'Kerr Effect' luring new fans to Westfield W-League
If my texts are any indication, the new Westfield W-League season has captured the imagination of potential new fans.
Call it the “Sam Kerr Effect”, or the just growing realisation that ahead of season 10 Australia’s women’s football culture is now world-class, but since the season launch earlier this week, friends of mine have been asking about when and where they can see a game.
These are friends who only have a passing interest in the A-League and Socceroos.
And while they’ll have to buy their own tickets to the games (don’t worry, tickets are great value and often include double-headers with the A-League) I expect them to tune in to the broadcasts and rock up to the games live to sample the W-League.
For the record, the W-League kicks off at 5.20pm (AEDT) on Friday at Sydney’s Allianz – before the Hyundai A-League clash between the Sky Blues and Glory – when Lisa De Vanna’s Sydney FC meet W-League powerhouse Brisbane Roar.
Later in the night, Sam Kerr’s Perth Glory host Melbourne City in an epic Grand Final rematch. Sammy is still hurting from that loss to City so expect a classic encounter at nib on Friday night in Perth with Kerr centre stage.
Rarely have I seen more hype around a league that I have with the new Westfield W League. The TV and media coverage in general has been outstanding – now it’s time for the narrative to shift to the games, the stars and the drama.
Kerr is of course the leading light in the league but there are so many foreign players to get excited about.
Keep an eye on Natasha Dowie at Victory. A class striker at the peak of her powers, the Englishwoman will captain the Big V. She will challenge Sam Kerr for the title of Golden Boot this season.
Dowie is joined by South Korean Jeon Ga-eul, who makes history as the first South Korean born player to join the W-League, with the 29-year-old having starred for Incheon Red Angels in Korea Republic.
Melbourne is clearly an exciting place with City again showing massive ambition once again, signing big-name Westfield Matildas such as Kyah Simon and Alanna Kennedy.
What I'm more excited about is to see somebody younger Australian players coming through who will in the future become national team stars like Kerr.
Alex Chidiac is one player who I think will really excite the fans in Adelaide's shirt, but striker Princess Ibini is another who I believe will be a real star this summer in the Harbour City (reprising her brother’s contribution at the Sky Blues).
The Westfield Young Matildas have been on the international stage this week and many of them could force their way into contention for the senior Asian Cup squad in early 2018. They'll keep the older Matildas on their toes.
No doubt Matildas supremo Alen Stajcic will be keeping a beady eye on it all as he aims to finetune plans to win another Asian Cup (to be played in Jordan early next year).
Speaking of the Matildas you can see nearly all of them performing in the league every week at a stadium near you.
With a superb broadcasting offering across Fox Sports and SBS, and double headers with the Hyundai A-League, the Westfield W-League is without doubt in a great shape ahead of a summer of sensational football.
And with Sam Kerr running riot across the country, who wouldn't want to check out the league?