A spot in the W-League finals is long overdue for Western Sydney Wanderers. A troop of promising new signings including several international marquees may finally give the side a much-needed push toward the top end of the table.

Last season
W-League: 8th

They’ll win the league because…
Coach Richard Byrne spent a busy off season assembling a well-rounded squad. On paper Western Sydney has the potential to be one of the stronger attacking teams in the league. Last season saw the side score just 14 times, so a string of new striking talent is a welcoming sight for Wanderers’ faithful.

A range of young talent also inspires hope. Goalkeeper Jada Whyman was recently selected for the Westfield Young Matildas as they contend for the AFC U19 Women’s Championship this month. Forwards Susan Phonsongkham and Rachael Lowe were also named in the squad having impressed selectors in the off-season.

Familiar faces Chloe O’Brien, Erica Halloway and Alix Roberts have all re-signed for the season and will be seeking to cement their positions in the starting eleven.

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They’ll be cellar dwellers because…
Unfortunately for the Wanderers, history tends to repeat itself. The highest the side has ended the season is sixth, so a lack of finals experience could be a cause for concern as the season crawls into the latter rounds. Last season’s captain Caitlin Cooper will be a huge loss especially as she leaves to join cross city rivals Sydney FC. Consistent impressive performances saw her earn the Westfield W-League Player of the Year at the 2017 Wanderers Medal and her presence at the back will be missed by players and fans alike.

Talk around the watercooler… look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.
When discussing Dutch footballers an obvious name comes to mind. Johan Cruyff has undoubtedly done remarkable things for football both on and off the field. One of his achievements, which many may not be aware, is his establishment of an educational institute back in 1999. The Johan Cryuff Institute in Amsterdam offers programs for athletes in the field of sport management. Funnily enough, the Wanderers latest Dutch signing Maruschka Waldus was once a student at the institution. So who knows? If Waldus enjoys her stint in the Australian sun then we may well see her progress to a coaching or development role.

The off season brought…
Much like their A-League counterparts the off season was prosperous for the Wanderers. Dutch striker Marlous Pieete joins the side from Ajax providing a wealth of experience with 48 international caps. Joining her from the Netherlands is experienced defender Maruschka Waldus who spent last season with Icelandic Club Fylkir FC.

Israeli forward Lee Falkon joins the side for the upcoming season and is poised to be one of the League’s most formidable attackers. The 25-year-old has represented Israel 37 times scoring six goals. She was also instrumental in the promotion of MSV Duisburg to the Bundesliga. Contributing to the front end is striker Rosie Sutton with the pacey forward joining the ranks from Perth Glory after netting seven goals last term.

Midfielder Kahlia Hogg has signed for the season and possesses experience from a career split between W-League side Canberra United and Florida State Seminoles in the US college league. Midfielder Olivia Price makes the switch from arch rivals Sydney FC and versatile attacker Sunny Franco joins the side from Brisbane Roar.

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Key Player…
Jada Whyman – Whyman re-signs for the Wanderers after joining the club back in October 2015. The talented shot stopper had a difficult job last year but still finished the season with more saves than any other keeper in the league.

The 17-year-old possesses experience and ability beyond her age indicates having already collected accolades of awards at International and club level. Her story in itself is a testament to her determination; the Wagga Wagga local used to travel five hours each way to Sydney every weekend to play in the women’s premier league.

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One to Watch…
Ellie Brush – The veteran defender joins the red and black after nine seasons with Canberra United. The 29-year-old is the fourth most capped W-League player of all time and brings valuable experience to the sides defensive line-up. A code juggler, Brush has also made AFL women’s appearances for Greater Western Sydney. Fans can expect to see glimpses of the other code in her physicality and endurance.

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 Full Squad List:
1. Chloe O’BRIEN, 8. Erica HALLOWAY, 12. Rachel LOWE, 16. Alix ROBERTS, 1. Jada Mathyssen-WHYMAN, Ellie BRUSH, Trudy BURKE, Lee FALKON, Sunny FRANCO, Kahlia HOGG, Talitha KRAMER, Katelyn LEADBETTER, Marlous PIEETE, Susan PHONSONGKHAN, Olivia PRICE, Rosie SUTTON, Maruschka WALDUS

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Second year bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Wollongong. Aspiring Journalist, looking forward to the coming season!