Season 7 of the Westfield W-League is nearly upon us with the opening round of the competition commencing on Saturday.
The season promises intrigue on multiple levels with players auditioning for a berth in the Westfield Matildas’ 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, while an unprecedented number of high-quality international players will also be jostling for a share of the spotlight.
The opening matchday sees Newcastle Jets host reigning champions Melbourne Victory at Magic Park on Saturday (13 September). Sunday is highlighted by the ABC TV match - Western Sydney Wanderers hosting Canberra United at Campbelltown Stadium – while on the same day Brisbane Roar travel to face Perth Glory at Ashfield Sports Club, and Sydney FC host Adelaide United at Lambert Park in Sydney.
The season moved a step closer with yesterday's media launch and we took a quick survey of some of the star players on hand to hear their predictions for the upcoming season.
Who do you think will do well this season (aside from your side of course!)?
Melissa Barbieri (Adelaide United): You always have to watch your Sydney and Melbourne, but who has recruited well is Perth Glory, given they now have six or seven Matildas.
Emily van Egmond (Newcastle Jets): I think Melbourne will be very strong. And I think Adelaide will do well because of how well Ross Aloisi did last year, and I’m going to tip them to do some damage.
Kim Carroll (Brisbane Roar): I think Perth have recruited really well. You can’t write off Melbourne having won last year. There has been really good recruitment across all the teams.
Michelle Heyman (Canberra United): Brisbane or Perth. Brisbane with so many Matildas are always a very tough team.
Which team will be the surprise packet?
Melissa Barbieri (Adelaide United): Us! We hope to surprise everyone. Adelaide and Perth.
Emily van Egmond (Newcastle Jets): I think Perth will be an underdog this year with their signings.
Kim Carroll (Brisbane Roar): Perth
Michelle Heyman (Canberra United): Perth, they have recruited really well.
Which young player do you think will make a name for herself?
Melissa Barbieri (Adelaide United): Dylan Holmes. She won player of the tournament at the recent NTC tournament. Very composed in the centre of mid.
Emily van Egmond (Newcastle Jets): We have a young girl called Grace McIntyre who could be very good.
Kim Carroll (Brisbane Roar): Ayesha Norrie. A great midfielder coming through, and calm on the ball.
Michelle Heyman (Canberra United): We have a couple of new young players but I haven’t had the chance to train together with them yet. Caitlin Jarvie has signed for the Wanderers and has been extremely good playing indoor (Futsal), and is a good forward.
What ambitions has your team set itself?
Melissa Barbieri (Adelaide United): It would be lovely to make the finals, but at the moment it is all about developing young players.
Emily van Egmond (Newcastle Jets): I have only been to a few training sessions so far. Obviously number one will be getting off the bottom of the table, but I think there is plenty of scope with our squad to play a good brand of football as well.
Kim Carroll (Brisbane Roar): Obviously everyone wants to win the grand final. But everyone also wants to play good football which is always in our mind.
Michelle Heyman (Canberra United): We always want to improve on last year. So top of the table and winning the grand final has to be the aim.