls adapted to a new style of coaching and how each week continued to show immense progress in all parts of our game was pleasing. While we unfortunately came up short on more occasions than we would have liked, they recognised where we needed to work and what our focus was on moving forward.

Above: Looking on as his team develops – Pete Rakic. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

“I think there were several matches throughout the year where we showed really good passages of our new identity, although when considering a dominant performance, I thought that came against Fremantle in the league where we won 3-0. There wasn’t a moment of that game where I felt we weren’t in control, even at halftime with the scores locked at 0-0. Being able to have that level of confidence in your team truly feels special.”

After finishing second at the end of the regular season, Perth SC went into a finals campaign that saw them eventually face Hyundai NTC for a place in the Grand Final. The talented teenagers had an incredible ability to defeat Rakic’s team across the season, and managed to do so again thanks to Tanika Lala’s goal two minutes into extra-time.

“I definitely thought that each of our games with the NTC came down to whatever happened on the day (rather than them having a particular ability to defeat Perth SC). When two teams that are drilled to play football under any circumstances battle it out head to head, it tends to turn into a game of very fine margins, a cagey affair with neither team trying to allow for the other to gain any real momentum, and you could visibly see it on a tactical level.

“Unfortunately for us though, we struggled to capitalise on a lot of our goal-scoring opportunities, and this wasn’t just evident in our encounters vs NTC. It just so happened that on each of our meetings we failed to do enough where it mattered most.”

Whilst Perth SC found it hard to get anything from the NTC, they were one of only two teams across the season that prevented Perth RedStar from taking three points from them – a feat they enjoyed twice. This was, though tempered by defeats to Carlos Vega Mena’s side in both the State Cup Final and the major semi-final in the Top Four Cup. Rakic believes that the pressure put on when facing RedStar as their closest rivals all season long could have been a factor in his team not being able to turn draws into wins against the champions.

“This newfound rivalry with RedStar I think certainly played a huge psychological factor to a lot of our younger players, and perhaps that’s where the difference lies. There was always so much pressure to overcome them, and it often left us deviating away from our game plan or trying too hard to get the simple things right, and in turn, it would lower our overall performance.

“This is something that comes with experience, and when you look at how many ex-A-League and national players this Redstar team has, I’m always proud that we proved to be their toughest opponents. I am still gutted though that we never faced them with a full-strength side, which I would have loved to see even on just one occasion, this was easily the biggest difficulty we faced this year.”

With Perth SC having finished as runners-up in the NPLW WA once more, Rakic is looking to make the next step with his side, with keeping the core of his team together one of the starting points.

Above: Pete Rakic looks on from the touchline (far left) as his Perth SC team take on Perth RedStar. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

“I believe we have the right foundations in place and the right brand of football to push ourselves beyond our limits next season. I also have intentions to bolster our ranks and there’s no denying that. It’s not only having the trust in the players that are currently at the club, but it’s equally important to give those girls something to fight for – and not just silverware.

“I want players to be challenged every week in keeping their spot in the starting 11, that professional style environment that encourages players to become the best version of themselves. I think complacency can be a debilitating factor in chasing success, so it’s absolutely necessary to have not only quality on the park, but quality in depth.

“Long-term injuries and player departures really hurt us. We would slowly build momentum over the course of a few fixtures, awaiting the return from players on the sidelines, only to be struck with another one the following week. This obviously gave some of our younger players a chance to step up, but the absence of core first-team players was certainly felt.”

Looking ahead more widely for next season, the Perth SC head coach believes that the scheduling of Top Four Cup matches needs to be looked at. This year, the preliminary final was locked in to be played in the midweek between the major semi-final and the Grand Final – a factor that had major repercussions for the preliminary final winners to perform again within such a short turnaround.

“This to me is one of the most baffling things I have struggled to get my head around, it is total nonsense and it shows a complete lack of care for not only player welfare, but the quality of football that is expected to be backed up in such a short turn around. It is proven by studies that it is far from an adequate time frame for correct recovery for any football team, even at the highest level with professional resources.

“Our squad numbers were severely diminished by this part of the season as it was, and we lost a further three players due to injury in the first major semi-final against RedStar. The evidence speaks for itself, and it’s a shame that we continue to see these warning signs constantly undermined.”

A major talking point among the Western Australian women’s football community is the present trend for talented local players to move to the east coast to play NPLW football, and potentially A-League Women level matches too. Rakic shares that frustration and believes strongly that things have to change.

“As a coach, I think we hold a huge responsibility in this, in ensuring that our players feel as though they are constantly growing in the environment that we create, both as a person and as a footballer. But to keep players here and to evolve football in WA there needs to be evidence of opportunity on top of that. Until then there will always be questions raised with the lack of interest that is somewhat projected from above, with no presence ever seen or heard of at NPLW games.

Above: Pete Rakic believes more needs to be done to keep top WA-produced players in their home state. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

“It’s well known that players have been encouraged to move across to the east or overseas if they want any chance of breaking into a professional team, but this statement alone is enough to dishearten those who wish to stay, and we can’t be forever admitting that football in WA is a dead end.”

Western United, Adelaide, And Brisbane Announce Squad Additions

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from all of the six newly announced players from today as well as the head coaches of the three clubs (21/9/22).

Above: Harriet Withers brings A-League Women experience to Western United ahead of their inaugural campaign in the competition. Artwork: Western United.

Western United’s Liberty A-League Women attack will have speed, trickery, and clinical finishing with the additions of Harriet Withers, Stacey Papadopoulos, and Raquel Deralas.

The trio have all been key players for Calder United in recent years, contributing to NPLW trebles in 2019 and 2022.

Withers will bring two seasons of A-League Women experience – including a Championship – to the team and is eager to use that to support the group.

“I’m hoping to help guide and motivate the girls this season, both on and off the pitch. I want to make sure the girls are showing and giving everything I know they are capable of,” Withers said.

“And personally, I hope to hit the back of the net as much as possible and make it a season to remember for everyone. Green and Black will look good at the top.”

Above: Stacey Papadopoulos – one of Western United’s latest arrivals. Artwork: Western United.

Papadopoulos has developed under head coach Mark Torcaso for much of her junior career and said moving up to the A-League Women alongside him makes it an extra special feeling.

“I’ve known Mark since I was about 14 or 15 and have been coached by him from that age until now so it’s crazy how far we’ve come,” she said.

“He’s a super passionate guy and we’ve had a pretty cool journey over the years. He’s showed a lot of faith in me as a player and it’s pretty special to be a part of this with him as well.”

At 20 years of age, Deralas is the youngest of the three players and has signed a scholarship contract with the Club. She will be hoping to continue her development on the professional stage.

“To be given the opportunity as a young player to continue my development and quality and experienced players is a life-changing opportunity and I’m excited for the next step in my football journey and what lies ahead.”

Above: Raquel Deralas – offering Western United new options up front. Artwork: Western United.

Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso said Western United fans should be excited about the attacking talent that each player will bring to the team.

“Mixing in Harriet’s experience and Stacey and Raquel as first-time A-League players with all of their attacking talents is going to be really exciting for our team this season,” he said.

“Their speed, skill, finishing ability, and work ethic in the final third will be a big boost to our attacking options and I look forward to seeing them continue to develop amongst the group.”

Withers, Papadopoulos, and Deralas become United’s 16th, 17th, and 18th signings ahead of the Club’s inaugural A-League Women campaign and will join their teammates in pre-season training next month.  

Brisbane Roar add Robinne

Above: Margot Robinne – the newest addition to Garrath McPherson’s squad. Artwork: Brisbane Roar.

Brisbane Roar have added experienced French player Margot Robinne to their squad ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The veteran has plenty of playing experience in Australia at both A-League Women’s and NPL Women’s level following her move Down Under in 2017. 

After signing for Melbourne City for the 2020/21 season, Robbine became the first French-born player in the national competition and spent last season with Canberra United. 

Her journey north will now bring her to the Sunshine State where the 31-year-old is eager to make a fast start with her new club and add to her 18 career A-League appearances. 

“Brisbane is the first A-League team I played against and for a first game, it was really interesting! I really enjoyed the way Brisbane was playing, it suits my style so I’m very excited about joining them,” she said. 

“When I spoke to Garrath [McPherson], the way he has this team playing is very creative, going forward and creating scoring opportunities with freedom so that’s my style and I can’t wait to be a part of a team with this philosophy.” 

Her NPL Women’s career has seen her feature for Bulleen Lions and more recently, Boroondara Eagles in the Victorian Premier League, where she has spent 2021 and 2022. 

This year, she featured in 11 matches and scored a remarkable 15 goals across the League and Cup as the Eagles made it all the way to the Grand Final. 

Boroondara Eagles president Manny Koutroulis spoke about the impact Robbine has had at the Club and what he expects her to bring to the Roar. 

“Margot is a very smart forward, can come in deep and combine well with the midfield but she also makes great runs into the box and knows where the goals are,” he said. 

“At our club, Margot came in and helped the team immensely, she was a great leader on the park and supported good local players around her in our successful quest for promotion to NPL.” 

Prior to her move to Australia, Robbine played in her native France, building up plenty of experience that she is hoping to put to good use, mentoring some of the Roar’s young talent as the season goes on. 

“Now that I’m a bit more used to the Australian style of play, it’s a bit easier to mentor the young players,” she said. 

“I used to be captain of my university team in France, it’s important for me to play that role, especially as the older players when I started my career at 14 were setting a good example for me.  

“It’s good for the younger players to have older players willing to share their experience. I’m happy to play that role as I’ve done it before,” Robbine added. 

Having played against the Roar last season, Robbine is looking forward to joining up with her new teammates when the pre-season begins in October. 

“It’s important to get to know everyone at the club and learn about the culture and the way everyone functions. Every club is different and I’ll be trying to fit in with the Roar while bringing my French touch as well!” 

Robbine’s experience was a big drawcard for Head Coach McPherson when signing the French player and is looking forward to seeing what she will bring in the coming season. 

“Margot is an experienced A-League Women’s footballer who joins us from interstate,” he said.  

“Experience and maturity have been a consideration during our rostering and recruitment with Margot bringing a wealth of both to our youthful side.  

“She is a versatile player who is technically and tactically excellent, this will allow her to play both in central midfield and central attack,” McPherson added. 

Adelaide Add Two Goalkeepers

Above: Adelaide United’s two new goalkeepers, Jenna Farrow and Grace Wilson. Graphic: Adelaide United.

Adelaide United have announced the signings of goalkeepers, Jenna Farrow and Grace Wilson, ahead of the Liberty A-League 2022/23 season.
 
Born in Tasmania, 23-year-old Farrow began her senior career in 2016 with Ulverstone Football Club before representing Olympia Warriors in 2019 and 2020. In both seasons at the Warriors, Farrow was awarded the Golden Glove, captaining her side to a Premiership in 2020. Last season, Farrow joined South Melbourne in Victoria’s NPLW.
 
“I’m very excited to be joining Adelaide United for the upcoming season,” Farrow said. “This will be my first time being involved in a professional environment and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
 
“Adelaide have made great strides in the last few seasons and I believe we have the depth to continue improving under Adrian (Stenta).”
 
Meanwhile, Wilson, 17, re-joins the Club on an amateur agreement after signing with the Reds in December 2021.
 
Commencing her football with Adelaide University, Wilson has recently been representing Football South Australia’s NTC programme as their No. 1 in South Australia’s Women’s NPL following the completion of the Liberty A-League competition in March.
 
“I’m very happy to be returning to the Reds after the experience I had with the Club last year,” Wilson said. “Being involved with the girls was a great learning curve for me and it really improved my football.
 
“We have high hopes for the new season and we will be working hard to build on what we achieved in 2021/22.”
 
Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “Boosting our goalkeeping stocks with both Jenna and Grace ahead of the upcoming season is fantastic.
 
“After a lot of hard work and commitment to her craft, Jenna is getting her first chance at A-Leagues level, which will be a great test and one that she will throw herself right into, I’m sure.
 
“Grace was with us last season and has continued to improve through her time with the NTC this off-season, as well as her involvement with the Junior Matildas. especially considering her age and how early she is in her development.
 
“Alongside Annie (Annalee Grove), these three young ‘keepers will push each other to develop and provide healthy competition for our entire squad.”

Rams Take The Honours Despite Aquino’s Heroics

Northern Tigers 0-0 Macarthur Rams (19/9/22)

Macarthur Rams win 6-5 on penalties

by Ryan Miller-Woods

Above: Macarthur Rams lift the NPLW NSW trophy after a dramatic Grand Final win over Northern Tigers. Photo: NPL NSW.

Macarthur Rams earned an incredibly hard-fought victory with a 6-5 win on penalties (0-0 after 120 minutes) against a massively determined Northern Tigers in the NPLW NSW Grand Final at the Valentine Sports Park.

To say that Macarthur had to earn it would be a massive understatement as the grit and sheer determination of the Tigers kept them the scoreline not only scoreless for a full 90 minutes and extra time. So many of Macarthur’s chances throughout the match were prevented by the spectacular and amazing performance by Northern Tigers’ goalkeeper and Player of the Match Morgan Aquino who truly played out of her skin from start to finish.

For Macarthur to have gone a full 120 minutes in the Semi-Final and then repeat that in this match as well is honestly so very impressive. Northern Tigers went into this match as the slight favourites to take home the bragging rights after their dismissive and very comfortable 3-0 victory over the Regular Season Premiers Sydney University in normal time.

The first major chance of the match for Macarthur with Melissa Caceres cutting into the Tigers’ box and laying the ball off to Leena Khamis just puts it over the bar for a Tigers’ goal kick.

Above: Valentine Sports Park, venue for yesterday’s Grand Final. Photo: Northern Tigers.

Khamis was involved again when Patricia Charalambous crosses the ball into the box but her header went just wide of the near post. Perth Glory A-League Women keeper Aquino was called into action again when Bethany Gordon’s cross went towards Murtagh whose first-time volley is amazingly pushed out of play and over the crossbar.

Murtagh created another opportunity when finding the unmarked Charalmabous in the box which called onAquino yet again to make an incredible save.

Near the end of the first half, Isabel Gomez for the Northern Tigers starts the most promising play that her side have had in the match, as she hit a long pass to Ashlee Brodigan who cut in from the right past McComasky. Possession was lost, but Beth Bernardi found Shadeene Evans, Impetus‘ charity partners Moriarty Foundation’s inaugural scholar, who returned the favour with the ball being passed forward to Josie Wilson who crosses it in but then goes out and over the fence for a Macarthur goal kick.

At the start of the second half, Evans produced a moment of magic as she is found by Gomez. The ball is returned to Evans who chests the ball brilliantly and has an amazing attempt that sails just wide.

As the whistle goes for the end of the second half, the scoreline remained goalless. There was little in the way of goalmouth action in the opening period of the extra half-hour, but come the second stanza, McNulty for the Tigers had a first-time shot that sailed over the crossbar. The final chance of 120 minutes, and the destination of the trophy would be decided from the penalty spot.

Above: Morgan Aquino – the Perth Glory A-League Women goalkeeper had a sensational match for the Northern Tigers, including successfully dispatching a penalty in the shoot-out – but she would finish a runner-up. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images via Perth Glory.

Macarthur took the first penalty in the shootout with Alex Huynh who slotted her penalty beautifully into the bottom left corner. McNulty for Northern Tigers is the next player to take a penalty whose penalty is almost saved by the legs of Shamiran Khamis for Macarthur but importantly for McNulty and the Tigers, it still went into the back of the net.

Holly Williams for Macarthur was the next to step up to the penalty spot and she subsequently hit her effort perfectly into the top left corner. Evans for the Northern Tigers saw her shot goes just wide of the left post. Kylie Ledbrook followed up for Macarthur and her shot was saved by Aquino.

Brodigan for Northern Tigers steps up next and slotted her penalty directly into the bottom right corner. Charalambous succeeded for Macarthur with her shot easily going into the back of the net. Gomez for the Northern Tigers calmly and casually walks up to the penalty spot that while Shamiran Khamis for Macarthur went the right way, Gomez perfectly placed her shot in the bottom left corner.

Gordon for Macarthur is the next up to the spot who places her penalty with a nicely found the net before goalkeeper Aquino stepped up for Northern Tigers and comfortably scored. She returned to her regular spot between the sticks but couldn’t keep out McComasky’s effort for Macarthur.

Bart for the Tigers then approached and placed her shot into the bottom left corner. Leena Khamis succeeded. Someone had to miss again, and that pain fell Abbey Green’s way for the Northern Tigers as Shamiran Khamis saved to ensure Macarthur became the 2022 NPLW NSW Champions.

Above: Isabelle Gomez (left) in action for Wellington Phoenix in the A-League Women – she had another superb game in defeat for the Northern Tigers. Photo: Western Sydney Wanderers.

There were not enough superlatives to describe the superb performance of Morgan Aquino. Time and time again, she played out of her skin and was really on another level during the match itself. It goes without saying, that there was no more deserving player to be the Player of the Match than her.

Gomez was absolutely amazing in the midfield, especially during the second half and really showed a lot of grit and determination with every ball that she played and every challenge that she made as she massively proved to be an incredibly crucial and integral player for the Tigers in this match. With how she played, she seriously proved why she has been an absolute star within the Northern Tigers throughout this entire season.

Shadeene Evans is also worthy of praise. The way that she played up front really was extremely beneficial to the Tigers with the chances that she made during the match. On another day for her, she could have very much been on the scoresheet. The skill that she showed with the chances made was honestly something entirely.

It was a deserved win for Macarthur Rams – but the superb Northern Tigers pushed them all the way. It was a fitting end to an excellent season.

Teams: MACARTHUR RAMS: S.Khamis, L.Khamis, Charalambous, Murtagh, Sunaga, Huynh, Malone, Caceres, B.Gordon, Foletta, Mccomasky. Substitutes: Williams, C.Gordon, Ledbrook, Duggan, Bishop, Clarke.

Penalties: Huynh (Scored), Williams (Scored), Ledbrook (Missed), Charalambous Gordon (Scored), McComasky (Scored), L.Khamis (Scored).

NORTHERN TIGERS: Aquino, Wilson, Green, Gomez, McNulty, Bart, Evans, Steinmetz, Bernardi, Brodigan, Kilbride. Substitutes: Cabezas, Fraser, Rickard, Mcmahon, Montenegro, Bartels.

Penalties: McNulty (Scored), Evans (Missed), Brodigan (Scored), Gomez (Scored), Aquino (Scored), Bart (Scored), Green (Missed)

Referee: Chloe Gray.

Jets Announce Another Two Squad Additions

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from both Lucy Johnson and Chloe Walandouw along with Jets head coach Ash Wilson (19/9/22).

Above: Lucy Johnson returns. Artwork: Newcastle Jets.

Newcastle Jets today announced the re-signing of midfielder Lucy Johnson and a first senior contract for academy defender Chloe Walandouw for the 2022/23 season.

Johnson made her debut for the Jets last season, featuring in 13 matches across the campaign.

Newcastle Jets Coach Ash Wilson is thrilled to have secured Johnson’s services for another year.

“I’m pleased to be able to resign Lucy after a promising debut season. She is a player who plays with passion and commitment and has much potential. She is clever and creative and likes to contribute to attacking movements which suits the way we want to play. 

“Lucy is also a versatile midfielder which gives us flexibility in what we want to do. I’m keen to see the confidence Lucy will grow with after last season and look forward to the impact she will have in this team.

Johnson spoke of her delight in re-signing with the Jets for the coming season. “I think we can build on the previous season and see some quality results come our way. I’m eager to get started with the girls and coaching staff in pre-season to ultimately contribute to a fantastic season ahead.”

Above: Chloe Walandouw – about to prepare for her first A-League Women season. Photo: Newcastle Jets.

Chloe Walandouw who has progressed through the Emerging Jets program will play her first season in the A-League having signed her maiden senior contract.

Jets Coach Ash Wilson is excited to watch her develop. “I’m very pleased and proud to be able to sign Chloe. She is an academy product who has represented every age group and wears the Newcastle Jets badge with pride.

“Chloe is a regular member of the under 17 National team who were recently crowned champions of the 2022 AFF Under 17 Tournament. She is a fullback who loves to get forward, using her speed and dribbling skills to contribute to positive attacks. Defensively, she loves a challenge and thrives in one-v-one situations. 

“She is someone who epitomises the core values of our club and town, being hard working, having a good attitude, and being humble. These characteristics, combined with her technical quality and positive physical traits, will ensure she continues to grow and thrive in this elite environment. I look forward to working with Chloe and watching her development and I know she will take any opportunity she can to prove herself for this team.”

Walandouw is excited to be linking up with the Women’s side in her first season in the A-League, saying: “After coming through the Jets Academy Program I am looking forward to taking the next step in my football journey. I’m excited to become a part of the A-League environment and I’m wanting to challenge myself. I’m grateful for the opportunity and want to learn as much as possible from it.”

Tigers Set For Rams Showdown After Huge Semi Win

Impetus’ Ryan Miller-Woods previews tomorrow’s NPLW NSW Grand Final which sees Northern Tigers face off against Macarthur Rams in the season’s defining match (17/9/22).

Above: Hannah McNulty of Northern Tigers (left) and Bethany Gordon of Macarthur Rams prepare to face off in tomorrow’s NPLW NSW Grand Final. Photo: NPLNSW.

It has all come down to this. After 22 matches in the regular season and two semi-finals, we are down to just the two teams that have made it to the NPLW NSW Grand Final who will be both vying to be ones’ victorious come the final whistle on Sunday as Northern Tigers take on Macarthur Rams at Valentine Sports Park.

Macarthur Rams sealed their spot in the Grand Final first against APIA Leichhardt last week in a clash that went a full 120 minutes. A great goal by Bethany Gordon being the decisive moment in the second period of extra time to send Macarthur through to ‘The Big Dance’, the 2022 NPLW NSW Grand Final after Shea Connors’ strike for APIA had sent the match into a further half-hour.

As for the second of the two semi-finals that were played, it was the Regular Season Premiers Sydney University up against Northern Tigers. As well as having the premiers title in their back pocket, Sydney University could also point to two wins against the Tigers during the regular season, having defeated their opponents 1-0 at home in Round 11 and 4-2 away in Round 22.

Above: Shadeene Evans, pictured with John Moriarty from Impetus charity partners Moriarty Foundation, took the semi-final by storm with two goals for Northern Tigers. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.

Maybe it was the prospect of the bigger picture for the Northern Tigers knowing what a victory would mean for them in this particular match or a switch went off knowing exactly what was required of them to finally have Sydney University’s number but either way, to say that a 3-0 victory for them against arguably the best team all season in the NPLW NSW was expected, was not what many of us would have had on our bingo cards. Impetus charity partners Moriarty Foundation’s inaugural scholarship holder Shadeene Evans popped up with two goals, with Beth Bernardi adding the other to see them comfortably make it through to this Sunday’s Grand Final.

The tale of the tape between the two sides during this season was a 1-0 victory in Round Five to the Northern Tigers thanks to the only goal in the match being scored by Ashlee Brodigan and a 1-1 draw in Round 16 with goals from Isabel Gomez and Patricia Charalambous for the Northern Tigers and Macarthur Rams respectively.

Above: The Macarthur Rams squad that made the Grand Final. Beth Gordon (seventh from the left front row) has been an impressive performer. Photo: NPLNSW.

There are two players (in my opinion) to watch out for in the Grand Final – Beth Gordon of Macarthur Rams and Isabel Gomez of Northern Tigers.

Gordon’s goal against APIA Leichhardt in the Semi-Final will surely make her feel like she is on top of the world at the moment as it is one thing to score a goal that takes your side to a Grand Final, it is another thing altogether to score the way that she did.

Gomez has truly been a star amongst the Northern Tigers this season. She is such a skilful and graceful player with the ball at her feet. Gomez truly makes it look so effortless when she is out there on the pitch. In my eyes she can honestly make or break a match with her presence, as the way she conducts herself match in, match out, is a massive benefit to players that are around her as she is an integral player within the squad.

Above: The victorious Northern Tigers semi-final winning squad. Photo: NPLNSW.

Her form in the NPLW NSW bodes well for her second season in the A-League Women at Wellington Phoenix.

Overall, Northern Tigers are favourites for Sunday’s showdown mainly due to their comprehensive dismissal of Sydney University in last week’s semi-final. They will be full of confidence that they can continue from where they have left off in that match and show the quality within their ranks.

Macarthur Rams will certainly pose a big challenge for the Tigers. They showed their grit and determination to overcome the concession of an equaliser in their semi against APIA Leichhardt to come back and win in extra-time – although the extra minutes in their legs may equally prove a factor.

The match in itself is shaping to be something that could be quite the spectacle to watch given how both sides have made it to this point and either side will surely not let the other team take home the bragging rights without a fight.

The official match programme for the game can be downloaded here: https://footballnsw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Womens-NPL-grand-final-program.pdf

The NPLW NSW Grand Final between Northern Tigers and Macarthur Rams kicks off at 3:00pm local time – 6:00am UK time, 7:00am CET. It will be broadcast live on NPL TV where it can also be viewed on demand anywhere around the world.

Canberra, Western United, And Adelaide United Add Major Names

On another day of announcement of prominent player signings at A-League Women clubs, Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from Grace MaherTyla-Jay VlajnicMelinda Barbieri, and Meisha Westland along with the head coaches of each of the teams involved (16/9/22).

Above: Grace Maher (right) has signed on for another campaign at Canberra United. Photo: Canberra United.

Canberra United are delighted to welcome back midfield playmaker Grace Maher who has re-signed with the club for the forthcoming Liberty A-League season.
 
The talented Canberra local has been a mainstay of the club in recent seasons, having burst onto the elite level scene as a teenager, going on to make over seventy appearances in the league, scoring ten goals in the process.
 
Widely known for her ability to strike from range, Maher is a fan favourite having initially made her name in the local leagues before being snapped up to make her Canberra United debut in the 2014 season.
 
“I am thrilled to be signing for Canberra United for another season in green and am looking forward to working with Njegosh (Popovich), the Canberra United staff, and the rest of the squad,” Maher said.
 
“Canberra United are my local team and, whilst it may be cliché, they are my team and one that I feel privileged to play for. To represent my hometown team in the national competition is something I treasure, and I can’t wait to get back out in front of our magnificent supporters.
 
“Njegosh is building a squad that will be capable of playing creative, attractive football and with the combination of our loved homegrown players and new interstate talent, we will be fighting to bring trophies home to Canberra for the 2022/23 season.”
 
Maher, who has represented Australia at U17 and U20 levels, has spent all of her career with United, bar a couple of campaigns with Melbourne Victory, and has scored nine goals for Canberra and one for the Melbourne-based side.
 
“Grace is a top-class player, a technician, who has excellent control, a wide range of passing, and the ability to strike at goal from distance,” Njegosh Popovich, United’s Head Coach, said of the signing.
 
“We have witnessed at first-hand the qualities that Grace possesses over her eight seasons in the Liberty A-League and I am delighted that she has decided to re-sign for another season with the club.
 
“Not only is she a great footballer, but she also brings an understanding of Canberra and the culture of the club and the city, and that is important when you are building a harmonious and successful football club.”

Artwork: Western United.

Western United have added another quality player to their ever-growing inaugural squad with the arrival of four-time A-League Women Champion Tyla-Jay Vlajnic.

The 31-year-old has been a mainstay at Melbourne City since 2015, making over 50 appearances and helping the side to four Championships and two Premierships.

Vlajnic, who has represented the Serbia national team, is eager for a new start and more success with Western United’s first-ever women’s team.

“I am incredibly excited to join Western United this season. As a new team joining the league, we have an amazing opportunity to set a new benchmark for women’s football here in Australia,” she said.

“An inaugural year means we have the ability to create something special, and that’s pretty exciting. I am so grateful for the success I have already achieved but I’m ready for more in the Green and Black.”

Vlajnic has also had a strong career in NPLW Victoria where she helped Calder United to a Championship and Premiership double in 2016 before moving to Bulleen Lions in recent years.

Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso is excited to work with Vlajnic again and is confident she will have a strong impact on the group.

“TJ has been a stalwart in Australian football and having her join us and want to be a part of our project is really important,” he said.

“The entire group will be able to lean on her experience and all of the success that she has had, but she still has the hunger to continue to achieve more with us at Western United and her drive and leadership will be able to push the rest of the players throughout the year.

“I’ve known TJ for some time and I am really delighted to work with her again, and I’m sure she will have a big impact on our group.”

Vlajnic can play in either full-back position or higher up on the wing when needed, with a strong mix of defensive and attacking abilities.

She becomes United’s 15th signing as the Club continues to fill its inaugural A-League Women side ahead of the beginning of pre-season in October.

Artwork: Adelaide United.

Adelaide United today unveiled the signings of midfielders MelindaJ Barbieri and Meisha Westland for the upcoming Liberty A-League 2022/23 season.

Barbieri had spent the last seven campaigns at Melbourne Victory, recording 66 appearances and scoring four goals.

A two-time Liberty A-League Champion, the 22-year-old bolsters the squad with her versatility allowing her to feature not only in midfield but also on the wing.

Speaking about her decision to join Adelaide, Barbieri said: “I’m really eager about this new opportunity with Adelaide United.

“Over the last four or five years, they’ve really transformed into an extremely competitive team and play an attacking, attractive brand of football. This is a new challenge for me and one that I cannot wait to get started and help this team take the next step and win a championship.”

Meanwhile, Westland enjoyed her first experience of Liberty A-League football last year, playing 12 matches with Melbourne City. The 21-year-old is a defensive midfielder and has spent the offseason in the NPL NSW Women’s with Manly United.

Westland said: “Adelaide’s style of play captivated me last year and the opportunity to work under Adrian (Stenta) was simply one I had to jump at. I am looking forward to helping the team have another successful season this year and can’t wait to get started.”

Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “MelindaJ and Meisha arrive with plenty of quality.

“MelindaJ’s been part of squads that have lifted silverware, so that will be extremely beneficial to our playing group and offers our team real tactical flexibility.

“Meisha is a player that we believe can contribute to our midfield and provides depth in the centre of the pitch, having been introduced to this level last season.”

A-League Women Fixture Schedule Announced

Impetus’ Ben Gilby brings news of all the important dates and matchups for the season ahead, plus hears from Wellington Phoenix CEO David Dome on the excitement of finally hosting an A-League Women game in New Zealand, and Adelaide United‘s head coach Adrian Stenta and Isabel Hodgson on the excitement to build on their maiden finals appearance of 2021/22 (15/9/22).

The Liberty A-League fixture schedule for 2022/23 was announced earlier today with the season getting underway on 19th November with the last of the 20 rounds of regular season matches being played between 1st-4th April 2023.

With Western United entering the competition this season, the league will run with 11 teams, meaning one side will have a bye each week. Western Sydney Wanderers will be the recipients in the opening weekend.

The 2022/23 campaign will open with a match-up between two sides who just missed out on Finals football last season with Canberra United welcoming Perth Glory to McKellar Park. Also on the same day, Brisbane Roar host Newcastle Jets at Perry Park, and Western United’s historic first-ever A-League Women game is a Victoria derby against reigning champions Melbourne Victory at City Vista Recreation Reserve. The following day, Wellington Phoenix will finally play a game in New Zealand a year after entering the competition when Melbourne City journey to Sky Stadium. The round concludes with a mouthwatering clash between two of last season’s finals qualifiers, Adelaide United and Sydney FC at Service FM Stadium – SA’s state centre of football.

Above: City Vista Recreation Reserve – the first venue to host Western United in an A-League Women match. Photo: Austadiums.

Western Sydney Wanderers enter action in Round Two with a trip to Newcastle Jets. Perth Glory will finally return to Western Australian soil to play A-League Women football for the first time in a year when Adelaide United arrive at Macedonia Park. There will be one other notable fixture in week two with a repeat of the Grand Final of the last two years with Sydney FC hosting Melbourne Victory. It will therefore be a testing opening to the campaign for both these two sides.

There will be a range of fixtures over the Christmas and New Year period. December 23rd sees Canberra United host Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets welcome Brisbane Roar to No 2 Sportsground. There is a Christmas Eve Sydney derby with Wanderers travelling to Allianz Stadium.

New Year’s Eve sees Brisbane Roar take on Sydney FC at Perry Park, Melbourne Victory host Canberra United at CB Smith Reserve, and Newcastle Jets play Adelaide United at No 2 Sportsground. New Year’s Day sees Perth Glory welcome Western United to Macedonia Park, whilst Wellington Phoenix take on Western Sydney Wanderers at Sky Stadium on 2nd January.

The final round of matches between 1st – 2nd April starts with Wellington Phoenix’s game with Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium, Brisbane Roar host Perth Glory at the atmospheric Perry Park, Western United take on Western Sydney Wanderers at City Vista Recreation Reserve, Sydney FC welcome Newcastle Jets to Allianz Stadium and Melbourne City will take on Canberra United at AAMI Park.

Above: Alyssa Whinham and Wellington Phoenix are finally going to be playing on home soil. Photo: Welloington Phoenix.

Speaking about the excitement of finally being able to host A-League Women in New Zealand, Wellington Phoenix CEO David Dome said: I’ve never been this excited heading into a Phoenix season. It’s the start of a massive 12 months for women’s football in New Zealand and I simply can’t wait for our opening game against Melbourne City.”

Dome has set the bar high, targeting a record A-League women’s crowd for the season opener.

“I want to see 10 thousand plus fans come to Sky Stadium on Sunday, November 20. The players and staff deserve a big homecoming for everything they went through in their maiden season in Australia and we have the chance to show everyone that we have the best fans in the A-League.”

Above: Adelaide United head coach Adrian Stenta – excited about the fixture reveal. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

Excitement is also building in South Australia with Adelaide United looking to build on their first-ever appearance in Finals football last season. Head coach Adrian Stenta said: “As a Club, we could not be more excited for this new campaign. The steps we took last season were very promising and we’re confident we can continue building on that and improve even more. 

“With the core of our squad retained, I know the strong bond we have as a group will remain, as we welcome our new signings with open arms. The positive impact this chemistry can have on the success of a team cannot be undervalued and holds us in good stead ahead of 2022/23.” 

Reds captain Isabel Hodgson is also full of anticipation: “Making history last season by reaching our maiden finals series was amazing, although there’s no denying the disappointment we felt when our season came to an end.

“But this has just fuelled the fire within us. I know I speak for the entire group when I say we’re entering this season with another point to prove and will be doing everything we can to make a proper statement in 2022/23.”

Calder Clinch NPLW Victoria Glory

Calder United 2-0 Bulleen Lions

by Kieran Yap (14/9/22)

Above: Calder United celebrate with the trophy after winning the NPLW Victoria Grand Final against Bulleen Lions. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Calder United have capped off a remarkable NPLW season by winning Victoria’s Grand Final 2-0 over Bulleen Lions.

It was Calder’s third trophy of the season following their first-place finish and a Nike FC Cup triumph. Mark Torcaso’s team was rebuilt in short time and dominated the league, scoring 55 goals while conceding just seven in 2022.

The Grand Final was a case of the unstoppable against the unpredictable. Bulleen had been hampered by inconsistencies throughout the season. Caitlin Friend had forged a squad built on a strong pedigree and some exciting youngsters.

At the start of 2022, Bulleen had six players who were in A-League women’s sides last season. Tiffany Eliadis, Lia Privitelli, and Paige Zois from Melbourne Victory, Tyla Jay Vlajnic and Rebekah Stott from Melbourne City, and Alana Jancevski from Perth Glory.

They were complimented by some less familiar but eventually impressive players like the deceptively powerful Aroha Little and the fearless Rosie Rodger.

Importantly, all of the A-League players had come from clubs that either went deep into the season, or had highly unusual campaigns, like Perth’s COVID bubble or Victory’s congested February.

Above: Calder United (green) and Bulleen Lions battle it out in Sunday’s Grand Final. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Towards the end of the season, Paige Zois was called up to international duty while Vlajnic and Stott secured unmissable European opportunities. That Bulleen secured third place comfortably and won their semi-final is an amazing achievement by the club, players, and managers.

However, even at full strength, they may have been no match for this Calder United squad, nobody this season was.

Calder United began the season in form and maintained that throughout the season. the Grand Final win was their seventh straight victory. Up until the finals, they had only lost twice and dropped points on five occasions in total.

Scoring against them felt unlikely, preventing them from scoring was almost impossible. They only failed to score on two occasions this season and although the team was littered with individual talent, choosing one standout player is difficult.

So the two teams met in the Grand Final and it felt as difficult to bet against Calder as it did to count out Bulleen. The game was hotly contested, but not a classic contest,  and an even first half saw the three best chances fall to Bulleen, while Calder went into the break 1-0 up.

Raquel Derales had the first shot on goal for Calder. The scorer of the semi-final winner made space in the box but was on a difficult angle when she shot. Emily Shields was able to make the first save of what would be a busy afternoon.

Zois returned fire for Bulleen. Calder seemed to put a lot of effort into swarming the Young Matilda and preventing passes to her feet. She was able to run towards goal and get a clean shot away but Alyssa Dall’ Oste was untroubled.

Above: An aerial battle from Sunday;s NPLW Victoria Grand Final. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Calder’s opening goal was both fortuitous and deserved from the build-up. A corner kick was only half cleared by Bulleen. Emma Robers maintained possession on the edge of the box and instead of blazing back into a crowded area, she played it back out wide to Alana Cerne.

Cerne whipped in a dangerous cross and the ball deceived Shields to fly into the back on the net. It was a goal crafted from patience, discipline, and luck. To win a Grand Final, all three are handy.

The goal arrived in just the 16th minute, but Bulleen suddenly seemed rushed for a short period. They were more hurried to get the ball forward, but once they regained composure they enjoyed two good chances to end the half.

Both came from the left foot of Alana Jancevski. Her low cross from the wing somehow missed everybody in the area when any touch would have scored. Then in the closing minutes, her free kick was on target and dipping, but Dall Oste’ was able to hold onto it to deny a lurking Eliadis.

The talented forward was finding it hard to find time and space on the ball. She does not need much, but Calder were in no mood to risk her having any.

Calder attacked more throughout the second half. Alexis Rossi hit the woodwork with a spectacular long-range effort. Then Shields made a miracle save from Melissa Taranto’s follow-up. She was called into action seconds later from a header that was clawed away at full stretch.

Cerne played the pass of the game to Taranto again in the3 60th minute. She dropped the ball perfectly over the defence from deep. Taranto’s volley connected well and only the post prevented it from being 2-0.

The second goal came at a bad time Bulleen. The Lions were starting to get a foothold back in the game and were desperately unlucky not to score Lia Privitelli’s flick at a corner kick.

Minutes later, Calder drove forward. Stacy Papadopoulos, who was almost unstoppable on the wing all day, found Melissa Taranto in the box. The forward stopped and turned to find a shot. When it wasn’t on she played it back to the winger.

Above: Aleks Sinclair (on the ball) tries to get away from Bulleen Lions’ Tiff Eliadis. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Papadopoulos played a dangerous ball across the face of goal where Taranto was on hand to tap it home. It was a wonderfully crafted goal, where individual skill and team chemistry combined.

Importantly, it left Bulleen with only 15 minutes to score twice, against a team that had barely conceded all year.

Jancevski offered the best hope of that. Her long-range effort looked dangerous off the boot and she looked disappointed when it whizzed over despite the high degree of difficulty.

In a show of force and intent. Torcaso withdrew fullback Montana Matthews and replaced her with striker Ava Groba.

Bulleen could not attack without risking a third, Groba’s pace would leave them vulnerable and she almost scored after a counterattack, before Aleks Sinclair nearly sealed it with a near miss.

After five minutes of injury time, Calder United were crowned Champions with the trophy presented by Tony Gustavsson.

With the core of this squad set to feature in the A-League with Western United, they may surprise a few teams next season. They have talent, they are well organized, and will be complemented by some senior experience.

Above: The sheer joy for Calder United on Sunday. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Bulleen pledged to be back next season. Caitlin Friend’s first full season in charge was an admirable one. They were in championship-winning form in the COVID cancelled year and did well to rebound for this one.

But this was Calder’s day as it was their season. They were undeniable, tenacious, and skilful. Julia Sardo received player of the match awards, but Montana Matthews is also due some appreciation.

The full-back has routinely kept dangerous wingers quiet while being confident carrying or passing the ball forward. She has had a breakout season in the NPLW and surely as A-League football in her future.

The Grand Final was no exception. Up against Lia Privitelli, she had her work cut out for her, but was diligent and combative without the ball, while willing to take risks with it. She is a bit special.

That concludes Victoria’s NPLW coverage for 2022. It has been an absolute pleasure to write about these players and clubs this season, and a privilege to see some of Australia’s best and future stars in action up close.

Attention now turns to the upcoming A-League Women’s season. With a new club in the mix, many of Victoria’s players will feature. Anybody who watched this league will be excited to watch them seize the opportunity.

