The emergence of some of Australia’s brightest young talents will be a key feature of the upcoming Westfield W-League season, according to Westfield Matildas legend Sarah Walsh.
With the start of the new campaign Friday of next week, ex-Sydney FC and Wanderers attacker Walsh believes fans will start to see some of the game’s younger brigade flourish on the domestic stage.
One young star who Walsh believes is set to have a huge year is new Brisbane Roar winger Hayley Raso.
Raso is coming off a stellar season in the USA with Portland Thorns where she netted an impressive six goals and contributed three assists as her side claimed the NWSL title.
“Hayley Raso - that’s going to be huge for Brisbane Roar. I think she’s been in the best form she’s ever been in – scoring goals over in Portland,” Walsh said.
“She’s come of age. I think we’re going to see her causing havoc down the right-hand side.
“At any given day she could be in the starting team [for the Matildas].
“With the Asian Cup next year, she needs to have a really good W-League season.”
EMERGING STARS SET TO SHINE
“They were talked about last year but some of the Young Matildas – the likes of Alex Chidiac and Grace Maher are going to play huge roles within their team this year,” Walsh told matildas.footballaustralia.com.au
“Players like that are going to be stepping up. They’re in their third or fourth year in the W-League and there’s going to be a lot more expected of these players. They’ll be stars this of this year.
“Remy Siemsen who shines for Manly United in the NPL, I think she’s going to be a mainstay in the starting XI for Sydney FC this year.
“I’m excited to see all the new players who are going to be stepping up from the NPL.”
MATILDAS NEED TO PERFORM
The Westfield Matildas tackle China in a two-game friendly series in November as preparations continue for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan.
And with competition for places set to intensify ahead of April’s tournament, Walsh believes the W-League will bring the best out of the national team hopefuls.
“All these players really need to perform this year to get a spot for the Asian Cup in April next year,” Walsh said.
“They’re not just going to be making up the numbers and keeping fit in this league. I know for a fact Staj won’t be choosing them unless they’re actually in form.
“There possibly might be some Matildas matches early in the year next year and you’re not there unless you’ve had a really good W-League season.
“That’s something that Alen Stajcic has been very consistent with. You have to perform.”