Melbourne City have won two W-Leauge championships from two attempts since their foundation in 2015. Will the new campaign once again bring them success or will the field challenge the champs?

Last season:

W-League: 4th
Finals: Champions

They’ll win the league because…
There’s no reason to believe Melbourne City won’t claim the W-League crown again this season.

Melbourne City’s squad is an unfinished project having confirmed six players for the new season, but the additions so far have once again outlined the club’s high ambitions.

Kyah Simon headlines the acquisitions as she makes the move away from Sydney FC where she’s played 68 of her 77 career W-League games and has been a big name in the final third for the Matildas with 22 goals in 74 appearances.

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Melbourne City’s fistful of money will help make more big name signings, whether that’s from the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League or from Britain (as was the case with Kim Little in their first season), meaning it’s almost a guarantee City will be rocking heavyweight names in the squad.

City have been benefited by their state-of-the-art facilities at the City Football Academy, which far outclasses the homes of their competitors and similarly the quality of the staff on hand at the club have often been praised by the players.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

It’s a time of change at the top for Melbourne. Coach Joe Montemurro moved on to assist the men’s team midway through last season and former Socceroo and Melbourne City captain Patrick Kisnorbo takes the reigns in his first head coaching role.

Kisnorbo would’ve learnt a lot in his apprenticeship at the club under Montemurro but just how well he’s able to go flying solo is still unknown.

Undefeated in their first season, Melbourne City’s form last year was a little less flattering after finishing fourth and winning only six of the 14 games – they went through a six game winless stretch in the middle of the year. That form must be bettered in 2017/18.

In addition City will want to quickly snap up captain Jess Fishlock. The Welshwoman led Melbourne City in both championship seasons and did signal towards coming back to claim a “threepeat” earlier in the year but little development has been made public since then.

Fishlock is a world class footballer and her influence is key to the City team. She became player-coach last season after Montemurro was moved up and even scored in the Grand Final victory over Perth.

Similarly fellow Americans Beverly Yanez and Lauren Barnes look set to come out on loan once more from the Seattle Reign in America.

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Melina Ayres, Marianna Tabain, Teigan Allen and Laura Alleway have all departed the club meaning City will first need to look at bolstering the centre of defence, especially because of the losses of Allen and Alleway.

Talk around the water cooler… Look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.
18. That was the number of games Melbourne City won in a row between 2015 and the middle of the 2016/17 season. No team has won that many matches in a row and only Brisbane Roar (then Queensland) can match it for an undefeated streak between 2008 and 2009.

The off-season brought...
Joy and a sense of comfort. Melbourne City W-League fans did it in their first season after dominating the competition and they did it again last year having gone through a long form slump and only making the finals off the back of two hard-fought wins in the final weeks of last season, followed by an extra-time win in the semis.

Whether they’re in control or on the ropes, Melbourne City have the experience and quality in their squad to win key matches from all angles.

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Key player...
Kyah Simon – Only a small handful of players comprise Melbourne City’s squad to date but Simon is by far the most important. Her inclusion gives the side a focal point in attack and makes City a far more menacing team for the opposition to front up to on game day.

One to watch...
Rhali Dobson – Dobson is a native of tiny little Wauchope on the mid north coast but made her name after breaking into the Newcastle Jets over the last four years. The 25-year-old is a striker and will look play as a foil for Simon in the final third and the opportunity to further her career in an environment like Melbourne City should see her game develop to new levels this season.

Full squad list...

Amy JACKSON, Kyah SIMON, Rhali DOBSON, Hayley RICHMOND, Sofia SAKALIS, Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC

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Football and Aussie rules commentator, writer and radio host/producer from Melbourne.