Teams: CALDER UNITED: Dall’Oste, Cerne, Derales (Cain 64’), Robers, Dakic (El-Hayek 90’), Taranto, Sinclair, Papadopoulos, Mathews (Groba 82’), Sardo, Rossi.

Scorers: Cerne 16’, M. Taranto 75’.

BULLEEN LIONS: Shields, Natoli, Zois, Burn, Privitelli, Eliadis, Little, Johnson (Rodger 76’), O’Bryan, Dolzan, Jancevski.

Referee: Caitlin Williams.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Young Matildas Captain Wanders Back For Next Two Years

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from Sheridan Gallagher as the Young Matildas captain signs a new two-year deal with Western Sydney Wanderers (14/9/22).

Above: Sheridan Gallagher in action for the Young Matildas against Costa Rica in the U20 World Cup recently. Photo: Football Australia.

Western Sydney Wanderers today confirmed the re-signing of Young Matildas captain Sheridan Gallagher for the next two Liberty A-League seasons.

Gallagher featured in her first season of the domestic competition in 2021/22, making 10 appearances for the Red & Black.

The hardworking forward was recently named Australia’s captain at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica where she guided the side in the group stages.

Above: Sheridan Gallagher (centre) in action for Western Sydney Wanderers in the Sydney derby last season. Photo: Kris Goman.

Gallagher said she was eying a good season ahead for the Wanderers. “My first season in the A-Leagues was a real eye-opener to what potentially playing football full-time can be,” she explained.

“It was great to get a lot of minutes in my first season and I think working hard and being true to yourself is what I’ll take with me into this upcoming season. My goals are for the club to have a really great season and to help them make Finals would be amazing.

“To recently go to a World Cup and represent your country, to pull on that jersey is an amazing feeling and to play against world-class players is an experience I’ll never forget.”

Campbell Ballantyne: Making Plans To Take Curtin Forward

For this week’s WA On Wednesday feature, Impetus’ Ben Gilby spoke to Campbell Ballantyne, president of Curtin University. The club’s senior NPLW WA and U21 sides had exceptionally tough seasons which both ended winless. Campbell reflects on the campaign and outlines how the club are looking to become a more competitive outfit for 2023.

Above: Curtin University (orange and black) in possession against Perth SC this season. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

A glimpse at the NPLW WA final table for 2022 makes grim reading for those at Curtin University. Only two points from 21 games, and a campaign that has seen three head coaches at the helm. For president Campbell Ballantyne, the club were battling with one hand tied behind their back from the early days of the season.

“A head coach who was given control of the budget and all the pre-season planning walking out on the girls and the team after four games.  Everything from there was trying to patch over these problems.

“When Dom Gangemi walked out, Les Cavil was kind enough to quickly step in as caretaker while we ran an application process.  He choose not to apply and Hassan Al-ahmad applied for the job and was successful.

Above: Curtin University battle it out with Balcatta Etna this season. Photo: JASP Photograpy.

“I think all players who stuck with the team did very well in very difficult circumstances highlighting any one of them would be a challenge.

In order to become a far more competitive outfit in the NPLW WA next season, Ballantyne has already laid in place some changes.

“We have plans to over double the budget that we allocate to our NPLW team. We will stand by our ethos of allocation even budgets to both our men’s and women’s first teams, we are still the only club that has publicly announced that. 

“We are open to any players looking to join us for 2023 and we are likely to revisit our imports strategy that was destroyed by COVID in 2020. We have every intention of attracting players back from the eastern states too.”

In terms of the club’s playing staff during the season just finished, Curtin’s president spoke of his concern about a development that has recently come to light.

“We were very disappointed to learn through a season report published online by another website that a player we had on a professional contract had been allowed to move clubs within the NPLW WA without my knowledge or consent. We will also be pushing Football West hard on upholding pro contracts and trying to drive up the professionalism of women’s sport.”

Above: Curtin University’s home venue of Edinburgh Oval. Photo: Student VIP.

With the club looking to build their squad, there are other areas of the Curtin set-up which have Ballantyne’s attention at the present time. The club’s home ground at Edinburgh Oval is in need of an upgrade to ensure it can get closer to the standards of other NPLW WA venues. The club president has a sense of frustration at the speed of these developments.

“We are constantly lobbying both the university to improve facilities and Football West to produce the timeline of facility improvements that were promised when the league was launched in 2020. This framework is key to taking to land owners (the university) to get a result. 

“I have been told two projects for better access to more public toilets and a new storage area have been approved.  Unfortunately, the university retracted the consent they provided for a perimeter fence in 2020.”

Campbell Ballantyne has made clear his plans for improvements at Curtin University for 2023 – for the sake of increasing the competitive nature of the NPLW WA, these need to be able to bear fruit.

Big Names Sign Up For A-League Women

In one day a vast number of internationals and big-name players have signed for a total of three different A-League Women clubs. Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from some of the players concerned plus the views of Western UnitedSydney FC, and Adelaide United (13/9/22).

Above: Chloe Logarzo – a marquee signing for Western United’s inaugural season. Graphic: Western United.

Logarzo Unveiled At Western United

Matildas star Chloe Logarzo will add world-class firepower to Western United’s inaugural Liberty A-League Women squad after signing on loan from Kansas City in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

Capped 54 times by the Matildas, Logarzo has been a mainstay in the side since debuting in 2013 and recently made her return to the side after an ACL injury.

Logarzo has previously represented Colorado Pride in the United States and played in top divisions in Sweden, Norway, and England, where she lined up for Bristol City.

A two-time A-League Women Champion with Sydney FC, Logarzo returns to Australia for the first time in two years and is determined to make a difference in Green and Black.

“I am really excited to be returning to the A-League with a new club, new city, and a new challenge ahead of the World Cup,” she said.

“There is no better time to return home to the A-League than now, leading into the World Cup and with Western United, a new and ambitious Club.I feel incredibly confident that this is the correct decision for my return to playing.”

Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso said Logarzo’s signature was a major coup. “Chloe’s game needs no explanation, she is a world-class talent and she will be huge for our group and for the league,” he said.

Above: Chloe Logarzo pictured during her time with Bristol City in the WSL. Photo: Bristol City.

“I’m really excited and proud that we can give Chloe a platform to continue her return to the pitch ahead of the World Cup next year. She is the type of player that can change a game in an instant and I can’t wait to work with her and see her help us on the pitch, but also off the pitch with the knowledge she can share with our younger players.”

Western United Women’s Football Manager Amanda Stella said Logarzo’s capture proved United’s ambition heading into its inaugural season.

“Bringing in a player of Chloe’s calibre lays down a marker for us and shows the competition that we are here to compete,” she said.

“Chloe will get fans through the gates, she’ll get people off their seats and everyone in the West should be excited about coming to watch her play. In our inaugural season, Chloe’s leadership and standing in the game will help set the foundations for our culture and vision moving forward as a Club in the A-League Women.”

Logarzo will bring flair and experience at the highest level to the team and will add inspiration to the young players around her in the squad.

She will join up with her new teammates in pre-season training in early November ahead of the opening round in the A-League Women season, which begins from November 18.

Sydney FC Announce Stellar Squad

Above: Mackenzie Hawkesby – back in sky blue for 2022. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Sydney FC’s Championship winning Head Coach Ante Juric, Liberty A-League Captain Natalie Tobin and nine of the Sky Blues 2022 Premiership winning squad, including Matildas Princess Ibini, Mackenzie Hawkesby, and Rachel Lowe, will return to defend their title in season 2022-23.

The Sky Blues have also recruited five Young Matildas who were part of Australia’s squad at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup last month, plus several other new faces.

Coach Juric is back for a sixth consecutive season having guided Sydney FC to each of the past five Grand Finals, winning one and securing two Premierships along the way.

Tobin will Captain the squad for a second year in her 10th season in Sky Blue and is joined by recent Matildas representative Ibini in her eighth season as the club returns to the new Allianz Stadium.

Sydney FC Player Of The Year Hawkesby and A-League Women’s Goal Of The Season Winner Lowe return for another season after last year’s heroics earned them call-ups to the Matildas squad to face Spain and Portugal in June.

Young Matildas Sarah Hunter and Charlie Rule are joined by their Under 20 World Cup team-mates defender Kirsty Fenton, midfielder Abbey Lemon and forward Jynaya Dos Santos.

Double Premiership winning and ever-present defender Charlotte Mclean returns for a third season in Sky Blue and is joined in defence by Perth Glory left-back Deborah Anne De La Harpe.

Goalkeeper Katie Offer will again challenge for the number one position while Junior Matildas’ Captain Shay Hollman, who won player of the tournament at the AFF U18 Women’s Championship, and fellow Junior Matilda Mary Stanic-Floody are promoted from scholarship to full-time contracts.

Above: Deborah-Ann de la Harpe, a stand-out at Perth Glory last season returns to New South Wales this season for Sydney FC. Image: Perth Glory.

Indiana Dos Stantos and Anika Stajcic, daughter of Sydney FC Hall Of Famer and former Women’s Head Coach Alen Stajcic, are new additions on scholarship contracts.

Head Coach Ante Juric is already happy with the balance of youth and experience.

“I’m delighted with the players we have signed so far and we’ll be adding some more quality in the coming weeks which I believe will give us a great chance at silverware again.

“We’ve managed to keep the core of our successful team from the past two seasons and are in talks with a number of others to return. The new players are fantastic additions and will bring more youth and exuberance to our play which I’m excited to see.”

Captain Natalie Tobin, who made her Sky Blue debut in the W-League Grand Final in 2013, is looking forward to another memorable year.

“I can’t believe this will be my 10th season at Sydney FC,” said the 25-year-old.

“It’s been an incredible journey for me and the past few years, in particular, have been extremely special. We’ve had success and I’m thrilled to see the core of that group staying together this season. I’m also excited to welcome and watch our new additions in action. 

“We’ve recruited some fantastic young players and it all bodes well for a really great year.”

Sydney FC expect to make further signing announcements in the build-up to the season in mid-November with Liberty A-League fixtures likely to be revealed later this week.

Jenna McCormick Is Back For Adelaide

Artwork: Adelaide United.

Adelaide United is delighted to announce the return of experienced centre-back, Jenna McCormick, her third stint with the Club after signing a one-year contract.
 
The 27-year-old began her career with the Reds, playing 26 matches between 2012 and 2015 before returning for the 2017/18 campaign.
 
In 2019, McCormick made her Matildas debut against Chile and currently has four caps for her country.
 
The defender has plied her trade overseas in Iceland, Norway, Spain, and Denmark with Stjarnan, Medkila, Real Betis, and Aarhus Gymnastik Forening (AGF) respectively.
 
McCormick has also represented Canberra United, Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, and Melbourne City in the Liberty A-League, amassing a total of 96 games in the competition.
 
Speaking on her decision to re-join the Club, the 2013/14 Dianne Alagich Medallist, said: “I’m really excited to be back in my home state playing for Adelaide United, the club where my career started.
 
“This team has become extremely competitive over the last few seasons and you can see a real togetherness within the squad, which is something I’m looking forward to being part of. Adrian (Stenta) is an excellent coach who encourages an attractive style of football, and I believe we have a great squad that can seriously challenge for the title this season.”
 
Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “We’re really thrilled to have signed a player with a lot of pedigree like Jenna.
 
“You only have to look at her resume to see she possesses plenty of experience, having represented her country, played in Europe, and spent almost a decade in this league. Her signing definitely strengthens our defence and I’m very pleased with how the squad is coming together.”
 
Across her two spells with Adelaide, McCormick accumulated 38 appearances, scoring one goal.

Coaching And Signing Updates From The A-League Women

Ahead of tomorrow’s official fixture release, there were major announcements at three clubs today, with Wellington Phoenix revealing their new head coach, Perth Glory adding a new hot-shot to their pack, and Brisbane Roar welcome back another of last season’s squad. Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from the players and coaches involved (12/9/22).

Above: Nat Lawrence – last season’s assistant will take over at the Phoenix this season. Artwork: Wellington Phoenix.

Lawrence Steps Up As Lewis Returns Home

Inaugural assistant Natalie Lawrence is stepping up to take over as head coach of the Wellington Phoenix for the upcoming Liberty A-League season.

Lawrence is replacing Gemma Lewis, who is returning home to Wales to take up the role of senior pathway manager for women’s football.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to take charge of the Phoenix and one that I can’t wait to start,” Lawrence said.  “Having been part of the team last year and seeing them grow, to now be able to bring the team back to New Zealand and play games in Wellington, which I definitely consider to be my Kiwi home, is incredibly exciting.”

Lawrence moved to New Zealand 11 years ago, having started her coaching career in her native England.

“As soon as I got to Wellington in 2011 I was like, “I should have been born here, this is definitely my home’.

“Being able to walk out with the team in that first game at Sky Stadium is going to be something special for me personally and all the players involved, whether they were involved last season or not. It’s going to be outrageous.

“The World Cup’s just around the corner, women’s football is buzzing here and around the world and to be part of it at this level of the game in what I consider my home away from home is something you kind of dream of.”

On top of serving as Lewis’ assistant at the Phoenix, Junior Football Ferns and the Future Ferns Domestic Programme (FFDP) over the past two years, Lawrence boasts extensive head coaching experience.

She worked for Capital Football from 2012-2015, coaching Capital in the national women’s league before moving to Vancouver to lead the Whitecaps’ women’s academy programme.

Lawrence returned to her home away from home in 2018 when she became the first female head coach of a men’s national league side when she took charge of Team Wellington’s youth team.

“I have been Gemma’s assistant in quite a lot of projects but how we work together is really collaborative.

“We work together so closely on everything and I think that will really help me going into this role, as well as the heading coaching experience I’ve had previously.”

Natalie Lawrence will move to Wellington next week, with her first task to appoint her assistant coach.

“Gemma will be massively missed amongst the staff and the players, and we’ll try and do her proud this season,” Lawrence said. “But we’re really excited for what she’s going to be doing in Wales.”

Above: Gemma Lewis, who did an outstanding job in difficult circumstances last season at Wellington Phoenix, is returning home to Wales. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

Gemma Lewis has been appointed the senior pathway manager for women’s football at the Welsh FA, who are also giving Lewis the opportunity to study for her UEFA Pro Licence.

“Being able to work in women’s football in Europe right now is huge and the opportunity to do my pro licence as well is something that was a big pull for me,” Lewis said.

“The cherry on the cake is I get to return home. I’ve been away from Wales for nine years.

“The opportunity to do all that and go home and spend a bit more time with my family all rolled into a package that was too hard to turn down.”

But the former Welsh international will leave New Zealand with a heavy heart.

“As much as I talk about going home, I’ve spent a third of my life in New Zealand. It’s difficult to leave. New Zealand has turned into my second home.

“I would have loved to do a second season with the Phoenix, but the timing didn’t really work out.”

Lewis will still take a keen interest in the team’s progress.

“The team that is being built is one that I’m really excited to watch and see how they get on.

“Nat stepping into the head coaching position is a really good decision. From all of my work with her and seeing how good she is with the players, I’m really excited to watch a season with her in charge and see what stamp she puts on the team.”

Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome has thanked Lewis for her contribution to the club.

“Gemma will forever be our first women’s head coach,” Dome said.

“She did an incredible job putting a team together at short notice for our inaugural A-League women’s season and ensured they were competitive on the field while playing the entirety of their season in Australia.

“Gemma has a great opportunity to develop further as a coach in Wales and she leaves with our best wishes.”

The Phoenix are convinced Lawrence is the ideal person to take over the reins.

“Nat came across really well when we interviewed her. Her beliefs align with what we want to achieve as a team and a club,” Dome said.

“We have no doubt she can step up into the head coaching role and we look forward to seeing what the team can achieve under her leadership.”

Natalie Lawrence’s first game in charge of the Phoenix will be revealed tomorrow, when the draw is scheduled to be announced for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season.

Above: Perth Glory’s new arrival from the USA – Gabrielle Coleman. Artwork: Perth Glory.

Epakis Welcomes “Powerhouse” Striker Coleman

Perth Glory today announced that American forward Gabriella Coleman has been signed for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League Season.

The 24-year-old has most recently been plying her trade in Iceland with HK Kopavogur for whom she scored nine goals last season, having previously been a standout performer at collegiate level for both Mississippi State and Oklahoma State University.

Glory’s new recruit boasts an impressive sporting pedigree, with her father Marcus having enjoyed an 11-year NFL career which saw him represent the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and Houston Texans and earn All-American and Hall of Fame honours.

Coleman is excited to be joining Glory for what will be her first taste of Liberty A-League football.

“I’m really looking forward to coming to Perth Glory and contributing to a team that embodies some of the same soccer philosophies that I share,” she said.

“Speaking with Head Coach Alex [Epakis], I believe that this is a great opportunity for me to grow as a player, while hopefully helping the team achieve success as well.”

Epakis believes that Coleman possesses all the attributes required to make a major impression during her maiden season in purple. “Gabriella is a powerhouse player,” he said.

“An attacker who is very strong in open space when she is running at defenders, she also offers the flexibility in her game to link play up and play with her back to goal. She is a further excellent addition to our attacking options and someone whom I believe can add a level of physicality and speed to our overall balance within the squad.

“Gabriella is very hungry and determined to do well and has a fantastic growth mindset which became clear during our early conversations. I’m very excited to work with her.”

The club will be making further signing announcements in the near future.

Above: Annabel Haffenden back at Brisbane for 2022/23. Artwork: Brisbane Roar.

Haffenden Back At Brisbane

Brisbane Roar has bolstered its defensive stocks with the signing of young gun Annie Haffenden for the 2022/23 Liberty A-League season. 

The 20-year-old will return to Brisbane for her second season having made 13 appearances for Garrath McPherson’s side in the most recent campaign. 

Having only joined the Roar on the verge of the 2021/22 season, Haffenden was a breakout player having made the most of the opportunity afforded to her. 

“It was amazing to get that opportunity, I owe a big thanks to Garrath and the coaching staff for providing it. I was able to develop a lot and I’m really excited to get out there this season and be on the pitch as much as I can,” she said. 

In all 12 matches she started, Haffenden was able to play the full 90 minutes, cementing herself as a key member of the Roar squad. Playing those minutes provided the Alamein junior with valuable first-team experience that she will be looking to build on in the upcoming campaign. 

Since the Roar’s season ended in March, Haffenden has experienced a whirlwind offseason, spending time with Swedish side Vaxjo DFF. 

“It was really eye-opening with the speed of play. It was crazy to be a part of but it taught me to be adaptable both on and off the pitch, adjusting to a new environment and playing styles but I’m excited to build on what I learned over there as well as with the Roar,” she said. 

Haffenden also caught the eye of the national team, taking part in the Australian U20’s camp in New Zealand. 

“It was an unbelievable experience and I was grateful to be a part of that international tour. I learned a lot in that environment as well and it’s something I don’t take for granted.” 

Above: Brisbane Roar’s Annabel Haffenden (left) takes on Melbourne Victory’s Catherine Zimmerman in last season’s A-League Women. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

Now back on home soil, Haffenden is eager to reunite with several familiar faces in the Roar squad. 

“I’m so excited to be back with the Roar this season and back with the girls. We gained a lot of momentum towards the back end of last season and we have so much potential as a group so I’m excited to get going because we have some unfinished business,” she said. 

Roar’s Head Coach Garrath McPherson was pleased to be able to re-sign Haffenden for the upcoming season. 

“I am looking forward to having Annie back in Brisbane this season and excited that she has committed to us for another year of her development,” he said. 

McPherson is eager to see the defender continue her development in the upcoming Liberty A-League season after the progress she showed in the 2021/22 campaign. 

“To think that 12 months ago Annie was an 11th-hour recruit for us as an 18-year-old is remarkable,” he said. 

“She has this hunger to learn and improve that is very unique. This mindset and approach to her football saw her continue to improve with every week and by the start of pre-season she was an A-League Women starting centre back.  

“Fast forward a year and Annie has been involved with an Under 20 Australian camp to New Zealand and gained overseas experience in Sweden as a professional footballer.  

“Fans should be excited to see where she is in another six months time!” McPherson added. 

Red Hot RedStar Complete The Dream Season

Perth RedStar 3-0 Hyundai NTC

By Ben Gilby

Above: Perth RedStar lift the NPLW WA Top Four Cup after their win over Hyundai NTC yesterday. Photo: Football West/Foto Enzo.

Perth RedStar completed their perfect season with a 3-0 win over Hyundai NTC in the NPLW WA Top Four Cup Final at Perth SC’s Dorrien Gardens.

RedStar’s comfortable victory saw them end the campaign with all four of the trophies available in NPLW WA football – the pre-season Night Series, the State Cup, the NPLW WA Championship, and the Top Four Cup – in their trophy cabinet.

If this is not impressive enough, it comes with the added achievement of an unbeaten campaign, with only Perth SC (twice) and Balcatta Etna earning draws against the undisputed champions.

They came into this Final on the back of a free week to prepare having taken the direct route into the season decider thanks to winning the major semi-final against Perth SC.

Conversely, Hyundai NTC had a major physical exertion in midweek, with their preliminary final against Perth SC going all the way to extra-time, before being settled by Tanika Lala’s 92nd-minute goal. They would also be without Junior Matilda Georgia Cassidy, who was suspended after being shown a yellow card in both her team’s Top Four Cup games.

Above: The NPLW WA’s top scorer Larissa Walsh, who put Perth RedStar ahead. Photo supplied by: Perth RedStar.

It was always going to be vital for the talented teenagers of the NTC to start calmly. However, any hopes of keeping things tight disappeared after just five minutes. A free-kick to the right of their penalty area saw Olivia Wood benefit from a loose NTC pass. She instantly found Shawn Billam who laid off quickly to Sarah Carroll on the edge of the box. The Perth Glory A-League Women star angled a perfect ball into the feet of the oncoming Larissa Walsh on the right of the area, and the NPLW WA’s top scorer finished confidently into the right-hand corner of the net.

Buoyed by their perfect start, RedStar looked to push forward. Walsh played a ball in from the right for Sarah Carroll which fell somewhat awkwardly for her, but she still managed to get a shot away that went narrowly wide of NTC keeper Lilly Bailey’s goal.

The consequences of this concession were stark. In their current guise of Perth RedStar, the club have never gone behind, and had conceded just nine goals in the NPLW WA all season. Add in the additional fact that under the RedStar banner, Carlos Vega Mena’s team have never lost a match, the scale of the task in front of Hyundai NTC was huge.

NTC needed to dig in and simply keep their backline intact. They were able to conjure up occasional opportunities. With 17 minutes on the clock, their hugely talented attacker Tanika Lala broke through the midfield, showing pace and excellent footwork before unleashing a powerful shot from the edge of the box that Maya Diederichsen got behind well in order to deny the hotshot from the Goldfields.

With 25 minutes played, a visibly distressed Walsh had to depart from the pitch, clearly not moving freely. Jayna Ridley came on in her place.

Above: Tanika Lala who, along with Grace Johnston had the NTC’s best chances in the Final. Photo: Ben Gilby.

Just moments later, another of NTC’s most talented young stars, Grace Johnston showed exactly what she can do. Taking possession with her back to goal, some 40 yards out, Johnston took two touches on the turn and unleashed an absolute rocket that missed the target by just centimetres at the right handpost.

NTC let a golden opportunity slip by just after the half-hour mark as Louise Tana made ground up along the right and hit a ball in towards Lala at the near post. The attacker dug out a shot that rolled across the six-yard box, with Anna Powell unable to get a touch on, and the ball rolled out for a corner. Bronwyn Studman eventually cleared the danger.

As they have a predictable habit of doing, RedStar made the NTC pay for failing to take that chance, and with five minutes remaining of the half doubled their lead.

Quyen Doan played a long angled pass from inside her own half in behind the high line of the NTC defence and the bounce spun the ball into the path of Shawn Billam. Billam advanced into the box and slid her shot under Bailey and into the net.

RedStar continued to press in the second half, and three opportunities came to further extend their lead within a four-minute spell. From the sixth of their ever-growing corner count, Bailey couldn’t gather the cross, and Studman hit a shot over.

Above: Perth RedStar’s Jay Coleman (left), battling it out against Hyundai NTC earlier in the season. Photo provided by: Perth RedStar.

Shortly afterwards, Sarah Carroll was in at the left side of the box, with Bailey making an excellent save from point blank range. The NTC custodian made a similar stop within moments as Jay Coleman found Ridley who was denied.

As the sun began to go down over Perth, the inevitability of RedStar’s victory grew with NTC unable to get any shots in on goal as the undefeated NPLW WA champions took the heat out of the game, using their experience to manage the encounter effectively.

There were further opportunities for Carlos Vega Mena’s side to add to their tally, with Bailey denying Carla Bennett. Then with a quarter of an hour to play, superb footwork from substitute Renee Leota saw her escape from the attention of two defenders and find Wood outside her. A low ball was played in from the right for Leota near the penalty spot, but the shot was lifted well over the bar.

Within two minutes though, the icing on the RedStar cake was added. Wood showed outstanding skill to get away from Violet Longmore and then dance past Jenna Harnwell along the left to lift the ball in. NTC’s Ava Richards went down under the physical presence of Coleman whose pass found Ridley. The substitute smashed home a shot from the right of centre inside the area.

The remaining 12 minutes were comfortable for RedStar as they deservedly took the honours.

Above: Perth RedStar club legends Carla Bennett (left) and Shawn Billam (right) celebrate with the Top Four Cup after their 3-0 win over Hyundai NTC. Photo: Football West/Foto Enzo.

This Perth RedStar team will go down as one of the greatest in Western Australian women’s football history. It is a real shame that they will not get the chance to test themselves against the NPLW champions of the other states. Such a hugely talented, ruthless team who are so well coached would be a serious threat to the best that New South Wales and Victoria would have to offer.

Perth RedStar one of those truly outstanding teams that only come around every few years. They are that good. They are worthy champions.

Teams: PERTH REDSTAR: Diederichsen, S.Carroll, Walsh, Studman, Bennett, K.Carroll, Billam, Wood, Dunn, Coleman, Doan. Substitutes: De Leo, Ridley, Finnegan, Goud, Leota, Larsen, Odonohoe.

Scorer: Walsh 5′, Billam 40′, Ridley 77′.

HYUNDAI NTC: Bailey, Anderson, Johnston, Lala, Tana, Powell, Woolley, Harnwell, Vega Mena, Meaden, Longmore. Substitutes: Thodhlana, Richards, Adams, Trueman.

Referee: Caleigh Ormerod.

Whilst the NPLW WA season may now have come to an end, our WA on Wednesday series will continue with Impetus’ Ben Gilby speaking exclusively to the competition’s head coaches and players to review the campaign. With the new A-League Women season on the horizon, the feature will go on to feature weekly interviews from the Perth Glory team.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Carlos Vega Mena Looks Ahead To The Top Four Cup Final

Ahead of Saturday’s NPLW WA Top Four Cup Final between Perth RedStar and Hyundai NTC, RedStar head coach Carlos Vega Mena spoke exclusively to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about his team’s sensational season, the threat of the NTC, and how he views the season more widely across the competition (8/9/22).

Above: Perth RedStar head coach Carlos Vega Mena has overseen a sensational campaign from his team. Photo: Fotoenzo (supplied by Perth RedStar).

Perth RedStar are within touching distance of completing the sort of season that coaches, players, and fans dream about.

Three pieces of silverware (pre-season Night Series Cup, State Cup, and NPLW championship) are in the trophy cabinet already, with the remaining one up for grabs on Saturday against the talented teenagers of Hyundai NTC. An unbeaten season across all competitions has seen RedStar remain unbeaten having won all but three matches – drawing against Perth SC (twice) and Balcatta Etna. For head coach Carlos Vega Mena, it’s a culmination of achieving different goals set through the season.

“When we started this season, we were focussing on one goal at time. We set our sights on making it through to the Night Series finals, as we missed out last year, and once we secured the title we moved onto the next goal, only focussing on the next game. I never dreamed that we would go through the season undefeated, but when the players set themselves to the task they made it a reality.

Above: Togetherness and work ethic are the key reasons for Perth RedStar’s success this season. Photo: Foto Enzo (supplied by Perth RedStar).

“The girls have taken on my philosophy and playing style with confidence, they worked hard in the pre-season and continue to work hard at training every week which translates onto the pitch on gameday. We are a team with a combination of experienced and younger players which seems to work on the pitch.

“The players work really well together and understand that success is based on teamwork. Every week saw us missing different players from the line-up, this meant we had to rely on the players on the bench. I think the fact that we can pull players off the bench, put them on the pitch, and not see a drop in the playing level is one of the contributing factors to our success. Consistency is another key factor, and the fact that we didn’t postpone any matches this season enabled us to keep the momentum going as best we could.”

Another of the positives for the club was that, unlike many of their opponents in the NPLW WA, they kept the vast majority of their playing squad from 2021 together for this campaign. RedStar, previously known before this season as Northern Redbacks have a special history in Western Australian girls and women’s football having developed so many outstanding players down the years.

Vega Mena deeply appreciates the achievements of the Redbacks and the influence it has: “Northern Redbacks was unique in that it was an all-female club which focussed solely on female football and female player development. The Redbacks family have always had a very strong sense of club culture and spirit, and support for each other. I believe the loyalty of many of the players stems from this spirit and the club’s commitment to furthering female football.

“This club spirit has carried over to the newly formed Perth RedStar, along with the commitment to female football. Teamwork is the key to success, in order to have this you need the right people around you. As a coach, I want my players to be good people, not just good players. I have encouraged this philosophy since I started coaching many years ago and I am currently coaching a truly awesome group of people.”

Above: Carlos Vega Mena’s philosophy of having good people, not just good players, is paying dividends at Perth RedStar. Photo: Foto Enzo (supplied by Perth RedStar).

Down the years, a team’s greatness is highlighted by their ability to capitalise on turning chances into goals when opportunities arise. RedStar are one of these sides. They have a relentless ability to soak up any pressure, and then when the inevitable shift in momentum comes, punish opposition profligacy and take control on the scoreboard. If you add this to RedStar’s outstanding rapid-fire passing moves on the attack, you get to quickly see why this side are one of the very best.

These two-pronged approaches did not come together by accident as Vega Mena explained. “Last year the players had to adjust to a new coach and a new playing style. The key for success when you introduce a new coach with a new philosophy is to have players that have the ability to listen, take on board your playing style and bring it to the pitch on game day. It is a combination of what type of players you have, what message you give them, the style of training, and having players capable of performing it on the pitch.”

Whilst Perth RedStar have been hugely successful in 2022, it has not been a season without challenges, as their head coach reflected. “Every team this year has struggled through COVID, player injuries, player availability, and player movement. We were no different.

“I think the postponement of games has been challenging (mainly due to COVID, but occasionally weather too). When teams are repeatedly playing catch-up games, it is disruptive and you are putting player welfare at risk.  As a coach, I would like to play with the same team every week, but this season there were changes to the line-up for almost every game.

“There were games where we had four or five of our first team players out, however, we were determined not to postpone any matches and pushed through with the players we had access to. It was important to keep playing in order to keep the momentum. This gave quite a few of our U21 players a chance to come to the bench and/or take the pitch for the first team.”

Above: Perth RedStar go into Saturday’s Grand Final with three pieces of silverware already in the trophy cabinet. Photo: Foto Enzo.

Perth RedStar’s opponents in Saturday’s Grand Final are Hyundai NTC. The teenage side only confirmed their spot in the top four on the last weekend of the season, finishing fourth. They overcame third-place Fremantle City and second-placed Perth SC to reach the Top Four Cup Final and offer a real threat, both physically and in the quality and skill set that their young side possess. Vega Mena knows that his team will have a real challenge in front of them on Saturday.

“NTC are a very well-coached team. They have been impressive to date and have played some quality football. They are dangerous with their combination of speed and energy, and are always brave on the ball.

“I think NTC can challenge any team on any given day, especially if they put in a full team performance. I believe it has been the most successful season for them in the NPLW era and I look forward to seeing them in action in the final. NTC is packed full of talented and skilful young players. Tanika Lala has been integral for them up-front. Georgia Cassidy and Grace Johnston are always standouts.”

Whilst Perth RedStar finished the season well clear at the top of the NPLW WA table, their head coach recognises that overall, despite the disruption of postponements, it has been largely a very competitive season.

“I believe the competition remained competitive, especially for those seeking a spot within the Top Four. This meant that we couldn’t be sure who would fill the Top Four slots until almost the end of the season. There are a lot of talented young players spread throughout the clubs and there has been plenty of opportunities for them to come through the ranks this season. I think the postponement of games was disruptive, which affected many of the other teams, and meant that they had an inconsistent start to the season.”

Above: Perth RedStar’s Olivia Wood (left) battles it out against Hyundai NTC in an earlier encounter this season. Photo: Perth RedStar.

Reflecting more specifically on the chances given to talented young players in the competition this year, Vega Mena said: “I think it’s important that we give them these opportunities along with a strong pathway to keep them playing football in WA. The reality is that it’s hard for them to stay here in WA at the moment as there are more opportunities over east. This is something we all need to discuss and plan for.

“The experienced players are role models for the young talent and it’s important to keep both in WA to ensure a competitive league and competition in the future. I think ensuring that there is a strong female infrastructure, which includes suitable female facilities, is a step in the right direction.”

With Perth RedStar’s incredible campaign almost at the end, their head coach knows the challenge next year will be to both maintain and build on these achievements, but for now, his focus is all on Saturday’s game with Hyundai NTC.

“It has indeed been an incredible season. Undefeated in all competitions to date, Night Series Champions, State Cup Champions, and League Champions. It’s more than I ever dared to hope for and I couldn’t be prouder of the players for their team spirit, hard work, and commitment. We also couldn’t have had such a successful season without the support and encouragement from Perth RedStar’s management and members.

“Every year clubs experience player movement, whether players decide to spread their wings, retire from football altogether or return to play and I’m sure we will see more of this in 2023. After the weekend, I will turn my attention to next season but for now. I am focussed on the last game of 2022.”

Calder and Bulleen Prepare For NPLW Victoria Showdown

Impetus’ Kieran Yap looks ahead to Sunday’s NPLW Grand Final as two teams stacked full of top players go head to head (8/9/22).

Above: Calder United (green) overcame FV Emerging in the semi-final last week. They face the challenge of Bulleen Lions in Sunday’s Grand Final. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Victoria’s NPLW Grand Final is upon us. After 21 rounds and a weekend of finals, Calder United and Bulleen Lions will face off at Olympic Village to battle for the championship.

Calder United defeated a persistent but unlucky FV Emerging in their semi-final. Matilda Lohrey had the first chance of the game. She was played behind Calder’s defence by Rosie Curtis, but her shot from close range was saved by Alyssa Dall’Oste.

Sarah Cain, who was awarded the NPLW Gold Medal alongside Sofia Sakalis, created the next chance. Her pressure and pace forged an opening on the wing and her cross fell to Sewards. Candice Kilderry got the final touch of the move, but once again Dall’Oste was equal to it.

Above: Calder United on the attack against FV Emerging in their semi-final win. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

It would take something special to beat an in-form Miranda Templeman in the FV Emerging goal. The newly announced Melbourne Victory signing has been in sparkling form of late and only Raquel Derales’ piece of magic could beat her on the day.

Stacy Papadopoulos’s run through the midfield opened up space. She spread the ball wide to Aleksandra Sinclair who crossed it in quickly ahead of Derales.

The first touch fook the ball down and the second lofted it over Templeman in incredible style. It would be the only goal of the match and one worthy of winning any game.

Templeman was called into action late to stop a powerful drive from Melissa Taranto, but FV Emerging could not trouble Dall’Oste up the other end.

It ended a brave and encouraging season from the NTC side. Sarah Cain announced herself as a major talent, and her form should propel her to a strong season with an ambitious Perth Glory. Candice Kilderry and Caitlin Karic were other strong standouts, but the entire squad was impressive as they surged late to an unlikely fourth position.

Above: Sarah Cain – the Perth Glory A-League Women player had a superb season for FV Emerging. Photo: Kris Goman.

Calder are exactly where most observers expected them to be. They have been dominant all season long, but their top-place finish and Grand Final appearance is down to great management and a trusted youth system.

Seven players joined the senior squad from the Under 19’s for 2022. There were no big-name signings and only two A-League Women players – Emma Robers and Harriet Withers – in the side.

Despite this, they dominated and met every challenge. They have a squad of even contributors, but the players with enough individual skill to break open a final.

Stacy Papadopoulos or Melissa Taranto loom as potential game changers for Sunday’s big match, but as Derales showed, the danger can come from everywhere.

Bulleen’s semi-final win was a slight upset. They finished comfortably in third, but were missing some significant players heading into the semi-final. Rebekah Stott and Tyla Jay Vlajnic both earned overseas moves, but Caitlin Friend has rarely had her full squad available all season. Bulleen would not be frightened by form or reputation.  They have the players to win any knockout game.

Above: Paige Zois – always a dangerous player for Bulleen Lions. Photo: Bulleen Lions.

Heidelberg struck first. Emily Roach received the ball wide and created space for herself with a clever turn. With the Bulleen defenders expecting a cross, she instead opted for the incredible.

Roach looked up and spotted an opportunity that only exquisite skill could exploit. From outside the box and on the wing she sent a perfectly hit chipped shot over the goalkeeper. Words barely do the goal justice. It was a true moment of magic from the new Canberra United signing.

For most of this season, once Heidelberg hit the front, they stay there or extend their lead, but Bulleen had other ideas.

It was Alana Jancevski who brought things level. The unpredictable forward played a short corner and got the ball back. She carried the ball a few yards in and whipped the ball into the near post to catch Melissa Maizel’s by surprise and make it 1-1.

Soon after, Bulleen had the lead through captain Lia Privitelli. A defensive calamity from a goal kick was pounced on by the Bulleen number nine. She kept her composure to cruise around her fellow Melbourne Victory champion and tap it into an open net.

Above: Bulleen Lions’ Alana Jancevski – “a threat from anywhere 40 yards from goal.” Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

This was an unfortunate way for Heidelberg to bow out, but their season has been remarkable. They have been a guaranteed source of goals all season, with Stephanie Galea and Danielle Wise both prolific.

Rebecca Burrows earned plaudits at the awards night. She was named Players player of the year, while Roach, and Grace Jale both earned contracts at Canberra United in the A-League Women.

Johnno Clemente’s side played stylish, fast-paced football all season and were a credit to the competition. Second on the ladder and a semi-final place is a significant achievement from the club and hints at a brilliant future for all involved.

Bulleen will be confident going into the final. They have not beaten Calder United this season, but until last weekend they had lost three times against Heidelberg. They have trophy-winning experience and a wealth of talent that Caitlin Friend has gotten to peak at exactly the right time.

Paige Zois has grown into a star of the competition and earned a call up to the Under 20 World Cup, Jancevski is a threat from anywhere within 40 yards of goal, and Privitelli has lightning pace.

Calder will go in as favourites to lift the trophy. But Bulleen will have no concerns about being underdogs. The stage is set for a terrific match.

NPL WA Women’s Finals Wrap

The weekend saw the first two matches in the NPLW WA Top Four Cup. Perth RedStar took on Perth SC in the major semi-final with Fremantle City hosting Hyundai NTC in an eliminator. Impetus’ Ben Gilby reports on both games (5/9/22).

Above: Perth SC goalkeeper Rebecca Bennett looks back as Carla Bennett’s shot is to hit the bar before bouncing down and over the line to give Perth RedStar the lead. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Perth RedStar 1-0 Perth SC

Perth RedStar’s march towards a clean sweep of all four trophies available to them continued as a Carla Bennett goal just before the hour mark saw them into the Top Four Cup Final.

Perth SC will have a second opportunity in midweek to make the season finale in the Preliminary Final, and had chances themselves, particularly in the closing stages, but the home side’s ability to lift their performance and do what is necessary at the right times deservedly saw them over the line.

RedStar were full of rapid energy from the start, looking to disrupt Perth’s passing game by getting in quickly and pressing the Azzurri players on the ball.

Above: Perth RedStar’s Carla Bennett (6) – had a major influence on the match. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Carla Bennett, who was a major player in the sharp press on the visitors, created a moment of attacking threat with eight minutes on the clock when her dangerously curled in free-kick from the left needed Perth SC keeper Rebecca Bennett to palm it away.

The visitors were getting more time out wide, and the influence of Jaime Duncanson to create along the left and pull teasing balls into the box developed. Just before the 20 minute mark, it was Faye Phillips on the opposite wing who was able to feed Caitlin Doeglas. The former Perth Glory player got a shot away that Maya Diederichsen did well to get her body behind and smother.

As the game hit the half-hour mark, clear-cut chances were becoming fewer and further between. Getting a firm foothold of the midfield would be the key area to decide the outcome. For the home side, that was about getting their rapid-fire passing that clinically dissects the opposition. For the visitors, it was about making the best possible use of their wide players to create.

