In our latest Westfield W-League team preview we examine the prospects for a much-changed Melbourne Victory side.
After years of stability, Melbourne Victory remains somewhat of an unknown quantity heading into the new campaign.
Many long-serving players have departed – mostly to crosstown rivals Melbourne City.
Championship winning coach from 2014 Dave Edmondson is back after a spell in his native England, but the landscape has changed dramatically during his 18-month absence.
Gone are the long-serving international trio of Brianna Davey, Lisa De Vanna and inspirational skipper Steph Catley. Experience midfielders Amy Jackson and Ella Mastrantonio have also made their way out the exit door as have a host of local products, including the highly-rated Beattie Goad.
One of the few remaining headline names is Christine Nairn, where the guile and experience offered by the classy American attacking midfielder will be a massive boost.
There is significant experience too with a trio of former Westfield Matildas set to don the Victory colours. Melissa Barbieri has finally returned home, while Thea Slatyer and Selin Kuralay are happy additions to the Westfield W-League after several years away from the top flight.
"It's quite a good mix of players in the squad," Edmondson said. "Generally, it is a young and relatively inexperienced squad but there are four of five players that add some valuable experience and international quality to it.”
Also returning after a year’s absence from Victory ranks are attacking players Enza Barilla and Laura Spiranovic.
"We'll be enjoyable to watch and with the cross-section of players we have, we'll have a positive and exciting yet aggressive style, and hopefully that brings the results we are all after."
Ins: Melissa Barbieri (Adelaide United), Brooke Elby (University of North Carolina, USA), Melissa Taranto (Victoria NTC), Briar Palmer (Ashburton United), Annabel Martin (Victoria NTC), Enza Barilla (Bundoora United), Jamie Pollock (South Melbourne), Laura Spiranovic (Ashburton United), Melindaj Barbieri (Victoria NTC), Whitney Knight (Victoria NTC), Thea Slatyer (out of retirement), Selin Kuralay (out of retirement), Adriana Taranto (Victoria NTC), Hayley Raso (Brisbane Roar), Jess Pitts (Bundoora United)
Outs: Brianna Davey (Melbourne City), Stephanie Catley (Melbourne City), Amy Jackson (Melbourne City), Beattie Goad (Melbourne City), Lauren Barnes (Seattle Reign, USA), Elli Reed (Seattle Reign, USA), Caitlin Friend (Bulleen Lions, Victoria), Tiffany Eliadis (South Melbourne, Victoria), Hannah Brewer (Valentine Phoenix, NSW), Gema Simon (Newcastle Jets), Alex Gummer (Adelaide United), Jessica Au (Bundoora United, Victoria), Ella Mastrantonio (Perth Glory), Racheal Quigley (Bulleen Lions, Victoria), Emma Checker (Canberra United)