Thursday, October 1, 2009

Westfield W-League Round 1 teams and preview

Yay, the new season of the W-League is just two sleeps away and finally, the squads are here.
So who's in and out? Probably won't know exactly what will happen until the team's line-up but certainly some interesting last minute signings. Here are the interesting parts of the previews, game by game.

SATURDAY at Ballymore, Brisbane Roar v Canberra United, 3pm.
The grand final rematch that isn't really as Canberra will have a total of eight players different from their team that lost 2-0 last year. In are their two Taiwanese imports, Emily van Egmond, Ellyse Perry and players that were on the roster last year but didn't make the grand final like Snez Veljanovska and Ellie Raymond. Also have named Sally Shipard, but she is only an outside chance to play as still waiting for her clearance from her Spanish futsal club to come through. For Queensland, they have named Pam Bignold, a former Matildas defender and Aivi Luik, who you can read all about here. But the most surprising selection is Sasha McDonnell.
At last weekend's Matildas camp, McDonnell and Kara Mowbray, who both played for Canberra in season one, didn't have clubs. But now Brisbane Roar have managed to squeeze Sasha in as their 20th player, while Mowbray will play for Melbourne. It means that McDonnell could play against her old team, but she isn't likely to start in the Queensland team stacked with Matildas.
The match of the round and will be very interesting to see if United can keep the form they showed against the Matildas team in that practice game last week. Pic, Sasha McDonnell in last year's grand final, will be wearing orange this weekend for Brisbane.

SATURDAY at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory, 4.45pm.
Firstly, great to see the Melbourne Victory girls getting to play at Etihad this weekend. Hope there is a huge crowd to cheer them on! While Canberra and Brisbane deserve to be match of the round, this is just as interesting. Melbourne almost made it last year, but this year have added an American WPS player to its midfield, Julianne Sitch, a few Queenslanders and still have the most experienced goalkeeper in the entire league in Melissa Barbieri. The Victory face a tough task though against a Perth team that according to their press release anyway, will start Lisa de Vanna and Collette McCallum. I expect Perth to be the big movers this year under John Gibson, will be interesting to see how they kick off their season.

MONDAY at Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners, 12.15pm.
Just the list of names on Sydney's list makes me fear for the Mariners a little on Monday. Heather Garriock, Sarah Walsh, Kyah Simon, plus two Danish internationals in Catherine Paaske and Julie Rydahl. Then there is Leena Khamis, last year's golden boot winner. The Mariners have a big task on their hands. Pic, Heather Garriock and Leena Khamis celebrate last year.

MONDAY at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets, 2.15pm.
Aside from Canberra, Adelaide United have had probably the biggest turnover from W-League season one to two. A lot of those were retirements and missing the experience of Di Alagich, Sharon Black and Kristyn Swaffer will hurt. But as a mostly young and unknown team now, who knows what they might do? The fact that Newcastle is less strong than last year gives them a chance in their home game. Still Newcastle now have one of the best 'keepers in the league in Alison Logue and have regained Hayley Crawford from Canberra, who played a crucial role in helping United to the grand final last year. A lot more even than their results last year should suggest, the Jets will still be favourites but Adelaide could surprise.

Stay tuned for the Top 5 moments of Westfield W-League season 1 tomorrow and don't forgot to scroll down the page and see what Westfield Matildas coach Tom Sermanni has to say about the second season of the W-League!

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