Above: Eyes on the prize – Perth RedStar and the NPLW WA’s top scorer Larissa Walsh (red shirt). Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

One such rare opportunity presented itself as Carla Bennett profited from loose play from Jaymee Gibbons to advance and square to Sarah Carroll, but as the A-League Women star was about to pull the trigger, Gibbons brilliantly got back to deny RedStar with a perfectly timed tackle.

Three minutes before the break, there were a flurry of half chances. Jessica Byrne brought down RedStar hot-shot Larissa Walsh on the left-hand edge of the box and Kim Carroll’s free kick went into the arms of Rebecca Bennett. Within seconds, a delicate exchange of passing in midfield from the Azzurri led to Abbey Meakins feeding Liana Cook at the left edge of the opposite area, and her shot went just over the top.

Meakins was involved moments later as she lifted in a long-range free-kick and earned her team a corner which was comfortably claimed by Diederichsen. It remained goalless at the break.

Above: Ella Lincoln looks to get free for Perth SC in the semi-final yesterday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Within moments of the second-half opening, RedStar had a golden opportunity. Kim Carroll floated in a free-kick from a central position around 35 yards out, whilst Carla Bennett missed her attempted header, the ball found Olivia Wood on the right and her low ball in was scooped over the bar by Sarah Carroll.

The home side continued their strong start in the second 45 by earning a corner. Carla Bennett floated it in from the left, Walsh flicked it on and a superb twisting half-volley from Sarah Carroll was met by an equally fine save by Rebecca Bennett.

The pressure continued and just before the hour mark, Duncanson was forced off possession which saw the ball played in for Walsh who fed Carla Bennett outside her. The RedStar’s legend advanced into the box and let fly with a shot that cannoned down off of the bar and over the line to put the hosts in front.

Above: Perth SC goalkeeper Rebecca Bennett looks on in agony as Carla Bennett’s shot bounces down off of the bar and over the line to secure Perth RedStar’s win. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Perth SC worked hard to respond, but the home side were stubborn, strong, and resolute. RedStar could have doubled their tally two minutes before the end but Jayna Ridley was not quite able to direct her shot from close range in the way she would have hoped.

The best chances for the visitors came at the death. Two minutes into stoppage time, Doeglas was fouled just outside the box on the right. Phillips’ free-kick was met by a flick header from Alyssa van Heurck which went wide. Doeglas was involved seconds later as she hit a shot that deflected up and bounced high in front of RedStar keeper Diederichsen, only just clearing the bar at the cost of a corner.

The corner came in and wasn’t cleared by RedStar. The ball came rapidly – too rapidly -across to Meakins for a close-range header which failed to hit the target.

Above: jaime Duncanson tries to create for Perth SC in yesterday’s semi-final. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

The Azzurri now have to do it the hard way if they want to win their first piece of NPLW silverware. A midweek Preliminary Final needs to be won before another showdown with Perth RedStar in the Top Four Cup Final if they are successful, next Saturday. That is a physically demanding challenge, but one Pete Rakic will have his team up for.

Teams: PERTH REDSTAR: Diedrichsen, S.Carroll, Walsh, C.Bennett, K.Carroll, Billam, Wood, Dunn, Teixeira, Coleman, Doan. Substitutes: Studman, De Leo, Ridley, Goud, Leota, Mogridge, Odonohoe.

Scorers: C.Bennett 58′.

PERTH SC: R.Bennett, Harvey, van Heurck, Phillips, Cook, Meakins, Papalia, Gibbons, Doeglas, Byrne, Duncanson. Substitutes: Zampogna, Lincoln, Spatafore, Tanner, Flannery.

Referee: Sailota Phiri.

Fremantle City 0-2 Hyundai NTC

Above: Fremantle City (black) and Hyundai NTC battle it out on Friday night. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

Hyundai NTC are one game from their first ever Top Four Cup Final after producing an impressively controlled performance to defeat Fremantle City at Wauhop Park on Friday night.

For Fremantle, this was a tough loss to take having been positioned inside the top four for virtually the entire season, but the NTC, who only confirmed their place in the Finals on the last week of the regular season, has consistently proved this season, that on their day, their combination of skill, firepower, and strength can be a test for anyone.

It was the visitors who started this encounter on the front foot, full of energy, and looking to push the home side back. However, Freo conjured up the first opportunities on goal. Jamie-Lee Gale, from the right, found Jess Darmago whose first shot was repelled by the midriff of onrushing NTC keeper Lilly Bailey before the custodian smothered the instant rebound.

NTC’s Sophie Meaden and Violet Longmore were influential along the right flank, combining to deliver dangerous balls into the box that kept Fremantle keeper Dayle Schroeder busy.

Above: Ischia Brooking in possession – her deflected shot led to Hyundai NTC taking the lead. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

With the encounter largely even at this stage, it was increasingly becoming a case of the team who took a chance when it arrived being the one who would come out on top. When the opening goal came after 24 minutes, it had a big slice of luck about it.

A long NTC throw on the left led to a dangerous cross-shot which was pushed out by a firm hand from Schroeder and fell to Ischia Brooking on the edge of the box. Brooking drove her shot which was deflected off of a defender and wrong-footed Schroeder as it flew into the net.

The teenage side remained on the ascendency after the goal. They were exceptionally well organised, mounting a high press and getting in Fremantle faces quickly to force the home side back and win back possession.

NTC saw out a combative period before the break as the hosts forced back-to-back corners, the second of which Bailey leapt high under pressure to claim the ball.

Freo created a half chance within five minutes of the re-start as Tash Rigby got away down the right and pulled the ball across for Mikayla Lyons whose shot went over. Rigby’s influence was growing on the game, and as it did so, Fremantle began to mount their most consistent spell of pressure in the game.

Rigby was driving down the right as well as looking to cut inside to deliver inch-perfect crossfield balls. Just after the hour mark, the hosts forced a corner, and Gale’s flag kick from the left curled viciously in just beyond the far post.

The action was fast and furious now and Tanika Lala broke through for the NTC, headed the ball down, but as she was about to pull the trigger, was denied by tackle inside the box. Lala showed her worth shortly afterwards by winning a corner after it took two Freo defenders to deny her a shot on goal.

Grace Johnston was working hard and largely succeeded in reducing the threat that Darmago poses week-in-week-out for Fremantle. Bailey was well protected in the NTC goal and had very little to do in the way of shot-stopping in the second half as the youngsters weathered the mini Fremantle storm.

Natalia Vega Mena and Anna Powell combined in the box with 20 minutes to go, with the later forcing Schroeder into a save. Substitute Nelli Johnson was also putting in a powerful cameo shift, tracking Freo attacks confidently and offering herself in offensive situations as well.

With five minutes remaining, Freo won a free-kick on the left, some 20 yards from goal. It was curled in, and Bailey claimed under heavy traffic with the additional gain of a free-kick herself. NTC responded themselves by winning a corner which almost brought about a match-clinching second goal from Ava Richards.

Freo’s final chance came in the last minute of regulation time as a powerful drive was blocked on the line by Georgia Cassidy.

Within two minutes the game was settled by a piece of trademark skill by Lala. Johnson’s throw-in for the NTC on the left inside their own half found the young gun up the same wing. Lala showed strength and pace to beat her marker, cut inside, and hit a perfectly angled low shot between two would-be defenders on its way to rolling home at the far post.

Above: Tanika Lala (yellow shirt) – scorer of Hyundai NTC’s second goal. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch,

This was a deserved win for the NTC who have an impressive mix of skill, organisation, game management, and physical presence. They are always an enjoyable team to watch, and now head into a clash away to Perth SC in midweek for a place in the Top Four Cup Final.

Teams: FREMANTLE CITY: Schroeder, Smith, Rigby, Nadilo, Gale, Lyons, Waltman, Darmago, Boorman, Boyle, Leek. Substitutes: McCulloch, Buxey, Kiama, Siah, Archibald, Nolan.

HYUNDAI NTC: Bailey, Richards, Anderson, Cassidy, Johnston, Lala, Brooking, Powell, Vega Mena, Meaden, Longmore. Substitutes: Harnwell, Woolley, O’Halloran, Cuthbert, Johnson.

Scorers: Brooking 24′, Lala 90+1′.

Referee: Stewart Beattie.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Alana Jancevski: Bulleen’s Expert In The Unexpected

Impetus’ Kieran Yap speaks exclusively to Alana Jancevski who is heading into NPLW Victoria Finals action with Bulleen Lions this weekend about the club’s season, what she learned at Perth Glory last season, and how she’s looking forward to going back West (1/9/22)Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

Above: Alert and in deadly form – Alana Jancevski. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

Alana Jancevski has the ball on the halfway line. She is up against the touchline on the left wing, and if you are a goalkeeper that is where you would prefer her to be.

Between the Bulleen Lions striker and the goal are four defenders. There looks to be little danger for Box Hill United, but Jancevski sees it differently.

After a short burst of pace, she curls a long ball simultaneously behind and around the centre backs. It lands perfectly into the path of Lia Privitelli who scores with a delicate chip.

The finish was brilliant, but the pass defied physics.

It was just one of four assists for Jancevski that day, and just one game in a season that has elevated her into one of the Victorian NPL’s most exciting players.

“To be a striker and not score, but get four assists is quite bizarre,” she said to Impetus

“I think it’s a proud moment of mine because it showed I can help my team in a different way. I think that’s the best one I’ve ever done,” she says of that assist.

“It’s really special, because your teammates get around you, but nothing beats a 30-yard screamer.”

Alana Jancevski is known for her prodigious and powerful left boot. It was that ability to strike a ball that delivered a stunning goal for the Junior Matildas in 2018. In her first full season in the A-League Women it took only two games for her to score for Perth Glory with a match-winning volley.

After months on the road with Alex Epakis’s impressive side, Jancevski returned to Bulleen for the NPLW season and has been crucial to their climb to a third-place finish.

Being back at home, both in Melbourne and at the Veneto Club is something that the 19-year-old has enjoyed.

“You make a big commitment to move away from home and put yourself through an enjoyable but tough season, so being around family was a major thing. Seeing friends and playing with teammates again that you’ve played with since you were younger, that has been really fun.

“Also getting to play with players like Rebekah Stott is always enjoyable, and you learn off those sorts of players, so I think those are the main things that I’ve really enjoyed about being home.”

Jancevski’s last season at Bulleen was cut short by the pandemic. Before play was suspended in 2021, she had scored eight times in 10 league games. It was more than enough to earn her a contract in the A-League Women, but it was a frustrating way to end the season.

Above: One of the most talented Australian players of her generation – Alana Jancevski. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

“Last year, as a group was disappointing for us. I think we were dominating last season. I was playing really well and in form, for us to not be able to finish the season off was really disappointing. I think that has fuelled us for this season.

“Yes there has been some ups and downs and some personnel changes, but the same fire and team culture is still there. We really want to push for the title this year. To make finals is an amazing achievement and as a group, we’re really proud of that. It has been a tough year as well.

“We’ve had some ups and downs. We’ve lost some players to international duty and amazing achievements like Stotty going to Brighton and Hove Albion and TJ (Vlajnic) going to Champions League and Paige (Zois) playing with the Young Matildas. To know you have those quality players in your side is exciting.

“But on the downside, it is hard when they’re not there because you have lost a lot of the senior bulk. It can be tough to play against team who have still go all their players with them. In saying that, it has allowed a lot of our young players to shine. You see players like Rosie Rodger, and Aroha Little who has been playing really well.

‘We’ve had a lot of debuts and other youngsters coming through as well which you have to look at and be proud of. That we’ve come third with sometimes four or five players missing is showing the culture and resilience that we have. It’s a major strength of ours and that culture can allow us to go all the way this year.”

Jancevski is an explosive player, but she was eased into this season by manager Caitlin Friend. Early rounds saw her come off the bench, and once she regained full match fitness it has been a near-constant series of matchday highlights.

“The slow start was a real challenge for me,” says Jancevski. “There was a game where I felt back into my mojo and that was the Nike FC Cup game against FV Emerging.

“I came on at half time and I just had this real hunger, and I felt alive in that game. To get a goal and assist in the second half to get us into extra time and win on penalties. That game was just a little spark.”

Above: Alana Jancevski in action against Finals opponents Heidelberg United earlier in the season. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

Jancevski has scored 11 times in all competitions for Bulleen in 2022. She has also added seven assists. It is a run of form that was helped by her time at Glory and one that she hopes to carry into the next A-League season.

“I think my confidence has been soaring and to be able to help my team score and win games is everything you want as a forward. I feel privileged to be in a team where I can do that and I think with the ALW season coming up I’m really excited to cement my spot and really show my capabilities and be able to score and assist at a higher level.”

Jancevski is ruthless in front of goal, but like the great entertainers of the game, her near misses are sometimes as spectacular as her successes. In round 11 she scored twice in a win over Bayside, but an attempt from near halfway almost caught the keeper by surprise.

Her teammates and coach give her the confidence to try the spectacular. Both at Bulleen and Perth Glory.

“It’s something that I’ve always liked. Tash Rigby refers to the pitch as my playground, that’s such an amazing compliment and I think it touches on how I like to play. I like to try little things, and shots from long range.

“I can always try to turn a game, and that’s something my teammates appreciate. Caitlin encourages me to try these things as long as there’s not a player free around or it’s the wrong decision.”

Although she has thrived back at Bulleen. Her first season at Perth Glory was something she embraced. Jancevski feels that she came back to the NPLW as an improved player.

“It surpassed my expectations. My first season at Glory is something that I’ll never forget. The main takeaways were the friendships and the family culture that I had with the Perth girls, the staff, and everyone there.

Above: Alana Jancevski celebrates after scoring her late goal for Perth Glory at Brisbane Roar in the opening weeks of the last A-League Women season. Photo: Perth Glory.

“What we have is truly special and from that to come from one season. I can’t wait to be there again this season and build on that. On a personal note, my favourite moments would have to be my debut game and my first goal in the second game.

“That debut game was just something really special. To play in front of a packed small ground, the way we won. And to play at the Macedonian complex was really special as well.

“Getting my first goal was something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. As a forward you want to score and being able to get the game-winner in the 86th minute and the way we did it away from home is something I’ll always cherish.

“The experiences I got from the A-League Women environment was something that has elevated my game to a whole new level. Being around more senior players, professional players, you know what’s expected of you. At Bulleen this year I’ve tried to use my experiences to help everyone out. I love to help in any way possible.

“The better players you’re around and play with, you’re going to elevate to higher levels. I’m always playing with confidence, and I really have backed my abilities this season. I think that’s showing in my performances.”

Alana Jancevski has come a long way in a very short time. It was many years ago that she was using that deadly left foot to boot a ball around the house with her brother, to the detriment of the household’s doorframes and vases.

Now she is one of the A-League’s rising stars and may be the key to Bulleen’s chances against Heidelberg United.

Bulleen Lions have a number of potential game changers, Lia Privitelli has been in fine form, and Aroha Little scored one of the goals of the season. Paige Zois is capable of moments of magic, and Jancevski has the ability to score at any moment, from almost any angle or distance.

Heidelberg has a strong record against Bulleen so far, with three wins from as many meetings this season. But Jancevski is not perturbed by this, she was among the best afield in the Round 21 clash and netted a penalty in confident style.

“We might have lost the last three against them, but the fourth game is the one that’s going to count,” she says.

“Who doesn’t love to be an underdog going into a game? As a team we’re ready to go.”

Hunt Back For Wanderers And Western United Add Local Pair

Impetus brings you all the news from the two club’s signing announcements today, including the views of the players and coaches (1/9/22).

Above: Clare Hunt – her return for Western Sydney Wanderers is a huge boost ahead of the new season. Photo: Western Sydney Wanderers.

Western Sydney Wanderers today announced the re-signing of defender Clare Hunt for the upcoming Liberty A-League season.

Hunt joined the Red & Black at the start of last season from Canberra United and quickly became an integral part of the Wanderers defence.

Despite her season being cut short due to an unfortunate injury, Hunt earned plaudits for her performances and was named the Wanderers Medal winner for 2021, and was named on the bench in the PFA’s Team of the Season.

Returning back now for her second season in Western Sydney, Hunt is ready to pick up where she left off.

“Despite the challenges presented last season, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the club. I was given the opportunity and support to continuously develop over the course of the season and this allowed some consistent game time and performances. I am looking forward to continuing this in the 2022/23 Liberty A-League season,” said Hunt.

“It was a privilege to represent the club and to be recognised for my contribution to the last season through the Wanderers Medal. I am excited to build on this form and continue to push myself, and others, within this environment.

“I am hoping to build and be part of a cohesive and successful team environment, that thrives off hard work, resilience and a winning mentality. With this as a building block, there is every potential to be a Finals team and find further success at that point in the season.

“I am extremely grateful to be in a position where I can support and guide my teammates, whilst also learn and develop in their presence. I will continue to strive for excellence and success within this environment, and also encourage others to do so.

“I am excited to start preparing for the upcoming season with my teammates and staff.”

Artwork: Western United

Western United’s defensive stocks in the Liberty A-League Women have been boosted with the Club securing young Victorians Alyssa Dall’Oste and Natasha Dakic ahead of its inaugural campaign.

With Dall’Oste in goal and Dakic in front of her marshalling the back four, Calder United conceded just seven goals in 21 regular season games in NPLW Victoria this season – the best defensive record the competition has ever seen.

After winning the NPLW Goalkeeper of the Year award as a 17-year-old in 2018, Dall’Oste joined Calder United in 2019 and helped the side to a Premiership, Championship, and NIKE F.C. Cup treble.

Dakic moved to Calder a year later and has won two NIKE F.C. Cups and added the NPLW Victoria Premiership this year, shining with her reading of the game and poise at the back.

“It’s an incredible feeling (to sign). It’s something that I’ve continued to work hard towards and to think that the opportunity has come is quite surreal. I’m honoured and excited to be sharing a piece of history as well as this new chapter in my footballing journey,” Dakic said.

“It is an honour to be part of Western United’s inaugural squad, I am so proud to be able to represent such an important part of Western United’s history. The culture that has already been created within the Club is like no other and I’m excited to start this journey,” Dall’Oste added.

Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso has seen both players work hard to elevate their game in NPLW and earn this opportunity.

“Alyssa and Tash both came to Calder with the goal to push for a spot in the A-League Women, and I’m really pleased to reward them for their hard work now,” he said.

“Alyssa has made some phenomenal saves in big games throughout the year and Tash has been one of the standout defenders in the competition with her composure and quality on and off the ball.

“I’m really excited to see them both make the step up to the A-League Women and I look forward to seeing them both continue to work hard and develop their game.”

Both players are set to enter the NPLW Victoria Finals with Calder United and will join their new Western United teammates for the beginning of pre-season in October.

Artwork: Western United.

Tash Rigby: Freo Are Peaking At The Right Time

In the latest part of our WA On Wednesday series, Fremantle City‘s Tash Rigby, who also captains A-League Women side Perth Glory, speaks to Ben Gilby about Freo’s season ahead of her team’s Top Four Cup semi-final against Hyundai NTC on Friday (30/8/22).

Above: Tash Rigby in possession for Fremantle City this season. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

Speaking just days before Fremantle City’s NPLW WA Top Four Cup semi-final game against Hyundai NTC, Tash Rigby feels her teammates are in a good place going into their Finals campaign.

“We seem to be peaking towards the end of our season which is really positive and it feels like we have found our groove!” she said with that trademark smile.

Above: Tash Rigby striding away for Fremantle City at Hyundai NTC on Sunday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

“As a collective, we have had a tough season, with injuries, sickness, and other variables affecting our ability to field a consistent team. This has resulted in inconsistencies in our performance across the season.”

The campaign has also had challenges on a personal level for Rigby after she suffered an MCL tear that kept her out of action for eight weeks.

“I am almost back to full strength and fitness now which is great timing! I have really enjoyed playing more of an attacking role as a wingback as well this season, it has helped me develop a new side of my game.”

That role has seen Rigby flying up the flanks on a regular basis this season and becoming just as integral part of Fremantle’s attack as their defence.

Above: Tash Rigby has been seen as much as a wingback for Fremantle City this season as she has in her traditional defensive position. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

The port city side began their run-in to the end of the regular season with tough battles against the eventual top two Perth RedStar and Perth SC, but the last three matches against Top Four Cup rivals saw the club end their campaign on a high.

“The performances against Murdoch, Balcatta, and NTC have been a great showcase of our potential and what we are capable of when we gel, it is also an example of our resilience and grit. Over the last few weeks, have been quite clinical in front of goal which is exciting.”

There has been a lot of discussion about the standard of the NPLW WA this season with a number of locally produced players going across to play in the eastern states. Rigby feels that this is just one of a number of barriers that the competition has had to overcome.

“In my opinion, although I was only a spectator during last season, I think that the quality of the league has taken a step backwards in comparison to last year. I think a lot of teams have struggled with injuries and COVID interruptions. I think also losing a few top-quality players and young stars to the eastern states has contributed to this as well.”

Above: Battling away – Tash Rigby in action for Fremantle City against fellow Top Four Cup qualifiers Perth SC. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

The reasons for the player losses are many, but the fact remains that in order for the NPLW WA to maintain an upward trajectory, its best players need to remain in Western Australia.

With the topic of where players decide to pursue their career such a large and wide-ranging one, worthy of a feature all of its own, the conversation returned to the more immediate matter at hand – this weekend’s commencement of the NPLW WA Top Four Cup. Rigby reflected on the qualities of Fremantle City’s fellow qualifiers – Perth RedStar, Perth SC, and Hyundai NTC.

“All the teams in the finals demand a lot of respect and we will just be looking to play our own game and harness our strengths by utilising our attacking players like Mikayla Lyons, Jamie-Lee Gale, and Jess Darmago. Laura Waltman is in expectational form so it is awesome to know the backline is in excellent hands. 

“We need to ensure that are strong defensively, we need to take our chances, be clinical in front of goal and play with heart, grit, and determination. 

Impetus will be covering all of the NPLW WA Top Four Cup matches in detail with reports every Monday and player/coach interviews in our WA On Wednesday series.

NPL Victoria Women Round 21 Wrap

Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria NPL Women’s competition along with photos (31/8/22).

Above: South Melbourne (white) look to get away during their final game of the season at Box Hill United. Photo: Passion Creations. 

The Senior NTC Side Emerge As Surprise Title Contenders

The Victorian NPLW has been thrilling from the first round this season, and the final round was no exception despite the top three positions already being decided.

Alamein and FV Emerging both went into Round 21 with fourth place up for grabs, and the challenge for each club could not be more different.

Alamein faced Calder United, the newly crowned premiers. Mark Torcaso’s side has been a winning machine in 2022, and deserved to finish in top place. Kat Smith’s Alamein, needed to win to leapfrog FV Emerging into fourth, and even though Calder had nothing to play for, they are still the best side in the competition, and players are fighting for spots in the lineup for the finals.

FV Emerging started the round in fourth and only needed to match Alamein’s result in order to hold onto that position. They faced bottom-placed Bayside United.

Alamein’s hopes took a hit in the 70th minute of a tightly contested match. Raquel Derales turned in a goal for Calder after a cross from the right was hit back across goal.

They hit back soon after in the 78th minute through Elaina Vatcky who sped behind the defence and flicked a classy finish into the net with a single touch.

Above: South Melbourne in possession at Box Hill United at the weekend. Photo: Passion Creations.

Calder were in no mood do to a potential grad final opponent any favours however, and continued to play with intensity. Alamein’s heads did not bow, as they continued to attack, but could not find the winning goal. Their season came to a close in heartbreaking fashion after being in the top four for much of the year.

The day belonged to FV Emerging. The development side made up of some of Victoria’s most promising young players has surged into fourth after winning four of their last five matches.

Mila Bulic opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, but Sofia Galetti equalized for Bayside United who were keen to end a disappointing season on a high.

As far as FV Emerging knew, they needed a win to play finals. And as the clock ticked towards full time they would have been forgiven for showing some nerves. In a remarkable display of game-day maturity and talent, they remained composed and scored a late winner through Silverbell Morris.

It was a back post header from a set piece in the 89th minute. Morris had one chance to guarantee finals for her team and buried the header after a well-timed leap. In a season filled with incredible highlights, this will not be the goal of the year, but is a definitely contender for the best moment.

FV Emerging secured a finals place that might have felt improbable months before. They face Calder United in the first final and will go in as underdogs but will not be lacking in confidence as they ride the wave of their impressive season.

Above: Box Hill United’s goalkeeper Erin Hudson makes a stunning save against South Melbourne. Photo: Passion Creations.

Elsewhere, it was a goal fest. South Melbourne and Box Hill United played out a 4-3 game with South claiming the victory.

Melinda Barbieri scored twice for Box Hill as they looked to recover from being 3-0 down at halftime. The first was a terrific long-range effort in the 72nd minute. Sofia Sakalis played her into space on the left and Barbieri cut inside and fired a rocket into the net on her right boot. She scored her second deep into injury time but as brave as the comeback was, it was too late.

South Melbourne secured the win through Janna Lawson’s brace and goals from new Western United signing Francesca Iermano, with Georgia Kandilas’ 73rd-minute strike proving decisive.

In a preview of the first final, second-placed Heidelberg United played Bulleen Lions. Neither side had anything to gain in this encounter except a possible mental edge. Both coaches would have been keen to try out tactics or options before they meet in the semi final, and the result was an entertaining 3-2 win to the Bergers.

Heidelberg went into halftime 2-1 up, strikes from Stephanie Galea and Kathryn Vlahopoulos had them in control despite conceding through an unlucky own goal.

Lia Privitelli’s persistence and good bodywork earned a penalty kick which Alana Jancevski easily converted in the 65th minute to level the scores.

Above: Box Hill United and South Melbourne battle for possession. Photo: Passion Creations.

She hit it emphatically for her 11th goal this season and second penalty. Melissa Maizels was sent the wrong way but the shot was powerful enough that it would have made little difference.

Emily Roach scored the winner for Heidelberg to make it three wins for the league runners-up from three meetings with Bulleen this season. But the match ended with some concern on both benches as Alessia Tevere and Isabella Wallhead both ended the game off the field from knocks to the face.

They will meet again in a few days to fight for a spot in the final.

The home and away season ends with Calder United as premiers and favourites to win the finals series. It has been a remarkable, consistent, and relentless campaign by Mark Torcaso’s team.

Calder United did not have the usual big names that have adorned their roster in previous seasons. But they trusted in their youth development and promoted players to the senior roster. They looked a skillful team individually and an extremely cohesive unit throughout.

Calder have scored the most goals and conceded the least. Not one of their players is anywhere near Golden Boot contention, instead, they have threats all over the pitch and a confidence that appeared unshakeable.

Above: South Melbourne look to get away against Box Hill United. Photo: Passion Creations.

Heidelberg will be disappointed with second, but will back themselves in the finals. They are the only side to defeat Calder United this season. Danielle Wise and Galea have been phenomenally consistent in front of goal. Melissa Maizel’s looked impassable in some games, they have gifted fans a terrific home and away season and a thrilling title race.

As for the finals, FV Emerging and Bulleen will go in as underdogs against Calder and Heidelberg. But they do have the talent to win a knockout game. As South Melbourne’s epic run to the Nike Fc Cup final showed, anything can happen on the day, and both sides are stacked with talent that can turn a match.

It has been an amazing NPLW season in Victoria, and we still have finals to look forward to.

Western United Add Iermano To Inaugural Squad

30/8/22

Western United have added former Melbourne Victory player Francesca Iermano to their squad for the 2022/23 season.

After debuting in the A-League Women last season with three appearances for Victory, Iermano will return to the competition on a full-year deal for the first time.

A versatile player with equal qualities on both sides of the ball, Iermano said she is delighted to join the Green and Black and continue to develop her game in the A-League Women.

“The Club has worked so hard to get the approval to have a team in the A-League Women and to know that I’m going to be a part of the Club’s history is unbelievable,” she said.

“The club was very successful last season with the men’s and to achieve this in a few years is a testament to the club’s ambition. Hopefully, we can replicate that and continue to add to the club’s success.”

Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso has witnessed Iermano’s development firsthand when coming up against her in NPLW throughout the years and sees a player that is ready to make an impact if given the opportunity at the top level.

Above: Francesca Iermano in action for Melbourne Victory against Wellington Phoenix last season. Photo: A-League Women.

“Francesca’s development has really taken big strides forward in the last couple of years in particular and I’m really excited to bring her in,” he said.

“She’s another young talent from Victoria that we’re excited to work with and nurture, but I also know that she is ready to make an impact immediately for us.

“Her versatility will be key for us throughout the season, because I know I can depend on her in any number of positions wherever I need her to play.”

Iermano made two starts for Victory last season, each in wins against Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix before coming off the bench against Adelaide United.

The 22-year-old has played a starring role for South Melbourne in NPLW Victoria this season having previously represented FV Emerging and Bulleen Lions.

NPL WA Women Round 21 Wrap

Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition as the final week of the regular season plays out. As always there is an in-depth report from one game and a full wrap of all the other matches along with action shots from the games (29/8/22).

Above: Perth SC’s Abbey Meakins – scorer of yet another superb goal on Friday night. Photo: Rob Lizzi. 

Murdoch University Melville 0-3 Perth SC

Murdoch University Melville’s (MUM FC) hopes of Top Four Cup qualification were dashed on Friday night as Perth SC ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at Besteam Stadium.

Going into the game, the permutations were simple for MUM FC. They had to win to have any chance of qualifying for the Top Four Cup. Failure to do so would hand Hyundai NTC a free pass into the post-season tournament regardless of how they got on in their own final game of the regular season against already qualified Fremantle City.

Murdoch went into the match with the confidence of taking four points from the six available from their previous NPLW WA matches against The Azzurri this season, having beaten Perth away at Dorrien Gardens and gaining a draw in their first encounter.

For their part, Perth SC knew that barring a freak mix of results on the final weekend, they were guaranteed second place. They were able to welcome back Perth Glory star Caitlin Doeglas, always an impressive creator, into their ranks for this match.

Above: The hugely influential Caitlin Doeglas (14) was back for Perth SC on Friday night. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

A large crowd gathered at Besteam Stadium as MUM FC ran a special night for all their club volunteers, on top of spectators attracted to the encounter due to its huge importance.

It was The Azzurri who were out of the blocks quickest with Jaime Duncanson flying up the right on two occasions. Their best opportunity came just before the quarter-hour mark as Alyssa van Heurck fed Abbey Meakins in midfield and the Perth star played a gorgeous pass through with the outside of the foot for Doeglas to advance and hit a shot just wide of the far post. Sophia Papalia later hit an effort from 20 yards which was easily claimed by Murdoch keeper Monique Todd.

Whilst MUM FC were largely restricted to counter-attacks in the first quarter of this clash, they were not without their chances. A perfectly weighted long ball into the path of Andrea Preiato saw her run through and lob Rebecca Bennett in the Perth SC goal, but the ball went just wide of the right-hand post.

With Elysse Shore battling hard, Nikita Strickling looking to spray passes to her teammates, and the pace of Meghan Hulsman, the home side began to gain more of the possession and territory.

Above: Meghan Hulsman (left) – an impressive evening from the Murdoch University Melville player. Photo: JASP Photography.

Strickling got down the right and played a cross-shot into the box towards Hulsman, but Bennett claimed the ball.

Murdoch had one further chance eight minutes before the break as Rachel Gillies curled a free kick in outside of the area on the left, but Bennett held on.

Whilst Perth SC had ultimately nothing to play for on the night as they had already pretty much wrapped up second spot and with it the double chance in the Top Four Cup, they came out firing at the start of the second period and laid down a real statement of intent for the post regular season action.

When their attackers are all firing, The Azzurri are an absolute joy to watch, and they produced a powerful 20 minutes of football. Jessica Byrne beat Wainwright and found Doeglas who slid a pass through to Duncanson on the right. The classy attacker sped into the box and let fly, but to no avail. Shortly afterwards, Doeglas was involved again with her shot claimed by Todd.

Above: Jaime Duncanson (right) – hit Perth SC’s opening goal at Besteam Stadium on Friday night. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Perth were in no mood to ease up, and within 60 seconds hit the front. Meakins lifted through a pass for Duncanson in the box. She took a touch and smashed home just inside the box from a central position.

The visitors remained on top and full of creativity, although it would take a further 17 minutes to increase their lead.

Doeglas showed her influence once more as she got away down the right and squared for Maya Spatafore parallel with the left-hand post. Her touch saw the ball roll across to Ella Lincoln who fired the ball into the net.

The Azzurri‘s third goal was yet another example, if we needed one, of what a superbly gifted finisher Abbey Meakins is. Doeglas was involved yet again as she played a ball across from the right for Lincoln. The Perth youngster played a ball back to Meakins who hit an absolute rocket shot to clinch the three points for her side.

Above: Abbey Meakins who added to her collection of great strikes on Friday night. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Murdoch rallied in the closing stages with Strickling hitting a shot wide of the right hand post, and Hulsman won a superb battle with Alyssa van Heurck before hitting an effort narrowly wide – but they could not find the goals they needed.

The outcome means that regardless of the outcome of their match against Fremantle City on Sunday, the talented teenagers of Hyundai NTC will take the last spot in the Top Four Cup.

It has been a rollercoaster ride of a season for Murdoch University Melville, who lost a large number of the squad that delivered them silverware last term. The new, and largely young side that Luke Thompson put together has got better and better as the season went on. If they can keep this team together, and add a couple of exciting new faces, then a return to previous glories is not out of the question.

For Perth SC, they have finished second every year that the NPLW WA has been in existence. Now is the time to take the next step and claim silverware. They have the team to do it and have twice taken points off of Perth RedStar this season. Having said that, Carlos Vega Mena’s side remain the absolute red hot favourites to complete a clean sweep of this season’s trophies.

Teams: MURDOCH UNIVERSITY MELVILLE: Todd, Lehane, Gillies, Lawrence, Wainwright, Shore, Hulsman, Preiato, Strickling, Hope, Meaden. Substitutes: Hoarau, Neal, Mathers, Schubert.

PERTH SC: Bennett, van Heurck, Zampogna, Phillips, Cook, Meakins, Papalia, Gibbons, Doeglas, Byrne, Duncanson. Substitutes: Harvey, Lincoln, Spatafore, Tanner, Flannery.

Scorers: Duncanson 56′, Lincoln 72′, Meakins 76′.

Referee: Josh Mannella.

Round 21 Wrap:

Above: All eyes on the ball as Hyundai NTC (yellow) take on Fremantle City yesterday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

After Murdoch University Melville’s loss on Friday night, Hyundai NTC‘s clash with Fremantle City at E&D Litis Stadium took on the status of a dress rehearsal for their elimination tie in next weekend’s first week of Top Four Cup action.

It was Freo who came out on top 3-1 in this Sunday afternoon encounter thanks to a spell of three goals in a 10-minute period either side of the half-hour mark. City keeper Dayle Schroeder’s long goal-kick was inadvertently flicked on by the home side which fell perfectly for Jamie-Lee Gale to gather possession and run in on goal. The former Perth Glory player drew NTC keeper Lilly Bailey and tucked the ball into the net.

Above: Tash Rigby in action for Fremantle City yesterday afternoon – her header put the port city side 2-0 up at E&D Litis Stadium. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

Five minutes later, Freo doubled their advantage as a corner out on the left was recycled into the box for an unmarked Tash Rigby to head home at the back post. Not long after, the visitors hit their third when, from a throw-in on the right, near the corner flag, Matilda Boyle was allowed to turn and dribble her way along the by-line and square for Nina Boorman to score.

The NTC gave themselves a lifeline within two minutes of the second-half opening. A long ball down the right led to a cross into the box which was met first time superbly by Natalia Vega Mena to score. It was a quality finish, but the closest the teenage side could get to Fremantle on the scoreboard.

Above: Midfield tussle between Balcatta Etna and Perth RedStar yesterday. Photo: JASP Photography.

Balcatta Etna completed their campaign at home to NPLW WA champions Perth RedStar side who needed to avoid defeat to complete an unbeaten league season.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon at Grindleford Reserve, a campaign that has been a ‘what might have been’ one for Balcatta ended with them denying RedStar a win in an NPLW WA match for only the third time all season, as the game ended goalless.

For Perth RedStar, all focus now is on the Top Four Cup as they go all out to complete a clean sweep of all the trophies available this season having already won the pre-season Night Series Cup, the State Cup, and the NPLW WA title.

Above: Two goals in 54 seconds from Lisa De Vanna set Subiaco on the way for another win in a record-breaking season for the club. Photo: JASP Photography.

Subiaco‘s historic season ended with another victory, as they dismissed Curtin University 6-0 at Rosalie Park – a result that ensured that Curtin went winless for the entire campaign.

It took Subi just five minutes to take the lead. Curtin coughed up possession playing out from the back under little pressure which allowed Frankie Murray to profit and find Lisa De Vanna outside her. The former Matildas legend played a delightfully weighted through ball for Marianna Tabain on the left of the box to slot home.

Any hopes Curtin had of avoiding another defeat were swept away by two De Vanna goals in 54 seconds before the quarter-hour mark. The first came as a Curtin goal kick went straight to the hosts in the midfield, and two simple passes got De Vanna away to lift a peach of a chip from the edge of the box into the net. Her second came straight from the resulting kick-off as Curtin lost possession. Ella Mastrantonio was found and Subiaco’s other Matilda instantly released De Vanna who advanced into the box, rounded Gabriele Maluga in the visitors’ goal, and slotted home from an acute angle.

Above: Marianna Tabain – two goals for Subiaco in their 6-0 win over Curtin University yesterday. Photo: JASP Photography.

It was 4-0 just before half-time. Subi won a throw just inside the Curtin half. Keziah Burgis released Tabain along the right. The right-sided attacker who played nine seasons with Perth Glory, got away from two would-be tacklers and pulled a cross-shot into the far corner of the net from the right.

The icing on the cake of a historic season for Subiaco came with two further goals in the last quarter of an hour. Annie Leyland gathered possession in the centre and released Murray outside her, who was able to advance at will along the right before cutting inside and hitting a low shot into the net.

With a minute of regulation time to play, the rout was completed as a Curtin goal kick went straight to the hosts on the right wing and the ball eventually was laid back to Murray who lifted a shot into the box which rebounded back off of the crossbar into the path of Megan Shepherd to tap home.

Above: Keziah Burgis – part of the Subiaco squad for a number of years – a player who has been part of the club’s continued development since entering the NPLW WA. Photo: Fotoenzo.

Curtin have ended a poor season in a particularly painful way, as they conceded 13 goals in their final two matches, failing to score in the process. A lot of work needs to be done in the close season in a bid to make this team more competitive. With their U21 side having experienced similar results this season as well, that rebuilding work needs to begin immediately.

For Subiaco, this has been a truly sensational campaign. Prior to this season, the club had only ever won two matches in their NPLW WA history. This campaign has seen six victories for Greg Farrell’s team. Whilst the likes of De Vanna, Tabain, and Ella Mastrantonio have taken the headlines in the last two months of the campaign, the development of the team this season was palpable before the arrival of that trio.

Players like Keziah Burgis and Lizzie Wallwork who have been at the club for a number of seasons spoke about the progress the club has been making – and now it is evident for all to see. The challenge for Subi now is to keep that going in 2023.

Final NPLW WA Table 2022:

 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar21183076957+67
Perth SC211245451440+41
Fremantle City211146503337+17
Hyundai NTC21858354129-6
Murdoch University Melville218310252827-3
Balcatta Etna218211263126-5
Subiaco216312346121-27
Curtin University21021919932-74

TOP FOUR CUP FIXTURES – Week One:

Major Semi-Final: 3rd Sept: Perth RedStar v Perth SC

Winners progress to Top Four Cup Final. Losers play winners of Second Semi-Final for a place in the Top Four Cup Final.

Semi-Final: 4th Sept: Fremantle City v Hyundai NTC

Winners play losers of the Major Semi-Final for a place in the Top Four Cup Final. Losers are eliminated.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United Annouce Pride Cup

Artwork supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

26/8/22

Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United will set aside their rivalry, coming together to celebrate LGBTI+ inclusion in football, as they compete for the A-Leagues Pride Cup at AAMI Park on Sunday 26th February 2023.

This historic community partnership with Pride Cup Australia will see Victory host a spectacular double-header event at AAMI Park, with the Men going head-to-head at 3pm while the Women face-off at 6pm.

Pride Cup Australia represents a national movement changing sporting culture and uniting communities through education and events. Working with all levels of sport, Pride Cup is helping clubs to create environments where every LGBTI+ person feels included, accepted, and proud to be who they are.

Since 2018, Pride Cup has worked with over 450 clubs in more than 15 sporting codes across Australia.

Pride Cup began working with Adelaide United in October 2021, following Josh Cavallo’s brave decision to come out as, at the time, the only openly-gay, active professional male football player in the world.

Together, the inaugural A-Leagues Pride Cup was born; hosted by Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium and involving Melbourne Victory’s Women’s team in February 2022.

