Melbourne City maintain second spot with 1-0 win over Adelaide, Sydney FC show no mercy after thrashing Canberra United 6-0, Brisbane Roar leave it late once again with 3-2 defeat of Wellington, Melbourne Victory squeak past Western Sydney 1-0, and Newcastle Jets stay in lock-step with Perth after 1-1 draw.
If there was ever any doubt that some teams were better prepared to lose key players than others, then round 7 certainly proved who had the stronger Plan B.
Through a combination of Matildas call-ups, the conclusion of loan spells, and Covid-19, ALW clubs have now been forced to reach into the depths of their squads to find ways to manage through the current moment.
Ladder-leaders Sydney FC barely missed a step in their game against Canberra on Saturday, bringing veteran international Maria ‘Cote’ Rojas and Kiwi Paige Satchell into the starting line-up to replace departed striker Remy Siemsen and winger Cortnee Vine.
They were almost perfect, like-for-like substitutions, with Satchell’s electric pace mirroring Vine’s down the right wing, while the hold-up and link-up play of Rojas mimicked the dynamic Siemsen has developed with the players around her, particularly Princess Ibini-Isei, Mackenzie Hawkesby and Rachel Lowe.
Indeed, Siemsen could have more competition than she expected upon her return to Australia after Rojas’ hat-trick that saw the Sky Blues hand United the biggest defeat in their history.
Melbourne City’s Plan B was perhaps not as effective as Sydney’s, but securing a 1-0 win over the much-more-competitive Adelaide United showed they have the depth to navigate this tricky period.
Having lost forward Holly McNamara and defender Winonah Heatley, head coach Rado Vidosic handed starting debuts to youngsters Darcey Malone and Naomi Thomas-Chinnama, who helped shore-up City’s defence against the recently free-scoring Reds.
While Adelaide were unlucky not to score in their dominant first half, City rose to the challenge in the second, largely thanks to midfielder Rhianna Pollicina.
Stepping up to https://rksloans.com/installment-loans-hi/ fill the creative, attacking threat posed by McNae’s only goal after a delightful slalom through Adelaide’s bewildered defenders to secure City’s fourth-consecutive win.
And while they’ll be missing McNaic striker made the final 23-player Matildas squad, they will soon see the return of stand-out defender Heatley, who missed out on selection.
Slotting right back in alongside impressive central defenders Emma Checker and Tori Tumeth – all of whom have conceded just four goals so far this season – Heatley’s return will add further certainty to City’s finals run, so long as they can continue finding the net up the other end.
There are countless ALW players this season whose stories encapsulate what the league is now all about: Creating more opportunities for young, undiscovered local talent to break onto the scene and set themselves up for potentially bigger and better things in football.
But there are few players across the competition who epitomise this as clearly – and, most recently, as dramatically – as Wellington Phoenix attacker Alyssa Winham.
A-League Women’s Wrap: Plan Bs kick in, a scholarship player earns promotion, and a historic club loses its way
The under-17 New Zealand international had originally been told by Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis that she hadn’t made the club’s inaugural ALW squad.
Instead, Lewis said, “Just focus on your youth international duties and playing for NZ-based club Canterbury United, and maybe next year you’ll get a call-up”.
She’d been offered a scholarship contract thanks to an international loophole that allowed Wellington to offer two more spots to New Zealand players under 18 years of age.
Winham linked up with the squad just before they relocated to New South Wales, and has since told media that she’s used her original non-selection as motivation to have a breakout season.