The Westfield W-League kicked off in earnest on the weekend with a hotly contested round of matches, including the Grand Final rematch between Canberra United and Brisbane Roar.
The Westfield W-League kicked off in earnest on the weekend with a hotly contested round of matches, including the Grand Final rematch between Canberra United and Brisbane Roar. And although that game ended in a 0-0 stalemate, there was no shortage of goals elsewhere.
Adelaide United, in particular, could not have hoped for a better start to the season after registering only their second win in three years.
The Lady Reds looked set to continue their miserable run of form after trailing 3-1 to competition newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers FC. The Wanderers were quickest out of the blocks in their debut match, thanks largely to an early double to Westfield Matildas representative Servet Uzunlar.
But a late surge, courtesy of a stunning hat-trick from Kiwi midfielder Sarah McLaughlin, ensured Adelaide United got their 2012/13 campaign off to a winning start.
Despite last season’s results, Adelaide United have looked a much steadier ship under the tutelage of coach Dave Edmondson. The current team has a vastly different look to that of last year’s cellar dwellers, with 12 new faces making up the squad.
Joining them on top of the standings after round one is a similarly rejuvenated Perth Glory outfit following their 2-0 triumph over the Melbourne Victory – a match-up which always serves to comically render one team’s name ironic.
While the players and coaches of both sides will be aware that sterner tests lie ahead against competition heavyweights – the likes of Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and reigning champions Canberra United – both Adelaide United and Perth Glory were justifiably delighted with their respective starts. With a regular season of 12 rounds, every win is crucial.
The results are particularly encouraging for those hoping for a more competitive league this year.
While the Hyundai A-League has witnessed a remarkable spike in public interest this year with the addition of high-profile international imports, the Westfield W-League still faces an ongoing battle for visibility and funding.
As well as producing quality on the pitch, this imbalance is best redressed by a consistently competitive league with closely contested games each week to engage the supporters. Which makes the weekend’s results all the more heartening.
The competition also has a more balanced look about it this year with the introduction of the Western Sydney Wanderers FC restoring the league to an eight-team format.
The next round of fixtures sees Perth Glory host Adelaide United on Saturday, with both desperate to maintain their early momentum, as well as the mouth-watering prospect of the first ever Sydney derby.