The new A-League Women season is almost upon us. In 2022/23 supporters of every side have multiple reasons to be excited.
There are new players, new coaches, and long-awaited homecomings for fans and players.
There are sides looking to continue historically successful runs, and clubs staking a claim as challengers.
From the champions to the newcomers, Kick360 has listed three things that fans of each club can look forward to.
A third championship in a row
Jeff Hopkins’s team have won two consecutive Grand Finals under very different circumstances. 2020/21 was won off the back of a strong home and away season and exceptional defence. It was a case of a plan coming together.
2022’s decider was after a gruelling season where six games were crowded into February. Victory were without key players and were forced into tactical reshuffles game to game.
Melbourne Victory’s recent history has shown that they can win it against the odds and in different ways.
This season they will welcome back talismanic skipper, Kayla Morrison in defence. Lia Privitelli is coming off a terrific NPLW season with Bulleen, and Melina Ayres should be fully fit.
Beattie Goad has also been signed. She will bring experience from Stanford University, and two seasons in Germany, then Spain.
The huge inclusion of Matildas legend Elise Kellond-Knight gives Victory almost unparalleled depth in midfield.
It is hard to see them missing out on contention this season, and it will be thrilling to watch them attempt a third trophy in as many years.
The league’s best defensive list
Defensive signings do not always excite supporters, but after last season Melbourne Victory fans should be delighted with the pre-season so far. Gema Simon, Natalie Tathem, and Jessika Nash have arrived. They are very different and less attacking players than Courtney Nervin and Polly Doran, but will provide depth, versatility and quality to the side.
Importantly, Victory have retained Claudia Bunge and will welcome back Kayla Morrision. With Casey Dumont in goals, they will be very hard to score against and the midfield will be freer to create in attack.
The mighty Zois
At the time of writing, Kyra Cooney-Cross may still return, even if not Victory have a player and fan favourite who is ready to step up this season. Paige Zois has enjoyed an impressive NPL season at Bulleen where Coach Caitlin Friend trusted her as the main force in midfield.
Her ability to carry the ball and create space was instrumental in the Lions run to the NPLW final. Zois’s performances earned her a trip to Costa Rica to the Under 20 World Cup where she made two appearances off the bench.
Zois is a tricky and composed player. She is an excellent midfielder who looks set to take on a bigger role this season, especially following the departure of Melinda Barbieri to Adelaide United.
A whole new season
The 2022/23 season has to be better than the last one. Newcastle did not finish bottom of the ladder, and they were usually competitive on game day. However, Ash Wilson’s team were hit harder by the infamous “unprecedented times” than most sides.
Newcastle started the season optimistically. They made some impressive signings in the form of Marie Dolvik, Elizabeth Eddy and Emily Vam Egmond. But a combination of fixture congestion and covid eventually derailed their season. By March, they were forced to field a side with only two outfield players on the bench.
They have lost some players, but retained some important ones. This year is guaranteed to be better.
Last year Brodigan returned to the jets after a one season hiatus, and she has returned again to bolster an attack now missing Dolvik, Sunny Franco and Sophie Harding.
The absences last season presented opportunities for Brodigan who scored an impressive first goal for the club against Western Sydney in February.
Now aged 23, Brodigan may be set for an important role with Newcastle. She has clever movement and an ability to find space. Alongside mainstays of the side like Lauren Allan and Tara Andrews, this could be a breakout year for the crafty forward.
The 40 cap Matilda is an excellent signing for Ash Wilson’s squad. Allen arrives from Western Sydney and will bring the experience missing from club stalwart Gema Simon.
Newcastle typically play a counter-attacking game style which requires composed defenders who are also capable passers. Allen is the type of signing that will allow The Jets the confidence to be the best swashbuckling version of themselves.
Reasons to aim high
It is time for a bold prediction. Perth Glory will finish in the top four, and very possibly in the top two on the table.
Alex Epakis’s team only missed out on goal difference last season and spent most of the season away from home due to COVID restrictions. His newly assembled squad gelled almost instantly and quickly built momentum and confidence that resulted in an impressive season.
Perth will be stronger this season. Teams will have to travel to play them, their young brigade has more experience, Claudia Mihocic will be like a new signing, and the addition of Ella Mastrantonio will add class and polish to a talented squad.
It is difficult to see them missing out.
Perth Glory has announced that they will be playing home games at Macedonia Park. It is a ground that the women’s team drew a large crowd to in 2021, and created an atmosphere that helped propel the team to a late winner against Brisbane Roar.
Glory’s fans had to watch from afar as their team played with minimal partisan support in the stands. They will make their return in round two against Adelaide United in what could be the game of the week. There is plenty of reason for fans to turn up and support the women’s side as they did at the beginning of last season.
The most dangerous attack in the league
The names are impressive and numerous. Alana Jancevski, Cyera Hintzen, Sofia Sakalis, Susan Phonsongkham, Sarah Cain, Milan Hammond, Hana Lowry, and Demi Koulizakis.
Perth have one of the most frightening attacking arsenal’s in the A-League Women.
Epakis has genuine firepower that few teams can match. He has tactical versatility and most are in form. Jancevski was one of Bulleen’s best in Victoria’s NPLW, Sakalis and Cain shared the Football Victoria Gold Medal, and Phonsongkham has been impressive in Iceland.
Milan Hammond is another new face in the squad, but has been part of the Future Matildas program and a member of the respected Blacktown Spartans side in NSW. Lowry has been used more in midfield but can be used forward if needed and Koulizakis offers pace.
Glory will provide goals this season, possibly the most in the league. Their attack is a glimpse into the near future of Australian football.