Brisbane Roar A-League Women 2021/22 season preview

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Brisbane Roar fell short in the semi-finals of their 2020/21 campaign and they’ll be hoping to go all the way this season with a new coach and a rejuvenated squad. 

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Last season…

A-League Womens: 2nd 

Finals: Semi-finals

They’ll win the league because…

Consistency is key for the Roar in 2021/22.

Having lost only one game in the 2020/21 regular season, maintaining this high standard of performance will place the Roar well in their quest for the 2021/22 A-League Women’s championship.  

Retaining young-gun defender Jamilla Rankin, who made last season’s PFA Team of the Season, means Brisbane have all the quality needed for a successful season. 

Rankin played every single game of last season’s semi-final run and her youthful exuberance will be key to driving this reshuffled Roar squad.

The return of Queenslanders Natalie Tathem, who won the 2020/21 title with the Victory, and Katrina Gorry, who herself is a two-time champion, could prove invaluable for the Roar  because of their championship experience; both women will be looking to add yet more silverware to their trophy cases in 2021/22. 

Incumbent coach Gareth McPherson was assistant when Brisbane last won the A-League Women’s title in 2017/18 and clearly the club see him as the man to provide that championship mentality in the dressing room.  

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

The Roar have lost some key contributors to last season’s team which finished second through the regular season including: Golden Boot winner Emily Gielnik who scored 13 times during the Roar’s run to the semi-finals, perennial Matilda and 128-game veteran Tameka Yallop, women’s player of the year for 2020/21 Isobel Dalton and their coach of four years Jake Goodship. 

To cover these losses coach Gareth McPherson has brought in players mainly from the Queensland NPL where he had been the coach of the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS)  team before accepting the Roar job. 

Although likely reliable players most of these signings have a season or less of real A-League Women’s experience, whether they can handle the jump to Australia’s top flight will determine how the Roar’s entire 2021/22 season shapes out. 

To expect another high-flying season in 2021/22 may be the dream for Roar fans but with so many changes, a rookie head coach and the emotion of coming off a 6-2 semi-final loss last year it may be tough for the team to find the spirit that saw them fly so high last season. 

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

The Roar have chosen to invest heavily in young local Queensland talent with seven of the club’s off-season signings being aged 20 years or younger including: Annabelle Haffenden, Lanni McDougal, Mia Bailey, Anna Margraf, Hollie Palmer, Jamilla Rankin and Holly McQueen.

At least four of these players are products of the Roar’s academy showing the faith that coach McPherson has in the structure and systems the club brings their juniors through. 

Further to this, new players like Jessie Rasschaert, Megg McElligott and Rie Kitano have all shown their abilities in the Queensland NPL and have been rewarded with a call-up to the A-League Women’s squad. 

The off-season brought

A new manager and a strong Queensland NPL contingent with him. 

McPherson’s faith in the Queesnland footballing pyramid is clearly based on his last few years coaching the QAS women’s NPL team. 

McPherson understands the quality that exists in the Queensland NPL and is more than happy to give a shot to players who’ve had successful individual seasons. 

McPherson has also managed to lure back A-League Women’s regulars like Hollie Palmer, who had departed the club in recent years. 

This gives the Roar a nice mix of seasoned A-League Women’s veterans to accompany their investment in youth and NPL standouts heading into the 2021/22 season. 

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One to watch

Jamilla Rankin may only be 18 but she has already proven her skill and desire after debuting for the Roar last season.

Since her debut she has played every available game in the A-League Women’s competition.

This tenacity and willingness to impress saw her named in last year’s PFA Team of the Season and also earned her a call-up to the Matildas squad in early 2021 for friendlies against Brazil. 

If the Roar’s young core is to be effective in 2021/22 Rankin will need to lead by example as she has done throughout her short career so far. 

She will also have to replicate the form that saw her burst onto the scene last year if the championship is to return to Brisbane. 

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INS: Shea Connors, Hollie Palmer, Ayesha Norrie, Rie Kitano, Mia Bailey, Lanni McDougall, Meaghan McElligott, Jessie Rasschaert, Annabel Haffenden, Katrina Gorry, Natalie Tathem

OUTS: Leticia McKenna, Kaitlyn Torpey, Sunny Franco, Olivia Chancel, Isobel Dalton, Morgan Aquino, Kim Carrol, Winnoah Heatley, Tameka Yallop

Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Mia Bailey, Georgina Worth, Cassandra Zaffina

Defenders: Barrie Clough, Annabel Haffenden, Holly McQueen, Billie Murphy, Jamilla Rankin, Jessie Rasschaert

Midfielders: Katrina Gorry, Rebekah Horsey, Ayesha Kirby, Rie Kitano, Anna Margraf, Lanni McDougall

Forwards: Shea Connors, Larissa Crummer, Sharn Freier, Mariel Hecher, Rosie Sutton, Megan McElligott

Feature image credit: Kyoko Kurihara

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Bill Hedley
Journalism under graduate at the University of Queensland. I have been a die-hard football player and fan for the past 16 years and am now a passionate multimedia Journalist, covering Brisbane Roar for the 2021/22 A-League season.

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