Western Sydney Wanderers 2019/20 W-League season preview

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The Western Sydney Wanderers are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to abandon their torrid start to life in the W-League.

Is this the season the Red and Black finally break their finals curse?  

Last season
W-League: 9th

Last season was one to forget for the Wanderers. They claimed the league’s wooden spoon with a single victory and draw, as well as the worst defensive and attacking records in the competition.

It is fair to say there is no shortage of room for improvement heading into their new campaign this season.

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They’ll win the league because…

Luckily, there is not much that remains from last year’s nightmare.

The Wanderers have turned to some club legends in an attempt to revitalise their squad, with new coach Dean Heffernan assisted by Michael Beauchamp and Catherine Cannuli.

They are three individuals who have proudly worn the Red and Black as players and will look to instil the winning mentality that made the club thrive during its early years.

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While all is yet to be revealed, Heffernan looks to have assembled a squad capable of leapfrogging the club to success.

The Wanderers recently announced a trio of outstanding imports from back-to-back National Women’s Soccer League champions North Carolina Courage. Kristen Hamilton, Denise O’Sullivan and Lynn Williams are all players who know what it takes to capture silverware.

Matilda Amy Harrison will inject some spark and vital experience in midfield, while exciting youngsters Jada Whyman, Susan Phonsongkham and Courtney Nevin are all primed to continue growing in influence.

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They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

No matter how hard they have tried, the Wanderers have ended up languishing towards the bottom or thereabouts in previous seasons.

The club’s debut campaign back in 2012/13 saw Western Sydney earn a respectable sixth place finish, however, since then they have been resigned to the competition’s bottom three.

Heffernan is an unknown quantity at head coach level with scarce experience in the women’s game. He is faced with the tall order of assembling a squad packed with new faces and extinguishing the psychological remnants of the club’s recent under-achievements.

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Western Sydney Wanderers assistant coach Cannuli holds the club record for most goals scored in a single W-League campaign.

The six goals she registered in 2013/14 is the joint highest alongside American striker Katie Stengel in 2016/17.

Cannuli will be hoping her position in the record books is placed in jeopardy this season with the introduction of prolific American attacking duo Kristen Hamilton and Lynn Williams.

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The off-season brought…

A string of exciting signings to complement a period of transition off the pitch.

Following the announcement of the side’s new coaching staff, Heffernan has quietly gone about building a star-studded outfit charged with the task of discontinuing a horror run for the club.

The announcement of a landmark triple-signing from the NWSL Champions just days after their grand final victory is emblematic of these intentions.

The fresh training facilities at the club’s recently opened Centre of Football will also prove key in player recruitment and retention moving forward.

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Key player…

Lynn Williams. If the nineteen-time USWNT striker can carry her stunning form for the Courage down under she will cause plenty of headaches for W-League defenders.

Her last three NWSL campaigns have produced 36 goals with her most recent campaign seeing her score 12 goals, all from inside the area.

Williams’ poaching instincts could be the answer to the Wanderers’ goalscoring woes.

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One to watch…

Susan Phonsongkham. Amidst an array of impressive foreign signings, a strong season from the 18-year-old attacking midfielder could fuel a turnaround in the Red and Black’s fortunes.

The Young Matilda was in red-hot form for surprise package Sydney Olympic during last season’ NPL New South Wales competition, taking home the golden boot with a tally of 20 goals.

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Western Sydney Wanderers full squad list (so far):

Goalkeepers – Jada Whyman

Defenders – Alex Huynh, Sam Staab

Midfielders – Amy Harrison, Courtney Nevin, Denise O’Sullivan, Susan Phonsongkham, Alix Roberts

Forwards – Kristen Hamilton, Lynn Williams

Feature image credit: Western Sydney Wanderers

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Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.