Melbourne City 2018/19 W-League Preview

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This City team has not only created history, but a dynasty and it doesn’t look like ending any time soon. Having strengthened in the off-season on the field and in the technical area, Melbourne City is poised for a fourth consecutive W-League championship.

Last season

W-League – 4th

Finals – Champions

They’ll win the league because…

Melbourne City has become the Matildas 2.0.

The club boasts some of the biggest names in Australian football, having transformed into a breeding ground for current and future national team players. Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Butt, two of the Matildas’ best players, inject further class and stability into the line-up.

This team thrives on the big occasion and know how to win with their backs against the wall, having won their last two championships from fourth position.

Losing Jess Fishlock will hurt but City have done well to retain most of last season’s Championship winning team in addition to the recruitment of proven match-winners.

Last season’s championship was ridden on the wave of momentum with City winning their last five league matches to lock up fourth spot and from there, the rest is history.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

Jess Fishlock has been the focal point of Melbourne City’s attack scoring 16 of the team’s 39 goals over the last two seasons.

Her departure to Lyon on-loan leaves some uncertainty around City in their attacking third, resulting in newly appointed head coach Rado Vidosic bringing quality attackers to fill this void.

One of the players brought in to replace Fishlock is Jodie Taylor who was named UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Best XI player and Golden Boot winner.

Defender Alanna Kennedy also departs the club but City’s defence should be able to manage, especially with the re-signing of star goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

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The off-season brought…

Match-winners.

Rado Vidosic may not have been a W-League coach for long but based off his off-season activity it is clear he means business.

Tameka Butt and Elise Kellond-Knight are City’s two biggest signings of the off-season due to their experience for the Matildas in key moments.

In addition, Vidosic has also recruited Helen Caceres and Adriana Jones from the Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United respectively. Both of whom are capable players and will add to Melbourne City’s star-studded line up.

Talk around the water cooler…

In the W-League off-season Lydia Williams, Theresa Nielsen, Steph Catley and Lauren Barnes all played alongside one-another, representing Seattle Reign in the NWSL.

Reign had the second best defensive record in the NWSL last season, providing an early indication this City team will be hard to score against.

Key player…

Take your pick.

Any one of City’s players is lauded as a key player but one who is criminally underrated is Ellise Kellond-Knight.

Kellond-Knight has been one of the most reliable Matildas over the past few years and her versatility will be heavily relied upon, especially with City’s midfield now being deprived of Jess Fishlock.

Kellond-Knight’s ability to close down attackers and shut down a game will be significant in the early rounds of the season as teams will look to catch City off guard. Her return to the W-League could not have come at a better time, especially with a World Cup just around the corner.

One to watch

Adriana Jones.

Jones broke on to the scene with a hat-trick two seasons ago for Adelaide United and has not looked back since.  After scoring nine goals in 11 games, Jones made the move to China where she needed no time to get on the scoresheet netting a goal in her debut and ending up with 13 goals by season’s end.

Jones joins City as one of Vidosic’s attacking recruits and will be expected to take her performance to another level in this team.

At just 23-years-old she has plenty of growth left in her and there is no better place for a young star to nurture and perfect their craft than at Melbourne City.

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INS – Elise Kellond-Knight (Hammarby), Tameka Butt (Brisbane Roar), Jasmine Spencer (Seattle Reign – LOAN), Theresa Nielsen (Seattle Reign – LOAN), Adriana Jones (Adelaide United), Helen Caceres (Western Sydney Wanderers).

OUTS – Jess Fishlock (Lyon), Larissa Crummer (Newcastle Jets), Alanna Kennedy (Sydney FC).

Full Squad

Goalkeepers – 1. Lydia Williams, 23. Melissa Hudson.

Defenders – 3. Lauren Barnes, 7. Steph Catley, 88. Theresa Nielsen, 13. Rebekah Scott, 2. Yukari Kinga.

Midfielders – Elise Kellond-Knight, 15. Amy Jackson, 16. Sofia Sakalis

Forwards – 6. Helen Caceres, 11. Rhali Dobson, 12. Adriana Jones, 17 Kyah Simon, 22. Jasmine Spencer.

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