Westfield W-League season preview: Brisbane Roar

In the latest of Westfield W-League team preview we run the rule over a new-look Brisbane Roar as the Queenslanders seek to bounce-back from a disappointing campaign.

It looms as a pivotal season for Brisbane Roar who, having lost an unprecedented amount of internationally experienced personnel, are seeking to bounce back after surprisingly failing to reach the finals for the first time in the club’s history.

Until last season Brisbane Roar were a constant threat for the title, and arguably had been the most consistent club in the Westfield W-League’s history.

A host of international stars have long filled the Roar roster, but last season the big names were inexplicably unable to deliver. Several of the headline-names departed during the off-season, meaning this season’s squad boasts an unusual mix of seasoned senior players and inexperienced youngsters.

Gone are a quartet of Westfield Matildas in Elise Kellond-Knight, Kim Carroll, Larissa Crummer and Hayley Raso, plus now-retired goalkeeping legend Nadine Angerer. More experience went out the door with injuries to Brooke Spence and Vedrana Popovic.

Those departures mean FIFA Women’s World Cup stars Clare Polkinghorne, Tameka Butt and Katrina Gorry will form the backbone of the side, ably assisted by the likes of Emily Gielnik and Amy Chapman.

It is on the fringes of the starting side where there is a lack of Westfield W-League experience, with some half a dozen players promoted from local ranks.

"The foundation and senior players ... will have an important role in providing leadership and experience to those new players stepping up to the W-League for the first time," said Roar coach Belinda Wilson said.

A blockbuster opening game against two-time grand final rivals Canberra United could be telling as to the Roar’s realistic ambitions for the coming campaign. Either way the Roar face a challenge to hit the ground running amid a host of highly competitive rivals.

Brisbane Roar
Ins:
Gabe Marzano (Perth Glory), Summer O'Brien, Ruth Blackburn (both The Gap, Queensland), Carrie Simpson (Bradford City), Ashley Spina (Newcastle Jets), Sofie Persson (Sunshine Coast Fire, Queensland), Cortnee Vine (NTC Under-17 program), Alisha Foote (Redlands, Queensland), Maili Forbes (The Gap, Queensland)

Outs: Brooke Spence (foot injury), Vedrana Popovic (Achilles injury) Nadine Angerer (Portland Thorns, USA), Elise Kellond-Knight (Turbine Potsdam, Germany), Kim Carroll (Perth Glory), Larissa Crummer (Melbourne City), Hayley Raso (Melbourne Victory)