W-League preview: Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne Victory expected to star in 2013-14
World Cup-winning goalkeeper and reigning European Women’s Player of the Year Nadine Angerer will headline a list of marquee international signings for the W-League this season.
The ABC will broadcast the W-league match-of-the-day nationally on Sundays from 3:00pm on ABC1.
Just weeks after being shortlisted for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award, Angerer will line up for the Brisbane Roar in their season opener against Canberra United on Saturday.
Brisbane star Tameka Butt said Angerer will provide the team with more stability in defence.
“She’s looking forward to coming over here and playing in our competition, it’s definitely very different to the German perspective of football,” Butt said.
“She does play great football from the back, leads from the back, so I think we’re definitely going to benefit with her playing behind us.”
The Roar have again named a talented squad which includes Australian co-captain and current Julie Dolan medallist Clare Polkinghorne as well as fellow Matildas Butt, Elise Kellond-Knight and Katrina Gorry.
The team is still reeling after missing out on the grand final for the first time in W-League history last season, despite finishing minor premiers.
Canberra United will also be hoping for a return to its former glory after a disappointing 2012/13 season where it missed the finals.
Like Brisbane, Canberra has added international stars to their squad, with Washington Spirit pair Lori Lindsay and Stephanie Ochs, as well as fellow American Kendall Fletcher set to team up in the nation’s capital.
Meanwhile, Dutchwoman Liesbeth Migchelsen has taken over the reigns as head coach.
Sydney FC, Victory confident of grand final repeat
Round one will also see a grand final rematch between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
Both sides are confident of at least making it to the big dance, if not lifting the trophy at season’s end.
Victory will be under former Adelaide United coach Dave Edmondson who is set to employ a similar philosophy to former mentor turned Brisbane Roar A-league coach, Mike Mulvey.
Edmondson brings with him young defender Emma Checker from the Lady Reds, who is a handy inclusion down back.
But the big signing for Victory is that of Lisa De Vanna.
The world-renowned Australian striker comes over from Perth Glory and along with fellow Matilda Ashley Brown, will produce a formidable combination up forward.
Newly appointed Victory captain Stephanie Catley, said the disappointment of losing last season’s grand final is driving the group.
“The girls that played in [the grand final] are still hurting,” she said.
“It’s the first thing you remember when you come back to your first preseason training so it’s definitely been a massive motivating factor.”
Sydney FC has lost of a number of players to cross town rivals the Western Sydney Wanderers this season.
Kyah Simon is gone. So too are Matildas Alana Kennedy, Heather Garriock and Teigen Allen.
But the Sky Blues have depth in their squad which should hold them in good stead as they attempt to go back-to-back.
Matildas Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord will again lead the push for the premiership while former Roar goalkeeper Casey Dumont will be an important addition.
The return of captain Danielle Brogan and Leena Khamis will also bring some experience and leadership to the young squad.
Coach Alen Stancjic said despite the departures the teams have gelled well and are gearing up for a serious tilt at the premiership.
“It’s probably the best preseason we’ve had, so if preseason is anything to go by we should be in for a good year,” he said.
Wanderers seek second-season joy
Another side set to challenge for the 2013/14 crown is the Wanderers.
Like their male counterparts, in just their second season they have wasted no time in stamping their presence on the game.
Results did not do the Wanderers justice last season, but with a host of key signings, this side could be the big movers in 2013/14.
Garriock will captain the squad which includes Matildas vice-captain Emily van Egmond.
But they will be without star Kyah Simon who is out following a season ending knee injury.
Goalkeeper of the year for 2013/14 Mackenzie Arnold will also miss the majority of the season after suffering a freak injury in the preseason.
Arnold cut her leg on the numberplate of a truck and required both external and internal stitches.
Perth Glory look to build on runner-up finish
Across the Nullarbor Perth Glory will be hoping to back-up after a surprisingly successful 2012/13 where they finished second on the ladder before going down to Melbourne Victory in the semi-finals.
Glory continued the W-League trend of signing internationals with Canadians Sasha Andrews and Christina Julien, Dane Cecilie Sandvej and American Chantel Jones joining the squad.
If they are to be competitive this season they will need goalscorer Katie Gill and captain Collette McCallum to fire.
The loss of one of those players early in the season could derail their tilt at the title.
In round one the Glory takes on Adelaide United who had a disappointing 2012/13 season, winning just two games.
Following the departure of Edmondson, the Lady Reds have appointed Ross Aloisi coach.
Aloisi has put a strong emphasis on changing the culture at the club and improving the fitness of his players.
They do have some key signings. English international Kristy Moore comes into the team as does former Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri who has spent the last year out of the game.
Jets expected to struggle
Another team likely to struggle with the pace of the competition is the Newcastle Jets.
The squad is severely inexperienced, with no player over the age of 25 on the roster.
To make matters worse they lost star van Egmond to the Wanderers which will make scoring difficult.
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