Above: AAMI Park – location for this year’s Pride Cup match between Melbourne Victory’s and Adelaide United’s men’s and women’s teams. Photo: AAMI Park.

Pride Cup Chief Executive Officer, James Lolicato (he/him), said: “We are so thrilled to be partnered with Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United to celebrate LGBTI+ inclusion in football.

“Working with two clubs so enthusiastic and dedicated to creating meaningful change in the culture of sport is very special, and we couldn’t be prouder to deliver this event.

“With 78% of LGBTI+ people not feeling safe as spectators at sporting events, this is a huge opportunity to show LGBTI+ people that football can be a safe and welcoming place for all.

“Through the 2023 Pride Cup, we have a fantastic opportunity to both celebrate the wonderful LGBTI+ players, fans, and officials of the game, deliver important education, and highlight how sport can change hearts and minds.”

Melbourne Victory Managing Director, Caroline Carnegie (she/her), said: “We’re incredibly proud to be hosting the A-Leagues Pride Cup in 2023 after the success of last season’s launch and we’re looking forward to working with Adelaide United and the Pride Cup to make this fixture a mainstay in the A-Leagues calendar.

“Melbourne Victory was established as a Club for everyone and the chance to celebrate LGBTI+ inclusion in football with both our Men’s and Women’s sides on the same day truly reflects this.

“Pride Cup will be a celebration of all that is great about our game and how the football field is a place that only differentiates sides by the colour of their shirts.” 

Adelaide United Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Kosmina (he/him), said: “Following last season’s monumental Pride Game at Coopers Stadium, we’re extremely proud to continue supporting the work of Pride Cup Australia alongside Melbourne Victory.

“This annual fixture will ensure LGBTI+ inclusion is a consistent theme raised amongst A-Leagues supporters and will aid in helping those from the LGBTI+ community feel safe and welcome in football. 

“We saw tremendous support for our Pride Game last season and we’re confident that will only continue to increase for many years to come.

“Our appreciation goes to Pride Cup Australia for assisting us in developing this event and want to thank Melbourne Victory for aligning with our Club for this important cause.”

Western United Unveil Local Legend Whilst Adelaide Reveal New Kit

Impetus’ Ben Gilby brings us the latest news from Australia ahead of the new A-League Women season (26/8/22).

Graphic: Western United.

Victorian football icon Aleksandra Sinclair has signed her first ever Liberty A-League Women contract, joining her local side Western United’s inaugural team for the 2022/23 season.

A Melton local, Sinclair has become a popular figure in NPLW Victoria for her exploits on and off the pitch, and she said she is humbled by the opportunity to represent Western United.

“It feels amazing (to sign for Western United). It’s something I’ve been working hard for many years, so to have the opportunity to play for Western United and my community is amazing,” she said.

“To represent Western United is an honour in itself, but to then represent your community where you’ve grown up and lived your whole life – it’s an opportunity that I’m so grateful for.”

Having worked with her over a number of years at Calder United, Mark Torcaso heaped praise on Sinclair and said bringing her with him to Western United was an easy decision.

“Everyone knows what Aleks is about as a footballer, but more importantly as a person, and that’s why this is so special,” he said.

Above: Aleksandra Sinlair (left) pictured after winning the Premiers Plate with Calder United last weekend in the NPLW Victoria. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

“She has given so much to the game and brings so much joy and passion every time she steps out on the pitch and she has built such a reputation in the game in Victoria.

“Added to that she’s a local talent, born and bred in the West, and has given absolutely everything to get this opportunity. I’m really honoured to give that to her and I’m excited to see what she makes of it.”

Sinclair has captained Calder United throughout much of its success in recent years, winning the NPLW Victoria Players’ Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019.

After bagging 26 goals in 29 games in 2019, Sinclair produced a remarkable best-on-ground performance in the Grand Final as Calder defeated Bulleen Lions at AAMI Park to claim the Championship. 

Earlier this month, Sinclair scored in the NIKE F.C. Cup Final for the second year in a row, helping Calder to win a fifth consecutive title.

Sinclair signs as Western United’s inaugural A-League Women team continues to take shape ahead of the commencement of the season in November.

Adelaide United Reveal New Home Kit

Above: Adelaide United’s Dylan Holmes shows off her team’s new kit. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

Adelaide United revealed its new home kit for the 2022/23 season earlier today.

The jersey is inspired by the structural elements of Coopers Stadium’s Western Grandstand and newly redeveloped Eastern Stand. Utilising scarlet red, the 2022/23 jersey incorporates an intricate, layered triangular pattern woven into the jacquard, depicting the cantilever roof space trusses.

Subtle transparent yellow and navy trimming around the sleeves and inside collar, plus the inside of the neckline including the Coopers Stadium’s coordinates completes the design.

Adelaide United’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Marius Zanin, said: “We’re really proud of the overall design and bolder colour choice of the kit by reverting back to a darker shade of red, in this case scarlet sage.

“We know our fans will be proud to represent our Club and the state of South Australia with this kit, but also the others that we will be releasing soon.”

Kite will feature on the front of the Liberty A-League kit for the first time after becoming the new Co-Major Partner of the Women’s team. Fans can now purchase the new 2022/23 home jersey at the Adelaide United Store in Hindmarsh and online via the Adelaide United Online Store. 

Mia Yeo: One Of WA’s Next Generation With The World At Her Feet

For this week’s WA On Wednesday interview, Balcatta Etna‘s Mia Yeo speaks to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about representing Western Australia overseas, the benefits of playing for the NTC, and her first season at Balcatta Etna (24/8/22).

AboveMia Yeo breaks forward for Balcatta Etna this season. Photo: JASP Photography.

Mia Yeo is one of several talented youngsters playing NPLW WA football this season. With one match remaining in her first senior campaign with Balcatta Etna, Yeo reflected on her footballing experiences so far.

“My football journey started when I was 11 after my season playing Tennis and AFL (Australian Rules Football) with the boys’ teams finished,” the Balcatta star revealed. “I began playing for East Fremantle Tricolore junior girls team and played there for two years. During my second year in football, I was selected for the 2017 U12s state School sports team and we went to Adelaide for the Pacific School Games. During that trip, I realised what opportunities football can create and grew a passion for the sport.”

Those opportunities have included international travel representing Western Australia, as well as further inter-state trips before the pandemic. 

Above: With the ball at her feet and striding forward into space – Mia Yeo doing what she does best for Balcatta Etna. Photo: Ben Gilby

“I have previously been involved with NTC, as I played with the U15s squad for two years and participated in the U14s National Youth championships in Coffs Harbour twice. I was also lucky enough to get a trip away to China in 2019 representing Western Australia with the U14s state squad. It was a great experience to play international football.”

This time playing with the NTC has really stood Yeo in good stead coming into senior NPLW football as she revealed: “Playing for NTC U15s in the past and being the youngest team in the U23s league is good competition. I found that playing against older and more experienced players helps with self-growth and faster football development from a younger age. The physical side of the game helped us get used to playing more physical opposition and to develop grit.”

With travel restricted in recent times, Yeo still managed to play some representative football last year around Western Australia, as she explained: “Last year I played with the U18s school sports team and we went on a rural trip to Albany and Busselton to play friendly matches against country teams. The trip was great fun even though it wasn’t an interstate-level competition, and I learned a lot from the players and coaches.

“Also last year, I went back to my local club Fremantle City which worked out well as my team (the under 23’s) finished top of the league and came runners-up in the cup final. As well as playing for Balcatta Etna this season, I am an associate for the NTC U18s team.”

The talented wide player’s growth this season for Balcatta Etna has been hugely enjoyable to watch as she develops her ability to beat players on the wing and cut inside to shoot as well as bring team-mates into the action. In terms of how she sees herself as a player, Yeo reflected:

Above: Mia Yeo holding on to possession under pressure against Perth RedStar. Photo: JASP Photography.

“I would say firstly I’m intuitive. I play like this when I reach a flow state of mind and am in the zone. Secondly, I would say rapid as I feel I use my acceleration to my advantage and play in the moment. Lastly, I would say I am a level-headed player as I feel I keep calm in most situations and always respect the referee and opposition.”

Whilst Yeo is still in the early days of her footballing experiences, she has had to overcome several injury-related hurdles which has caused some frustrations. “The biggest challenge I have faced in my footballing journey would be injuries, such as shin splints and weak ankles which have resulted in time off football for rehab. Quite recently I developed a high ankle sprain and this has led to many missed club games due to time off and increased recovery time from reinjury.”

After spending last season at Fremantle City, Yeo moved across to Balcatta for the 2022 season. It was a move that she feels has worked out perfectly for her.

“I moved to Balcatta alongside some Fremantle teammates as my coach for under 23s last season was moving there. I was impressed with the tactical coaching and the Balcatta team spirit. I found that whenever I versed them they always played at a high standard and the club overall seemed dedicated to its player’s development. Also, I feel as if I learn a lot from the senior and more experienced players.

“The best part about playing for Balcatta Etna is the club culture and cohesiveness. The team and staff have so much passion for the team, it’s a motivating environment to be around. Also, I am impressed with the calibre of the players and the knowledge of the game they demonstrate.”

Above: Heading towards a bright future – Mia Yeo is one of a promising group of young players in the NPLW WA this season. Photo: JASP Photography.

Yeo’s time at the club began with their appearance in the Night Series Cup Final against Northern Redbacks in the build-up to the NPLW WA season. It is still a match that lingers in her memory. “It was extremely competitive and high-paced the entire match. The game started off favouring us as we were up two goals in the first 15 minutes but Redbacks hit back with one before halftime.

“The second half was when we were heavily put under pressure as Redbacks had many shots where they eventually scored an equaliser in the final minutes and then finished us off 4-2 in extra time. Overall, the game was a great experience for me as it was so quick-paced and a great introduction to the top-standard first-team level.

With Yeo having played representative football in the past, and on the back of a promising personal season with Balcatta Etna, a potential jump up to play for Perth Glory in the A-League Women in the future remains an aim.

“It is something I am striving towards as it would help to continue my development as a player. My overall approach to my football path is to be open to what opportunities come my way and to reach the highest level I can personally get to.”

If Mia Yeo can continue developing at the rate she has this season, there is absolutely no reason why those A-League Women dreams cannot be fulfilled.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

NPL Victoria Women Round 20 Wrap

Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (24/8/22).

Above: Calder United celebrate after lifting the NPLW Victoria Premiers Plate. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Heidelberg United 3-1 Box Hill United

A second-half surge saw Heidelberg United defeat Box Hill United 3-1 at home. A win meant that Heidelberg gave themselves a chance to be crowned premiers after momentarily returning to the top of the table on Saturday afternoon.

Box Hill’s 10th loss of the season meant that mathematically they can no longer finish in the top four. It was a frustrating afternoon from the visitor’s perspective. Despite keeping the dangerous Bergers scoreless to halftime, they could not prevent them scoring three quick goals. Although they remained competitive throughout the match.

Danielle Wise broke the deadlock in the 47th minute. Keely Lockhart won the ball back in midfield as Box Hill looked to create. The immediate counterattack released Danielle Wise behind the defence and she finished as she has so often this season, calmly and ruthlessly.

Wise has a claim to being Victoria’s NPLW player of the season. Whether playing as a striker or an attacking midfielder she has been almost impossible to contain.

Above: Heidelberg United win the aerial battle against Box Hill United. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

She has scored in 15 games of the 20 played, and only Calder United’s miserly defence has been able to stop her. Wise would make a  valuable addition to any side in the A-League Women that are looking for goals. Her consistency has been astounding in 2022.

Anais Josefski had Box Hill’s chance to respond. A mishit clearance by Melissa Maizels fell to the feet of the Box Hill attacker. Her long-range shot was well hit but badly directed, and the scrambling Maizels was spared from conceding after the uncharacteristic error.

Wise helped set up Heidelberg’s second of the day just minutes after the first. She won the ball on the right flank and Grace Jale’s resulting cross found Lockhart on the opposite wing.

Lockhart cut inside onto her right foot, and took another few touches to run around the entire backtracking defence. after collecting the ball on one side of the box, she eventually scored from the other with a well-placed finish, following the mazy, deliberate run.

Above: Celebrations for Heidelberg United against Box Hill United. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

Box Hill continued to attack as they have all season. Josefski won the ball once again on the left wing. She raced into the box and held off a challenge but her shot was smothered by Maizels.

Sofia Sakalis was wide open in the middle, but the pass was not forthcoming. It would have been a tap-in for the in-form attacker if the ball had gotten to her.

Heidelberg sealed the win in the 87th minute. Grace Jale’s burst of pace won a corner that Emily Roach stepped up to take.

The delivery was perfect and the ball landed between the goal line and the penalty spot. Bella Wallhead was unmarked but directed her header perfectly into the net. It was strong technique from one of Perth Glory’s rising stars, but Box Hill might be disappointed with the space she was given. Nevertheless, she took the chance well to make it 3-0 with minutes to play.

Above: Bella Wallhead (centre) celebrates after scoring Heidelberg United’s third goal against Box Hill United. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

Although the contest was over, the scoring was not. In injury time Josefski finally beat Maizel’s with a well-executed near-post finish.

Melinda Barbieri set up the chance with a terrific piece of skill. The flick with the outside of her boot put Josefski in behind the Heidelberg defence. She sped into the box and at full pace slotted the ball into the net.

It would not effect the result, but it was the goal that Box Hill deserved. A final score of 3-1 might feel harsh on the visitors on the balance of play, but Heidelberg have been consistency efficient in front of goal all season and this game was no exception.

Teams: HEIDELBERG UNITED: Maizels, Diblasi (Bitzios 89’), Galea (Jale 45’), Lockhart, McKenna, Parbery (Tiktikakis 18’), Roach (Mcdonald 88’), Torre, Vlahopoulos, Wallhead, Wise.

Scorers: Wise 47’, Lockhart 50’, Wallhead 87’.

BOX HILL UNITED: Hudson, Mackie, Kos, Van Dooren, Langley, Josefski, Hall (Zikas 75’), Petkaris (Pickett 53’), Barbieri, Sakalis, Mazzeo.

Scorers: Josefski 90′.

Referee: Luke Rigo.

Round 20 Wrap:

Above: Calder United show off the NPLW Victoria Premier Plate after beating South Melbourne on Saturday. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Box Hill United took the field again just days later. They played Calder United in a catchup game from Round 15. The game ended with a 1-0 win to the league leaders after another Emma Robers wonder strike from long range in the 28th minute.

It was Calder United’s second win of the weekend, following a 2-0 win away to South Melbourne on Saturday. The combination of wins sealed top spot for Mark Torcaso’s dominant side, who have only dropped points on four occasions in a remarkable season.

Western United’s newest signing Emma Robers opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Aleksandra Sinclair added the second in the dying seconds of the match.

Alamein comfortably defeated Bayside United 4-0. In a crowd-pleasing display, Kat Smith’s team scored four times inside of 18 minutes to end the contest. Bayside had been level until Amy Jackson scored in the 61st minute. She completed her brace in the 78th with her goals coming either side of strikes from Ashleigh Lefevre and Emma Runnalls.

Graphic: Bulleen Lions.

A freezing cold Monday night was the setting for FV Emerging to continue their latter season resurgence. A 3-0 win over Bulleen Lions was surprising, but Bulleen have had third spot basically secured for a couple of weeks and although two own goals would not please Caitlin Friend, they surely have one eye on finals right now.

With one game left to play, the top three spots on the ladder have been decided. FV Emerging and Alamein have it all to play for in Round 21. Alamein have the much harder task in defeating Calder United, while FV Emerging will be optimistic of holding onto fourth with a win against Bayside United.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

NPL WA Women Round 20 Wrap

Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition. As always there is an in-depth report from one game and a full wrap of all the other matches along with action shots from the games (23/8/22).

Above: Perth RedStar pictured with the NPLW WA championship trophy that they lifted on Sunday as they played their final home game of the regular season. Photo: Fotoenzo via Football West.

Perth SC 1-0 Subiaco

Perth SC controlled the vast majority of their encounter with hard-working Subiaco on Sunday afternoon, but needed a classy goal from Abbey Meakins with just over fifteen minutes to go in order to claim the points

The Azzurri‘s victory in a match that was switched from their Dorrien Gardens home to Balcatta’s Grindleford Reserve, guarantees them second spot in the final NPLW WA table going into the Top Four Cup barring a freakish set of results in next weekend’s final round of the regular season.

Perth SC were dominant from the start, looking comfortable in possession and out to impose their game on Subiaco at their own pace. They patiently probed, looking for the right moment to play through a killer pass. Yet it was a feature of the opening half that the final pass never quite materialised in the way that they would have liked.

Above: Abbey Meakins in possession for Perth SC against Subiaco on Sunday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Faye Phillips was the pick of the Azzurri crop in the first half, getting lots of possession on the right and looking to play in team-mates both on the inside and with crosses.

For all Perth’s possession, Subiaco, without Lisa De Vanna, were comfortable in defence and goalkeeper Zara Board had little to do. The Azzurri earned several three kicks in potentially dangerous positions but on each occasion, the visitors cleared without any problems.

As the half wore on, Subi began to earn more of the ball. Ingrid Gomez Basallo won possession along the left and got away, but none of her teammates made it into the box in time for the cross.

Above: Subiaco goalkeeper Zara Board had relatively little to do in the first half for all Perth SC’s dominance. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Perth may have had the possession, but a lack of creating a clear-cut chance almost came back to haunt them with eight minutes before the break. Frankie Murray got away along the right and played a ball in towards Marianna Tabain at the back post who had three bites at the cherry, but was repelled by Rebecca Bennett in the Perth goal and her defenders.

Subiaco were given time to play out from the back at their own pace and were rarely harried when they had the ball. Perth would need to tighten up in the second half and take their chances because the warning signs were there if they did not.

Whilst the opening to the second period was somewhat cagey, it exploded into life 10 minutes in when The Azzurri‘s Ella Lincoln let fly from outside the box and saw her shot cannon back off of the bar. It set the tone for another prolonged period of Perth control.

Above: Ella Lincoln – Perth SC’s young star in possession against Subiaco on Sunday. Photo supplied by Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

The introduction of Jessica Flannery from the bench added some pep to the Perth SC attack, and just after the hour mark, they momentarily thought they had gone ahead. Board’s goal-kick went straight to the home side’s Stella Zampogna who ran onto the ball and rolled it home before the assistant referee’s flag intervened.

With Jaime Duncanson also brought on by The Azzurri, the chances continued to come. Flannery, in from the left found Sophia Papalia inside, who in turn played in Duncanson who hit a shot that Board held.

Within three minutes, Perth finally hit the front. Board’s goal kick fell in the zone between her own penalty area and the halfway line. Abbey Meakins pounced on possession, advanced towards the box, and let fly with a superb lifted shot which landed in. It was a classy finish from one of the NPLW WA’s most classy players.

Above: Perth SC celebrate Abbey Meakins’ winning goal (second Perth SC player from left). Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Subiaco were game opponents all afternoon long, further showing the advancements they have made this season, but the visitors were not able to fashion a response to Meakins’ goal.

Perth SC could have added to their tally with six minutes remaining when Duncanson pulled the ball across from the right for Flannery at the back post who hit a shot agonisingly wide.

It was an important three points for The Azzurri who have the squad to do real damage in the Top Four Cup, but they need to ensure that more of the chances they create are converted.

Teams: PERTH SC: Bennett, Harvey, Van Heurck, Zampogna, Phillips, Cook, Meakins, Lincoln, Papalia, Gibbons, Byrne. Substitutes: Spatafore, Duncanson, Flannery.

Scorers: Meakins 73′.

SUBIACO: Board, Winchcombe, Burgis, Ylias, Tabain, Murray, Mastrantonio, Bassett, Gomez Basallo, Gronewald Shield, Shepherd. Substitutes: Paul, Fyneman, Harding, Pidgeon.

Referee: Stephen Knight.

Round 20 Wrap:

Above: Grace Johnston (8) hits Hyundai NTC ahead at Curtin University on Friday night. Image: NPL.

The penultimate round of regular season action began on Friday night at Edinburgh Oval as Curtin University hosted a Hyundai NTC side who needed to return to winning ways to ensure their Top Four Cup qualification hopes remained realistic.

With Curtin struggling all season, and still looking for their first win of the campaign, the NTC got the all-important early lead. There were just 11 minutes on the clock when, as they like to do, the teenagers played out from the back and a superb weighted pass dissected the Curtin midfield to allow Louise Tana to get away and then play a low cross in from the right. The hosts had two chances to clear, failed, and Grace Johnston dispatched the ball into the net.

Curtin showed character, forcing corners and shots on target. They levelled the scores from the penalty spot eight minutes before the break with Taylor Reid rolling home coolly. The home side came agonisingly close to taking the lead not long after as Dakota Van-Vugt showed great fight in midfield to gain possession. Play eventually found its way out to Keilin Fagan on the right and she crashed in a shot from the edge of the box which hit the bar and bounced down on the wrong side of the line from Curtin’s perspective.

The NTC stepped it up after the break, but it took until the 72nd minute to turn their momentum into a lead on the scoreboard when Tanika Lala rose highest in the centre of the box to head home a lofted corner from the right.

Above: Louise Tana volleys home NTC’s third on Friday night. Image: NPL.

The points were sealed four minutes later as Violet Longmore’s high ball in from the left was volleyed home at the far post superbly by Louise Tana.

With the NTC facing Fremantle City in their final game of the regular season next Sunday, the youngsters will go into the game knowing what they need to do in order to take that final Top Four Cup spot with their rivals for that place, Murdoch University Melville having played their last match two days previously against Perth SC.

Above: Janice Kiama (left), who was involved in three of Fremantle City’s four goals against Balcatta Etna, shows her joy after scoring. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

Fremantle City completed a week of big victories against rivals for a place in the Top Four Cup as they saw off Balcatta Etna 4-0 in the Sunday afternoon sunshine at Hilton Park – a result that ends Balcatta’s dreams of qualification for the season-ending competition.

Freo won the rescheduled encounter against Murdoch University Melville 3-0 in midweek after the original match was abandoned last weekend after wild weather hit Besteam Stadium. This victory now confirms that the port city side will play in the Top Four Cup.

It took until five minutes before the interval for the first goal to arrive. Janice Kiama was on the left and found Kate Nolan who cut inside Elizabeth Doust and crossed for Jess Darmago to shoot. Balcatta keeper Gabby Dal Busco palmed the shot away across the box for Mikayla Lyons to follow up and score.

Above: Fremantle City’s Jess Darmago wheels away after scoring against Balcatta Etna on Sunday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch,

Within three minutes, Freo doubled their advantage with Kiama involved again on the left. This time, she spread play for Perth Glory captain Tash Rigby on the opposite flank. Rigby advanced and continued a move which led to a ball into the box which was squared for Darmago to sweep home.

The home side went 3-0 up 20 minutes from the end. A corner on the right came into the centre of the box for Kiama to head goalwards. Dal Busco repelled the danger initially, but the ball came back to Kiama to head home.

Fremantle City completed the scoring 10 minutes later as Rigby advanced down the right and played in Darmago at the far post to make it 4-0. After a tough run of results, Freo are finding form at the right time of the campaign.

Above: Olivia Wood (red shirt left of image) sees her cross-shot curl into the net to give Perth RedStar the lead on Sunday. Photo: Fotoenzo via Football West.

In the final game of the weekend, Perth RedStar hosted Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC).

After going down 3-0 at home to Fremantle City in midweek, MUM FC knew that if they could become the first side to defeat RedStar this season, they would be in the driving seat for the remaining Top Four Cup place. However, with RedStar lifting the NPLW WA title on the day, it would take a supreme effort.

The hosts went ahead just over 10 minutes before the break as Jayna Ridley found Carla Bennett along the right. The RedStar legend played in Olivia Wood who curled a sensational cross-shot into the far corner of the net to continue her excellent recent scoring record.

Above: Perth RedStar head coach Carlos Vega Mena (left) and captain Shawn Billam (right) with the NPLW WA trophy on Sunday. Photo: Fotoenzo via Football West.

RedStar opened the second half with four further shots on target, but it took until the 76th minute for them to double their lead. Bennett’s free kick out on the left, just in from the by-line came deep into the mix. Murdoch keeper Monique Todd couldn’t make contact and Renee Leota was on hand to score.

The points were wrapped up four minutes from time with an excellent move that saw Emily Dunn play in Shawn Billam who exchanged passes with Larissa Walsh before calmly slotting home.

 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar19172069953+60
Perth SC201145421437+28
Fremantle City201046473234+15
Hyundai NTC20857343829-4
Murdoch University Melville20839252527=
Balcatta Etna208111263125-5
Subiaco205312286118-33
Curtin University19021719802-61

ROUND 21 FIXTURES: Murdoch University Melville v Perth SC, Hyundai NTC v Fremantle City, Balcatta Etna v Perth RedStar, Subiaco v Curtin University.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Matildas To Welcome Sweden To Melbourne

20/8/22

Above: Australia’s Kyra Cooney-Cross (3) and Madelen Janogy tangle when the two sides met in the Olympic Games last year. The Hammarby teammates will be in opposition again in November. Photo: Football Australia.

Australia and Sweden will continue their strong rivalry in November when the Matildas host the reigning Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on Saturday, 12th November 2022.

November’s Saturday afternoon blockbuster clash will be the first time the Matildas have played in Melbourne since March 2019 when they beat Argentina 3–0 in a Cup of Nations Tournament, at AAMI Park.

This will also be the first time the two sides have met since a classic Olympic Women’s Football semi-final in Yokohama, Japan. It will also be the first time Blågult will set foot on Australian shores in almost 20 years with the last meeting at the AWSA Australian Cup on 1st February 2008 in Canberra.

The match in November is part of the lead-up preparation for the World Cup where the Australia will utilise six FIFA International windows for the strongest possible preparation for the tournament which commences on 20th July 2023.

Above: Melbourne’s iconic AAMI Park which will host the Matildas’ game with Sweden in November. Photo: AAMI Park.

Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, said: “When it comes to women’s football, Australia and Sweden have a strong history, connection, and mutual respect.  We are delighted to welcome another of the world’s best teams to Australia as the Matildas continue to attract and play high-quality opposition in the lead-up to the World Cup. 

“The battles between our two nations over the last 18 months have been close and exciting.  With world-class names on both teams, and many of our own Matildas currently playing their club football in Sweden, it is a fitting fixture to mark the Matildas’ return to Melbourne and the iconic AAMI Park.”

A nation with a storied history in the women’s game, Sweden are also current reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup bronze medallists. The world number three ranked nation has recently come off a semi-final appearance at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in England and qualification for next year’s global showpiece for the ninth time. 

Tickets to the encounter will go on pre-sale for Football Account holders on Tuesday 30th August, 2022 with the General Public tickets window opening on Thursday 1st September, 2022 from www.ticketek.com.au. $1 (plus GST) from every ticket sold will be donated to the CommBank ParaMatildas, Australia’s silver medal-winning women’s CP national team for female footballers with cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, or symptoms from stroke. Ticketing information is available from the official CommBank Matildas website at www.matildas.com.au.

Football Account holders able to access an exclusive pre-sale window with a 10% discount offer.

Canberra Lock In Brush As Another Key Player Returns

by Ryan Miller-Woods (19/8/22)

Above: Ellie Brush (left) celebrating for Canberra United in her previous spell with the capital city club. Photo: Canberra Times.

Canberra United announced this morning the signing of Ellie Brush who returns to the club for the 2022/23 Liberty A-League season.

Brush is a familiar name for supporters of Canberra United having played over 100+ games for the club and during her first stint at the capital city club was a part of two Championship and two Premiership winning teams.

She last played for Canberra in 2017 before then making the move to New South Wales, where she played for both Western Sydney Wanderers and most recently Sydney FC.

Above: Ellie Brush talking to the media today after she was unveiled as Canberra United’s latest signing. Image: Canberra United.

“I am extremely excited to be returning to Canberra for the new season and reacquainting myself with the club and its fantastic supporters,” Brush said.

“I have very many happy memories of my time with Canberra United and being part of a wonderful football club in a terrific city. It’s a team that has a special place in my heart and I am thrilled to be back.

“Njegosh (Popovich) is a great coach, we have an excellent coaching and backroom staff that I have had the pleasure of working with previously, and the club are building a strong squad. I can’t wait to get started and get back out on the field in front of some of the best supporters in the league.”

Reflecting on her joy at being back in familiar surroundings, Brush smiled: “It’s like the gang are back together with Michelle (Heyman), Grace Gill, and Sykesey (Ashleigh Sykes) still around the club, yeh, it’s great to be back!”

Above: Ellie Brush will be reacquainted with some familiar faces now she is back at Canberra United. Photo: Emily Rogic.

Brush is one of the most experienced players to have played in the Liberty A-League. Outside of the competition, she has enjoyed subsequent stints overseas in the USA with Houston Dash and in Norway with Avaldsnes IL as well as winning two international caps for the Matildas which were against Italy in February 2009 in Canberra and New Zealand in June 2012 in Wollongong.

Throughout her career, she has been renowned as a speedy central defender, with both an astute positional sense and an eye for goal where she has found the net a total of twenty times during her time in the competition and will provide a cool head within the ranks at United.

“Ellie brings a wealth of top-level experience and nous to our squad, and I am happy that she has decided to re-join Canberra United for the 2022/23 season,” Head Coach Njegosh Popovich commented.

“She is a very experienced defender that has the ability to find forward passes unlocking defences and is also an aerial threat scoring goals from set pieces.

Above: Ellie Brush during her successful time at Sydney FC. Photo: Sydney FC.

“She knows and understands the culture at Canberra, being part of the club from the inaugural season, and has captained the club for many years. The supporters are all very familiar with Brushy as she has been an integral part of the team since its formation.

“Ellie also has the winning mentality required to mentor and lead younger players through her own experiences being part of leadership groups, helping us to four trophies in her career. Ellie can impart that knowledge to our youngsters. I am looking forward to working with her again during the year.”

With the signing of Brush, Canberra’s squad is coming together with a significant number of players announced. There is a good mix of both youth and experience which makes Canberra is a team to seriously look out for next season. Njegosh Popovich is putting together an incredibly strong side.

In particular, the permutations in attack catch the eye as Michelle Heyman will join up with Nikki Flannery once more following the latter’s return from a long-term injury. With new signing Grace Jale in the squad as well, this is potentially a potent forward line.

With Heyman scoring 10 in 11 games for Canberra last time round, plus Jale contributing six in 12 appearances at Wellington Phoenix there are going to be fun times ahead for the Greens’ fans.

Graphic: Canberra United.

Impetus welcomes Ryan Miller-Woods as the latest member of our editorial team. You can find out about Ryan and all of our contributors by clicking here: https://impetusfootball.org/about-our-contributors/

Gorry Returns To Roar And Western United Announce AFF Winner Sawicki

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from Brisbane Roar‘s Katrina GorryWestern United‘s Jaclyn Sawicki, and head coach Mark Torcaso (18/8/22).

Above: Katrina Gorry, back in orange again for 2022/23. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

Matildas star Katrina Gorry will return to Brisbane Roar for the 11th consecutive season, it was announced today.

Gorry started her pro career with Melbourne Victory in 2009, but has been with the Roar ever since.

Preparing for her return to Brisbane following the conclusion of the Swedish Damallsvenskan season with Vittsjo GK, Gorry spoke about what drew her back to Brisbane after time in Europe.

“I really enjoyed my season with Brisbane last year and for me Brisbane is home. To be playing in front of my family and friends for the club I’ve played for 10 years makes me so proud and honoured to be a part of this coming season.”

Throughout her decorated career, Gorry has amassed over 100 appearances for the Roar as well as winning two premierships, while also establishing herself as a regular for the Matildas in midfield, winning 78 caps for the national team.

She will have the opportunity to add to those caps next month, having been included in Tony Gustavsson’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against Canada in Brisbane and Sydney.

Above: Katrina Gorry’s form has seen her back in the Matildas squad as the World Cup gets ever closer. Photo: Football Australia.

In a globe-trotting career, Gorry has also played for clubs in Canada, America, and Denmark before her latest Swedish stint, an opportunity she took plenty of lessons from.

With an eye on next July’s World Cup on home soil, Gorry is eager to hit the ground running for the Roar.

“This season is definitely the most important one, leading into a World Cup at home it’s about showcasing our league and Australia as a whole to the rest of the world and also to our fans and supporters across the country. It’s definitely a very important season and I’m so glad I can be a part of it.”

Having taken on a leadership role with the Roar’s young squad last season, Gorry is looking forward to reuniting with many familiar faces when the side takes to the pitch for their pre-season.

“I’ve loved seeing the release of signings, last year was so enjoyable so knowing we’ll have so many players coming back, I know I’ll have the support I need for me and Harper. Personally, it was the most enjoyable season I’ve had with Brisbane, so I’m looking forward to get back with the coaching staff and my teammates and seeing who else has signed for us!”

Brisbane Roar head coach Garrath McPherson is putting together a strong-looking team so far as the Queenslanders look to improve on last season’s campaign and head back towards Finals football.

CONFIRMED BRISBANE ROAR SQUAD TO DATE:
Eash Norrie (Lions FC), Hollie Palmer (Capalaba FC), Shea Connors (APIA Leichhardt), Larissa Crummer (Capalaba FC), Sharn Freier (Moreton Bay United), Mariel Hecher (Lions FC), Holly McQueen (Lions FC), Katrina Gorry (Vittsjo GK)

Western United Land AFF Champions’ Sawicki

Above: Jaclyn Sawicki in action for the Philippines against Vietnam in the AFF Championships Semi-Final recently. Photo: Angelo Rosales/Tiebreaker Times.

AFF Women’s Championship-winning Filipina midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki has become the second international player to join Western United’s inaugural Liberty A-League Women squad.

The 29-year-old was a key member of the Philippines team, coached by Australian Alen Stajcic, that won the tournament for South-East Asian countries in July. 

“I am beyond excited to join Western United in the inaugural season for the women’s side,” Sawicki said. 

“I can’t wait to meet and begin working with the rest of the squad, and hopefully this group can set the tone and pave the way for those players who will come after us in this club.” 

Sawicki is looking forward to beginning a new chapter in a country she has long admired. 

“My mom and I have talked about going to Australia for years, literally,” she said. “We found out Australia was one of the hosting nations for the World Cup in 2023 and now, I am currently fighting for a roster spot. 

“My first camp with the (Philippines) National Team was also in Australia and now I’m going to get settled in here leading up to the tournament so it is all just kind of a funny coincidence.  

Artwork: Western United.

“I am confident that Western United will give me the platform to learn and grow as both a player and individual and hopefully, I’ll give my mom a reason to book a flight out this way for next year.” 

Western United’s A-League Women Head Coach Mark Torcaso said he had been impressed by the Philippines team, with Sawicki standing out to him as a player he would love to work with. 

“The development of the Philippines team under Alen Stajcic has been incredible in the last 12 months or so, and Jaclyn has been really impressive in that period,” he said. 

“We’ve certainly taken notice and identified Jaclyn as someone that will bring a lot of quality into our midfield. With her big-game experience and the level she’s played at overseas, she’ll be a big part of our team and I can’t wait to work with her.”

Born in Canada to a Polish father and Filipina mother, Sawicki represented Canada at youth level and made one senior appearance in 2011 before changing allegiances to the Philippines. 

With stints in Sweden, Japan, and Canada under her belt, Sawicki joins with a wealth of experience in international and domestic football. 

Sawicki joins American attacker Hannah Keane as the first two international players to join Western United as the squad continues to take shape ahead of the season’s commencement in November.

Jay Coleman: A Key Component of Red Hot RedStar

In the latest of our WA On Wednesday series of interviews with NPL WA Women players, Perth RedStar‘s Jay Coleman spoke to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about her footballing journey and her club’s incredible season (17/8/22).

Above: Jay Coleman (left) putting in a challenge for Perth RedStar against Hyundai NTC earlier this season. Photo supplied by: Carlos Vega Mena.

Jay Coleman’s football career has taken in three countries. The Kiwi has been playing the game for as long as she can remember, and credits the sport for keeping her on the straight and narrow.

“Ah look, football has kept me out of trouble and been a huge part of my life. I started playing in New Zealand when I was five. I played with boys up until I was no longer allowed to play with them and had to join a girls’ soccer team. I started playing women’s football when I was 14, alongside playing for my school team and representative football.

Above: Jay Coleman celebrates a goal against Hyundai NTC. Photo supplied by: Carlos Vega Mena.

“Football basically took over my life when I was an adolescent. I moved to Perth at the end of 2015 and joined Redbacks for a season in 2016, before moving to London in 2017 where I played two seasons for Fulham Ladies in the fourth tier of the game there before moving back to Perth in 2019, and returned to the Redbacks last season.  

Coleman describes herself as a player who likes to “try and control the game from the midfield, as well as being strong in the air and having a decent strike on me.” Whilst she has played several seasons for Northern Redbacks, now known as Perth RedStar, her most proudest achievement with the team came as recently as the start of this campaign.  

“Winning the night series final this year against Balcatta Etna, coming back from 2-0 down was definitely the proudest moment for me as a Redback. The game meant so much to us as a team and as a club being our last official game as Northern Redbacks. The fight and determination we team showed was incredible and I was honoured to be part of the team. 

Above: Jay Coleman (second left) celebrates Night Series Cup success for Northern Redbacks in the club’s final game as a stand-alone entity as they overcome an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Balcatta Etna. Photo supplied by: Carlos Vega Mena.

“The game was so exciting! We had a nervous start and Balcatta took advantage of that, scoring a couple of goals early on. Our captain Shawn Billam stepped up and scored a much-needed goal just before halftime. We played for each other, and we played for the club, as I mentioned above it was a big game for us, and losing just wasn’t an option.

“We are a great team, work together well, move the ball, and create many scoring opportunities and there was never a moment where I thought we couldn’t win the game.”

With Northern Redbacks being one of Australia’s most successful female-only clubs, their merger with ECU Joondalup to form Perth RedStar – a club with male and female NTC and youth sides – was always going to be one of mixed emotions.

Above: Jay Coleman uses her strength to hold off a Hyundai NTC challenger. Photo supplied by: Carlos Vega Mena.

“I was always for the merger,” Jay explains, “as I only saw positives to come from it. The merger will provide our players with greater opportunities moving forward. 

“Having ECU as our home ground is definitely a noticeable difference the field is much wider and bigger than Celebration Park and I think it suits our game more playing on a bigger field. It’s also nice playing after the men and having food after the game, creates a nice team and club culture. In New Zealand its normal to provide food for both teams after the game and debrief on the game, so it reminds me of being home which is nice.” 

Whilst Perth RedStar’s NPLW rivals have generally have found it hard to maintain form on a consistent basis, Jay’s team are streets ahead at the top of the table and have already claimed the NPLW WA title having won 16 of their 18 league games, drawing the other two. On top of this, they have claimed the State Cup as well as the aforementioned Night Series. The New Zealander doesn’t take her team’s huge advantage for granted as the season approaches its pointy end with the Top Four Cup.

Above: Jay Coleman in possession for Perth RedStar. Photo supplied by: Carlos Vega Mena.

“Yeah, look, we have started off the season how we wanted, and we hope to continue that way for the remainder of the season. Personally, I just want to play good football, win games, and score more goals.”

One of the reasons behind RedStar’s successes this season is that they have retained such a large number of their previous season’s squad – something that a number of their opponents did not manage to do, as Coleman observes.

“The competition is always strong but this year with a few players moving to play over in the eastern states, a lot of clubs are rebuilding their teams with younger players coming up to fill those spots. I think as the season goes on and those younger players get a feel for playing at a higher intensity the competition has got stronger and stronger.”

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

NPL Victoria Women Round 19 Wrap

Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (17/8/22).

Above: Box Hill United (blue) look to get away against FV Emerging. Photo: Passion Creations. 

Football Victoria’s Youngsters Emerge as Finals Contenders

Box Hill United 1-3 FV Emerging

A thrilling first half between Box Hill United and FV Emerging was the highlight of the week in the NPLW Victoria.

A fourth-place finish was within grasp for both sides before the match, and Box Hill started the brightest.

Sofia Sakalis opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Melinda Barbieri played her into space and Box Hill’s leading scorer added her eighth goal of the season with a stunning effort.

The FV Emerging defence gave Sakalis only the smallest opportunity but the Perth Glory attacker turned and struck a dipping shot from 18 yards into the net.

Above: Sofia Sakalis’ shot flies into the net beyond the reach of the FV Emerging goalkeeper. Photo: Passion Creations.

The lead lasted only seven minutes. Although the pitch was almost dangerously bumpy, both teams were playing fast-paced football.  Sakalis, Barbieri, and Anais Josefski menaced the FV Emerging defence at one end, while Caitlin Karic created chances for the visitors.

Karic tried her luck from long range with an effort that brought a good save out of Gidari in the Box Hill goals. Then Silver Bell Morris leveled the scores.

The FV Emerging defender rose highest to meet the corner kick at the back post. She was unopposed but still directed it with power. The game was not yet 15 minutes old, but we had been treated by two expertly taken goals.

