Canberra United begins Season 7 of the WWL away to Western Sydney Wanderers.
A new season of Westfield W-League football gets underway this weekend as Canberra United begins the defence of the Premiership title won last season with a visit to Western Sydney Wanderers. United finished top of the pile in Season Six only to fall at the semi-stage against Brisbane Roar. And there is a sense of unfinished business amongst the squad as we head into the season opener.
Coach Lizz Migchelsen will hand a first-team-debut to new goalkeeper Chantel Jones who has previous in this competition having played for Perth Glory and her experience between the posts could be a major asset against the Wanderers. With Nicole Begg leading the team once more, alongside Ellie Brush in defence, Canberra United can field plenty of experience.
A trio of pre-season matches against local boy’s teams, Canberra Olympic’s National Premier Leagues: Capital Football under-18 Grand Final team and the ACT Academy of Sport providing the opposition, have given the United coaching staff a chance to run the rule over the squad and decide on what is the best possible starting eleven for this weekend’s encounter.
There is a possibility that the two teenagers, drafted into the squad on Monday last week, Grace Maher and Julia De Angelis may be involved for the first time as Canberra looks to continue their unbeaten record against the red and Blacks. This match will be the fourth time the teams have met in Westfield W-League action with Canberra having won the last two after the maiden match ended in a 1-1 draw in November 2012 – a game notable for the dismissal of then United skipper Brush.
In the return match that season United hammered the Wanderers 5-0 and comfortably saw off the Western Sydney challenge in their sole meeting last season when goals from Michelle Heyman and Stephanie Ochs helped Canberra to a 2-0 success.
The Wanderers finished last season in seventh place having won only two of their twelve matches played and with a large turnaround of players heading into Season Seven may take some time to gel together. Canberra looks forward to a second away trip in succession when they travel to Adelaide United on 21st September, so getting off to a good start in this match is vital. With the season compacted and due to finish before Christmas, early momentum could pay dividends.
1. Chantel JONES, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 5. Grace FIELD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 9. Grace GILL, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 16. Lori LINDSEY, 17. Holly HOUSTON, 18. Rebecca KITING, 20. Melissa MAIZELS, 22. Stephanie OCHS
IN: 1. Chantel JONES, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 20. Melissa MAIZELS
OUT: Trudy BURKE, Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, Lydia WILLIAMS, Sally SHIPARD
UNAVAILABLE: 4. Kendall FLETCHER (overseas), 8. Meg McLAUGHLIN (injured), 10. Grace MAHER (national team duty), 12. Sally ROJAHN (injured)