Season 2018-19 is halfway through and in classic W-League style, it has been brilliantly unpredictable. Here are three talking points from the first half of the season.
- A different shade of blue
Melbourne Victory sit top of the table halfway through the season. The navy blue team and the summit haven’t seen much of each other recently.
The last time Victory was top of the table prior to this season was round eight in the 2013-14 season.
Victory hasn’t featured in finals since the 2014 season and has picked up two wooden spoons along the way.
The team Jeff Hopkins has assembled and the way in which they are playing could see Victory in finals contention once again.
They are solid defensively with Laura Alleway and Sam Johnson in the heart of defence. The midfield trio of Grace Maher, Dani Weatherholt and Christine Nairn has been sensational.
Emily Gielnik is in excellent form which should see her rewarded with Matildas selection and Natasha Dowie is leading from the front – literally and metaphorically.
- Internationals galore
A good crop of overseas players can make or break a season and the league as a whole has seen some exceptional talent this season.
The return of Christine Nairn to Melbourne Victory has been a big part of the team’s resurgence. Veronica Latsko’s partnership with Michelle Heyman up forward for Adelaide sees the Reds still in finals contention.
Jasmyne Spencer has been a livewire for Melbourne City while Carson Pickett’s second season in orange has been just as good as the first. The Wanderers look a better team when Elizabeth Addo is on the park and Savannah McCaskill has been great for Sydney FC.
Refiloe Jane has repaid the faith shown in her by Heather Garriock, Britt Eckerstrom has been immense in goal for the Jets, and Rachel Hill has reprised her role as one half of Perth Glory’s dynamic duo.
These are just a handful of the many players who make the W-League one of the most exciting competitions in the world.
While this season has been spectacular, surprising and full of goals, it’s a shame that in mid-December and after seven rounds, a midseason review can already take place.
The length of the season is something which has been discussed and has been cited by FFA as one of their main focuses when it comes to the growth of the W-League.
It is widely accepted that the W-League needs a full home and away season. However, it’s not a matter of simply adding matches and moving on.
At present, the W-League fits neatly with the North American summer and, particularly, the NWSL season. Nearly all of our Matildas play in the American league or in leagues that run at the same time; in the W-League offseason.
Any overlap of the two league season presents potential headaches for players, clubs, fans and marketers who want to be able to use Australia’s best talent as draw cards for the league.
With every W-League match now available to watch, the FFA congress saga sorted and the A-League expansion decisions made, it is hoped that time and resources can now be put into solving this complex issue.