Box Hill almost hit back after Sakalis played Guila Mazzeo behind the defence. Emma Olsen saved Emerging by coming off her line immediately to smother the danger.

Above: Penalty box aerial dual as Box Hill United look to clear. Photo: Passion Creations.

The ever-dangerous Sakalis almost earned her side a penalty when her footwork resulted in a free-kick in a promising position. The referee judged that it had taken place on the edge of the box and Barbieri’s free kick bounced off the wall.

The momentum of the game started to shift towards FV Emerging. Emma Langley made a perfectly timed intervention for Box Hill to stop Candice Kilderry adding to her impressive haul this season.

Kilderry was involved in Emerging’s second goal. After almost making contact with a cross from the right, she chased the ball down, kept it in play, and got it back to her teammate.

Sarah Cain played a quick decisive pass into the penalty box, where Karic made room for herself before prodding it beyond Sienna Gidari to make it 2-1.

Above: Celebration time for FV Emerging at Box Hill United. Photo: Passion Creations.

As half time approached with the game still tightly contested, Emerging scored the fourth and final goal of the game.

Another corner kick was Box Hill’s undoing. The ball in was only partially cleared, and Isabella Accardo smashed in a half volley with make it 3-1 with almost the last kick of the half.

Despite the admirable and entertaining efforts of both sides in rough conditions, neither could add to the score line in the second half.

The win means that FV Emerging jumped over Alamein into fourth space. With two games left to play, Alamein could yet make the finals. They only lag by one point, and play bottom-placed Bayside next week.

FV Emerging have a tougher test against Bulleen, but the third-placed side has already locked away their ladder position and it is not an unwinnable game.

Teams: BOX HILL UNITED: Gidari, (Hudson 61’), Hall, Kos, Pickett (Zikas 83’), Langley, Josefski, Schaddee Van Dooren, Mazzeo (Petkaris 61’), Mackie, Barbieri (Hilton 90’), Sakalis.

Scorer: Sakalis 7.

FV EMERGING: Olsen, Morris, Richards, Sewards, Curtis, Kilderry, Brown (Dovaston 70), Cain, Accardo (Cortellino 81’), Bulic, Karic (Vlaeminck 70’)

Scorers: Morris 14’, Karic 37’, Accardo 45’.

Referee: James Langoya.

Round 19 Wrap:

Above: South Melbourne (blue) and Heidelberg United battle it out at the weekend. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

In the other games of the round, Heidelberg United travelled to beat South Melbourne 4-0. Danielle Wise continued her dominant season with another brace. Keeley Lockhart added another and Holly Murray conceded an own goal for South.

Nike FC Cup winners Calder United also won 4-0 over Bayside United. Raquel Deralas, Melissa Taranto, and Emma Robers got the goals. Sienna Fogarty conceded an own goal for the home side.

On Monday night, Bulleen Lions secured a top-four finish with a 1-1 draw with Alamein. Elaina Vatcky scored the equalizer for Alamein but Bulleen opened the scoring with a goal of the season contender.

Aroha Little received the ball 20 yards from goal and hit a shot that defied physics. It seemed to go high into the air before taking a sharp dip into the net. It was a sensational way to score and another in a long list of highlights for Bulleen this season.

Two games remain. The title chase is still not over and the race for fourth spot is more exciting than ever.

Table From: NPLW Victoria.
Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Western United Secure Taranto Twins

The A-League Women’s new kids on the block, Western United announced today their second and third squad members ahead of their debut campaign. Impetus hears from Adriana and Melissa Taranto plus club head coach Mark Torcaso as the pair signed on the dotted line today (16/8/22).

Above: Adriana and Melissa Taranto show their delight at becoming Western United’s second and third squad members ahead of their inaugural A-League Women campaign. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Western United.

Sisters Adriana and Melissa Taranto will hope their twin connection gives them an edge on and off the field as the pair become the first siblings to sign for Western United.

This will be a return to the A-League Women for the 23-year-olds, who both debuted for Melbourne Victory in 2015 as 16-year-olds while also representing Australia at youth level.

“It means so much, not only individually but to sign on together is amazing,” Adriana said. “We’ve played in the same team since I can remember, so to play at the highest level in Australia – we just can’t wait.”

“We’ve been wanting to push to get into the A-League again, so for the opportunity to join a club like Western United who has done so much with its men’s team, and with the partner club at Calder United (where they are playing NPLW football), it’s something we’re super excited for,” Melissa added.

A-League Women Head Coach Mark Torcaso is eager to see the pair return to the top flight after impressing in the NPLW Victoria for Calder United.

“Mel and Adriana have been standout players in NPLW for some time, and it’s really overdue that they have another opportunity at professional level,” Torcaso said.

“They have both grown and developed so much and are more than ready for this chance, I’m honoured to be able to give them both that opportunity. They’re tenacious, willing to work and learn and will both be great for the group in the inaugural season.”

The midfielders both have an eye for goal, with Adriana scoring five times in the NPLW season and Melissa finding the net in the Nike F.C. Cup semi-final as well as the final, where she won the Theresa Deas Medal for best on ground.

They join Calder United teammate Alana Cerne in signing on for Western United’s A-League Women side ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Artwork: Western United.

NPL WA Women Round 19 Wrap

Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition along with action shots from the games (15/8/22).

Above: Perth SC’s Abbey Meakins (pink shirt) battles for possession against Perth RedStar on Saturday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Perth SC 1-1 Perth RedStar

Round 19 opened on Saturday afternoon at Dorrien Gardens with the top two facing off. Visitors Perth RedStar were already guaranteed to win the NPLW WA this season, but with second-placed Perth SC the only team to have taken a point off of the all-conquering champs, a great battle was in prospect.

With the game being part of The Azzurri‘s day to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Network Australia on a Super Saturday action at the ground involving four of Perth SC’s teams, it was an important afternoon. Perth SC’s NPLW side were wearing a special pink kit to mark the occasion, with the men’s teams sporting pink socks with their regular shirts.

It was the visitors who went ahead with 17 minutes played. Out on the right, former Football Fern Renee Leota played the ball back for Carla Bennett to cross high to the far post where an unmarked Olivia Wood was able to head home.

Above: Perth SC’s Jess Byrne shows her delight at levelling the scores at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.

Perth levelled with 25 minutes remaining. Abbey Meakins took the ball from just outside her own area towards midfield before finding Jaime Duncanson outside her on the right. The ball was then played to Ella Lincoln, who won a throw parallel with the six-yard box.

From Duncanson’s throw, Alyssa van Heurck curled the ball into the mix, it bounced awkwardly in front of RedStar keeper Maya Diederichsen who was also under pressure from an on-rushing Perth attack and the ball fell for Jess Byrne to gleefully lash home from eight yards.

Right now, Perth SC are bang in form and picking up points against their competitors in the upper echelons of the ladder. This will make the forthcoming Top Four Cup hugely competitive indeed if they can maintain this over the coming month.

Regardless, Perth RedStar will go into the post-regular season competition as deserved NPLW WA champions and have been a cut above everyone else this season. Carlos Vega Mena’s side are the masters of the high press and have the crucial dual ability to score goals when on the front foot combined with reducing the opportunities for opponents to the absolute minimum. It will take something very special to deny them a clean sweep of the silverware this season.

Murdoch University Melville 0-0 Fremantle City – Match abandoned after 24 minutes.

Above: The scene at Besteam Stadium shortly before the match was finally abandoned as Fremantle City players shelter in the dugout. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

The game of the round looked set to be Murdoch University Melville’s (MUM FC) clash with Fremantle City on Saturday evening. With only three rounds of the regular season to go, the encounter at Besteam Stadium was of huge importance in the race for Top Four Cup qualification, but both teams would be frustrated as weather conditions forced an abandonment after just 24 minutes of action.

In the short spell of action that did take place before the rain, hail, wind, and lightning arrived, chances were few and far between, yet Murdoch were more influential. Charlotte Meaden and Sam Mathers were looking to create and the latter was involved in the abbreviated match’s most significant moment.

Above: Murdoch University Melville’s Charlotte Meaden (39) and Charli Wainwright (10) challenge for the ball with Fremantle City’s Laura Waltman (9) during the abbreviated action on Saturday evening. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Denyse McCulloch.

Found by a delightful accurate switch pass from Charli Wainwright, Mathers advanced to the edge of the box on the right-hand side and fired in an effort that Freo keeper Dayle Schroeder pushed wide of the goal.

MUM FC were looking to play a relatively high line, which Fremantle tried to counter with the influential Mikayla Lyons directing the traffic in the middle and ensuring her team tried to find their wide players. Ultimately, the home side were extremely well organised and worked hard to force Freo backwards.

Any further action was ruled impossible as exceptionally heavy rain began to fall with some hail accompanied by strong winds, thunder, and lightning. Consequently, referee Stephen Knight led the teams from the field. The match has been rearranged for this Thursday (18th August) at 7:15pm.

Balcatta Etna 4-1 Curtin University

Above: A battle for possession between Balcatta Etna (left) and Curtin University yesterday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: JASP Photography.

Balcatta returned to winning ways with a routine victory over struggling Curtin at Grindleford Reserve on Sunday afternoon.

After their heartbreaking semi-final loss to Perth SC in the State Cup Semi-Final, the hosts had found it tough to maintain their Top Four Cup push, and this is a welcome three points. With MUM FC and Fremantle City going to take points off of each other this week, Balcatta are only two points outside the top four, and their game at Freo next weekend now takes on huge importance.

The home side were on the front foot from the start, forcing four corners in a seven-minute spell. It was no surprise when the home side went ahead just before the 20-minute mark with a ruthless sweeping move. Monique Prinsloo gained possession down the right, cut inside, beat a defender, and played in a sumptuous ball for Lauren Continibali to roll the ball home.

Above: Joy for Balcatta Etna, who returned to winning ways yesterday against bottom club Curtin University. Photo supplied to Impetus by: JASP Photography.

It was the start of a spell of four goals in six minutes with Curtin levelling within 120 seconds. Jacqueline McLernon picked up the ball from Gabby Dal Busco’s goal kick and play eventually found its way to Danielle Suckling who broke through and fed Dakota Van-Vugt who slid in for the ball twice before Danielle Brown netted.

Any hopes Curtin may have had of getting a firm foothold in the match expired within a further two minutes thanks to Monique Godding, one of the hosts’ top players this season. Angelique Alberts extended Balcatta’s lead after yet another two-minute interval.

The home side forced Curtin back once more after the break, racking up three corners in the five minutes immediately before grabbing their fourth of the afternoon thanks to a sensational strike from Elizabeth Doust. The visitors failed to clear and the ball fell to Doust who hit a rocket from 20 yards to the left of centre which went in off of the left-hand post.

Curtin’s wretched season continues and they are now only two matches away from adding a winless campaign to the wooden spoon that they are guaranteed to pick up in a fortnight’s time.

Subiaco 4-2 Hyundai NTC

Above: Subiaco’s Lisa De Vanna who hit a hat-trick against Hyundai NTC yesterday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: JASP Photography.

Hyundai NTC’s Top Four Cup qualification hopes took a hit at Rosalie Park late on Sunday afternoon as they fell victim to a Lisa De Vanna hat-trick for resurgent Subi.

The talented young visitors hit the front within three minutes as Subiaco failed to clear along the left-hand flank and Ava Richards played a ball across for Louise Tana who turned beautifully away from her marker and lifted the ball into the net.

NTC doubled their lead just before the 20-minute mark as Violet Longmore played a ball forward for Grace Johnston who crossed in from the right, Subi keeper Zara Board, a member of the Junior Matildas’ recent successes looked to clear, but the ball fell kindly for Tanika Lala to sweep home.

Above: Hyundai NTC’s Tanika Lala, who grabbed her team’s second goal at Rosalie Park on Sunday. Photo: Kalgoorlie Miner.

Subiaco, are made of stern stuff these days, and a sensational second-half comeback saw them earn a fifth win of the season – more than they have ever managed in the previous years of NPLW WA football put together.

First, within three minutes of the re-start, all three of Subiaco’s former Perth Glory stars combined as Ella Mastrantonio fed De Vanna who received the ball back from Marianna Tabain to advance through on goal. Lilly Bailey in the NTC goal parried De Vanna’s shot, but Ingrid Gomez Basallo was on hand to steer the ball home.

A sixteen-minute hat-trick from De Vanna turned the game on its head. The former Matildas legend got her first just after the hour mark as Mastrantonio fed her on the left and galloped into the box to curl a low effort in at the near post to level the scores.

The second goal came fifteen minutes later through a similar route as Mastrantonio threaded a superb ball through and De Vanna beat the offside trap to advance on goal and tuck the ball under Bailey as the home side hit the front for the first time.

Johnston broke forward and a sensational tackle from Subi’s Phoenix Brownlie set events in motion for the final goal of the afternoon. Tabain and Mastrantonio combined to play in De Vanna to complete her hat-trick in style as she ran through and chipped the onrushing Bailey in style as Subiaco claimed a 4-2 win.

 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar18162066950+57
Perth SC191045411434+27
Fremantle City18846403228+8
Murdoch University Melville18837251927+6
Hyundai NTC19757313726-6
Balcatta Etna198110262725-1
Subiaco195311286018-32
Curtin University18021618772-59

Round 20 Fixtures: Curtin University v Hyundai NTC, Fremantle City v Balcatta Etna, Perth SC v Subiaco, Perth RedStar v Murdoch University Melville.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Hodgson And Hayward Boost For Adelaide United

Impetus hears from key Adelaide United defender Isabel Hodgson as the Reds star signs a two-year deal, plus Paige Hayward on her new contract. Adelaide head coach Adrian Stenta also explains why he is so delighted to secure the pair for another campaign (12/8/22).

Above: Isabel Hodgson, one of Adelaide United’s standout players last season, signed a new two-year deal at the club today. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

Adelaide United announced the major news today that defender Isabel Hodgson has re-signed with the club for the next two Liberty A-League seasons.
 
The 26-year-old made her Reds debut during the 2013/14 campaign and has since gone on to amass 58 appearances, scoring four goals. Hodgson was awarded the captaincy in December 2021, and in doing so, became the 10th Reds player to wear the armband.
 
In 13 matches last season, she helped lead Adelaide to a third-place finish and secure an inaugural finals berth.
 
Speaking about returning for her eighth season, Hodgson said: “I’m thrilled to be back in red playing for my hometown team. To be given the privilege of captaining this group of girls last season was a massive honour and something I’m very appreciative of. I’m confident we can build on our history-making season last year and get closer to winning a championship.”
 
Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “Isabel has been a tremendous player for us, particularly over the past couple of seasons.
 
“She’s really grown in the role as the leader of our team, embracing the extra responsibility that comes with the captaincy. I’m proud we’ve managed to re-sign her until 2024 and hopefully, we can improve on what we realised last season.”

Hayward Pens New Deal

Above: Paige Hayward – back for another year at Adelaide United. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

Also today, the South Australians announced that forward Paige Hayward, has re-signed for the 2022/23 season.
 
The 27-year-old joined the Reds last season and registered two assists in 10 appearances, featuring as a winger and auxiliary full-back.
 
Speaking about returning to the Reds, Hayward said: “I’m really happy to be back at Adelaide United. I’ll be looking to help the team as much as I can in whatever role that’s given to me. We made huge progress as a team by making the finals for the first time last season and hopefully we can build on that this campaign.”
 
Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “We’re really pleased to have re-signed Paige ahead of the new season. She provides our squad with plenty of dynamism and energy because of her tireless work rate.
 
“Paige is also quite tactically versatile and demonstrated her ability to fill a number of positions for us during games.”

Calder United Seal Nike FC Cup Glory

South Melbourne 0-3 Calder United

by Kieran Yap (11/8/22)

Above: Calder United left the 2022 Nike FC Cup. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819

Calder United have won the 2022 Nike FC Cup following a 3-0 win over South Melbourne.

There were no NPLW games in Victoria this weekend. The schedule was cleared as the final two sides of the knockout competition faced off at Valley Park.

The weather was perfect, and a crowd quickly built to match the occasion. South Melbourne were as well supported as always, but Calder United drew a number of dedicated supporters, many decked out in Western United gear. The two clubs are closely aligned, and Calder swapped their traditional white strip for the green and black of the A-League Womens’ newest side.

It was standing room only by kick-off. The atmosphere was colourful and buoyant. The Victory Vikings were in attendance, as they are at every major women’s football event in the state.  The A-League Women’s active support group had players on both sides of the contest.

Five teams separated these two clubs on the ladder. Calder are in first place with a game in hand. South Melbourne has been inconsistent, yet sometimes spectacular and always compelling, but are in seventh position. None of that really matters in a cup final, particularly given that South Melbourne arrived at the big day having beaten Heidelberg United 3-2 in dramatic style.

South Melbourne set up to stop Calder’s attack early. Grace Taranto started deep in defence, and Kat Goff, so often a goal threat, was played at full-back. The plan seemed to be to counterattack using the pace of South’s dangerous wingers.

Above: The final was played in front of a big crowd at Valley Park. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

The underdogs had the first chance of the game. Janna Lawson cruised along the left flank and whipped in a wonderful cross. Caitlin Pickett attacked the ball well, but her header was directed into the side netting. It was a start to the game that the enthusiastic crowd delighted in.

Calder United took a few minutes to settle into the match, but their class soon showed. This is a side that is very talented and evenly spread across the entire squad. Despite scoring the most goals in the NPLW, they do not have a single player in the top 10 goal scorers of the league. Stopping them is easier said than done.

Nine minutes in, the first goal arrived. Alana Cerne raced behind the South Melbourne defence to get on the end of a long pass. The finish was something special, as she lofted the ball over the onrushing Janna Farrow in goal.

Cerne’s pace and technique were on full display with the goal. She had recently been announced as Western United’s first official signing and showed why she will be a danger in the A-League Women.

Cerne played a big part in the second goal. A corner kick was well cleared by Farrow, but the ball fell to the star midfielder just outside of the box. Her half volley was on target but Aleksandra Sinclair flicked it on with a header to leave Farrow stranded and make it 2-0 after 23 minutes.

As the game progressed, Calder’s confidence and dominance grew. Fleet-footed attacker Stacey Papadopoulos was a constant menace. Some of her turns, dribble and flicks were a delight.

Above: Calder United (green) look to drive forward against South Melbourne in the Nike FC Cup Final. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

For South Melbourne, Francesca Iermano was busy, while Georgia Kandilas pressed with commitment, but they were lacking the final pass or any confident finishes.

The contest was effectively over in the 51st minute. Sinclair latched onto a panicked clearance but was bundled over in the box for a penalty. The spot kick was emphatically tucked away by Melissa Taranto.

Calder United were happy to make South Melbourne chase the ball for the rest of the afternoon. The introduction of Ava Groba and Emma Robers only caused more headaches for South’s under-pressure defence.

When the final whistle sounded, it was greeted by rapturous celebrations from the Calder players and fans.

The only downside for the afternoon was a late injury to Melissa Taranto. With the NPLW finals approaching and both Harriet Withers and Adriana Taranto missing from the matchday squad, that will be cause for concern.

South were brave. Farrow kept them in the match early with some terrific close-range saves and new Canberra United signing Holly Murray was tireless in a defensive midfield role.

Above: Calder United celebrate in the dressing room post-match. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

In the end, goals were too hard to come by and a defence missing Claudia Mihocic could not keep the league’s top-scoring side at bay.

South should be proud of their cup run. The 3-0 defeat will be disappointing, but reaching the final was an important achievement in a difficult season. The club has undergone significant change in its playing roster this year and the Nike FC Cup campaign was a better indication of what they are capable of than their league form.

Calder United have claimed the trophy for a fifth time in succession. They played with confidence, style, and purpose. They attack well and defend diligently. They were expected winners in this game but showed no fear of the occasion and played the way that they always have this season.

It is not yet known how many of these Calder United players will feature next season for Western United But they could be thrilling to watch. This was their first trophy of 2022. They may still claim two more with the minor premiership and the championship still to be decided.

Congratulations to Calder United on a terrific Nike FC Cup campaign in 2022.

Teams: SOUTH MELBOURNE: Farrow, Goff (Keppens 82′), Hrnopoulos, Iermano, Kandlilas (Tolios 63′), Lawson, Murray (Carman 82’), Papatsanis, Pickett, Sandhu (Houndalas 59′), G. Taranto.

CALDER UNITED: Dall’ Oste, Cain (Robers 46′), Cerne, Dakic, Deralas (Groba 59′), Matthews (Talevski 78′), Papadopoulos, Rossi, Sardo, Sinclair, M. Taranto (Grima 89′).

Scorers: Cerne 9’, Sinclair 23’, M.Taranto (pen) 51′.

Referee: Caitlin Williams.

Adelaide Announce Two Key Signings

Impetus hears from Dylan Holmes and Annalee Grove and Reds head coach Adrian Stenta on the news that the pair signed new deals with the South Australian side today. (11/8/22).

Above: Dylan Holmes in action for Adelaide United last season – she’s back in red for 2022/23. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

Adelaide United announced the key retention of Dylan Holmes today for the Liberty A-League 2022/23 season.

Holmes has been an instrumental presence in the Reds midfield since 2018 and her strong performances saw her transferred to Swedish side BK Häcken and capped by the Matildas in 2021.

The 25-year-old initially made her Adelaide debut in 2014 before returning to the team four years later.

Across her two separate stints, Holmes has accumulated a total of 53 appearances, while scoring four goals and registering seven assists.

Speaking about entering her sixth season with the Club, Holmes said: “I’m really excited to be back again and working with Adrian (Stenta) and the girls. We really took a huge stride forward last year, not just in terms of results but our performances and the way we controlled matches, and the aim will be to build on our first finals appearance.

“For myself, I’ve experienced the best football of my career at Adelaide United and I’m hoping to contribute as much as I can.”

Adelaide United Liberty A-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have signed Dylan again for the upcoming campaign. She is a player fundamental to our success and someone we value very highly because of her leadership qualities she possesses both on and off the field.

“She is technically very good on the ball and will be a key cog in our midfield, so to have her back is a real coup for the team.”

Reds Secure Annalee Grove For The Next Two Seasons

Above: Annalee Grove (centre) penned a new two-year deal with Adelaide United today. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United.

On a busy day of announcements for the club, The Reds also announced that Annalee Grove, has re-signed with the Club on a two-year contract until the end of the Liberty A-League 2023/24 season.

The 21-year-old experienced a breakout campaign in her second season with the Reds, playing all 15 matches and recording four clean sheets.

Grove joined the Club ahead of the 2020/21 season and made two starts as she served as Sian Fryer-McLaren’s understudy before assuming the number one role permanently. The shot-stopper is currently spending the offseason in the local WNPL with West Adelaide where she secured the minor premiership.

“Adelaide has been like a second home for me and I’ve really enjoyed my time here in this great city and fantastic Club. It was pleasing to finally secure a first-ever finals appearance last season and I believe as a team we’re building something special.”

Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “We’re delighted to be re-signing a quality, young goalkeeper in Annie. She really made the step up into the number one role and was one of the key factors behind our significant improvement last season.

“Annie will only continue improving with the more games she plays at this level and I’m confident she’ll only build on her positive performances.”

Gabby Dal Busco: Vocal About Balcatta Etna’s Promise

In the second part of Gabby Dal Busco‘s chat with Impetus’ Ben Gilby, Balcatta Etna’s former Young Matildas and Perth Glory W-League Grand Finalist reflects on life at Grindleford Reserve and NPL WA competition this season (10/8/22).

Above: An inspiration for the next generation – Gabby Dal Busco with youngsters at Balcatta Etna this season. Photo supplied by: Gabby Dal Busco.

Gabby Dal Busco is one of the most prominent players in Western Australia. She has played for the Young Matildas, represented the state, and played in a W-League Grand Final for Perth Glory.

As a player, she describes herself as “Pretty vocal. In fact, you can probably hear me a few suburbs away when we’re playing! I like to lead by example on the pitch, and value communication and work rate above all else. I like to play with the ball at my feet, and act as a sweeper for the back four. I’m quite confident in a one-on-one situation and use my positioning to my advantage.”

Whilst Balcatta have had success in making Cup Finals over the past couple of seasons, they have not quite been able to translate that form into a top-four place in the NPL, as Gabby reflected.

“The Night Series campaign felt like a nice reward for the hard work the girls put in over the pre-season period last year. Having a new coach on board meant players were fired up to secure a spot within the squad, and this created good competition.

Unfortunately, I was unable to play the majority of the Night Series campaign last season, as I had to undergo surgery after the first game. I was able to make it back for the final. I think the tenacity and fight from the girls was incredible and a real driver for our success in the Night Series campaign as well as the State Cup Final.

“Last season as a whole, definitely had its ups and downs. We started strong in the Night Series competition, however, found it difficult at times to find form during the season. Transitioning to a new coaching style took its time, but it created opportunities to change our playing style and give players opportunities to develop their game further.

Above: Gabby Dal Busco lifts the Night Series trophy for Balcatta in 2021. Photo supplied by: Gabby Dal Busco.

“A number of injuries to key players contributed to inconsistencies in our starting 11, but allowed other players to step in and develop their skills at a first-team level, which was pleasing to see.”

This year’s campaign began with a trip to another Night Series Cup Final, but this time, after building an early 2-0 lead, Balcatta Etna succumbed to Northern Redbacks.

“It was a really tough game, and it always is against just an established and strong team like Redbacks, now Perth RedStar, Gabby said. “It was great to get an early lead in the game, and that momentum helped us to hold onto the game for the 90 minutes of regulation time. Redbacks showed their experience in the periods of extra time and came away with the win.

“However, it was really pleasing to see how we fought right until the end of the game. Despite conceding two goals, we did not stop working until that final whistle, so I was still super proud of the team and our efforts.”

It’s was a bit of a stop-start opening to the NPL season for Balcatta with COVID-related postponements and a number of the fixtures that they were able to play being against the higher-placed sides. Gabby reflected on those issues.

“The first few games were definitely a challenge in terms of generating momentum, and we had some inconsistent performances as a result. There was a quick turnaround from finishing the Night Series campaign, and there were undoubtedly some tired bodies on the pitch. The stop-start nature of the start of our season made it difficult to get into the swing of things, considering, by round six we had only played about three games.

Above: Gabby Dal Busco in action driving her team forward. Photo: David Dal Busco Photography.

“When we were able to play week in, week out, we were able to get some good results, both at home and on the road, and find our rhythm. As a team, it is very important for us to push for a top-four spot.

“The culture within our team is something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced elsewhere. The bond that we all share is quite unique and special. Most of the girls playing at Balcatta Etna I have known for over 10 years.

“Players like Monique Godding, Kim McCartney, and Cass Harvey who I played with in state teams and at NTC for a number of years prior to being at Balcatta, as well as Tahlia and Monique D’Opera, Epril Nossent, and Alanah Veroni who I have played with at the club for a number of seasons at junior and senior level.

“We have all been through good times and bad together and have established lifelong friendships that will last beyond our footballing days.

Gabby has been in excellent form for Balcatta Etna this season, with some sensational shot-stopping. “It has been great to get some good performances on the board this season and start to push myself further and further each week at training.”

Above: A tight team who have known each other for a long time – Gabby loves life at Balcatta Etna. Photo supplied by: Gabby Dal Busco.

With the Balcatta Etna goalkeeper playing so well, this season, there is the inevitable question about the potential for a return to Perth Glory and A-League Women football.

“To be honest, whenever I am asked about returning to Perth Glory, it is actually a very difficult question for me to answer. I enjoyed the opportunity to play for Perth Glory and the Young Matildas very much – as challenging as it was from a training point of view, I was able to experience training with some of the best in the world.

“For majority of my career at Perth Glory, I felt very supported to pursue academics as well as high-level sport, and I was able to balance these commitments whilst still enjoying the game.

“The last year I was involved with Perth Glory, I sustained an injury that meant I wasn’t able to play during the season. Being on the sidelines opened my eyes to another side of professional sport. The next year, my contract at Perth Glory was not renewed, after a discussion that forced me to decide to either continue to be involved with Perth Glory or pursue my Physiotherapy degree.

“These experiences have helped to shape me as a good leader both within my team at Balcatta Etna, but also as my role as a Physiotherapist and Clinical Lead within my work team. I currently work as a Physiotherapist in neurological rehabilitation, so you are constantly having to juggle and adapt to ever-changing situations.”

After putting in a consistent number of hugely impressive performances for Balcatta Etna this season, Dal Busco has not given up hopes of returning to Perth Glory, as she revealed.

“After some time away from the A-League Women, I have been able to find my love for the game again and am enjoying pushing myself at training and during games. Perth Glory/the A-League is definitely something I have considered returning to – hopefully with continued good performances in the NPLW, we will see what the future holds!”

To read the first part of this interview, CLICK HERE: https://impetusfootball.org/2022/08/03/gabby-dal-busco-on-playing-alongside-some-of-the-w-leagues-greatest/

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Canberra Lock In Legend Heyman On Two Year Deal

by Ben Gilby (10/8/22)

Above: Michelle Heyman (right) in action for Canberra United last season against Brisbane Roar. Photo: Canberra United.

Canberra United announced this morning that Michelle Heyman has agreed a two-year marquee deal with the club with will keep her in green up until the conclusion of the 2023/2024 season.
 
Heyman, the Liberty A-League all-time leading scorer having netted 82 times in 141 matches, is a Canberra United legend having won two Grand Finals with the club, scoring a brace in the win over Brisbane Roar in the showdown at McKellar Park in 2012.
 
In addition to agreeing terms with United, Heyman will also be installed in the role of Capital Football, Football Ambassador, where she will have leadership in promoting the game to the Canberra football community, as well as helping to boost participation.
 
“I am absolutely thrilled to sign a new two-year contract with Canberra United,” Heyman said of the announcement.
 
“It’s no secret that I love being part of the club here in Canberra and that I have enjoyed many happy memories playing in the famous green shirt.

Above: Canberra United legend Michelle Heyman speaking to the media earlier today. Image: Canberra United.

“With Njegosh (Popovich) being named Head Coach, and the addition of his coaching staff and some excellent young signings, it was an easy decision for me to commit to the club for the next two seasons. I am excited by the direction that the club is taking and can’t wait to get started.”

The symbolism of having a two-year deal is powerful for Heyman. “It’s the first time I’ve had a two-year deal anywhere, so it’s great to have that security and also that the club don’t necessarily view me as old!”

As well as being delighted about her new contract, Heyman is over the moon about the team moving back to McKellar Park for the season. “I’m super happy to be back at the cauldron, it has so many memories of the past. The fans make this feel different from anywhere else. The other clubs hate coming here as everyone is always cheering.

“I’ve put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this club. I wear this club on my sleeve. I am Canberra United. It sums up what I have done for this club and what I can do for this club. It made me feel wanted and feel that the club value me.”

The Australian football icon highlighted the wider consequences of being given a two-year deal, admitting: “I might not have to have a job now. I want to make sure that every minute now I have a chance – there’s a World Cup coming up and I have a point to prove and goals to score.

Above: Canberra United head coach Njegosh Popovich speaking at today’s media conference in Canberra. Image: Canberra United.

The addition of Heyman to the United roster means that Head Coach Njegosh Popovich has a top-class finisher in his ranks, the striker having scored 20 goals in 61 internationals for the Matildas, and another experienced head to guide the younger players around her.
 
Heyman struck nine times in fourteen outings during the 2021/2022 Liberty A-League season, including a last-day hat-trick in a 3-3 draw against Brisbane Roar.
 
“I am thrilled that Michelle has committed herself to Canberra United for the next two Liberty A-League campaigns,” Popovich enthused.
 
“There is no doubt that she is one of the greatest strikers to have played the women’s game, and her goal-scoring record in the A-League is incredible. But it’s not just her goals that makes her such a special talent.
 
“Michelle is a very clever footballer in the way she can drop deep and dictate the tempo of attacks and how she links up between midfield and the forward line. Whilst her finishing is exemplary, it’s her all-round game that makes her a standout.”
 
Heyman is Canberra United’s eleventh signing for the forthcoming Liberty A-League season.

Artwork: Canberra United.

NPL WA Women Round 18 Wrap

Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (8/8/22).

Above: Hyundai NTC’s star from the Goldfields, Tanika Lala drives a shot in on goal yesterday. PhotoBen Gilby

MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:

Hyundai NTC 3-1 Balcatta Etna

by Ben Gilby at E&D Litis Stadium

The NTC produced a performance of maturity that belied their tender years to come back from an early setback to earn a controlled victory over Balcatta Etna in a vital game in the Top Four Cup race.

It was the visitors who had the momentum from the start in sunny conditions at E&D Litis Stadium. Monique Prinsloo found Aaliyah Jorquera outside her on the right. The move ended with Monique D’Opera crossing the ball in towards Mia Yeo at the back post and referee Stephen Knight pointed to the spot adjudging there was an NTC hand on the ball as the move progressed.

With less than two minutes on the clock, Monique Godding stepped up, but Lilly Bailey saved well with her feet, however Knight ruled a retake for encroachment. It was second time lucky for Godding as she dispatched the spot kick into the left-hand side of the goal.

Above: Balcatta Etna’s Aaliyah Jorquera who had an impressive first half. Photo: Ben Gilby

Jorquera and Elizabeth Doust caught the eye in the opening half with their busy nature; determined to run off the ball into channels and when in possession look to advance into the box.

However, when it comes to the NTC, there is always the threat of intricate passing moves with the magic wand of Grace Johnston and Louise Tana in addition to the outstanding young gun Tanika Lala. It was Lala who offered the first threat just before the 10-minute mark when she forced Gabby Dal Busco into a save in the Balcatta goal.

Within moments, Dal Busco was called into action again as Johnston released Lala and the visitors’ custodian got down well to push the ball out.

Above: Mia Yeo pictured on a typical marauding run. Photo: Ben Gilby.

Balcatta threatened again as Yeo showed her quality with a fine through ball to release Monique Prinsloo who fired wide.

However, just before the half-hour mark, the NTC began to get on the front foot. Lala forced two saves from Dal Busco in quick succession, the second a superb tip over the ball.

Johnston curled the resulting corner in towards the back post where Violet Longmore headed home unmarked to level the scores.

Above: Tanika Lala – the Hyundai NTC striker had another impressive afternoon. Photo: Ben Gilby.

The NTC continued to press, forcing back-to-back free-kicks on the right-hand side, but whilst there was no reward from these set-pieces, their increased territorial hold was marked just before the break with a second goal.

A game of head tennis centrally about 30 yards from goal ended with Sophie Meaden heading through to Lala who let fly from outside the box and the ball bounced in front of the diving Dal Busco and in.

The NTC continued their momentum in the second half. Their trademark passing movements began to find their mark more. Balcatta tried to play a disciplined defensive line. Lala found her way through but Jorquera covered well to crash the ball out of play.

Above: Balcatta Etna goalkeeper Gabby Dal Busco dives, but cannot stop Tanika Lala’s penalty. Photo: Ben Gilby.

Eight minutes in, and Lala was felled in the box. As referee Stephen Knight pointed to the spot, Balcatta claimed that the ball had been won, but there was no moving the official. Lala picked herself up and efficiently dispatched the ball into the right-hand corner.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between after that. Balcatta rolled the dice on the subs bench, but despite the injection of energy from Angelique Alberts, the visitors were not able to get a foothold back in the game and that is to the credit of NTC who remained exceptionally well organised at the back.

There was one further opportunity for Lala to complete her hat-trick but Dal Busco got down well at her near post to deny the star from the Goldfields.

Above: Balcatta Etna battled away at Hyundai NTC, but couldn’t quite create the chances to boost their Top Four Cup hopes. Photo: Ben Gilby.

This outcome gives the NTC a great chance of making the Top Four Cup – qualification is looking pretty congested, but if they can pick up a win at Subiaco next weekend, the youngsters will be hard to shift.

Conversely, for Balcatta, it is looking a real tough task to make it now. They have a strong squad who you feel are capable of great things – those good times may now have to wait for another year.

Teams: HYUNDAI NTC: Bailey, Thodlana, Johnston, Lala, Tana, Powell, Woolley, Harnwell, Vega Mena, Meaden, Longmore. Substitutes: Brooks, Cassidy, Richards.

Scorers: Longmore 29′. Lala 44′, (pen) 53′.

BALCATTA ETNA: Dal Busco, M.D’Opera, T.D’Opera, Godding, Jorquera, Prinsloo, Doust, Continibali, Cawley, Yeo, Bulgaru. Substitutes: Alberts, Engelbert, Gama, Noussent, Seerden.

Scorers: Godding (pen) 3′.

Referee: Stephen Knight.

Round 18 Wrap

Above: Jaime Duncanson (Sky Blue shirt on left of image) lifts the ball over Fremantle City goalkeeper Dayle Schroeder on Friday night. Photo: NPL.

Round 18 action started on Friday night with two matches. First, there was the vital second against third blockbuster at Wauhop Park saw Fremantle City host Perth SC.

Freo knew that a win would make them favourites to keep hold of second spot with only three weeks of the regular season remaining, and they made a fast start. With just a shade over 60 seconds on the clock, Perth SC keeper Rebecca Bennett repelled a shot with her feet, the attempted defensive clearance rebounded off a Fremantle player and rolled across the box for Jessica Darmago to fire home.

The Azzurri kept faith and with 23 minutes played were level. Jaymee Gibbons picked up possession in the middle, beat her marker, and played in Jaime Duncanson outside her. Perth’s deadly attacker took a touch, advanced into the box, and lifted the ball over advancing Freo goalkeeper Dayle Schroeder.

Fremantle hit back and forced three corners and as many shots on target before the interval, but could not make those chances count. How they would pay for that in the second half.

Above: There was plenty to celebrate for Perth SC on Friday night at Fremantle City. Photo: NPL.

Perth SC were dominant from the start of the second period, scoring three times in the opening 13 minutes to seal the deal. First, Abbey Meakins ended a sweeping movement by hitting a shot from just over 20 yards which took a wicked deflection off a Freo player and pitched high before bouncing in front of a wrong-footed Schroeder and going in.

Within three minutes it was 3-1 to The Azzurri when Duncanson gained advantage from loose Fremantle play to set in motion a sweeping move which eventually saw Ella Lincoln found on the edge of the box on the right-hand side. The youngster took a touch, turned her marker and unleashed a confident shot across Schroeder and into the far corner of the net. It was great skill.

Above: Jessica Flannery provides the cross for Stella Zampogna’s fifth Perth SC goal. Photo: NPL.

Just after the hour mark, Meakins grabbed her second from a free-kick around 20 yards out to the right of centre. Her shot bounced in front of the diving Schroeder and found the net. In the final minute, Stella Zampogna completed the scoring as she dispatched Jessica Flannery’s cross from the left into the net with some aplomb.

Perth SC are hitting top form at the right time of the season. Their last three games has seen them hit 15 goals, conceding just two. This period has also seen The Azzurri become the first team to avoid defeat to Perth RedStar.

Above: Sadie Lawrence lets fly from outside of the box to give Murdoch University Melville the lead on Friday night at Curtin University. Photo: NPL.

Also on Friday night, Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC) continued their fine recent run with a 3-0 win at winless Curtin University.

The visitors were rampant from the start at Edinburgh Oval, forcing six corners in a 12-minute spell, but despite this, it took them until eight minutes before the break to hit the front. From a throw-in on the right-hand side, the ball was laid back to Perth Glory W-League player Sadie Lawrence who took a touch to roll away from a would-be marker just outside the box and then lash home a sensational finish into the top left-hand corner.

Above: Andrea Preiato lashes home Murdoch University Melville’s second goal from outside the box. Photo: NPL.

It became 2-0 20 minutes into the second period as Elysse Shore gathered possession on the left flank and fed Andrea Preiato who took a touch and lifted another brilliant finish high into the far corner of the net.

The scoring was completed a quarter of an hour before the end as Rachel Gilles stood over a free-kick, around 25 yards from goal, way out on the left touchline. Her shot was high towards goal, and Curtin keeper Gabriele Maluga could only help the ball into the net.

Above: Rachel Gillies (far left of picture) lines up her free-kick that flew in to complete Murdoch University Melville’s win on Friday night. Photo: NPL.

Murdoch University Melville’s latest success puts them just a single point behind third-placed Fremantle City – it makes the clash between the two sides next Saturday at 5pm all the more mouthwatering.

Above: Andreia Teixeira’s corner causes chaos in the Subiaco penalty area as Perth RedStar go 2-0 up on Saturday evening. Photo: NPL.

Perth RedStar may have wrapped up the NPLW WA title last weekend, but they are not going to step off the accelerator any time soon, seeing off previously in-form Subiaco 6-2 at RedStar Arena on Saturday evening.

The hosts were on the front foot from the start, racking up three corners in the opening period, so it was no shock when they went ahead with 11 minutes played as Jay Coleman played through an inch-perfect slide rule pass for Larissa Walsh to round Marissa Pidgeon and slot home from wide out to the right of the box.

