A-League Women mid-season report card: Western Sydney Wanderers

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With about half of the season completed in the A-League Women’s, now is the ideal moment to evaluate Western Sydney Wanderers’ strengths and weaknesses.

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Semester summary

Western Sydney’s campaign has begun with several underwhelming performances, reflected in a seventh-place position.

The prospects this season looked to be auspicious with club legend Catherine Cannuli taking charge as head coach but results are yet to be delivered with only a single victory so far.

Areas of excellence

Defence.

Western Sydney has shown great strength and determination in their defence work throughout their previous games, conceding only three goals in their five matches so far.

They have shown repeatedly that they can make the game cagey and give their opponents a tough time.

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As a spearhead, Byrleeh Henry has been their most threatening player. Her defensive work and intensity are crucial to the outcome but the Red and Black must find a way to consistently get her the ball in dangerous zones if they are to score goals.

Areas in need of improvement

Attack.

This season, the Wanderers have scored only two goals which is an extremely poor viewing. In most games, they enjoy a good amount of possession but fail to create avenues to score.

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The Wanderers’ playmaker Libby Copus-Brown serves as a gauge for her team; when she performs well and is properly utilised, her team’s prospects rise.

She is dynamic in attack and disciplined off the ball but unfortunately Western Sydney need much more to improve their disappointing goal tally.

Top Student

15-year-old Alexia Apostolakis has shown great maturity in her game.

In round four, the youthful fullback earned her starting debut for the Wander Women at Leichardt Oval in the Sydney derby.

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Apostolakis, who was playing in her maiden Sydney derby with veteran Caitlin Cooper and youths Danika Matos and Clare Hunt, was steady at the back, limiting the Sky Blues to just one shot on target out of fourteen attempts.

In a busy performance, Apostolakis also had three clearances, six interceptions, two tackles, two duels won, and distributed the ball twenty-four times out of defence.

Needs improvement

Erica Halloway’s return after last season’s injury hasn’t quite made a mark. With four starts and full 90-minute games, the returning forward has yet to connect with the back of the net.

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And, with her club in urgent need of goals, she must step up and score a couple to get the Wanderers’ attack going.

Grade

E

Outlook

Winning one game will not fix all Western Sydney’s issues, but it will be significant. On paper, they have the talent to make the top four, and they should have performed better in their opening to the season.

Perhaps this new change in management is not going to plan however there is still time to turn things around. With six regular games ahead, the Wander Women could continue off their winning high and perform to those standards in the games to come.

Feature image: Steve Christo

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Paloma Darjani
Covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney.

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