Adelaide United 2019/20 W-League season preview

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Adelaide United gained the respect of the competition last season by missing out on a finals spot by only one point.

Can they progress even further in 2019/20 and qualify for a maiden final series?

Last season…

W-League: 6th

Historically it was the clubs best ever W-League season. Adelaide agonisingly fell short of a top four finals spot by just one point.

Coach Ivan Karlović made great strides with his side – which was built on counter attack, discipline and resilience.

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The Reds collected 18 points with five wins, three draws and four defeats.

They started their campaign so brightly but three successive defeats to begin 2019 ultimately ruined their finals chances.

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They’ll win the league because…

Karlović has created continuity by retaining the majority of his squad from last season.

On top of that, he’s added the attacking talent of Mary Fowler. Her linkup play with 33 goal WNPL hero, Chelsie Dawber will be crucial for United’s title charge.

They have a very youthful squad compared to other W-League sides which will make for interesting viewing if Karlović can get the best out of his youngsters.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

A lack of experience. The departure of last seasons captain, Emma Checker leaves a gaping hole in the Reds defence.

The team’s defensive structure was outstanding last season and South Australian born Checker was a big part of that.

Another major out is Michelle Heymann (if she doesn’t resign). Although she didn’t score many goals last season, her presence in the dressing room inspired a lot of the younger players.

A change to the fixtures means that the leagues preseason is more than halved compared to previous campaigns. This gives Karlović even less time to work with his young squad and implement his philosophy on new signings when they arrive.

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Talk around the water cooler… look smart in front of your mates with this valuable piece of information…

Cairns-born recruit Ciara Folwer represented Ireland at youth level before choosing to represent Australia.

Born to an Irish father and a Papua New Guinean mother, Fowler has four siblings and two of them also play professionally. We all know about Mary but they also have a brother called Quivi – who is currently on the books for Cardiff City.

The off-season brought…

A lack of fixtures and a lack of signings. FFA still haven’t released the W-League fixtures and United have only announced eleven players for the upcoming campaign.

Compared to other W-League teams this isn’t actually so bad but with the season fast approaching they need to finalise their squad.

There are eight players from last season who haven’t signed for new clubs and we are still unsure if they will be involved in the 2019/20 Reds season.

Key player

Mary Fowler, or the next Sam Kerr as she’s been hailed. The exciting 16-year-old joins the club on the back of a Matildas World Cup campaign.

Considered one of the most promising players in the game, she has shown all the signs that she can rise to the occasion for United.

Fowler, who last played for Bankstown City in the New South Wales WNPL, will have a debut golden boot on her mind.

She will grace the W-League for the first time alongside her sister, Ciara Fowler, who also arrives from Bankstown. Karlović will hope he can tap into some of that family chemistry and steer the Reds towards a finals birth.

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One to watch…

Chelsie Dawber. She’s made nine appearances for the Reds since joining in 2017.

Although she is yet to score her debut goal for the club, the signs are there. The 19-year-old scored an impressive 33 goals for WNPL treble winners, Adelaide City in the offseason.

Dawber possesses the scoring ability – she just has to bring it to W-League level. She’s only young but already has such a big reputation in SA.

With the new attacking talent around her and the trust of Karlović, she will score goals this season.

INS: Mary Fowler (Bankstown City), Ciara Fowler (Bankstown City)

OUTS: Emma Checker (Melbourne City), Amber Brooks (loan from Houston Dash, USA concluded), Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottir (loan from Utah Royals FC, USA concluded), Veronica Latsko (loan from Houston Dash, USA concluded), Franndis Fridriksdottir (loan from Valur, Iceland concluded)

Confirmed squad list

Goalkeepers: Sarah Willacy

Defenders: Georgia Campagnale, Charlotte Grant, Emily Hodgson, Kahlia Hogg, Laura Johns

Midfielders: Emily Condon, Dylan Holmes, Ciara Fowler

Forwards: Chelsie Dawber, Mary Fowler

Feature image credit: Adelaide United

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Euan James
Intern at The Football Sack covering Adelaide United matches!