RedStar doubled their lead after the 20-minute mark as Andreia Teixeira’s corner from the right was adjudged to have crossed the line with Coleman and Walsh in the mix close to the line. Credit to Subi though, as within two minutes they were back in the game when their first shot on target ended with a goal. Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna took the ball on the left flank and found Megan Shepherd before being fed once more and she curled in a shot from the far side which flew over Maya Diederichson in the RedStar goal. Some may claim this was a cross that got lucky – but this is De Vanna we’re talking about.

Above: Olivia Wood (red shirt left of centre of photo) lets fly with a stunning shot to put Perth RedStar 3-1 ahead. Photo: NPL.

Back came RedStar and they re-established their two-goal cushion within four minutes. Kim Carroll in midfield fed Olivia Wood who let fly with a sensational curling shot from over 20 yards that rocketed into the top right-hand corner. The hosts hit their fourth just before the interval as Kim Carroll converted a penalty into the right-hand side of the net.

The first half yielded 10 shots on target and five corners for RedStar as well as a 4-1 lead. Subiaco had chances at the start of the second period and got a goal back 10 minutes in when Shepherd dispatched a penalty.

Perth RedStar had the final say with two further strikes. First, a sweeping move was ended by former Football Fern Renee Leota netting after she took the ball around Pidgeon and slid home. The scoring was completed two minutes from time when Walsh gained possession on the left flank and played in a perfectly weighted low ball for Quyen Doan to nod into an empty net.

Above: Kim Carroll (7) about to dispatch a penalty for Perth RedStar against Subiaco on Saturday evening. Photo: NPL.
 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar17161065849+57
Perth SC17935351130+24
Fremantle City18846403228+8
Murdoch University Melville18837251927+6
Hyundai NTC18756293326-4
Balcatta Etna187110222622-4
Subiaco174310225315-31
Curtin University17021517732-56

Round 19 Fixtures: Perth SC v Perth RedStar, Murdoch University Melville v Fremantle City, Balcatta Etna v Curtin University, Subiaco v Hyundai NTC.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Grace Taranto: Ready To Deliver Childhood Club The Nike Cup

by Kieran Yap (5/8/22)

Above: Grace Taranto gets a shot away against Bayside United. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

The Nike FC Cup final between South Melbourne and Calder United promises to be one of the best games of Victoria’s women’s season. The statewide knockout competition has come down to traditional powerhouses South Melbourne and 2022’s most consistent side, Calder United.

Based on league standings, the seventh-placed South Melbourne come into the final as underdogs. However, their strong cup form and incredible semi-final win, and quality on the pitch, gives them a good chance of lifting the trophy.

After trailing 2-0 to an in-form Heidelberg United, South Melbourne staged a remarkable comeback to score three times and reach the final. Goals from Janna Lawson, Georgia Kandilas, and Grace Taranto helped to shape one the most remarkable comebacks in the history of the competition.

“It was a very exciting, intense game,” Taranto told Impetus.

“Being 2-0 down is always a bit of a sickening feeling. But throughout the season, South as a team have proven our resilience multiple times, and we all love each other and know how capable we all are of absolutely anything and won’t give up until the 90-minute whistle sounds.”

Taranto is still just 19 years old but has built a reputation as one of Victoria’s best defenders. In the Semi Final win, she moved into midfield, her composed finish levelled the scores just a minute into the second half, setting up an epic win.

With nothing to lose, South Melbourne surged to victory, according to Taranto it was built on belief, determination, and support.

“It was a high risk, high reward game for us,” she said. “That’s how we played and at the end of the day that’s what got us the result.”

Although South Melbourne’s league form has been inconsistent, they have been compelling viewing. Dramatic moments and tight contests have been hallmarks of their season.

Salvaging a draw from the jaws of defeat in the last second against Alamein was another example of their belief and grit. Despite being a goal down and a player down, they found a way.

The best thing for Cup finals and any game in fact is just having an array of experience in different games,” says Taranto.

“From this you learn how to play based on the situation. The Alamein game is just another example of not dropping your heads and keep pushing to the last minute. The Semi-final was an enthralling contest. After South Melbourne took the lead through Kandilas’s 73rd-minute strike, they had to survive Heidelberg’s star studded attack at their most intense.

Some stunning team and individual defending saved the day for South Melbourne. Holly Murray and Claudia Mihocic held firm at the back. Mihocic in particular was impressive with some spectacular, perfectly timed sliding tackles that have become her trademark.

In front of a fired-up crowd and against one of the best attacks in Victoria, South’s defence stayed composed. According to Taranto, knockout football has a different energy to league games.

“There’s something about Cup games that builds a different atmosphere on the field. Especially night games. South more than anything wants to win this final, so training has been awesome and the team spirit just incredible.”

Taranto’s form with South Melbourne this season has continued her upward trajectory in the game. She earned a contract in Adelaide United’s history-making A-League women’s squad in 2021/22. After a season in the elite environment, she has returned to South Melbourne as one of the NPLW’s star performers.  

Above: South Melbourne’s supremely talented Grace Taranto. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

“Adelaide United has been a major part of my development this year. Training in that environment with such dedicated coaches and talented players, I learnt so much and re-gained confidence that I feel I had lost after two years of lockdown and injuries in Melbourne.

“I came back from Adelaide feeling so motivated and determined to just keep working hard and doing everything I can that would make me a better footballer. I’m so grateful for that incredible experience.

Taranto’s versatility and form this season has earned her another chance at A-League level. Canberra United announced her as one of Njegosh Popovich’s first signings as the club aims to bounce back after missing the finals in 2021/22.

She joins Mihocic, and Murray as South Melbourne players in the top tier. Her return to the club has helped prepare her for this step.

“South has been a great team for me this year, with the coaching staff and players constantly supporting and teaching me. This season South has exposed me to different positions and made me a diverse player, having played in centre back, full back, and now midfield.

“Knowing how to play different positions has strengthened my awareness of the game and this is something that I feel will be very helpful for the upcoming A-league season.

When asked what she is looking forward to most at the three-time premiers, her excitement is obvious.

“Everything! I am so excited to work with Gosh, he’s an amazing coach, and having worked with him before, I know how much he has to offer and I can really see him being a crucial part in my footballing career.”

In the immediate future, there is the Nike F.C Cup Final and a meeting with Calder United. South Melbourne’s opponents this weekend have only lost twice in 2022, but South Melbourne has the weapons to win.

Francesco Iermano, Lawson, and Kat Goff provide pace and creativity, while young striker Bella Stringfellow has hit form at the right time.

According to Taranto, there is no fear of the occasion or opposition.

“Calder is a talented team but so are we. The fact that they are top of the league table doesn’t scare us but more so excited us. We know we are so capable of winning this Final and won’t stop at anything. It would seriously be incredible. South has given me a lot growing up being my second ever football team.

“Being the only girl in an all-boys team, the club always supported me. Now being back years later I would love and do everything I can to give back to the club.”

South Melbourne and Calder United face off for the Nike F.C Cup trophy on Sunday afternoon at Valley Park Events Centre at 4pm.

Gabby Dal Busco On Playing Alongside Some of The W-League’s Greatest

In the latest in our WA On Wednesday series of interviews, Balcatta Etna goalkeeper Gabby Dal Busco spoke to Impetus’ Ben Gilby. In this first part of a two-part interview about her hugely successful playing career which saw her represent her country, WA, as well as Perth Glory at W-League levelGabby also gives an insight into what it is like to have Sam Kerr as your captain (3/8/22).

Photo: Gabby Dal Busco making another great save this season for Balcatta Etna. Photo: JASP Photography.

Gabby Dal Busco is one of the best-known players in the Western Australian game. Having played for the NTC and represented the state at the National Youth Championships, she spent four years at Perth Glory in what was then the W-League. She admits though that it was a round ball from a different sport that got her into the game.

“I started playing football when I was about eight or nine years old. I had played around the backyard with my cousins every now and then growing up, but I actually got into playing football through netball. A girl I was playing netball with invited me down to a training session to try it out, and I was hooked straight away.

“I played at Floreat Athena in a mixed team for a few years, before moving to Balcatta at the age of 11 to play in the under 13’s girls’ team.

I played for Balcatta for a couple years until I was selected into the NTC program in 2010. I continued with the NTC program until 2018, and over this time, was selected to represent WA at U13, 14, and 15 levels at the Youth National Championships (in Canberra and Coffs Harbour), as well as representing WA a number of times at the NTC Challenge in Canberra at U17 and U19’s level.

“Whilst competing at these tournaments, I was lucky enough to have been identified for National camps and all-star teams in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Whilst I was involved in the NTC program, I played close to 200 games, and also continued to be involved in the program as a mentor, coach, and physio in the years after.

Above: Gabby Dal Busco pictured representing the Young Matildas. Photo supplied by: Gabby Dal Busco.

“Over my years at NTC, I had the opportunity to be involved in the Perth Glory and Young Matildas setups. My journey at Perth Glory commenced in 2011, when I was selected as a train-on player, and I received my first contract with the club in 2012, when I was signed as an injury replacement player.

“I made my debut for the club in 2014 and played with the club until 2018. Over this time, I had the opportunity to train, play and learn from some of the best players in Australia, and the world – the likes of Sam Kerr, Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord, Mackenzie Arnold, Collette McCallum, Kate Gill, Lisa De Vanna, to name a few.

“My journey with the Young Matildas coincided with my time at Perth Glory, from 2013 to 2015, and included representing Australia at AFF Tournaments in Vietnam in 2014 and 2015.

“After my time at NTC came to an end, I came back to Balcatta, which felt like a natural transition for me, having played with a number of these players at NTC or within the State Team setup, as well as playing with girls I had played with at a junior level. This year will mark over five years of being back at Balcatta, and I recently made my 150th appearance for the women’s first team.”

Gabby’s spell at Perth Glory coincided with some of the greatest successes in the club’s W-League history. It was an incredible period for the shot-stopper, and one she looks back fondly on.

Above: Gabby Dal Busco in the Perth Glory starting line-up ahead of the 2016 W-League Grand Final. Photo supplied by: Gabby Dal Busco.

“It was amazing to have been able to have the opportunity to train and play with some of the best players in WA, Australia, and even the world. Being around such an elite group of players really helped me to develop not only as a player on the pitch, but as a person off the pitch.

Players like Carly Telford, Chantelle Jones, and Mackenzie Arnold stood out as key role models for me as a young goalkeeper, and brought the best out of me in training. It created such a great environment for me to challenge myself, and I think this reflected across the team over this period.

“I distinctly remember the moment Mackenzie Arnold got injured in a game against Canberra (in Canberra) in 2014 – it was the last round of fixtures before the finals series. We had had a very successful season up to this point, only having lost one game all season. Suddenly, the coach at the time, Jamie Harnwell turned to me and asked me to warm up, I was going to make my debut for the club. I was so nervous I even started running onto the field before the referee had called me on!

“I remember the support that flooded in from my teammates, distinctly Sam Kerr, Shannon May, Kate Gill, and Collette McCallum. I can still remember the pep-talk Welsh International Carys Hawkins, gave me. It was so reassuring to have that support from my teammates, and that support continued throughout the following seasons as I made my starting debut and was able to secure a consistent starting spot within the team.

“I was lucky enough to play in both the semi-final against Sydney FC and Grand Final against Melbourne City in 2016, both of which were played at home at what is now HBF Park (previously NIB Stadium) in front of the record W-League crowd at that time.

Above: Safe hands Gabby Dal Busco in action for Balcatta Etna this season. Photo supplied by: Gabby Dal Busco.

“This period also coincided with some of the best experiences of my career – playing in a W-League Grand Final with world-class players and representing my country on the international stage, as well being the recipient of the goalkeeper of the year award for the NPL and Women’s Premier League in 2014, 2015 and 2020.

“Sam Kerr was an immense role model over this time in my development as a leader on and off the pitch, and has probably influenced how I lead the team at Balcatta as their captain. In fact, one of my greatest memories was before the 2016 Grand Final – Sam (Kerr), who was the captain that season, had written personalised, inspirational notes for each player in the squad and placed them on our shirts to read before the game. I actually think I still have this note! These gestures helped to shape me as a leader within my team and do everything I can to support my teammates on and off the pitch.”

To be part of this incredible period of footballing achievements, Gabby had to face and try to overcome that perennial challenge that female players have to face – fitting football into their work-life balance.

“That was one of my biggest challenges, but I think I was able to adapt quickly and manage this relatively well. A time where my training load was high, and I was travelling regularly to the eastern states for national training camps or away games (with Perth Glory), coincided with studying six ATAR subjects as well as participating in other extracurricular activities through school. I think you learn to adapt in these situations, and get pretty good at juggling it all!

Don’t miss the second part of our exclusive interview with Gabby Dal Busco which will be published next Wednesday where the Balcatta Etna goalkeeper talks about life at Grindleford Reserve and how she sees the NPL WA Women’s competition this season.

NPL Victoria Women Round 18 Wrap

Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (3/8/22).

Above: Alana Jancevski (left) and Lia Privitelli show their joy after Bulleen’s 4-0 win at Bayside United. Photo: Bulleen Lions.

MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:

Bayside United 0-4 Bulleen Lions

Round 18 of Victoria’s NPLW was a goal fest. There were 19 goals over the four games and some surprising results. But through all the incredible attacking power on display, there was no better finishing than in Bulleen’s 4-0 win over Bayside United.

Bulleen’s third place position on the ladder was comfortable but not quite safe. Caitlin Friend’s team were missing Paige Zois who had been called up for Young Matildas duty and star defender Rebekah Stott had announced her return to the WSL with Brighton and Hove Albion.

These are two great testaments to the talent and form at Bulleen but does them no favours on match day. After losing 3-0 to Calder United last week, they needed a win to return some confidence to their position.

Bayside offered a good opportunity. The bottom-placed team are not as poor as some of their worst results suggest and have been competitive when they play to their strengths. Up against Bulleen’s sparkling attack, they were in for a tough afternoon.

The Lions were on the front foot from the kick-off, and in the 23rd minute, Alana Burn had the first of the game. A cross from Lia Privitelli on the left wing was cleared but fell to Burn around 20 yards from goal. The bayside defenders pushed out quickly to prevent another cross, but Burn took aim and fired a long-range, lofted effort into the net.

The second goal came in the 30th minute. Bayside’s attack was cut off by Tyla-Jay Vlajnic, who played it quickly to Privitelli. The captain had her back to the defender when she received the ball, but broke open the play with a good turn and strong run into the box.

She cut the ball back to Alana Jancevski, who was under pressure when she hit the first time shot. Her direction and connection was good enough to loop over the goalkeeper and make it 2-0.

Above: Lia Privitelli in action during Bulleen’s 4-0 win at Bayside United. Photo: Bulleen Lions.

Jancevski had been in strong form this season. She does not seem to hesitate in front of goal, similarly to her debut goal for Perth Glory in last season’s A-League Women’s she was able to catch the defender and goalkeeper by surprise for her seventh of the season.

Vlajnic scored one of her own in the second half, and it might be one of the best strikes you will see in Australia for all of 2022.

It is an easy goal to describe, but nearly impossible to do justice to with words. A Bulleen throw-in was played back to Vlajnic. The fullback is known for her incisive passing and good crossing, but she pulled off something truly special in the 70th minute.

After controlling the bouncing ball on her thigh, she hit a high, dipping shot with the outside of her left foot. It was the lowest percentage option, but Vlajnic executed the highest level of skill. The ball bounced into the goal off the far post and Bulleen were 3-0 up in incredible fashion.

In the 90th minute, The Lions put the icing on the cake. Jancevski was allowed space to turn and pick out a pass in the middle of the park. She played a through ball into the path of Simone Vass, but Bayside keeper Lauren Farrugia was out off her line and able to block the shot.

Aleena Gutszmit was on hand for the composed finish from the rebound. It was her first goal in just her second appearance and a wonderful ending to Bulleen’s afternoon.

Teams: BAYSIDE UNITED: Farrugia (Quinn 81′), Budiongo, Baker, Anvari (Dimas 84′), Cain-Edwards, Fogarty, Galletti, Kiousis (Susser 75′), Mclure, Parker (Gaudry 84′), Shearing, Sousa.

BULLEEN LIONS: Shields, Burn (Griss 83′), Dolzan, Jancevski, Little, Johnson, O’Bryan, Oruc, Privitelli (Vass 83′), Rodger, Sernio, Tevere, Vlajnic, (Vlajnic 88′).

Scorers: Burn 23’, Jancevski 30’, Vlajnic 70’, Gutszmit 90’.

Referee: John White.

Round 18 Wrap

Above: Calder United show their joy during a vital win over Heidelberg United in the top-of-the-table clash. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819

In other matches, Heidelberg United faced Calder United for the third time this season. The top-of-the-table clash was predictably dramatic. Kathryn Vlahopoulos’s penalty kick sent Heidelberg into the halftime break with a one-nil lead, but a strong second half from Calder saw them run out 2-1 winners. Alana Cerne levelled the scores for Calder, before Emma Robers scored a spectacular last-minute winner.

In any other week, Robers goal would have been the best of the round. Her volley from the edge of the box was perfectly hit and practically unsavable. It was always going to take something special to separate these sides.

Alamein and Box Hill United scored two goals each in an entertaining draw. Sofia Sakalis opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but Sidney Allen equalised almost straight away for Alamein.

Anais Josefski’s effort re-took the lead for Box Hill, but they were denied all three points by Nia Stamatopoulos’ in the 82nd minute.

Artwork: South Melbourne.

In the surprise result of the round, FV Emerging defeated South Melbourne 6-2 after a stunning second half.

An own goal and a strike from Akeisha Sandhu meant that South Melbourne went into the break 2-1 up. Anika Dovaston’s goal for FV Emerging had them in the game, but few would have predicted the second-half onslaught.

Sarah Cain levelled the scores in the 48th minute, before Candice Kilderry and Caitlin Karic added to FV Emerging’s tally. Cain and Karic both brought up their braces in a terrific performance by the young side.

South Melbourne were missing Claudia Mihocic from the defence and may have had their focus on the upcoming Nike FC Cup, but this was a stunning display by some of Victoria’s most promising rising stars.

Karic was exceptional with Australia’s Under 23’s recently, and Kilderry has five goals to her name this season. She is an attacker with a very composed finish and ability to time attacking runs perfectly.

Not much changes on the ladder. The top four remain fairly locked in, but FV Emerging could sneak into fourth spot if they win next week over Box Hill and Bulleen do them a favour against Alamein.

There are still three games remaining of the season, but Round 19 is shaping up to be a consequential one.

Table From: NPLW Victoria.

NPL WA Women Round 17 Wrap

Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (1/8/22).

Above: Perth RedStar – NPLW WA champions 2022. Photo supplied by: Carlos Vega Mena.

MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:

Murdoch University Melville 2-0 Hyundai NTC

Defending champions Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC) earned a crucial victory in the race for Top Four Cup qualification over rivals Hyundai NTC at Besteam Stadium on Friday night.

MUM FC have been in their best form of the season over the past month or so which has seen them lift from the lower reaches of the table to the brink of Top Four Cup qualification.

The challenges faced by a team who were virtually rebuilt for the 2022 season were obvious in the first months of the campaign – the squad needed to gel and find their feet – but there were glimpses that once they were firing on all cylinders, Murdoch could be a top four challenger. That is now starting to happen.

NTC came into the game in fourth, MUM FC sixth, just two points behind their teenage visitors.

Above: Murdoch University Melville (red) took on Hyundai NTC in horrendous conditions on Friday night. Photo: NPL.

The first half opened in difficult blustery and very wet conditions on the synthetic Besteam Stadium pitch. It was the hosts who fashioned the best early opportunities with Samantha Mathers getting free along the right before cutting in along the by-line to fire in successive shots that were repelled by NTC keeper Lilly Bailey at her near post.

Meghan Hulsman probed forward shortly afterwards, and advanced into the box before Violet Longmore put in a tackle that provoked some penalty shouts from Murdoch, but referee Andre Ferreira was not interested.

MUM FC continued to enjoy more possession, but clear-cut chances were few and far between – not a surprise given the combination of the conditions and what was on the line in this match.

As the half wore on, NTC’s attacking dynamos Tanika Lala and Louise Tana, plus the constant creativity and vision of Grace Johnston began to show their worth. Yet despite getting more possession and territory, clear-cut chances remained at a premium.

With nine minutes remaining ahead of the break, there were suddenly a flurry of opportunities for the home side. Clara Hoarau found Nikita Strickling who hit a powerful drive from the right of centre in the box which was repelled for a corner by the strong hand of Bailey in the NTC goal.

Within minutes, Murdoch advanced once more and Mathers’ throw on the right found Strickling. Hulsman was then involved who laid the ball off to Hoarau inside the box who was able to sort her feet out before firing the home side ahead.

Above: Murdoch University Melville celebrate Clara Hoarau’s goal which put them ahead on Friday night. Photo: NPL.

MUM FC continued to be on the front foot after the break and they doubled their lead six minutes into the second period. Perth Glory A-League Women player Sadie Lawrence gathered possession, drove forward, and found Andrea Preiato who then fed Strickling to fire home an absolute rocket from the edge of the box to double her side’s lead as the rain continued to sheet down.

Rachel Gillies’ free-kick from 40 yards dipped suddenly and landed on the top of the net in a superb effort that suddenly went a lot closer than anyone could have predicted.

Above: Nikita Strickling lets fly with a rocket shot to double Murdoch Univesity Melville’s lead. Photo: NPL.

Hulsman was putting in a superb shift in the difficult conditions – both in her intelligent runs, link-up play, and shots. She was a thorn in the side of the NTC who could never quite limit her influence.

The NTC threw on both of their two substitutes – Catherine Adams and Wilma Thodhlana in an attempt to get back into the game. They had a chance from Louise Tana’s effort and then, in the closing minutes, a viciously curling free-kick by Adams from the edge of the box that Todd, who saw it late, got down brilliantly to push away for a corner.

Above: Catherine Adams curls in a late free kick for Hyundai NTC. Photo: NPL.

This was a huge win for Murdoch University Melville in the Top Four Cup qualification race. They are now in fourth place, a point clear of NTC who remain their closest challengers, with Balcatta Etna just a further point behind.

Teams: MURDOCH UNIVERSITY MELVILLE: Todd, Gillies, Lehane, Wainwright, Lawrence, Shore, Mathers, Hulsman, Preiato, Strickling, Hoarau. Substitutes: Cant, C.Meaden, Townsend.

Scorers: Hoarau 39′, Strickling 51′.

HYUNDAI NTC: Bailey, Harnwell, Longmore, Richards, Woolley, Johnston, Lala, S.Meaden, Vega Mena, Powell, Tana. Substitutes: Adams, Thodhlana.

Referee: Andre Ferreira.

Round 17 Wrap:

Above: Post-match scenes as Perth RedStar wrapped up the NPLW WA title with five games to spare. Photo: Fotoenzo.

Perth RedStar‘s incredible season continued as they confirmed they would be NPLW WA champions with five games remaining after defeating second-placed Fremantle City 4-0 at RedStar Arena on Sunday afternoon.

After a period of pressure that saw four shots on target and two corners in the space of 13 minutes, RedStar went ahead just after the half-hour mark with a sensational move that was started and finished by Larissa Walsh and underlined this team’s class.

Taking the ball in midfield, Walsh turned and set in motion a stunning attack that saw pace, and outrageous turns away from would-be markers, before Walsh received possession again on the right-hand edge of the area where the league’s deadliest attacker fired home with aplomb.

Above: Renee Leota fires in Perth RedStar’s second goal against Fremantle City. Photo: NPL.

The home side continued to press and doubled their lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Walsh got down the left and played the ball for Renee Leota to turn away from a defender and hit a low shot into the net.

Carlos Vega Mena’s side kept it up in the second period and any lingering doubts as to the outcome of the game were swept away with 22 minutes remaining. Once more it came from a move of quality. An inch-perfect through ball was played into the stride of Olivia Wood who ran into the box and hit a great shot around her covering defender and in for 3-0.

Above: A clinical strike from Olivia Wood makes it 3-0 for Perth RedStar against Fremantle City. Photo: NPL.

The icing on the title-winning cake came with 10 minutes left as RedStar took advantage of an over-hit Fremantle pass to attack, with Wood beating the advancing Indianna Casili in the visitors’ goal to roll home the fourth.

RedStar have now won the three pieces of silverware available to them so far this season, with this achievement added to their Night Series Final (under their previous guise of Northern Redbacks), and State Cup Final successes. The season-ending Top Four Cup is the only remaining honour to claim.

Perth SC ended a superb week with a 10-2 thrashing of winless bottom side Curtin University at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday.

Above: Returning former Perth Glory star Caitlin Doeglas (14) celebrates with Abbey Meakins during Perth SC’s 10-2 win over Curtin University. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

The Azzurri had become the first team to avoid defeat against Perth RedStar in midweek, earning a 0-0 draw on the road, and buoyed by that, they were ruthless in their demolition of Curtin in a bid to claim second place in the ladder before the end of the season.

Perth SC announced a return for former Perth Glory W-League player Caitlin Doeglas who set the ball rolling with the home side’s opening goal with five minutes on the clock.

Above: Ella Lincoln gets a shot in for Perth SC against Curtin University on Saturday – a game in which the young gun grabbed a hat-trick. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

Young Azzurri prospect Ella Lincoln then grabbed a superb hat-trick, with Doeglas adding her second just before the half-hour as Perth SC went in 5-0 up at the break.

A spell of four goals in nine minutes opened the second half as Liana Cook and Abbey Meakins got in on the act for the home side before Dakota Van-Vugt hit two in the spell to bring minor relief to Curtin University.

Above: Jaime Duncanson fires home for Perth SC against Curtin University on Saturday. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

However, another rapid-fire burst of goals saw Perth SC hit the double figures mark as Jamie Duncanson grabbed a brace either side of Cook’s second of the afternoon.

This stunning result sets up a huge second against third clash on Friday night when The Azzurri travel to Fremantle City.

Subiaco continued their excellent form by defeating Balcatta Etna for the second week in a row at Rosalie Park.

Whilst Ella Mastrantonio was not in the squad this week, Subi still had Lisa De Vanna and Marianna Tabain to steer the team’s talented youngsters around the park. The hosts forced three corners in the opening four minutes in a statement of intent.

Above: Melissa Shepherd’s stunning long-range strike puts Subiaco ahead against Balcatta Etna yesterday. Photo: NPL.

Subiaco went ahead with 11 minutes on the clock in sensational style. Emma Ylias’ throw on the right parallel with the 18-yard box led to a shot from Frankie Murray which was deflected into the path of Melissa Shepherd who hit an absolute worldie into the net first time from over 30 yards that Gabby Dal Busco was never going to stop in the Balcatta goal.

After having a goal disallowed, Balcatta levelled matters on 19 minutes with another superb strike which felt into the top of the net.

Above: Lisa De Vanna fired in a cross for Ingrid Gomez Basallo to put Subiaco 2-1 up. Photo: NPL.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Subi regained the lead. Ylias’ throw on the left allowed De Vanna to get free along the wing and fire in a dangerous cross which Dal Busco palmed away, but the ball was returned to the mix for Ingrid Gomez Basallo to steer home.

Subiaco sealed the win nine minutes into the second period. A long ball released De Vanna who showed that she still has a good turn of pace to spin away from a Balcatta player, run towards the box, and slot under Dal Busco to make it 3-1.

This victory extends Subiaco’s record-breaking number of wins for a season to four, and points tally to 15. They are now looking up the table for a best-ever placing in the top six this season.

 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar16151059646+53
Fremantle City17845392728+ 12
Perth SC16835301027+20
Murdoch University Melville17737221924+3
Hyundai NTC17656263223-6
Balcatta Etna17719212322-2
Subiaco16439204715-27
Curtin University16021417702-53

Round 18 Fixtures: Fremantle City v Perth SC, Curtin University v Murdoch University Melville, Perth RedStar v Subiaco, Hyundai NTC v Balcatta Etna.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Glory, Roar & Nix Announce New Additions

Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from Perth Glory‘s Sarah Langman, Brisbane Roar‘s Hollie Palmer, and Wellington Phoenix‘s Chloe Knott as they are unveiled today – plus the views of each club’s head coaches on their signings (29/7/22).

Perth Glory Add Langman

Perth Glory today announced that goalkeeper Sarah Langman (formerly Willacy) has signed a one-year deal with the club.

The 27-year-old has played nearly 60 Liberty A-League games during spells with her hometown club, Adelaide United, and most recently, Western Sydney Wanderers. Langman was called into the Matildas squad for the 2019 friendly series against Chile.

Having featured 13 times for Wanderers last term, she is looking forward to furthering her ambitions to play Finals football in the West.

“I’m excited for my move to Perth for the upcoming season,” she said. “[Head Coach] Alex Epakis has built a core playing group and I am looking forward to bringing my experiences to the team and helping the club push for that Finals spot. I think the move to Perth is the right one for me to keep developing my football and to be the best I can be.”

Epakis believes that Langman is another key addition to the squad for 2022/23. “I am excited to have Sarah as part of the Perth Glory family for next season,” he said. “She has a great character about her and a strong skill-set on the field.

Above: Sarah Langman making a save during her Adelaide United days. Her arrival in Western Australia ensures that Perth Glory have two excellent goalkeepers. Photo: Sarah Langman Twitter.

“She will certainly add further depth to our goalkeeper options and will be doing her part to fight for a position and help the team improve and grow further. Sarah brings the experience of 60-odd ALW appearances and has been involved in senior Matildas camps across recent years.

“I believe her key strengths, on top of her shot-stopping ability, are her distribution from the back and her aggressive positioning. “I look forward to having her in the squad this season.”

Glory CEO Tony Pignata is similarly enthused by the prospect of Langman lining up for Glory.

“Sarah is undoubtedly one of the best ‘keepers in the competition,” he said, “and a very good pick-up for the club. There is serious competition for every position in the squad that Alex has worked so hard to assemble and that bodes well for what we are confident will be a really successful Liberty A-League campaign.”

Langman debuted for Adelaide in the 2016/17 season and soon established herself as the Reds’ first-choice number one, forcing herself into Matildas contention in the process

After six seasons with United, she completed a move to Western Sydney where she was again a regular starter, making 21 starts across the 2020/21 and 2021/22 campaigns. Glory’s new recruit made 47 saves last term and kept three clean sheets.

Artwork: Perth Glory

Perth Glory Contracted Players for Liberty A-League Season 2022/23

Morgan Aquino, Sarah Langman, Alana Jancevski, Kim Carroll, Hana Lowry, Claudia Mihocic, Tijan McKenna, Sofia Sakalis, Isabella Wallhead, Abbey Green, Natasha Rigby, Cyera Hintzen, Liz Anton, Sarah Cain, Demi Koulizakis, Sadie Lawrence, Ella Mastrantonio, Susan Phonsongkham.

Palmer Back At The Roar

Artwork: Brisbane Roar

Brisbane Roar today revealed that they had re-signed midfielder Hollie Palmer for the upcoming Liberty A-League season.

Palmer will rejoin the Roar following her NPL Queensland commitments with her current club Capalaba FC, where she has been building form and fitness after overcoming the ankle injury she sustained late last year.

That setback forced her to miss the first half of the last Liberty A-League campaign, meaning the 21-year-old will be full of motivation for the new season.

“Brisbane is home for me, I enjoy being around my family, and I when I got to play last season I enjoyed myself,” Palmer said. “We were starting to play well towards the end of last season, starting to get into a rhythm. It’s a shame it ended when it did. But I think that will give us so much confidence and if we can build on that, we’ll do well.

Above: Hollie Palmer in action for Brisbane Roar in the past. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

“I’m feeling good now thankfully. I’ve been working hard and it’s been good getting 90 minutes for Capalaba. Hopefully, I can stay injury free and have a good pre-season.”

Palmer becomes the Roar’s second confirmed re-signing with more to follow as Garrath McPherson looks to build on last season’s strong finish. Alongside captain Ayesha Norrie, the Head Coach now has two midfield pieces in place.

“It’s exciting,” McPherson said. “The way Hollie finished last season showed why we were so keen to bring her home from Melbourne. I can’t wait to see her fit and healthy and starting games.

“We’re chasing cohesion. We started pretty much from scratch last season, so to have Hollie and Eash locked away – and we’ll see a number of other re-signings – is a really good platform to build on.”Whilst that time out was disappointing for us and for Hollie, I think any time a player gets a long-term injury it gives them that hunger to get back and they really understand why they love football.”

Nix Secure Knott For Another Season

Artwork: Wellington Phoenix.

Chloe Knott is the latest player to commit to Wellington Phoenix. The hardworking midfielder has signed a new two-year deal with the club, after being one of just two players to start all 14 matches in the women’s maiden season.

Knott, 26, scored two of the Nix’s goals, including the first in the team’s breakthrough 3-0 win over Canberra United in February. She also showcased her versatility by playing in an unfamiliar position up front.

“It was definitely an easy decision to re-sign with the club,” Knott said. “I was super keen to get back into it after last season as it felt like we had a lot of unfinished business.

“As a team, we want to be competitive next season. We don’t want to just be in the league to make up the numbers. We want to win games and hopefully finish a lot higher than we did last season.”

Above: Chloe Knott in action for Wellington Phoenix last season – she played an important role in the club’s maiden season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

Knott was born in England but went to high school in Auckland and wants to play for the Football Ferns in the future. “I have to stay in New Zealand to fulfil the eligibility requirements but I’m not complaining. A two-year deal for me means a bit of stability and means I can plan for the next two years with the Phoenix.

“I think there are going to be some tears as it’s going to be very emotional to be on New Zealand soil after last year. To have fans and family in the stands will be really awesome.”

While the Phoenix women won’t assemble in Wellington until October, Knott and a number of her teammates have been taking part in an off-season programme in Auckland, under the guidance of head coach Gemma Lewis.

“I’ve been training with a lot of the girls already like Paige [Satchell], Alyssa [Whinham] and Kate [Taylor]. We’ve all been in together since the Phoenix season finished and those partnerships will hopefully be fine-tuned for the season ahead.”

Above: Chloe Knott’s re-signing brings the Nix squad up to eight ahead of next season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

Lewis is delighted Knott has re-signed with the club as she believes “Chloe embodies what the Phoenix are about in terms of her work ethic, her professionalism, and her commitment. She didn’t care who she was playing against, she always gave whatever she could and made an impact on the game,” Lewis said.

“We saw that with the turnovers she created and some of the scrappy goals that she created, which are hard to come by. Chloe also played wherever we put her last year and is really flexible in that respect. She can play as a midfielder really well, she can play in the forward line and she can still be effective.

“She’s an athlete and we know she’s only getting better and better as a result of being involved in the off-season programme.”

Chloe Knott is the Phoenix women’s eighth signing for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, joining fellow foundation players Lily Alfeld, Kate Taylor, Alyssa Whinham, Mackenzie Barry, and Brianna Edwards and Football Ferns recruits Betsy Hassett and Paige Satchell in the Wellington squad.

McNamara Heads To Denmark

Impetus hears from the Adelaide United defender Matilda McNamara and head coach Adrian Stenta as the South Australian club announce her departure for Europe (28/7/22).

Above: Matilda McNamara in action for Adelaide United last season. There is a possibility that her move to Denmark may still allow her to play some part in the 2022/23 A-League campaign. Photo: Adelaide United.

Adelaide United star Matilda McNamara has departed the club to pursue an overseas opportunity with Danish Women’s League side, Aarhus Gymnastik Forening (AGF).

The 23-year-old has been a stalwart in defence over the last two seasons for the Reds, playing all 27 matches and scoring three goals, and last month was called up to the Matildas for the first time.

Speaking about her decision to join AGF, the centre-back said: “I’m extremely grateful for my time with Adelaide United and feel like I’ve improved a lot since returning to the team in 2019. My goal has always been to play abroad and I believe now is the right time in my career to take that next step and challenge myself.

Above: Matilda McNamara in training with the Australian national side recently. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Football Australia.

“Having overseas experience will also help in my development as a footballer and person, and hopefully increase my chances of representing the Matildas, especially with the World Cup occurring next year.”

Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “Matilda has been a resolute presence at the back for us for a couple of seasons now and deserves this opportunity.

“However, as a Club, we’ll never stand in the way of a player looking to better themselves by moving overseas. Hopefully, Matilda will still be able to play some role for us in the upcoming 2022/23 season, but we’ll have a better understanding about that possibility later in the year.”

McNamara accumulated a total of 33 appearances with Adelaide across two separate stints with the Club.

Lizzie Wallwork: Loving The Togetherness And Unity At Subiaco

In the latest of our WA on Wednesday series featuring players from the NPL WA Women competition, Subiaco‘s Lizzie Wallwork spoke to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about the constant growth and development at the club which has recently led to the likes of Lisa De Vanna, Ella Mastrantonio and Marianna Tabain joining. (27/7/22).

Above: Lizzie Wallwork (maroon shirt) in action for Subiaco at Perth SC. Photo: Rob Lizzi, supplied by Lizzie Wallwork.

Football has been an integral part of Lizzie Wallwork’s life for a long time, and she has played the game in both Australia and Singapore.

“I have been playing soccer for as long as I can remember, starting my footballing journey playing Joey soccer for Nedlands in a team with my younger brother, and my Dad as the coach,” she revealed.

“Being brought up playing soccer made the sport an embedded love and passion of mine from a very young age. I continued playing for Nedlands until 2014 when I moved to Singapore for two years. Whilst there, I improved my skillset, with numerous opportunities to travel for competition. I then returned to Perth in 2016 and joined Subiaco in the U18 age group and have progressed throughout the years from playing in state divisions, now to NPL.”

The Subiaco star credits a previous period taking part in athletics as making her the player she is. “It gave me solid foundations in speed and agility to assist with my soccer ability. Playing for Subiaco from an age of 16 in an open-age Division has also helped me develop my strength on the ball, as I have learnt how to hold my ground more effectively against players that might be bigger or stronger than myself. My technical ability has also dramatically improved since being at Subiaco, but further improvement in that department is my main goal for the future.”

Her footballing career may have been on an upward trajectory, but it has come with its challenges for Wallwork, who suffered interior and exterior ligaments in her ankle during a game two years ago. “I needed reconstructive surgery which led to almost an entire year of rehab and recovery, she reflected. “At that point in time, I had to make the decision whether it was worth returning to soccer, or whether my time as a player had peaked.

“After hard deliberation, I decided that my love for the sport, the Club, and my teammates outweighed my fear of not being able to perform to the same extent again. This combined with the support from the coaches drove my determination to return, and I am so grateful for that decision to this day.”

This supportive network at the club is, for Wallwork a key reason why they are continuing to develop every season.

“Subi is known for its togetherness and team unity which creates an environment for players to want to give their best as both individuals and team members. Subiaco instils values of spirit, willpower, and ambition into all aspiring young players, which is what creates such a positive community.

Above: Lizzie Wallwork pictured with her Subiaco U18 teammates in 2018.

All my teammates share the common mentality and drive of wanting to improve, not only for themselves, but for the team as a whole. It’s this spirit, heart, and determination of everyone at Subi that makes me beyond proud to represent the club.”

Having been part of Subiaco for a number of years now, Wallwork is well placed to explain the huge development of the senior team and wider club since those pre-NPL days.

“The Club has developed almost out of sight since I joined. Subiaco were State League Division One Champions in 2019, and later joined the NPL competition in 2020. The increase in quality of football between State Division One and NPL was extreme, and in my opinion, this has been the biggest driver of Subiaco’s development.

“It was a big change in dynamic from winning almost every game in 2019, to not winning a single game in 2020 and finishing bottom of the ladder. This was by far the most difficult season for Subiaco, but not due to a lack of effort or commitment.

Subiaco was very lucky to have such strong and inspirational leadership figures who gave their entire heart to the club and drove the path for improvement. Namely, head coach Iain Jolly, reserves coach Jimmy Campbell, technical directors Adi Juric and Branko Jelic, and captain Jen Walsh worked non-stop to ensure Subiaco was making progress, and on track to meet the standard of competition in NPL. After a very difficult first season in NPL, progression started to become apparent in 2021.

“Our development as a club in 2021 was outstanding, and I am so proud of the Club and the players for their dedication, commitment, and hard work they put into growing and raising our standard. Although Subiaco finished bottom of the ladder, no one can deny the extreme improvement between seasons. We experienced our first wins in the NPL, and the hard work and dedication started showing in gameplay.

“This year we have followed suit in maintaining incredible leadership by recruiting Greg Farrell as our first-team coach. Subi also signed some very talented players, including new captain Chelsie Winchcombe, who have even furthered our development. The coaches’ dedication and passion for soccer, and the club, resonate with the team and drives our cohesiveness and motivation.

“With Greg as coach this year, and the abundance of new talented players on the team, all with the same vision for the future, Subiaco is looking stronger than ever and has even more capacity/potential for improvement and growth.”

