Canberra United 2019/20 W-League season preview

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After a less than impressive 2018/19 season, Canberra United will be looking to return to the finals for the first time in two seasons.

For one of the W-League’s most successful teams, it wasn’t one of their best seasons, having only managed to win three games and finishing second last on the ladder.

Last season…

W-League: 8th

Despite their position on the ladder, the team from the capital did have some highlights in their season. They opened with a dominant 2-0 win at home against the defending champions Melbourne City.

They followed the win with a solid performance against a Sam Kerr led Perth Glory. United went ahead 4-1, only to see their lead crumble, conceding three goals in the final ten minutes to split the points.

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United would then lose their next two games at the hands of Newcastle and Adelaide before upsetting Sydney FC at home.

They went on to have a bad run of form, only picking up two points in the next four games.

Canberra’s third and final win came at home against Adelaide United, beating the Reds 1-0 at McKellar Park.

After losing away to the Brisbane Roar, United would close out the season with a goalless draw against Melbourne Victory.

They’ll win the league because…

Canberra showed glimpses of quality football last season, proving to be a tough opponent on multiple occasions. Their wins at home against City and Sydney were some of their best performances last season.

With Nikola Orgill and Karly Roestbakken in defence, and Norwegian international Elise Thorsnes in attack, United have quality players in key areas across the park.

Canberra have been one of the league’s most successful teams in history and missing out on finals football for two seasons in a row will surely serve as an extra motivator for the squad.

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They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

Even with the quality they do possess they have lost two of their best players from last season, with Rachel Corsie and Ellie Carpenter electing not to return to the club in this season.

Currently, only three players have been announced publically and United seem to find themselves in a tough spot. Changes will be needed if they are to improve on last season and you have to ask if they have that difference in quality.

The off-season brought…

The off-season hasn’t brought a whole lot Canberra’s way. They’ve only announced three players for the 2019/20 season, but in their defence, the FFA hasn’t announced anything about the fixture. It can’t be easy to announce a squad if you don’t even know when the competition even starts.

Last season coach Heather Garriock signed South Africa’s Rhoda Mulaudzi and Refiloe Jane, after watching highlights of the pair on YouTube. This ended up being a stroke of genius as the pair were called up to play in the South African National team, after putting in some incredible performances for United.

Garriock did say in a press conference there were more signings to be announced, so only time will tell if they prove to be the change that Canberra and it’s fans both want and need.

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

The side went undefeated for the entire 2011/12 W-League season and has finished in the top-four eight times.

Key player…

Nikola Orgill. Last season the defender proved to be one of United’s most important players, only missing one game throughout the entire season due to injury.

Garriock praised Orgill when announcing the re-signing in a press conference.

“Nikola is very selfless in her work ethic. She’s a leader that doesn’t have to lead by words, but more by example and I think that’s really crucial going into this season,” Garriock said.

If Orgill can keep herself fit for the entire season, and continue to lead their young players by example, then United are headed in the right direction.

One to watch…

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Karly Roestbakken. The young gun is one of the brightest young talents in the country.

After captaining the Young Matildas, Roestbakken was brought in as last-minute replacement for the Matildas FIFA World Cup squad.

She was brought on in injury time in a thrilling win over Brazil, before being named as part of the starting XI against Jamaica in the next match.

Roestbakken is filled with talent and is also an inspiration to young players out there.

If she can replicate the form that saw her make a debut for the Matilda’s in the World Cup, then she can surely help guide Canberra to finals football.

Full squad (so far)

Defenders: Nikola Orgill, Karly Roestbakken

Forwards: Elise Thorsnes

Feature image credit: Lawrence Atkins

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Declan Smith
Current Sports Media student at University of Canberra. Average footballer