Catley says Melbourne City have 'gone up another level' this season
Steph Catley believes there is 'something special' brewing at Melbourne City this season as the Victorians aim to re-establish themselves as undisputed powerhouse of the Westfield W-League.
The 25-year-old Westfield Matilda was an integral part of City's three consecutive Championship victories following their inception in 2015/16, an era of dominance which broke new ground in Australia’s premiere competition.
And Catley is convinced Rado Vidosic's side are going to reclaim their crown in 2019/20.
"There is something very special about the team this year," she told w-league.com.au.
"To me, the way that we play at training, having been here from the start... it feels like another level.
"I'm hoping everything can come together and gel pretty quick – that's the best part about having so much experience."
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City have certainly never been short on international experience, and in last Sunday's 2-1 win over Canberra United Vidosic fielded a team of 10 internationals in his starting eleven – including seven Westfield Matildas.
The win in the nation's capital, sealed by Emily van Egmond's late penalty, was also Catley's 50th match for the club from Bundoora.
From the days of Jess Fishlock and Kim Little in City's unbeaten inaugural campaign, to the setback of last season's fifth-place finish, the experienced Australian international has been there from the very beginning.
She says the club's professional environment and overall vision for women's football is not too far away from the game's true elite – the National Women's Soccer League clubs in America – where Catley has plied her trade regularly for the past five seasons.
"It's honestly up there with the best that I've experienced as a footballer," she said.
"In terms of all the access to everything, quality of training field, gym it's definitely up there with the best.
"There's nothing that I can think of that I don't have access to to help get the best out of myself as a footballer and that's why I love coming back so much.
"They've been doing it from the very beginning. I was shocked and amazed when I made the change over by what they were able to bring to the table for a W-League team because I'd never experienced anything like it before. And I knew if I wanted to take my game to the next level that was the move I had to make, it's one I'm really happy I did.
"I just love being involved at Melbourne City and what they stand for."