Above: Subiaco head coach Greg Farrell. Photo: Subiaco AFC.

One of the most promising sources of this growth is the increasing one-club ethos between the different age group teams and the senior squad, as Wallwork outlined.

“Greg is also ensuring an even brighter future for Subiaco NPL by providing even more opportunity for aspiring young women in soccer, by immersing U18 players in occasional NPL training sessions, exposing them to higher level playing, building relationships between older and younger players, and highlighting the direct pathway from younger age groups to NPL.”

Subiaco overcame some serious hurdles at the start of this year’s campaign in Night Series, but Wallwork sees things only going in a positive direction.

“We recruited an abundance of talented new players this season, with only a few first team players remaining from last season. The new talent on the team presents an incredible opportunity for this season and those to come, however at the start of night series, Subi did struggle in the short term in gameplay, as obviously this was the first opportunity for us to play together as essentially, a newly formed team.

“More challenges arose during night series due to implications of COVID for both players and coaches, and an unexpected shift in coaching staff. Adi, Branko, Jimmy, and Iain led the team through these times of uncertainty, and thanks to Subi’s fundamentals, the remaining players on the team banned together and worked hard in the interim. Thankfully, Greg (Farrell) stepped in as head coach and lifted our standard even higher, recruiting even more talented players, and giving us a stable platform to progress and reach our potential.

There have been ups and downs for Subi this season, but considering such a shaky start during pre-season, and working with an essentially new team of players and coaches, the level of improvement and achievement so far has shown some very promising moments which culminated in Sunday’s win over Balcatta Etna which ensured the club won three games in a NPLW WA season for the first time – and stand on 12 points – their highest ever tally, and there are still six games to play.

Above: Lisa De Vanna in action for Subiaco last weekend against Balcatta Etna. Photo: JASP Photography.

“Greg has promoted a common mentality and intention, to improve the quality of gameplay through control and prolonged possession. Although this strategy may lead to concession when mistakes are made upon the development of these skills, it is substantially improving the quality of Subiaco’s gameplay and progressing us to smooth and high-level football.”

That higher-level of football has been ratcheted up to new levels in recent weeks with the arrival of three of Western Australia’s most prominent players – Lisa De Vanna, Ella Mastrantonio, and Marianna Tabain.

The arrival of the trio may have left some in the NPL WA Women rubbing their eyes with disbelief, but it is a sign that Subi are a club making real strides.

Wallwork outlined how the club were able to bring the three stars in. “Lisa came to the club through the J&J Academy and is working with Adi Juric and Branko Jelic there, as well as with the Subiaco juniors to help them develop technically and also in terms of mentality. I think Lisa had seen the improvements being made with the first team, and with two players like Marianna and Ella not playing anywhere, spoke to them about joining up and they’ve made a big impact on the group. 

“The three of them have been really good with communicating and helping individuals, especially the younger ones who come up from the 21s, with their understanding and knowledge in training, which has then helped with team play on the field.

“With playing a much more possession-based style this season their movement, awareness, and quick thinking is next level to most in WA, so it’s terrific for the rest of us to see in action at training and to try to learn from. They’ve come in and been great as part of the group in training as well, specifically with going out of their way to help younger individuals who otherwise may not have had the confidence to approach them and ask questions.”

Above: Lizzie Wallwork (far left) in action for Subiaco against Fremantle City this season. Photo: Denyse McCulloch, supplied by: Lizzie Wallwork.

With the season approaching its final regular stages, Wallwork assessed how both she and her team have developed this season.

“Personally, my main focus this season was to improve my technical ability as well as be able to more effectively assess potential passages of play. I am trying to slow down my own game and improve the quality of my decision-making on the field, with regard to leading runs and passing decisions, rather than making the wrong decisions and overworking myself unnecessarily. The overall aim for the team is to improve the quality of gameplay through maintaining possession and control. Subiaco’s standard has already significantly lifted this season, and even more progression is expected.”

Like many others, Wallwork feels the NPL WA Women competition has been a very different beast this year, and that there is still room for improvement so that the league reaches its potential.

“Due to COVID, injuries as well as lacking opportunity in Perth, many teams lost key 2021 players, leaving the playing field quite unpredictable as the competition started to level out. RedStar is the only team to have consistently performed at an exceptional level this season, but otherwise, the level of competition is a lot closer this year than last.

“Although there has been increasing representation and opportunity for women’s soccer in recent times, there are still lengths to go to further this movement. The competition in NPL WA Women would be even better if there were easier pathways for elite sportswomen to advance above this level.”

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

NPL WA Women Midweek Special

With big matches impacting the top and bottom of the table played both last night and tonight, Impetus’ Ben Gilby provides a special additional round-up of the action from Western Australia (27/7/22)

Above: Jaime Duncanson, whose Perth SC side became the first team to avoid defeat against Perth RedStar this season in the NPLW WA tonight. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

RedStar Forced To Wait To Be Crowned Champions

Above: Perth RedStar’s Jay Coleman (centre) who forced Perth SC goalkeeper Rebecca Bennett into a save tonight. Photo: Fotoenzo.

After their perfect season of 14 wins, plus the weekend’s State Cup Final victory and success in the pre-season Night Series tournament, Perth RedStar knew that victory at home to Perth SC tonight would see them clinch the NPLW WA title with an incredible six games still to play.

It was never going to be an easy assignment, The Azzurri have tested RedStar in both previous meetings this season, the most recent being Sunday’s State Cup Final showdown at Inglewood Stadium.

The hosts had three changes to their starting line-up with Andreia Teixeira, Jay Coleman, and Larissa Walsh dropping down to the bench with Ruby Cohen, Renee Leota, and Jayna Ridley stepping up. Quyen Doan, a sub on Sunday was not in the squad, and former Matilda Kim Carroll came in.

Perth SC were missing valued attacker Abbey Meakins, who was replaced by Ella Lincoln. Jessica Byrne, who was on the bench in Sunday’s Cup Final was out, with Katie Ritchie listed instead.

The Azzurri mustered several early chances with Lincoln denied by RedStar Shivani Battaglia twice in the opening 90 seconds. RedStar had a half chance just with nine minutes on the clock with a long-range shot from Shawn Billam that was held comfortably by Rebecca Bennett in the Perth SC goal.

Above: Perth SC’s Ella Lincoln, who had two great chances for The Azzurri in the opening 90 seconds. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

Back came Perth SC with a spell of three corners in five minutes either side of the half-hour mark, but RedStar forced Bennett into making a save from Ridley just before the break.

Billam fashioned the first shot on goal in the second period, but once more Bennett in the Azzurri goal held on. Just past the hour mark, an idiosyncratic run from Perth SC star Jaime Duncanson saw her accelerate along the left wing, cut inside, and hit a powerful effort that Battaglia did well to repel.

Both sides had half chances in the final quarter of an hour with RedStar’s Coleman hitting a low effort from the edge of the box that Bennett claimed, and after breaking through Duncanson failed to get enough power in her shot to concern Battaglia. The contest finished goalless.

Perth SC have become the first side to prevent Perth RedStar from winning an NPLW WA match this season, and in the process have caused Carlos Vega Mena’s side to keep the title-winning champagne on ice. However, it’s only a matter of time, and RedStar will be going all out to get it done against Fremantle City at the weekend.

Teams: PERTH REDSTAR: Battaglia, De Leo, Dunn, Monteiro, Cohen, C.Bennett, Billam, Wood, S.Carroll, Leota, Ridley. Substitutes: Walsh, K.Carroll, Teixeira, Coleman, Diederichsen (GK).

PERTH SC: R.Bennett, Connolly, Harvey, Phillips, van Heurck, Gibbons, Lincoln, Papalia, Spadano, Cook, Duncanson. Substitutes: Zampogna, Spatafore, Ritchie.

Referee: Sailota Phiri.

Murdoch Renew Finals Hopes With Big Win At Curtin

Above: Charli Wainwright, scorer of Murdoch University Melville’s final goal in their 5-1 win at Curtin University on Tuesday night. Photo: South Coast Baptist College.

Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC) reduced the gap between them and the top four to just two points after a 5-1 win at Curtin University on Tuesday night.

MUM FC went ahead within the opening minute thanks to a goal from Andrea Preiato with Clara Horarau doubling the advantage just after the 20-minute mark. Preiato grabbed her second to ensure that Murdoch University Melville went in at half-time with a three-goal advantage.

Two goals in four minutes in the early stages of the second half killed off any faint hopes that winless Curtin may have had of a famous comeback as Rachel Gillies and then Charli Wainwright extended MUM FC’s lead to 5-0. Danielle Suckling got a goal back for Curtin with 26 minutes remaining, but it was another tough night for the home side.

Murdoch University Melville now has a huge game in the finals race on Friday night at home to Hyundai NTC. There will be a full detailed report of the game in our usual NPL WA Women Wrap.

 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar15141055643+49
Fremantle City16844392328+ 16
Perth SC1573520824+12
Hyundai NTC16655263023-4
Balcatta Etna16718202022=
Murdoch University Melville16637201921+1
Subiaco15339174612-29
Curtin University15021315602-45

This Weekend’s Fixtures: Murdoch University Melville v Hyundai NTC, Perth SC v Curtin University, Perth RedStar v Fremantle City, Subiaco v Balcatta Etna.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

NPL Victoria Women Round 17 Wrap

Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (27/7/22).

Above: Calder United come away with the ball in their game against Bulleen Lions. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:

South Melbourne 2-2 Alamein

Alamein had a tenuous hold on fourth spot when they travelled to Lakeside stadium to play South Melbourne in Round 17.

The visiting side lost to Heidelberg the previous week and needed a response against the inconsistent yet ever dangerous South Melbourne.

The hosts enjoyed a big win in Round 16. They defeated Bayside United 4-2, but the headlines were written by rising star Bella Stringfellow who scored a hattrick for South Melbourne.

The conditions were wet, cold, and miserable at kick-off and the first half was cagey with no real clear chances created by either side. With Katerina Nikpour up front for Alamein and Jenna Lawson roaming the flanks for South Melbourne, any errors at the back could be punished.

The closest either side came to a first-half goal came after Amy Jackson created some space in midfield and shifted the ball wide. The long pass from fullback created an opportunity for Nikpour but Janna Farrow in the South Melbourne goal was off her line to snuff out the chance.

Jackson’s passing range caused problems again in the second half. Ashleigh LeFevre raced down the left wing and played it back to the Melbourne Victory star. Jackson’s cross from deep caused panic in the South Melbourne defence. Farrow eventually held onto the ball after it bounced about chaotically in the box.

Despite being outplayed for much of the second half, South Melbourne took a 56th minute lead.

Georgina Kandilas and Caitlin Pickett chased down a long ball, and harried their way into the penalty box through a series of tackles, flicks, and tackles. The eventual shot came from Pickett, and it slid across the face of goal where Stringfellow was arriving to score her fourth goal in two games.

Above: South Melbourne in possession. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.

It was a goal made of effort from Kandilas and Pickett, but Stringfellow showed impressive anticipation and instincts to arrive at the far post and finish well.

The game burst into life for the final half hour as Alamein chased a goal. The equaliser arrived in the 71st minute. Vatcky’s pressure forced an under-hit back pass and Sidney Allen danced past Farrow before finishing into an empty net. After an hour without much goal-mouth action, there had been two in about 10 minutes.

Alamein were gifted a chance to go ahead five minutes later. From a corner kick, Allen headed toward goal at the back post. Lawson was on the goal line but used her hands to block the ball. It was an immediate red card and a penalty kick to Alamein.

Allen scored her second of the night with the spot kick. Alamein had turned the game around in the space of a few minutes. It was 2-1 with time running out.

A player and a goal down, all looked lost for South Melbourne, yet with nothing to lose they persisted. In the final moments of the game, their endeavour was rewarded.

Georgia Kandilas embarked on a run down the right wing, and although she was crowded out by three defenders, she kept the pressure up and forced a hasty clearance.

The ball fell to Karina Tolios on the edge of the box and a perfectly hit left foot strike saw the ball sail over the crowded penalty area and into the top corner. It was a stunning end to a dramatic game of football.

Artwork: South Melbourne FC.

As exciting as it was, the result did not do much for South Melbourne’s ladder position. They leapfrogged Box Hill into sixth but do not look like making fourth position.  

The draw might have been disappointing for Alamein, but it was a valuable point. They are only two behind Bulleen Lions and their consistency over the campaign gives them every chance of grabbing third place.

Teams: SOUTH MELBOURNE: Farrow, Houndalas, (Tolios 87′) Keppens, Lawson,, Pickett, Papatsanis, Stringfellow, (Hronopoulos) Taranto, Murray, Iermano, Kandilas.

Scorers: Stringfellow 57’, Tolios 89’.

ALAMEIN: Bean, Lefevre, Allen, Vatcky (Michael 87′), Jackson, Storay, Nikpour, (Hull 59′), Ayton, Heysen, Renehan, Lantieri-Bartley.

Scorers: Allen 70’ 79’ (pen).

Referee: Lewis Giuseffi.

Round 17 Wrap:

Above: Midfield action from Box Hill United against Bayside United. Photo: Box Hill United.

In the other games, Box Hill United were comfortable 3-0 winners over Bayside United. Sofia Sakalis scored twice in three minutes to give Box Hill a second-half lead. Anais Josefski put some gloss on the performance with a 94th-minute goal.

Heidelberg United kept their grasp on first place with a 3-0 win over FV Emerging. Emily Roach scored a brace and the in-form Danielle Wise added a third late.

Above: Mid-air action as Calder United (green) face Calder United. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

The third game of the weekend was Bulleen Lions against Calder United and a comfortable win for the visitors. Aleksandra Sinclair opened the scoring in the 47th minute before Melissa Taranto converted her penalty kick in the 74th minute to halt Bulleen’s momentum.

Ava Groba scored the third to maintain Calder’s impressive winning record this season. They are in second position but have a game in hand over Heidelberg.

It is exciting at the top of the table in the NPLW Victoria:

Above: The Calder United huddle against Bulleen Lions. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

Trio of A-League Women Signings Announced

Three A-League Women clubs announced player signings today. Impetus‘ Ben Gilby heard from all the players and head coaches involved (27/7/22).

Norrie Back At Brisbane

Above: Ayesha Norrie back at The Roar. Artwork: Brisbane Roar.

Brisbane Roar is delighted to announce the re-signing of its Liberty A-League captain Ayesha Norrie for the 2022/23 season.

Norrie will officially rejoin the Roar following the completion of the NPL Queensland Women’s season with her current club Lions FC.

A Brisbane local, Norrie captained the team for the first time last season after returning to the club where she made her top-flight debut as a 16-year-old.

She made 13 appearances and chipped in with two goals as her outstanding efforts at the base of midfield culminated in her winning the Player of the Year award.

“I’m excited to be back on board and to get started again with the Roar later this year,” Norrie said.

Above: In action captaining the Roar last season. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

“Brisbane is home for me so it’s always an honour to put on the jersey and represent the city and the state. My first year being captain, it was a learning experience for sure. It helped me grow as a person on and off the field and given me more confidence.

“I hope to continue that next season with the team. We had to start from scratch a bit last year, so it’s good to know we’re bringing a few core players back. We can build on that. We’ll definitely grow again with a bit more experience, a bit more familiarity.”

Norrie linked up with Lions FC in the NPL Women’s competition in April but is currently taking a break from competitive action to rehab a back injury.

Head Coach Garrath McPherson described the captain’s return as a “priority” for the Roar. “Eash is a strong, empathetic leader who sets the standard for both work ethic and care for others,” McPherson said.

“She had a breakout season for Brisbane both as a player and a captain. I am sure the fans are excited to hear that she is returning to lead the club for another campaign.”

Canberra Add NPLW Victoria Star Murray

Artwork: Canberra United.

Canberra United are pleased to announce the signing of versatile defender Holly Murray on a multi-year deal.

Murray is the latest signing by new United Head Coach Njegosh Popovich and inks a deal with the club off the back of a series of superb performances in the Victorian National Premier League with South Melbourne.

The youngster burst onto the local scene as a 12-year-old being named as part of Alamein FC’s inaugural Victorian NPL squad at U15 level and latterly represented the Football Victoria (FV) Emerging squad and was a train-on player at Melbourne Victory.

“I am so excited about signing for Canberra United and playing in the Liberty A-League,” Murray said.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play in this league and to get the opportunity to do so for such a great club is amazing. I am grateful to Njegosh and the club for giving me the chance to show what I can do in this league. I can’t wait to get to Canberra to meet the staff and supporters and get started!”

Above: Holly Murray pictured with NPLW Victoria side Alamein FC.

The highly-rated Murray was recently named in a Herald Sun feature as one of the best young junior prospects in Victoria and it’s that potential, coupled with an innate game-sense that has persuaded Popovich to snap her up for the 2022 and 2023 campaigns.

“Holly is a quality addition to our squad for the new season,” Popovich enthused of his new player.

“She is an excellent defender who reads the game well, is strong in the challenge, and has a good turn of pace, all the hallmarks required of being a top-class defender in the Liberty A-League.

“As a young player, she will fit in well with our group and the culture of the club and I delighted to be able to welcome her to our team.”

Nix Re-Sign Keeper Edwards

Above: Brianna Edwards pictured in training with Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

Brianna Edwards has signed on for a second season with the Wellington Phoenix and is committed to challenging incumbent goalkeeper Lily Alfeld for the starting role.

The New Zealand U-20 keeper has agreed to a new deal with the Phoenix after serving as Alfeld’s backup in the team’s maiden campaign.

“We’re such good training partners,” Edwards said. “I push Lily and she pushes me, and we make sure we get the best out of each other every single session. As much as we’re friends, I think she knows this season I want to push for more and push to be better.

“It’s really exciting to have someone who also wants to see you do well. I think that’s something special that me and Lily have.”

Edwards holds dual citizenship and fills the first of seven Australian berths in the Phoenix squad. She’s looking forward to moving across the Tasman to pursue her football career.

Above: Brianna Edwards offers Wellington Phoenix two great options in goal. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

“I’ve been over to New Zealand a couple of times this year for under-20 camps and I just love it there. It feels like a second home and I think it will feel even more like that when I’m back with the Nix. I can’t wait. I feel like I still have more to offer the Nix and there is still a lot I can get out of it. I love the culture, I love the players and I love being a part of the club.”

The move has the support of her family, particularly her dad, who was born in New Zealand.

“My family has already talked about coming to the Phoenix’s opening game. “I also have a lot of family in the North Island so I think everyone will be keen to get down to Wellington and watch.”

Edwards will also have support in the stands when she represents New Zealand at next month’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. “My family is coming to Costa Rica to watch and they’ll be kitted out in full New Zealand gear, even my mum, which she’s a bit timid about.”

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis highlighted Edwards’ qualities as a team player: “We were really comfortable when Lily was away for international duty for Bri to step up and show what she can do,” Lewis said. “We feel like it’s going to be a season for her to really push and challenge Lily and give a little bit more competition.

Above: A safe pair of hands – Brianna Edwards is back at Wellington Phoenix next season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

“Lily’s a great leader and a very good goalkeeper, but Bri’s been developing and pushing really hard. Ultimately they make each other better and we want Bri to keep pushing Lily.”

The Phoenix are not just looking at dual citizens to fill the Australian berths, with Lewis and assistant Natalie Lawrence travelling across the Tasman to look at potential players.

“We want to give Australian players the opportunity as well. We want to do what’s best for the team and we need to surround them with players that are really going to push them. In this respect Bri is that player and it’s a bonus that she’s a dual citizen. But ultimately we want to find good Aussies that can add value in our environment to really push this team forwards as well.”

Brianna Edwards is the Phoenix’s seventh signing for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, joining Alfeld, New Zealand U-20 team-mates Kate Taylor and Alyssa Whinham plus Football Ferns squad members Betsy Hassett, Paige Satchell, and Mackenzie Barry in the Nix squad that will assemble in Wellington in October.

Artwork: Wellington Phoenix.

Young Gun Taylor Commits To The Nix

It’s fair to say that Wellington Phoenix are having an absolute sensational run of player announcements for 2022/23. It continued overnight with the news that Kate Taylor, vice captain last season at the age of 18, has signed on for another year. We hear from both Kate and Nix boss Gemma Lewis (26/7/22).

Above: In typical combative action, Kate Taylor was one of the standout players in the young Wellington Phoenix side last season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

Kate Taylor has knocked back offers from rival A-League clubs to sign with the Wellington Phoenix for the 2022/23 season.

The young centre-back was in demand after being one of the breakout stars of the Phoenix’s maiden season, which led to her being called up to the Football Ferns last month.

Taylor was the Nix’s vice-captain in their inaugural campaign, despite only turning 18 last October, and started 13 of the team’s 14 matches. “I wanted to stay if I could and it’s worked out really well,” she said.

“It felt like we were together for a long time and we experienced a lot as a team during the season so I had some loyalty there. And obviously, I know Gemma [Lewis] and Nat [Lawrence] really well and I trust them a lot.”

Above: Calm, composed and with a maturity beyond her years, Kate Taylor is a real prospect. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

The Cantabrian is looking forward to renewing her combination with fellow centre-back Mackenzie Barry and goalkeeper Lily Alfeld, who have also re-signed with Phoenix.

“I can’t wait. We’re all quite close now and we’ve been in and around each other for a while so we know each other quite well and know how we all play. Hopefully that’s going to build during pre-season and when the season gets underway.”

Taylor also can’t wait to play in front of Phoenix fans in Wellington. “I was thinking about it the other day and it just made me smile. That excitement is definitely building, family and friends are keen to come watch and hopefully, we can get as many people as possible coming to our games.”

But her focus for now is on next month’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, with Taylor captain of the New Zealand side.

Above: After finishing their debut 2021/22 season in style, Kate Taylor is hoping for greater success with Wellington Phoenix next season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

“It’s just an amazing opportunity. With COVID, a lot of us didn’t get to go to an under-17 World Cup so to be leaving in a couple of days again it puts a smile on your face and makes you so excited.

“Our aim is to get out of the group. We don’t aim to just participate and obviously, we saw what the under-17s did last time. Putting on the New Zealand jersey everyone will get up for that and give it their all no matter what, which is what us Kiwis pride ourselves on I think.”

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis is also in charge of the New Zealand U-20 side and expects Taylor will thrive in Costa Rica.

“She’s going to be in the limelight as the captain of the team and when she comes back and brings those learnings to the Phoenix it’s something we’re looking to maximise,” Lewis said.

Above: Kate Taylor will be a key part of an exciting-looking Phoenix team being assembled for 2022/23. Photo: Wellington Phoenix

Lewis also believes the Nix are the best place for Taylor to be to push for selection in the Football Ferns squad for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“We play out from the back, we let them make decisions under high pressure, they have to solve the problems, they’re busy one-on-one defensively and busy inside the box so there’s not really much more you want as a centre-back.

“Kate gets put under the pump a lot of times and we do it in a really positive way where she gets to learn and grow. She won’t get that at other clubs and I think she knows that. For her there’s an element of loyalty as well as wanting to come back and put a mark on the team this year and push it forward even more.”

Kate Taylor is the Phoenix’s sixth signing for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, joining fellow Football Ferns squad members Betsy Hassett, Paige Satchell, Lily Alfeld, and Mackenzie Barry plus rising star Alyssa Whinham in the Nix squad that will assemble in Wellington in October.

Artwork: Wellington Phoenix

Phoenix Sign Experienced Football Fern Hassett

Wellington Phoenix’s impressive recruitment for the 2022/23 A-League Women continues with the arrival of 31-year-old 132 cap Football Fern Betsy HassettImpetus’ Ben Gilby hears from Hassett and the Nix’s head coach Gemma Lewis (25/7/22).

Above: Betsy Hassett (12) in action for New Zealand against Australia in April. Photo: Ian Hitchcock.

New Zealand’s fourth most-capped international footballer is joining the Wellington Phoenix to realise a childhood dream.

Football Ferns midfielder Betsy Hassett has signed with the Phoenix for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, after 14 years playing abroad.

Hassett, 31, has played for Manchester City, Werder Bremen, and Ajax since graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012 and currently plays for Stjarnan in Iceland.

“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always wished there was a professional team in New Zealand,” Hassett said. “That was one of the things I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid and now finally there is a team it’s perfect timing.

Above: Betsy Hassett pictured in her spell with Manchester City in 2014. Photo: Alchetron.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and it may be my last opportunity as it might be the end of my career soon. It’s a dream come true.”

The 132-cap international also believes Aotearoa is the perfect place to be playing with the 2023 World Cup on the horizon.

“It’s going to be amazing to focus on football and be in New Zealand before the World Cup is there. It’s going to be awesome to play in New Zealand, be at home and be around for one of the biggest events of my life. It’s just a really great opportunity. We’ve got a lot of games in New Zealand with the national team as well so it’ll be nice to not travel so much to and from Iceland.”

The three-time Olympian works as a kindergarten teacher in Iceland but will be a full-time footballer when she moves home in October to push for a place at her fourth World Cup.

Above: Betsy Hassett has amassed the fourth most caps for the Football Ferns in history. Photo: World Football.

“It’ll be nice to be able to just have training and not have work as well so I can really focus on my football which will be awesome. It’ll be really cool to play in the first professional team that’s based in New Zealand.

“Now we have this professional team it’s so cool for the younger girls in New Zealand to look up to us and have something to aspire to. It’s going to be great getting the fans pumped and ready for the World Cup.”

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis says Hassett will bring what they lacked in their inaugural campaign.

“Having that extra experience is going to add a lot of value to the team, as it’s something we missed last season,” Lewis said. “She’s definitely going to help us a lot.

Above: Betsy Hassett (right) in action for Ajax, who she played for between 2016 and 2017. Photo: Gerhard van Hees/Ajax Images.

“We wanted to get a couple of key, experienced players that are going to help us move forward without completely changing what we did last year, because we feel like we just got started.

“We showed the potential those young players we were working with do have and if we get the right players to play alongside them to add that experience then we feel like we’re going to go up a gear and really compete even more within the league.”

Betsy Hassett is the Phoenix’s fifth signing for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, joining fellow Football Ferns squad members Paige Satchell, Lily Alfeld, and Mackenzie Barry, and rising star Alyssa Whinham in the Nix squad.

The club plan to announce further signings over the coming days.

Graphic: Wellington Phoenix.

Red Hot RedStar Take State Cup Glory As Subi Field De Vanna And Make NPLW History

It was a big weekend for women’s football in Western Australia and Impetus’ Ben Gilby reviews both the Hyundai Women’s State Cup Final and a historic outcome for Subiaco, who handed a debut to Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna in the weekend’s only NPLW WA match (25/7/22).

Perth SC 1-2 Perth RedStar

Above: Perth RedStar celebrate with the trophy after the match. Photo: Fotoenzo.

Perth RedStar once again showed their ability to take opportunities when they arise to keep their incredible unbeaten run going this season by seeing off a dogged Perth SC in the Hyundai Women’s State Cup Final at Inglewood Stadium yesterday.

In what was a tightly contested game in front of an excellent crowd, it was goals from Larissa Walsh and Jay Coleman either side of Jaime Duncanson’s strike just before the break for The Azzurri, that sealed the victory.

RedStar’s path to the final was been typically ruthless, as State League opponents UWA Nedlands (4-0) and Armadale (12-0) were seen off in their first two rounds before Curtin University were dispatched 4-0 in the semi-final.

Perth SC defeated three fellow NPLW sides en route to their first-ever State Cup Final. They began with a 12-1 thrashing of Subiaco in the first round before Fremantle City were seen off to the tune of 4-0 in the last eight. This then set up what turned into a dramatic semi-final win against Balcatta Etna. That latter game saw a late penalty leveller from Abbey Meakins break Balcatta hearts before an incredible penalty shoot-out decider, which included an excellent spot kick from Azzurri goalkeeper Rebecca Bennett in her team’s eventual win.

It was a harum-scarum start to the final with Perth SC looking aggressive offensively from the off, but RedStar weathered the early storm successfully and began to assert themselves in a half where disciplined defending by both sides reduced the amount of space available in which to mount dangerous attacks.

Above: Shivani Battaglia, Perth RedStar goalkeeper, had a strong afternoon. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

On the occasions that they were called into action, both goalkeepers were in excellent form. Rebecca Bennett advanced quickly to gather the ball at the second attempt as Sarah Carroll advanced menacingly on goal. Her opposite number, Shivani Battaglia in the RedStar goal was constantly impressive amidst heavy traffic from high balls played into the mix from set-pieces.

One of the big successes for Perth SC this season has been their dangerous wide players using pace and quality footwork to run, cut inside and supply. However, for the vast majority of the opening 45, The Azzurri were forced to play most of their attacks through the highly congested central channel, robbing possession to the likes of top scorer Jaime Duncanson, one of the NPLW’s most eye-catching threats along the flanks.

Above: Jaime Duncanson – Perth SC’s dangerous attacker in action yesterday. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

Ruthless ability to turn territory into a scoreboard advantage has been one of Perth RedStar’s real qualities all campaign long, and as Carlos Vega Mena’s team remained on top of possession, they made it pay.

Winning a throw on the right-hand side from Nadia Harvey, the ball was recycled to Carla Bennett who played in a high cross towards Jay Coleman at the back post. The former Fulham player gathered possession, looked up, and saw leading scorer Larissa Walsh in space parallel to the penalty spot. Showing her skill, Walsh received the pass and swung a first-time shot which looped into the net. The most deadly player in the NPLW was on target yet again.

Yet, Perth SC responded brilliantly and fashioned an equaliser just four minutes later. RedStar’s Tessa De Leo played a pass back towards her goalkeeper which lacked the necessary pace and Battaglia’s attempted clearance was charged down with the ball falling to Duncanson to slot home the leveller with five minutes of the half remaining.

Above: Perth SC celebrate Jaime Duncanson’s equaliser. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

The Azzurri were energised and began imposing their pressing, passing game on RedStar with real intent and conjured up the half’s final opportunity when Duncanson fed Faye Phillips who shot just over the top.

Perth SC began the second period as they ended the first, and looked much more like their usual selves in terms of establishing both their passing and wide games. Within two minutes of the re-start, Leana Cook hit a cross-shot from the right which rebounded off of the angle of post and bar.

Peter Rakic looked to build on his team’s strong start to half by introducing Stella Zampogna. The youngster has been in superb form for Perth SC’s U21 side, scoring 18 goals in 15 games this season. She was joined shortly afterwards by another attacking young gun, Ella Lincoln.

Above: Ella Lincoln involved in the action after coming on as a second-half substitute. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

The Azzurri‘s inability to find a second goal during this period came back to haunt them as, once more RedStar saw out the danger and went on the front foot.

With 25 minutes remaining, Carla Bennett advanced through the midfield and threaded a delightful probing pass which dissected the Perth SC defence to find Sarah Carroll. The Perth Glory A-League Women player ran through unseen to shoot low into the left-hand corner of the net, but the assistant referee’s flag was raised for offside.

After a period of arm-wrestle football, RedStar came again with Sarah Carroll winning a corner as her cross came off of Alyssa van Heurck. Carla Bennett played it in high, Rebecca Bennett was unable to gather and Jay Coleman could not miss from close range to restore RedStar’s lead.

Above: Jay Coleman (centre) celebrates her winner with Larissa Walsh (left) and Carla Bennett (6). Photo: Fotoenzo.

Perth SC worked hard in the final stages and came exceptionally close with two minutes remaining. Zoee Spadano, shortly to be leaving WA to play Serie A Futsal in Italy, played in Lincoln who showed great footwork on the edge of the box before going down. Play continued and the ball rolled out to Meakins to hit an absolute rocket which Battaglia pushed over magnificently.

That was The Azzurri‘s final chance as Perth RedStar ran out winners to lift their second piece of silverware so far this season. They could clinch a third when the two sides meet again in the NPLW in midweek as they need just three points to win the title with seven games remaining.

For the second time this season, Perth SC have gone toe-to-toe with Perth RedStar and shown that the potential is there at the Dorrien Gardens club to lower RedStar colours. Yet to do that, you need to take a leaf out of Carlos Vega Mena’s team’s book – be ruthless and take chances when they come. If not, RedStar will always find a way to win. They are a superb team.

Teams: PERTH SC: R.Bennett, Connolly, Harvey, Phillips, van Heurck, Gibbons, Meakins, Papalia, Spadano, Cook, Duncanson. Substitutes: Byrne (for Cook 89′), Lincoln (for Papalia 59′), Spatafore (for Harvey 89′), Zampogna (for Phillips 54′).

Scorer: Duncanson 40′.

PERTH REDSTAR: Battaglia, De Leo, Dunn, Monteiro, Teixeira, C.Bennett, Billam, Coleman, Wood, S.Carroll, Walsh. Substitutes: Cohen, Doan, Leota (for Wood 62′), Mogridge, Ridley (for Walsh 90+2′), Diederichsen (GK).

Scorers: Walsh 36′, Coleman 78′.

Referee: Caleigh Ormerod.

NPLW Catch-Up Match

Above: Lisa De Vanna in action for Subiaco yesterday against Balcatta Etna. Photo: JASP Photography.

Sunday also saw the rescheduled game from Round Three played at Rosalie Park as Subiaco hosted Balcatta Etna.

Subiaco fielded Western Australian and Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna. It was another superb signing for the club who have also added another local-born international Ella Mastrantonio and Perth Glory hundred gamer Marianna Tabain in recent weeks.

It was a quite sensational match with goals galore, a hat-trick, three penalties, and a historic outcome. Subiaco took the lead just before the half-hour mark as Keziah Burgiss escaped along the right and played a ball in which was turned back to Tabain to fire home from the edge of the box.

However, within nine minutes, Balcatta hit back as Monique Godding comfortably rolled home a spot kick.

Above: Fremantle born Matilda Ella Mastrantonio (left) in possession for Subiaco against Balcatta Etna yesterday. Photo: JASP Photography.

With a quarter of an hour of the second period gone, Subi re-established their lead. Mastrantonio lifted it into the box for Tabain to play a pass back to Ingrid Gomez Basallo to take a touch and dispatch the ball into the net. However, it would be a lead that lasted just seven minutes.

Balcatta once more replied quickly with two goals in as many minutes from Monique Prinsloo. The first came when she fired high into the net from the edge of the box after the visitors dispossessed Subiaco in trying to play out from the back. Her second was reward for an intelligent run in front of Subi goalkeeper Marissa Pidgeon to turn home Godding’s low ball in from the right.

Above: Monique Prinsloo shows her delight at scoring two goals in as many minutes for Balcatta Etna. Photo: JASP Photography.

If that run of rapid goals was not dramatic enough, it was nothing compared to the final five minutes. Two goals from the penalty spot – the second as the clock ticked onto 90 minutes from Tabain sealed victory for Subiaco.

Yet this was not just any victory – it was one of historic proportions for the club. This 4-3 win ensured that, with six matches to go, Subiaco have won the most number of games (three) in their NPLW history and gained more points than ever before (12).

Above: Subiaco hat-trick hero Marianna Tabain in action yesterday. Photo: JASP Photography.

It’s a fantastic achievement for a club who have had it tough since coming into the top tier of Western Australian women’s football three years ago – but they are full of character and no little ability down Subi way. The addition of De Vanna, Tabain, and Mastrantonio brings top-level experience to a young side who are reaping the rewards of hard work.

 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar14140055642+49
Fremantle City16844392328+ 16
Perth SC1472520823+12
Hyundai NTC16655263023-4
Balcatta Etna16718202022=
Murdoch University Melville15537151818-3
Subiaco15339174612-29
Curtin University14021214552-41

Round 17 Fixtures (Next Weekend): Murdoch University Melville v Hyundai NTC, Perth SC v Curtin University, Perth RedStar v Fremantle City, Subiaco v Balcatta Etna.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Jaime Duncanson: Thriving At Perth SC

As part of our WA on Wednesday series featuring NPL WA Women players, Perth SC’s exciting attacking weapon Jaime Duncanson spoke to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about her footballing journey, trying to find a positive growth mindset, and why she loves life at Dorrien Gardens (20/7/22).

Above: Jaime Duncanson celebrates after a goal against Subiaco earlier this season. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

Whilst Jaime has loved sport since a young age, it was relatively late in her childhood that she made a conscious decision to focus on football. She explained: “I’ve always loved sport, so growing up I played lots of different sports all year round. It wasn’t until I was about 12-13 when I really fell in love with football and saw myself taking it up all year round.

“I remember going to my first ever Perth Glory Women’s game with my grandad and watching Shelina Zadorsky play. I was so in awe that she had travelled overseas to play, it was her job. I remember in that moment realising that this is something I could actually do. I will never forget that feeling.”

Above: Jaime Duncanson rifles in an effort against Subiaco this season. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

Duncanson’s footballing journey began 70kms to the south of Perth. “I grew up in Mandurah, so my first proper club was Mandurah City FC, I loved it there – they really pushed me to keep trying to be the best I could. When I finished high school, I decided to take football a bit more seriously, so came up to the Women’s State Premier League and became a part of what was Melville at the time. After the folding of Melville, I moved to Queens Park SC (QPSC).

“This club truly changed me as a player and person. I will always be so thankful to the amazing players, coaches, and Woodfin family for my time there. After a few amazing years at QPSC, the NPL change came in, and unfortunately, our team had to fold, so I landed at Perth SC. Somewhere I am really proud to say I was there from the beginning.”

Duncanson highlighted the one club and totally inclusive nature of the Dorrien Gardens based club, and knows how lucky she is to be at The Azzurri.

“The reason we play sport is for a sense of community and belonging. That is exactly what I feel at Perth SC. The clubs’ emphasis on the women’s game really helps the accountability of our group, and I feel we are treated with the same trust and respect as our men’s team. And above all else, I love my team and the heart we train and play with.”

Above: Jaime Duncanson (third from front) sees the ethos and togetherness of Perth SC as one of the key reasons that she loves being at the club so much. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

Jaime sees herself as a player who “offers a quick and varied attacking threat to my team.” She enthused: “I always want to score! I have always wanted to be the kind of player where the opposition has to think twice about where I am or what I’m doing.” That has certainly been the case this season as she’s been part of a consistently dangerous group of Perth SC offensive players who have been linking up well and scoring high-quality goals.

Despite her excellent performances so far this season, Duncanson readily admits that the mental side of the game is one area that she is looking to grow in.  

“The biggest battle I have had/still have struggles with sometimes is the mental one. Staying in that positive and growth mindset is easy when you are playing well, but as every player knows, rough patches come and go. It’s about accepting those times but being strong enough to know that they will come and go. I think how you come back from those moments of doubt or self-criticism says more about you as a player than your best performance.”

Perth SC went into this season on the back of a place in last season’s Top Four Cup Final, which saw them defeated by eventual champions Murdoch University Melville. The Azzurri star reflected on the 2021 campaign.

Above: Jaime Duncanson pictured on a typical surge forward – this time against Curtin University. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

“We were so happy to make the final last year, and it’s definitely something that is on our radar for this year too. Last season was only our second as a group, so we were still building our identity as a team. There was no lack of heart or effort from the team and staff, so we are looking to keep that up this year, as well as build on our identity and new brand of football.”

That new brand of football that Jaime highlights sees Perth SC playing a passing-based game that focuses on bringing their talented midfield and striking players together in a fast-paced, skillful build-up approach. She believes that it is having a positive impact on their form so far this season.

“We have come out with a fairly new team, and new style of play, so I think we have done really well so far! It’s always going to take a while for things to settle and everyone to be on the same page, however I think the moments in games gone by are an indication of what our team is capable of. It’s been so great to be a part of and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings.

“Personally, I am always striving to be the best player I can. I take it really personally when things don’t go our way and I just want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help my team win each week. I think I’m having a good season so far in terms of scoring, so I just want to make sure I keep that up throughout the rest of the year.”

Above: Comfortable on the ball and looking to bring teammates into the game – qualities that has made Jaime Duncanson such an impressive player this season. Photo: Rob Lizzi.

Looking more widely at the NPL WA Women’s competition this season, Jaime sees positive growth and believes things are only going to get better.

“It’s great to see the growth of teams and clubs over the last few years. To be able to have such competitive games each week is great for all players and for the competition as a whole. We’ve seen old and new teams come and go, but what’s great is the vibe around the competition – in my opinion, players, clubs, and staff are taking it more seriously which is helping raise the bar.”

Above: Deadly with the ball at her feet and in front of goal – Jaime Duncanson celebrates a strike at Balcatta Etna earlier this season. Photo: Rob Lizzi.
Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Phoenix Bag Satchell: A Super Signing

It’s the biggest signing in Wellington Phoenix‘s short A-League Women’s history. Impetus hears from both Paige Satchell and head coach Gemma Lewis (20/7/22).

Above: Paige Satchell – the Football Fern is coming home. Photo: NZ Football.

Paige Satchell has chosen to continue her football career in New Zealand in the lead-up to next year’s World Cup.

