Next step for Westfield W-League

The Westfield W-League is back, and it's bigger and better than ever before. With the new season kicking off this Saturday, what's in store for the 2012/13 campaign?

The Westfield W-League is back, and it's bigger and better than ever before. With the new season kicking off this Saturday, what's in store for the 2012/13 campaign?

No doubt the biggest news is the addition of an eighth team for 2012/13. Wanderers FC will make their competitive debut against Adelaide United, making it an eight-team competition for the first time since 2009.

The addition of Wanderers FC also means a longer regular season, running from October through until mid-January, with the clubs now playing 12 matches rather than 10. And as the competition grows in profile, the Westfield W-League 2012/13 Season is moving towards full home and away fixtures.

The addition of a new club and longer season is a powerful indicator of the evolution of women's football in Australia.

It's hoped that these changes will not only be beneficial in terms of attendance figures and the promotion of the Westfield W-League as a whole, but also to the players, many of whom compete on the international stage for the Westfield Matildas.

Looking ahead, reigning champions Canberra United will be eager to defend their title when they open their campaign against Brisbane Roar in a Grand Final rematch at McKellar Park on October 20.

Last season's final went down to the wire as a double from Canberra United's Michelle Heyman and an Ashleigh Sykes strike were enough to see off two-time champions Brisbane Roar in a 3-2 thriller.

Heyman will be the striker to watch this campaign, as the 24-year-old two-time golden boot winner looks to maintain the rich vein of form that saw her rack up an impressive 15 goals last season.

Brisbane Roar will also be hoping their top scorer from last season will continue to shine, after 20-year-old super sub Emily Gielnik was picked up by WSL side Liverpool Ladies in the off-season.

And when Sydney FC take on Newcastle Jets in round one, all eyes will no doubt be on dual international Ellyse Perry, who left former club Canberra United after being told she had to choose between football and cricket.

There's a lot to get excited about for what will be the biggest and best Westfield W-League season yet, with new coaching staff, several intriguing transfers and the newcomers no doubt keen to get their first season off to a winning start.

Make sure you tune in for round one on Saturday, October 20.

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