Every Westfield W-League team's Westfield Matildas for 2018/19
Nothing livens up a competition quite like a looming international tournament and the fast-approaching FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 is sure to have the same positive influence on the Westfield W-League.
Major player movements and a competitive title race are also set to make for an unforgettable season that will see players jostling for spots on the plane to next year's showpiece event.
Numerous established Westfield Matildas stars have signed on with local sides as they build form for France 2019.
Read on to find out who is playing where and be sure to track their progress in the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season!
Adelaide United’s bid for a maiden Westfield W-League Finals Series berth has been given a major boost with the arrival of record-breaker Michelle Heyman.
The Westfield W-League’s all-time leading scorer will add leadership, vital know-how around goal and a burning inner ambition to return to the international fold in time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019.
Her new team-mate, Emily Condon, is also in the selection conversation after debuting for the Westfield Matildas at the Algarve Cup earlier this year.
Key centre-back Emma Checker brings further international experience to a team that looks ready to push off the foot of the ladder.
Brisbane Roar have long provided a launchpad for Westfield Matildas and though two have departed, a strong core remains in place.
Captain Clare Polkinghorne has been a mainstay at the back for club and country for over a decade and returns once again to lead her beloved hometown outfit.
Katrina Gorry may have to step up another level in midfield after losing long-term partner Tameka Butt, but the 26-year-old long-range specialist has the class to elevate those around her.
Meanwhile, the reigning Westfield W-League Premiers will be closely monitoring Hayley Raso’s encouraging recovery from a serious back injury as the incisive winger aims to find full fitness in time for France 2019.
Ellie Carpenter’s mature performance in the Westfield Matildas' recent 1-1 friendly draw with England illustrated just how much of a coup it was for Canberra United to keep hold of the teenager.
The versatile 18-year-old flourished in a midfield role in her first season at the club and recommitted on the strength of head coach Heather Garriock’s mentorship.
Following an off-season spent honing her game with Portland Thorns, Carpenter now appears primed to surpass even the sterling efforts of last season.
She will be relied upon heavily to lead Canberra's charge back toward the top four.
Melbourne City represent something of a mini Westfield Matildas camp in between international breaks.
Champions in each of the last three seasons, the glamour side has strengthened further with the recruitment of midfielder Butt and her former Roar team-mate Elise Kellond-Knight.
Their guile in the centre of the park complements a star-studded group captained by elite left-back Steph Catley and marshalled from the last line by goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
New head coach Rado Vidosic is also blessed with the always productive Kyah Simon, who has the capacity to pull the strings in the final third.
Seventh last season, Melbourne Victory’s struggles in front of goal might well be solved with the addition of Emily Gielnik.
The 26-year-old is a handful for defenders either through the middle or out wide and continues to be a handy impact weapon for Australia six years on from her debut.
That Victory conceded the fewest goals of any team outside the top four in the Westfield W-League 2017/18 season suggests they are as likely as any to climb into contention, and it comes as no surprise given their talents in defence.
Centre-back Laura Alleway is an ever-present figure within the Westfield Matildas, while goalkeeper Casey Dumont was a member of the squad that won the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2010.
Newcastle Jets loom as one of the most fascinating teams to track in the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season.
Not least because the reinvention of Larissa Crummer as a centre-back, a move initiated by Westfield Matildas coach Alen Stajcic, could make or break Craig Deans’ hopes of building on last season’s third-place finish.
Crummer will be joined in defence by reliable right-back and three-time international Hannah Brewer, while the team’s biggest star offers protection in midfield.
In Emily van Egmond, Newcastle have again secured the services of a local hero capable of driving them back to the pointy end of the table.
Everywhere Perth Glory go, the attention on superstar striker Sam Kerr follows.
The reigning Golden Boot and two-time Julie Dolan Medal Winner is returning on a landmark marquee deal, the first of its kind in the Westfield W-League.
Kerr’s presence will provide a lift to the entire Perth squad and naturally raises expectations of Finals Series football.
Eliza Campbell could potentially be just as important to realising that ambition, the goalkeeper having been lured away from Adelaide.
Grand Final pain appears to have only spurred on Sydney FC in assembling a roster truly capable of making the silverware their own.
The latest Westfield Matildas player to link up with the Sky Blues is ex-Canberra United youngster Amy Sayer, who along with new club team-mate, Princess Ibini, was part of the squad that took on France and England.
Lisa De Vanna, Chloe Logarzo and Caitlin Foord were all part of that group and stock Sydney FC with significant firepower going forward.
Classy centre-back Alanna Kennedy is a huge inclusion after a season away at Melbourne City, while Amy Harrison’s return from a second knee reconstruction is gathering pace and will add a feel-good factor to a collection of stars.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Not unlike Kennedy at Sydney FC, the experienced Caitlin Cooper is a massive coup for a Western Sydney Wanderers side that will welcome the extra solidity in defence.
The 30-year-old, capped 10 times, is back after a year across at Sydney FC, having identified Western Sydney as the place to make her case for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 selection.
She has linked up at the club with new head coach Dan Barrett, a fellow former Sky Blues employee.
Also at his disposal is talented shot-stopper Jada Whyman, part of the most recent Westfield Matildas squad, and 2018 debutant Rachel Lowe.