The pacey Football Ferns forward has signed with the Wellington Phoenix for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League, after playing for Canberra United and Sydney FC the previous two seasons.

“I’m excited for this new adventure with the Wellington Phoenix,” Satchell, 24, said. “I’m excited to see what the girls can do and I’m ready to get going. I’m always looking to push myself and leading into the World Cup it’s going to be an important season for me. Game time’s really important so I’m going to make the most of any game time I get and push myself to make sure I’m in the best form coming into the World Cup.”

Getting the chance to play regularly in New Zealand in the lead-up to the country co-hosting the world’s biggest women’s sporting event is also a major drawcard for Satchell.

Above: Paige Satchell in action for Canberra United during 2020/21 against the club she would join the following season, Sydney FC. Photo: Canberra United.

“That’s huge. There are some other girls in the team that could also potentially be in the Ferns squad for the World Cup next year so that’ll be great to play alongside them and get to know them a little bit more.

“It’s great that we can play at home during the A-League season and continue that at the World Cup next year as well. It will really build momentum leading up to the tournament as well, getting some support from fans in New Zealand.”

Her family are also looking forward to seeing the Tokyo Olympian play, with just one of her 30 international caps being in Aotearoa since she made her debut in 2016.

“They’re super excited. They haven’t been able to see me play at home for quite a long time so they can’t wait. They’ll definitely be flying down to watch some of the games, which will be awesome.”

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis expects Satchell to fill the goalscoring void left by Grace Jale’s departure.

“We don’t feel like we’re necessarily missing out by losing Grace,” Lewis said. “She’s a great player but by signing a starting Fern, one that has scored goals on an international stage with the qualities that Paige has, we don’t feel we have a hole. We’ve filled that gap with somebody that has a lot of experience and a lot to offer.”

Above: Paige Satchell training with Sydney FC last season. Photo: Cessnock Advertiser.

One of Satchell’s main attributes is her speed, and that is something Lewis is looking to take advantage of next season.

“We saw ourselves how much we struggled to deal with that sort of pace,” Lewis said. “You can see it has an impact at the highest international level, so within the A-League it’s definitely something that players and teams will be worried about.

“For us it’s going to be about how we utilise that and how we give her the best opportunity and provide her with enough ball that she can really show what she can do.”

Paige Satchell is the Phoenix’s third signing for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, joining foundation players Mackenzie Barry and Alyssa Whinham in the squad.

The Phoenix plan to announce further signings over the coming weeks.

Artwork: Wellington Phoenix.

NPL Victoria Women Round 16 Wrap

Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (19/7/22).

Above: Action between Heidelberg United (yellow) and Alamein when the two sides met earlier in the season. Photo: Sally Tsalikidis.

MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:

Heidelberg United 3-2 Alamein

Heidelberg United’s match against Alamein was an intriguing match-up. Heidelberg shook off a dramatic Nike FC Cup semi-final loss to South Melbourne with a comfortable 2-0 win over Bayside United.

However, that was against the bottom side. Round 16’s opponents presented a very different challenge. Alamein are fourth place in the table but have been one of the more consistent sides this season. They have beaten the sides below them with regularity, but their only win against another top four side was against The Bergers, and that was in Round Two.

Heidelberg are enjoying a strong season. With five games remaining, they are the only side to defeat league leader Calder United and have both attracted and developed top-level A-League Women’s talent at the club.

This match was the only one of the round between two top-four sides. With their position eyed off by both Box Hill and South Melbourne, Alamein needed a win.

Alamein started well, but it was the home side that had the first chance of the afternoon. Danielle Wise was set free on the counter-attack by Stephanie Galea. She remained composed as she carried the ball into the area and held off the attention of Mia Lantieri-Barley but her near post shot was saved by Evelyn Goldsmith.

Although Alamein had controlled the midfield, it was a reminder of the quality that Heidelberg have to turn a game.

Above: Sidney Allen (with headband) who fired Alamein ahead at Heidelberg United. Photo: Alamein FC.

It was the visitors that eventually struck first. A turnover in defence gave Katerina Nikpour a chance to shoot. The ball was blocked but deflected to the edge of the box where Sidney Allen fired home a volley to make it 1-0. 

It was a deserved lead on the balance of play. Alamein went into the break ahead, but also with 11 shots on goal compared to Heidelberg’s four. They had won the midfield battle and played the game on the front foot. Heidelberg were still dangerous and all four of their efforts had been on target but needed to change the game’s momentum in the second half.

Johnno Clemente’s side wrestled back control and by the hour mark had scored twice. A long throw earned Heidelberg a corner kick. Galea’s ball in was excellently placed to the back post and Grace Jale rose highest to nod it into the net in textbook style.

The recent Canberra United recruit was mobile and dangerous from the second the half kicked off. She is creative and hard working when dropping deep, but remains deadly in the box and only needs half a chance to score. She was given far more than that by the Alamein defence and levelled the scores.

Jale added an assist to her name in the 59th minute. A long ball forward from goalkeeper Natasha Stathopoulos bounced beyond the midfield and the former Wellington Phoenix player only needed one touch to set Wise through on goal.

Wise accelerated into space and flicked the ball beyond the goalkeeper with her left foot to change the dynamic of the match within 15 minutes.

Above: Grace Jale, who grabbed a brace for Heidelberg United. Photo: Heidelberg United.

Danielle Wise is one of the NPLW’s most in-form attackers. Her runs from deep and ability to find space with her pace and close control has made her a difficult player to stop and her 12 goals in 16 games should have the attention of A-League scouts.

Grace Jale’s momentous week continued. In the 73rd minute, she pressed high up the pitch and robbed the Alamein defence of the ball. The New Zealand striker exploded towards goal and steadied before placing it beyond the keeper to make it 3-1. She had an involvement in every Heidelberg goal and all three were very different.

She linked up once again with Wise minutes later, but the well-struck shot by Wise was powerfully struck, though easily saved.

Alamein pushed to regains a foothold in the contest, but the home side were brimming with confidence. There were no obvious tactical or formation tweaks after halftime, but Heidelberg looked like a completely different team.

The game did not end tension-free. Alamein pulled themselves back into the contest with an 86th minute goal. Heidelberg’s back four was defeated by a well-timed through ball and Betti Michael finished well. But there was not enough time to find a late equaliser.

Above: Alamein’s second goal scorer Betti Michael (red shirt). Photo: Passion Creations Photography.

This loss puts the pressure on Alamein. They remain marginally ahead of South Melbourne, and travel to play them at Lakeside Stadium in the next round.

Heidelberg were impressive again. Not just for the win, but also how they re-energised themselves and gained control of the match in the second half. Their finishing was ruthless and Jale was imperious.

They look like a near-certain bet for second spot at worst. FV Emerging is their next opponent before a rematch with top-placed Calder United.

Teams: HEIDELBERG UNITED: Stathopoulos, Burrows, Galea, Georgopoulos, Jale, McKenna, Parbery, Roach, Torre, Wallhead, Wise.

Scorers: Jale 55’, 74’. Wise 59′.

ALAMEIN: Golsmith, Lefevre, Allen, Heysen, Vatcky, Jackson, Renehan, Story, Bercelli, Lantieri-Bartley, Nikpour.

Scorers: Allen 30’, Michael 86’.

Referee: George Iliopoulos.

Round 16 Wrap:

Above: Action from South Melbourne’s game with Bayside United (orange). Photo: Behind The Lens LMR.

In other results, South Melbourne continued their second renaissance of the season with a 4-2 win over Bayside United. Francesca Iermano scored again, and Bella Stringfellow notched her first hat trick for the club.

Bayside made a game of it. Claudia Budiongo scored a first half equaliser and another in the 59th minute to give her side a fighting chance.

Calder United’s game with FV Emerging was suspended. The league leaders dropped to second on the table but have two games in hand.  

Above: Paige Zois, who opened the scoring for Bulleen Lions. Photo: Bulleen Lions.

At the Veneto Club, Bulleen Lions defeated Box Hill United 5-0 in a ruthless display. Paige Zois curled a free kick home to open the scoring, then Tyla-Jay Vlajnic and Lia Privitelli both scored spectacular braces in the win.

Vlajnic’s two goals were powerful left-foot finishes, while Privitelli chipped the keeper on both occasions, her second was after an Alana Jancevski pass that curled beyond the defence and landed in the path of the Bulleen skipper.

Five goals of the highest quality served as a reminder that Bulleen’s form dip was only temporary.

Table From: NPLW Victoria.
Artwork: Graphics by PW.

NPL WA Women Round 16 Wrap

Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (18/7/22).

Above: Balcatta Etna (blue) and Murdoch University Melville keep their eyes on the prize at Grindleford Reserve yesterday. Photo: JASP Photography.

MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:

Balcatta Etna 2-0 Murdoch University Melville

Balcatta Etna took the win in a hugely important game in the context of the race for the final place in the end-of-season Top Four Cup at an overcast Grindleford Reserve on Sunday.

Balcatta, who have been on the wrong end of results against clubs above them in the table in recent weeks, named an unchanged team from the one who suffered heartbreak in the midweek Hyundai State Cup semi-final against Perth SC. This meant that Isabella Comito remained in goal, replacing Gabby Dal Busco who has COVID.

In that last four tie, Balcatta led The Azzurri for a long time in the game before eventually being denied a place in next weekend’s final in a penalty shoot-out loss.

Above: Isabella Comito in goal for Balcatta Etna yesterday in the absence of Gabby Dal Busco. Photo: JASP Photography.

Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC) came into this match in their best form of the season. Much changed from their trophy-laden campaign in 2021, MUM FC’s new squad had been showing their potential in sporadic flashes throughout the campaign, but now are putting some consistent results together. They knew that victory here would see their transformation from a side hovering just above the bottom two to being inside the top four complete.

Murdoch were able to welcome back Sadie Lawrence, a key part of their successful campaign last year who then went on to put in some impressive shifts for Perth Glory in the A-League Women. Lawrence would be on the bench along with Rosie Lehane who had returned from England.

The action started with a bang as Balcatta Etna earned a corner with their first attack of the game with just 30 seconds on the clock. The ball came in at the second attempt from Lauren Continibali and was flicked back at the near post by Monique Godding for Elizabeth Doust to volley home. Despite MUM FC keeper Monique Todd’s best efforts, it went in. There were just 50 seconds on the clock.

Above: Goal celebrations for Balcatta Etna yesterday. Photo: JASP Photography.

Balcatta continued their forward momentum, earning plenty of joy along the right-hand side. Murdoch University Melville weathered the early storm and had a great chance themselves with 11 minutes played. Meghan Hulsman was played through, beat Doust, and got in on goal, but her shot was over the top.

The home side continued to press. Continibali got past Lucy Hope and found Carys Davis who played in a teasing cross towards the near post which Todd repelled for a corner. Balcatta’s sixth in just 23 minutes.

Murdoch began to get a foothold on matters and captured their most consistent period of possession and territory. They were not without chances in the first half. Hooks, Charli Wainwright, and Hulsman were all the leading lights in this period. The home side’s defence remained well-organised and tough to break through. On the occasions that MUM FC did get through, they found Balcatta goalkeeper Comito in good form.

Above: Pointing the way forward – prior to Balcatta Etna’s second goal, Murdoch University Melville were enjoying their best spell of the game thus far. Photo: JASP Photography.

Within 10 minutes, another corner led to Balcatta Etna’s second goal. Continibali played it in. Monique D’Opera went up at the near post with MUM FC’s Poppie Hooks who headed clear, but the ball fell to Doust and the centre-half drove the ball into the net to complete her brace.

There was one further chance before the break as Murdoch’s Sophia Neal found Nikita Strickling who hit a low shot that Comito gathered well on the bounce.

Despite forcing seven corners by half-time, Balcatta had only managed three shots on target to Murdoch University Melville’s five. The difference was in the ability to turn chances into goals.

Above: Dramatic action from Balcatta Etna v Murdoch University Melville yesterday. Photo: JASP Photography.

The second half opened with a worrying incident for the hosts as Davis looked to turn her right ankle and needed to be replaced by Aaliyah Jorquera.

Despite this, Balcatta remained on the front foot. They were confident on the ball with some impressive passing movement. Their pressing was effective and they remained solid at the back to minimise any threat from their visitors.

Clear-cut chances were a lot harder to come by after the break. The home side managed to get the ball into the net again when D’Opera pulled a ball over from the left for Godding towards the far side of the box to smash home, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.

Above: Poppie Hooks (4) was one of the bright lights in Murdoch University Melville’s performance. Photo: JASP Photography.

Hooks remained a threat for MUM FC and the teenager showed some flashes of creative genius. With 20 minutes to go, the Perth Glory A-League Women player strode into the Balcatta half and unleashed an absolute rocket from over 30 yards that hit the bar and bounced down, but the whole of the ball failed to cross the line.

Murdoch rallied and Neal’s corner was directed goalwards by Lawrence. The ball found its way to Wainwright on the far side of the box. She showed great skill to jink past the Balcatta defence to earn another corner.

Realistically, MUM FC never looked like forcing a goal. A combination of a well organised home defence, and a lack of razor-sharp finishing from the visitors ensured that Balcatta kept a clean sheet.

Above: Balcatta Etna had just too much yesterday for Murdoch University Melville. Photo: JASP Photography.

This was an absolutely huge win for Balcatta Etna. It keeps them secure in the all-important fourth spot, and depending on results elsewhere, could possibly see their aspirations raised higher.

Teams: BALCATTA ETNA: Comito, M.D’Opera, T. D’Opera, Harvey, Godding, Davis, Doust, Continibali, Veroni, Cawley, Nossent. Substitutes: Seerden, Jorquera, Alberts, Bulgaru, Gama.

Scorers: Doust 1′, 33′.

MURDOCH UNIVERSITY MELVILLE: Todd, Gillies, Hooks, Wainwright, Neal, Shore, Mathers, Hulsman, Preiato, Strickling, Hope. Substitutes: Lehane, Townsend, Lawrence, Meeden.

Referee: Stewart Beattie.

Round 15 Wrap:

Above: A first half chance for Perth SC (blue) at Hyundai NTC on Sunday. Photo: NPL.

Hyundai NTC took on Perth SC on Sunday afternoon on a heavy surface at E&D Litis Stadium. Despite continuing to play some excellent football, the teenage development side have slightly fallen out of the Top Four Cup qualification race in recent weeks.

However, having beaten Perth SC in both previous NPLW encounters this season, accounting for half of their wins for the entire campaign going into this match, there was always a chance that their hopes of post-regular season football could be reignited.

The Azzurri dominated the first half, and within two minutes had the ball in the net as, following an exchange of passes at a short corner on the right, Liana Cook bundled home at the far post, but was ruled to be offside.

This was to be a repeating pattern throughout the first half. Perth SC were caught offside three times in the opening four minutes of the match, and a total of six times throughout the opening 45.

Above: An example of Hyundai NTC (yellow)’s high defensive line against Perth SC yesterday. Photo: NPL.

The NTC defence were playing a very high line that was making it exceptionally tough for the visitors to break through. The only thing that the hosts were not able to do in the first period was to consistently get their dangerous, strong, and pacey attack going.

Jaime Duncanson was the key player for The Azzurri, looking to create along the left and take on defenders with pace. However, no matter what Perth SC tried, the youngsters of the NTC stayed supremely disciplined and well-organised at the back. It remained goalless at the break.

The opening period of the second half saw the hosts finally get going from an attacking perspective, and just before the hour mark went ahead with a superb move. Anna Powell received the ball and advanced towards the box before playing a perfectly weighted pass to Louise Tana to fire home near the right-hand post.

Above: Hyundai NTC celebrate Louise Tana’s winning goal. Photo: NPL.

As time wore on, the game become increasingly stretched. Powell steered the ball into the net, but NTC were denied a second goal by the offside flag. Towards the end, Perth SC rallied, but other than one shot that flew just over the bar, were unable to trouble Lilly Bailey in the NTC goal.

This was a really tough loss for Perth SC. Of their five NPLW WA defeats this season, three have been to the NTC. What looked like comfortable qualification for the Top Four Cup is now potentially under threat. Fourth-placed Balcatta Etna are just a point behind, and the NTC in fifth, are only three points in areas. Fascinatingly, Balcatta and the NTC still have to play each other twice.

If the NTC can maintain defensive discipline and unleash their attacking threat, they are more than capable of playing Top Four Cup football. One thing is certain, they are always hugely enjoyable to watch.

Above: They will be together again at Perth Glory next season, but on Sunday, Tash Rigby (left) of Fremantle City and Ella Mastrantonio (right) of Subiaco were opponents in the NPL. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

Fremantle City took advantage of Perth SC’s slip up to go five points clear in second place with a 6-1 win at Subiaco at Rosalie Park on Sunday afternoon.

Subi welcomed W-League and Matildas star Ella Mastrantonio into their ranks as they looked to continue a season of growth. However, ultimately, it was not to be on the day.

Freo went ahead with 12 minutes gone when Kat Jukic confidently dispatched a penalty down the middle. Despite the hosts forcing a couple of corners in the interim period, the visitors continued to have chances with a looping effort from the edge of the box.

Above: Fremantle City goalkeeper Dayle Schroeder saving bravely at Rosalie Park yesterday. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

However, with 20 minutes on the clock, they got their second. Sofia Osborne laid off to Kayla McCulloch who played a perfectly weighted through ball for Mikayla Lyons who drew Subi keeper Zara Board and slot home.

Within four minutes though, the hosts were back in it. Mastrantonio picked up possession in midfield and dinked an inside pass for another former Perth Glory W-League player Mariana Tabain. The ball was then recycled around and back to Tabain on the edge of the box to feed Chelsie Winchcombe who found the far corner of the net with a low shot.

Above: Kayla McCulloch (black kit) created two of Fremantle City’s goals with superb slide rule passing. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

Subiaco’s hopes of a comeback were dashed within two minutes and it was McCulloch once more providing an inch-perfect slide rule pass into the path of Jukic who hit a shot into the right-hand corner. Fremantle then turned the screw, forcing five corners in as many minutes.

The home side responded with Keziah Burgis advancing up the right and finding Tabain who finished from an acute angle, but the assistant referee’s flag went up, adjudging Tabain to have come from an offside position.

Above: Fremantle City’s Mikayla Lyons takes on Subiaco’s Ella Mastrantonio. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

Fremantle City came out after the break and within five minutes killed off any realistic hopes Subi had of getting anything from the game. Lyons’ short corner was played back to Jess Darmago who returned the favour. The ball into the box from the left was palmed down for Board into the path of Matilda Boyle whose shot was blocked but the rebound fell perfectly for Janice Kiama to score.

The game was wrapped up with two further strikes. First, more good work from Darmago on the left saw the Freo flyer pop across a superb cross for Jukic who was unmarked at the back post to turn a defender and fire into the far corner to complete her hat-trick.

Above: Matilda Boyle, who wrapped up the win for Fremantle City at Subiaco. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

The sixth game with just over a quarter of an hour to go when Tash Rigby found Darmago on the right who played the Perth Glory captain in once more to fire a cross over for Boyle to head home.

Curtin University‘s home game with Perth RedStar will be played tomorrow evening (Tuesday) at Edinburgh Oval.

 PWDLFAPtsGD
Perth RedStar14140055642+49
Fremantle City16844392328+ 16
Perth SC1472520823+12
Balcatta Etna14717171622+1
Hyundai NTC15555232820-5
Murdoch University Melville15537151818-3
Subiaco1423913439-30
Curtin University13021112522-40

NEXT WEEK: HYUNDAI STATE CUP FINAL: Perth RedStar v Perth SC (Sunday). No NPLW WA matches next weekend.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Star Young Gun Whinham Re-Signs For Phoenix

Alyssa Whinham was one of the stories of the A-League Women season in 2021/22 and she’s back for Wellington Phoenix next season. Impetus hears from Whinham and Nix head coach Gemma Lewis.

Above: THAT goal, THAT reaction. Alyssa Whinham provided one of the moments of the 2021/22 season. She’s back at Wellington Phoenix for the next two seasons. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

Junior Football Ferns midfielder Alyssa Whinham is the first player to commit to the Wellington Phoenix women beyond the upcoming Liberty A-League season.

Whinham, 18, has signed a two-year contract with the club, after a breakout 2021/22 campaign, which saw her nominated for the young women’s footballer of the year award.

Despite being signed as a scholarship player she featured in all 14 of the Phoenix’s matches in their inaugural season, starting 12 in a row after impressing as a substitute in the team’s opening two games.

Whinham became the club’s second-ever goal scorer when she found the back of the net against Brisbane Roar in January and her priceless reaction was one of the moments of the season.

“I’m so excited, I’m buzzing,” Whinham said. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity to do it all over again.

Above: Alyssa Whinham in action for Wellington Phoenix last season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

“Being part of the Nix is very special since it’s our first professional women’s team and I couldn’t be any more prouder to represent the Phoenix again.

“I was really happy with my first season and I’m excited to have two more seasons to see what I can do and how far I can go, because I think I have a lot more to give and a lot more I can do to help the Nix.”

The Cantabrian is also excited about getting to play in front of the Yellow Fever for the first time, after playing the entirety of the 2021/22 season in Australia.

“I’ve been a part of that sort of atmosphere watching for so many years. I’ve always been a bit of a fan.

“It’s something truly special so I’m excited to get that experience. It will add the extra push and energy to our team. I’m buzzing just thinking about it so I can’t wait.”

Before moving to Wellington, Whinham is hoping to represent New Zealand at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica next month, along with up to seven other members of the Phoenix’s inaugural squad.

Above: Alyssa Whinham speaking to the media from Wellington Phoenix’s NSW base last season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

“It’s super cool how many of the Phoenix girls are involved in this under-20 cycle. Getting to represent New Zealand and the Nix on the world stage is a pretty big deal and I think that experience from our first A-League season will hopefully help us when we’re over in Costa Rica.”

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis says Whinham proved herself last season and they are committed to helping her continue to develop.

“We wanted to show investment in the potential we think she has,” Lewis said. “We think we’re scratching the surface with Alyssa and she still has so much time to grow and develop.

“She’s still got so much to give. She can be a key player within this team and an exciting player for us with how we want to play and how we want to be represented in the A-League.”

Lewis says the two-year contract also shows the Phoenix are looking beyond the initial two-season partnership with New Zealand Football. “We’re already starting to sign players for the 2023-24 season which just shows the club’s continued investment in the women’s team and longer term approach.”

Alyssa Whinham is the team’s second signing for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, joining fellow foundation player Mackenzie Barry in the squad.

The Phoenix plan to announce a number of other signings over the coming weeks.

Artwork: Wellington Phoenix

Highly Rated Lincoln Re-Signs For Canberra

Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from Canberra United‘s hugely talented young goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln and club legend Grace Gill as the club announced that Lincoln had signed a two-year deal (18/7/22).

Above: After an impressive spell towards the end of last season, and a Matildas U23 call-up for the recent AFF Championships, Chloe Lincoln’s re-signing is huge for Canberra United. Photo: Canberra Times.

Canberra United today announced the re-signing of 17-year-old goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln on a two-year contract.
 
Lincoln, who has represented the Young Matildas and recently played in the AFF Tournament, made her Canberra debut last season as a substitute in Perth and went on to make six starts for the club keeping an impressive three clean sheets in those half-a-dozen outings.
 
Currently playing in the National Premier League (NPL) with the Canberra United Academy, Lincoln is a highly rated prospect by both club and country.
 
“Chloe is swiftly developing into one of the best goalkeepers in the country and I am excited to be able to witness her progression first-hand at Canberra United for at least the next two seasons,” Head Coach Njegosh Popovich said.
 
“Her rise through the Academy ranks and into the Young Matildas set-up has been a rapid one, but thoroughly deserved. She has excellent positioning, is confident on crosses, has brilliant distribution and is a wonderful shot-stopper. In short, she ticks all the boxes needed for a quality goalkeeper at this level.”

Above: Chloe Lincoln in action. Photo: Canberra Times.

Lincoln was thrust into the spotlight last season when deputising for the injured Keeley Richards and was in inspirational form, saving a penalty against Melbourne Victory at Viking Park and even notching an assist to her statistics column from a booming clearance against Western Sydney Wanderers. 
 
“It was an easy decision for me to commit my future to Canberra United,” Lincoln said of her new contract. “The club holds a special place in my heart and the supporters are amazing. 

“It’s been a crazy journey for me. It’s such a special club with the way the players interact the fans. I love it. It’s a pleasure being able to play in the academy side with people of my age and then the chance to play with the first team.
 
“Having made my debut for the club last season, I’ve had a taste of the Liberty A-League and am keen for more. Pulling on the goalkeeper shirt at Canberra United is a real privilege and one I would never take for granted.
 
“I am excited to fight for a place in the starting team and am looking forward to working with an experienced group of players and coaches to bring success back to our community.

After the disappointments of last season when Canberra United were unable to achieve the number of wins that some expected of them, Lincoln sees good things ahead for the new season.

“The players that have signed here already, I can’t wait. It’s shaping up to be such a great team. We need to create an environment where we’re striving to get a common goal with everyone working towards that goal will really help us.”

Above: Chloe Lincoln in A-League Women action for Canberra United last season. Photo: Canberra United.

“To keep having these experiences in the A-League and keep progressing is the goal. That can mean maybe having more international chances after the AFF Championship with the U23s.”

Also speaking to the media about Lincoln’s new deal was Canberra United mentorship group member. The Canberra club legend spoke of the importance of securing the young goalkeeper for a further two years.

“It’s a huge signing for the club. I can’t understate how important it is. To see where Chloe is and the trajectory she is on, it’s a great signing for Canberra United. Her stature is immense.

“She is incredibly capable with both feet which is rare in any player, never mind a goalkeeper. Her shot-stopping and distribution is paramount too, but at the age of 17 she still has so much room for growth.”

Gill emphasised that Lincoln’s ability with both feet – she takes place kicks with her right foot and dropkicks with her left – marks her out as “a special talent. She will be a Matilda for many years to come.”

“We have a core of local players that make up the club and build on that to add around the edges is what makes us who we are. Chloe is taking on a leadership role with the Academy side (in the NPLW) this season and that management of her backline sets the tone.”

Artwork: Canberra United.

Phoenix Farewell Jale Who Is One Of Three New Faces At Canberra

by Ben Gilby (15/7/22)

Above: Grace Jale pictured ahead of last season with Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

Football Ferns forward Grace Jale has signed with Canberra United for the 2022/23 A-League Women campaign.

The 23-year-old was the Phoenix women’s top goal scorer in their maiden season, finding the back of the net six times in 12 matches.

Five of her goals came in the Nix’s final six games and led to her being recalled to the Football Ferns after a four-year absence.

Above: Grace Jale in action for Wellington Phoenix last season against Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo: AAP.

Jale featured against the Matildas in April and was also selected in the Ferns squad for last month’s internationals against Norway and Wales.

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis says Jale needs a new challenge. “We’ve worked with Grace for a number of years, since under-17s onwards, so she’s used to us and now she’s looking to get out of her comfort zone.

“We understand that completely and think it’s a good move for her to check out a different environment and get used to what professional football is without playing for your coaches you’ve known for years and years.”

Lewis reflected on the influence of Jale on her squad last season. “Grace did a really good job for us last year under challenging circumstances and she’s always going to be a part of the Phoenix’s first women’s team. We wish her nothing but the best and we’re excited to see her playing up against us.”

Above: Canberra United unveil their trio of new signings today – from left to right: Rebecca Burrows, Njegosh Popovich (head coach), Grace Jale, and Grace Taranto. Photo: Canberra United.

Jale’s arrival at Canberra United today was part of a triple-player announcement from the capital city club. The Greens have also added Grace Taranto who was previously at Adelaide United and Rebecca Burrows. The latter two players have been in impressive form this campaign in the NPLW Victoria competition with South Melbourne and Heidelburg United respectively.

Canberra have previously announced Hayley Taylor-Young, Sasha Grove, Emma Ilijoski, and Nickoletta Flannery in their 2022/23 squad.

Jessica Darmago: Embracing The Challenge At Fremantle

In our latest interview in the WA On Wednesday series featuring players from the NPL WA Women’s competition, Fremantle City‘s Jessica Darmago spoke to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about her footballing journey, life at the top four challengers, and competing at state level in Tae Kwon Do, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well as football (13/7/22).

Above: Jessica Darmago strides forward for Fremantle City this season. Photo Denyse McCulloch, supplied by: Jessica Darmago.

Fremantle City’s Jessica Darmago has been in superb form this season. Not only is she a goalscorer, but consistently dangerous in her wide play. Darmago’s talents enable her to take on and beat opponents before cutting into the box to link up with her teammates.

The Freo star, who describes herself “as a creative, explosive and attacking styled player” started playing the game at a relatively young age as she explained to me. “I first played at my local club, South Perth United FC when I was about eight years old, but I grew up kicking the ball in the backyard with my brothers years before that. I joined the NTC U15 and U17 squad and later moved to Queen’s Park to play in the Premier Division for a few seasons.

Above: Jessica Darmago celebrates a goal this season with Fremantle City captain Mikayla Lyons. Photo: Denyse McCulloch, supplied by Jessica Darmago.

“Unfortunately, due to many ankle injuries including a fully ruptured Achilles, I ended up taking three full seasons off football and was unsure if I would ever return. But when I heard the women’s NPL WA was going to be launched in 2020, I was determined to make a come-back. I joined Curtin University for two seasons, before moving across to Fremantle City for this season.”

Darmago received representative honours in her teenage years, as she highlighted. “My first state trip was with Football West U15s at the National Championships, and I was lucky enough to be identified and selected for the National All-Star Team. I was also selected for the National All-Star University (Green and Gold squad) three times, representing UWA in Futsal in 2015 & 2017, and football in 2016.

“Futsal is such a fast-paced game that requires quick thinking. It has definitely helped me with my touch and control especially under pressure when playing 11-a side. I am really lucky to be given the opportunity to travel and play in tournaments that really challenge me.”

Above: Jessica Darmago on the ball. Photo: Denyse McCulloch, supplied by Jessica Darmago.

The Fremantle player was also invited to train with the state’s sole A-League Women club Perth Glory in the past, however, at the present time, Darmago is not focusing on a return to the highest level at the present time. “At this stage, I am happiest when I am having fun, and playing good football,” she said. “In saying that, if the opportunity were to ever arise in the future I would jump at it.”

Jessica played for the opening two seasons of NPL WA football for Curtin University. It was a challenging experience, but one she enjoyed. “Unfortunately, recurring injuries caused me to miss out on half of my first season with Curtin. I also missed out on the second half of the following season due to a hamstring tear.

“I knew it would be very challenging at Curtin being a new team in the league, especially when many other teams have played together for years. I am still very grateful to have joined Curtin and see the growth of the squad over the seasons.

Above: Jessica pictured against Perth RedStar earlier in the season. Photo: Fotoenzo.

Darmago sees her move to Fremantle City for this season as one which is developing her further as a player. “It has been great playing at Fremantle City. I love that I am being challenged at training and games with a group of like-minded players. We are a determined, relentless team that aims to play the best football that we can. Off the pitch, the team is very close which translates to the performance on the pitch.

“As a team, we are pushing to take out the title this season. I don’t have any specific personal goals, but I want to walk away from the season knowing that I have given my all and played the best football that I possibly can. More widely, it is great to see more competitive games between the teams in the league this season, making for exciting games where anything can happen. 

Above: Jessica Darmago (centre) pictured with honours at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu WA State Championships. Photo supplied by: Jessica Darmago.

Away from football, Jessica has also represented WA in Jiu-Jitsu and she is additionally a Tae Kwon Do second Dan Black Belt. She highlights some of those experiences. “I have always trained Martial Arts from a young age. I grew up doing Tae Kwan Do, received my black belt after seven years of training, and won state tournaments.

“Due to my recurring ankle injuries, I took three seasons off football and that is when I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Initially, it was just a way to keep fit, but I quickly fell in love with it and began competing, training once to twice a day. This led me to win multiple State WA Championship tournaments, and I had the opportunity to travel to the USA to compete at the World Championships.” 

Jessica Daramgo is one of the stand-out players in the NPL WA this season, but more than that, as a female athlete, she is someone to keep an eye on across the three sports she competes at a high level.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

NPL Victoria Women Round 15 Wrap

Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other matches along with photos (13/7/22).

Above: Caitlin Pickett, part of the South Melbourne side that earned a superb win over Bulleen Lions at the weekend. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative. 

MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:

South Melbourne 3-0 Bulleen Lions

It has been a hectic week in Victorian women’s football, particularly for South Melbourne FC. Last week at home, they were beaten 4-2 by Box Hill United, despite taking an early lead. They responded with a win for the ages midweek.

A semi-final win over Heidelberg United in the Nike FC Cup would be worth celebrating under any circumstances. But a 3-2 win after being two goals down is worth commemorating. It was an incredible fight back, especially after they seemed to struggle to recover from Box Hill scoring just days earlier.

A spot in the NPLW Victoria Finals are looking unlikely for South Melbourne, but they are not a side to be taken lightly. They still have quality all over the pitch. Consistency has been their issue, but on their day they can beat anybody. Saturday was their day.

Bulleen Lions FC were the visitors, and the third-place side were packed with stars. Lia Privitelli and Alana Jancevski started up front. Tyla Jay Vlajnic was in defence and even without Paige Zois and Rebekah Stott, they still have one of the most impressive squads in the league.

Above: The return of Gabby Garton could not prevent Bulleen Lions from falling to defeat at South Melbourne. Photo: Imago.

Headlining the names on the team sheet was Gabby Garton. The Melbourne Victory Grand Final star of 2020/21 was making her first start for the club since her return to the field. Even after the momentous win over Heidelberg United, this was not a game many were backing South to win, even at near full strength.

Bulleen had the best of the early chances. Although they were made to earn them and Jenna Farrow had no trouble saving. Alana Burn tried to beat the goalkeeper from long range with a lofted effort, then Privitelli collected well and shot on the turn, but Farrow was positioned well enough for a comfortable stop.

Although Bulleen had plenty of possession, the South Melbourne defence marshalled and patrolled with authority by Claudia Mihocic was largely untroubled.

Above: Claudia Mihocic, who was hugely impressive for South Melbourne. Photo: South Melbourne FC.

Georgia Kandilas combined with Janna Lawson created the first goal of the afternoon. Kandilas slid in to tackle as Bulleen attemped to play the ball out. Lawson latched onto the loose ball and carried it forward on the right side of the 18-yard box. Her shot was struck with very little back lift and at full pace, it was always coming, but still felt surprising. She took no time to steady and gave the Bulleen defenders no time to block it. The ball flew into the top corner and it was 1-0 to the home side.

South Melbourne doubled the lead before halftime. Francesca Iermano won the ball with another tackle in the final third. She held off one defender, then cut inside the next. The winger got as close to Garton’s goal as she could before finishing calmly on her left foot.

One goal was all power, the other came at the end of a mazy run. But both were created by forward pressure and well-timed tackles by the South Melbourne attack.

Above: An impressive South Melbourne side led 2-0 at the break. Artwork: South Melbourne FC.

Bulleen struggled to respond. The second half saw them have plenty of the ball but lacked clear-cut chances.

Grace Taranto was dominant in a deep role. Her tackle, run, and long pass almost set up another goal. It was a direct move but done with precision and it was unlucky that nobody could get on the end of Iermano’s eventual cross.

Taranto tried again from long range, once more after winning the ball herself. Garton caught it easily, but South Melbourne were high in confidence on an individual and team level.

The third and final goal came from a long ball from defence. Kandilas’ hard work all game paid off when she ran onto the pass, turned inside the last defender and finished under Garton to cap off another big win for South Melbourne.

For Bulleen, a win next week will be essential. They still have a game in hand, but have lost their last two. They will face Box Hill United who are hunting fourth spot and can score easily. South Melbourne will look to continue their second resurgence against bottom-placed Bayside United.

Teams: SOUTH MELBOURNE: Farrow, Houndalas (Keppens 87′), Kandilas (Carman 80′), Tolios (Stringfellow 80′), Iermano, Taranto, Lawson, Pickett, Sandhu, Mihocic, Murray.

Scorers: Lawson 30’, Iermano 40’, Kandilas 57’.

BULLEEN LIONS: Garton, Natoli, Burn, Privitelli (Govic 78), Little, Johnson (Tavere 78), O’Bryan (Vass 58), Vlajnic, Roger (Griss), Dolzan, Jancevski

Referee: Warwick Berner.

Round 15 Wrap:

Above: Kat Nikpour (red shirt) – scorer of two goals for Alamein against FV Emerging. Photo: Alamein FC.

With Box Hill and Calder United’s game postponed, there was only two more matches in Round 15. Heidelberg United defeated Bayside United 2-0 with goals from Danielle Wise and Stephanie Galea.

Alamein beat FV Emerging 4-1 thanks to two goals from Kat Nikpour, one from Nia Stamatopoulos and another struck in after a goal mouth scramble. Candice Kilderry pulled one back for FV Emerging.

The results mean that the top two spots are looking increasingly locked in. Only unfortunate delays can prevent Calder United from continuing their undefeated streak. Alamein started the season strongly and since adding Amy Jackson to the midfield, they have looked even better. Bulleen once looked imperious, but now their position looks tenuous. They are missing some extremely good players, but still will be expecting to win at home in the next round.

Table From: NPLW Victoria
Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Mack Is Back: Phoenix Announce First Player For 2022/23

13/7/22

Above: Mackenzie Barry (right) in action for Wellington Phoenix last season against Sydney FC’s Cote Rojas. Photo: Matt King.

Wellington Phoenix’s newly capped Football Fern Mackenzie Barry was announced earlier today as the club’s first contracted player for the 2022/23 A-League Women season.

The young centre back has jumped at the opportunity to re-sign with the Phoenix after leading the team in clearances, blocks, and interceptions in their inaugural campaign.

Barry’s performances caught the eye of Ferns coach Jitka Klimková, who named the 21-year-old in the New Zealand squad for last month’s internationals against Norway and Wales.

“I’m really proud to be playing for the Phoenix,” Barry said. “I feel quite committed to the club after just one season and I really want us to do well. Last season we progressed so much and I’m really looking forward to seeing how we compete in the league this year and how much we’ve improved.

Above: Mackenzie Barry – rising with the Phoenix last season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

“It felt like we were just getting started last season. We were really competing well, we were winning games and we were scoring goals so this season is really exciting.”

Barry, who hails from Taranaki, is also looking forward to playing in front of Phoenix fans in Wellington for the first time.

“Playing at home will make everyone more passionate. We had a great little support group in Australia and they were so committed and amazing, but I think playing in front of your friends and family you are really playing for something and you want to do the best you can in front of them and make them proud.

“Everyone is going to step up and it’s going to be really special, especially that first game, playing in front of friends and family. I’m really looking forward to it.”

She will have ‘a little support group’ in Wellington when she moves down in October, with her older brother and one of her younger sisters studying in the capital.

Above: Mackenzie Barry in action against Melbourne City last season. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

“Moving to Wellington does feel more like home, knowing that I’ve got my family and other friends there.”

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis was delighted by the news. “I am really excited to have Mack back. She grew through the season and we saw how dominant she was for us in a defensive role,” Lewis said.

“She was really key for us cleaning up a lot at the back and she kept us in a lot of games. Being called up to the Football Ferns just shows the progress that she’s making. She’s just getting started and we believe we can help develop her into a key player for the Ferns.”

“We want to continue the momentum from the second half of our first season and continue what we’re building,” Lewis said.

“We really believe in the team that we invested in and we want to make sure we secure and work with those key players moving forward to make sure we can keep developing our identity and showing New Zealand and the A-League what the Wellington Phoenix women’s team is about.”

The 2022/23 season is scheduled to start on 18th November, with a draw due out in the next month.

Artwork: Wellington Phoenix

WA Matilda Mastrantonio Returns Home To Perth Glory

12/7/22

Above: Ella Mastrantonio pictured playing for the Matildas last year. Photo: W Sports & Media.

Perth Glory today confirmed that experienced Matildas midfielder Ella Mastrantonio has signed a two-year contract with the club.

The 30-year-old returns to her hometown team having made 56 W-League appearances during three previous stints in purple between 2008 and 2010, 2011 and 2014, and 2015 and 2016.

Having spent the last two years in Europe representing then English Super League club Bristol City and Italian side Lazio, she is now excited at the prospect of re-joining the Liberty A-League.

Above: Ella Mastrantonio pictured in an earlier spell with Perth Glory. Photo: FootballWA.net

“I’m very happy to have signed back at home with Perth Glory,” she said. Speaking with [Head Coach] Alex Epakis and people around the club, there is a very good vision and plan for the women’s football department which I’m excited to be a part of.

“Coupled with the announcement of the season being extended and more teams coming in, the club is heading in the right direction, especially in the lead-up to the Women’s World Cup next year. I’m excited for the coming season!”

Epakis, meanwhile, believes that the signing of Mastrantonio represents a major coup for the club.