‘Mixed emotions’ as O’Sullivan bids Wanderers farewell

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With one match remaining in her seven-game guest stint for Western Sydney Wanderers, star midfielder Denise O’Sullivan is ready to pack her bags and enjoy an offseason that is rare in the women’s game.

Since arriving after their round one clash with Adelaide United, the 25-year-old has been one of the standout performers in a Wanderers outfit.

Her tenacious midfield play attracted immense praise from her teammates and coaching staff alike, with Dean Heffernan even labeling the import one of the best in the world.

Alongside her teammates Lynn Williams and Kristen Hamilton, O’Sullivan arrived in Western Sydney just weeks after winning back-to-back NWSL championships with the Northern Carolina Courage.

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While the USA strike duo signed on for a full campaign, O’Sullivan’s desire for some time off before the American competition kicks off again in April saw her link up a guest contract.

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As a result the W-League’s December player of the month revealed that despite how enjoyable her time has been, there was no realistic option to extend her stay.

“It wasn’t really on the cards,” O’Sullivan said.

“It’s time for me to go home to my family and see them so I’m pretty excited about that.

“Obviously it’s mixed emotions leaving here because we’re doing so well and it’s been such a great time but I’m ready to finally get back home.

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“I might even kick my feet up for a few weeks, just relax and take a moment to be with my family.”

There has been significant debate in recent times surrounding the lack of aligned scheduling in global competitions that results in many of the game’s international stars playing all year round.

O’Sullivan provided an insight into what overseas stars face when opting to ply their trade in the W-League.

“You don’t really get an offseason once you go to Australia,” she said.

“You’re basically playing the whole way through and then you go back to America for preseason there.

“It’s a pretty tough pre-season too and then a long tough season over there, physically and mentally, so I think it’s pretty important to get in a rest when you can.”

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The Wanderers may have been thumped 4-0 at the hands of Brisbane Roar last week but their unbeaten run prior to Sunday afternoon has provided them a comfortable five point buffer inside the competition’s top four.

For a club who claimed the wooden spoon last season and are still awaiting their maiden W-League finals appearance, 2019/20 has seen a remarkable turnaround – with O’Sullivan a key cog in their dominant midfield unit.

The 71-time Irish international left a glowing appraisal of the squad and coaching staff as her stint down under arrives at its conclusion.

“It’s been absolutely amazing and a fantastic experience,” she said

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“I came here and was welcomed with open arms by everyone and they’ve all been really good to me treated me really well and I’ve enjoyed my time with good people.

“The club’s fantastic, the girls are fantastic and we have a great support staff here so I’m sure they will experience some more success this year.

“It’s been really good with only one loss while I was here so I’ve been very happy with the performances and everything else.

“Hopefully I can get sent home with a win this weekend.”

O’Sullivan’s farewell match will unfold at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as the red and black look to bounce back against a struggling Perth Glory outfit.

Feature image credit: Steve Christo

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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.