New faces are no problem for Canberra United

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All the chat of whether Canberra United needed more time to develop with the array of new personnel walking through the door was quickly dismissed at McKellar Park on Sunday.

Second half goals from Rhoda Mulaudzi and Ellie Carpenter secured United a 2-0 victory over reigning champions Melbourne City. Their international stars shone through as they hunt for redemption after missing the finals last season.

Captain Rachel Corsie, Refiloe Jane, Denise O’Sullivan, Maria Rojas and Mulaudzi all started from the outset and had telling impacts on the encounter. This will no doubt help coach Heather Garriock achieve the exciting brand of football she wants to play with in 2018/19.

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“There’s a few things we need to critique for next weeks game,” Garriock said.

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“But when you have a clear philosophy and a clear plan and you’ve got clever internationals that come in and understand football, it makes my job easier.”

Corsie showed her wealth of experience by making a number of key tackles to win possession as well as playing the ball into her midfield to turn and attack.

Midfielder Jane dictated play as the deepest lying midfielder. She not only displayed her obviously technical ability on the ball, but also constantly looked for teammates moving in front of her and that led to teeing up fellow South African Mulaudzi to open the scoring.

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Mulaudzi worked tirelessly alongside Rojas up front and ultimately capped off her first W-League game by becoming the first South African player to score in the competition and being elected player of the match.

“I can’t be happier for the both of them,” Garriock mentioned.

“For Rhoda to finish it like that, it was just amazing,”

“It’s like Rhoda said when she got player of the match, it’s a dream come true, so that makes me really emotional.”

Ireland international O’Sullivan also enjoyed a successful debut in the middle alongside Laura Hughes and Jane by linking up with the attack on multiple occasions.

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United’s intensity in the second period proved too much for Rado Vidosic’s team as fullback Nickoletta Flannery continuously bombed forward and exploited the yards of space afforded to her.

Melbourne City were often seen trying to limit spaces in the middle of the pitch and that resulted in United being able to switch play constantly and catch out City moving from one side of the pitch to the other.

“I think our transition moments were excellent,” Garriock said.

“Everyone played their part today and that started with our captain from the back.”

All in all, you could not have asked for a better start to season 11 if you’re a Canberra United fan. The thrilling style of football promised by Garriock is already showing effect and seeing the new signings adjust to life in the W-League only means there is more to come from the two-time champions.

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Michael Djordjieski
Bachelor of Sports Media graduate from the University of Canberra. Live and breath everything to do with football.