01/03/2024

Adelaide United will look to make it back-to-back finals appearances for the first time in their history. (Picture: Adelaide United; Design: Will Cuckson)

Last season, the Adelaide United women made history by making the finals for the first time. The squad will look to do the same in 2022/23 and get closer to that elusive A-League Women championship.

Last season:

Third (nine wins, five losses)

Last season was a mixed bag full of high highs and low lows for the women in red.

A maiden finals appearance was the obvious highlight, beating Melbourne Victory 3-0 in front of delighted United fans at home. This was then followed up with a loss in the first final, when the Victory got their revenge for the aforementioned pre-finals game.

Another highlight was the chemistry and synergy of the group and how they grew together across the season. The retention of Fiona Worts, who was the best player across the season, will go a long way to bettering their result this season.

Biggest in:

There are a few additions to United’s squad that will see their experience bolstered for this upcoming A-League season. The first is that of the returning defender, Maruschka Waldus who makes her way back to the club after a stint in the 2020/21 season.

The 29-year-old is coming off a season with PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league. She has also played in the United States, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Germany, which has seen her gain significant experience to bring back to the Reds.

During her first season with Adelaide she played 11 games, winning the Dianne Alagich Medal as the club’s most valuable player. She also contributed two goals in that season.

Experienced defender Maruschka Waldus returns to the Reds for season 2022/23. (Picture: Adelaide United FC)

Another returning face at Adelaide this season will be centre-back Jenna McCormick. Coming back for her third stint, McCormick played 26 games between 2012 and 2015 as well as her return in 2017/18.

The 27-year-old has since made her Matildas debut against Chile (four caps) while also plying her trade in leagues in Spain, Denmark and Iceland.

Her experience across the A-League is substantial, playing for Canberra United, Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory, which sees her four games short of a ton in the competition.

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More A-League Women Season Previews

2022/23 A-League Women Season Preview: Sydney FC

2022/23 A-League Women Season Preview: Melbourne City

2022/23 A-League Women Season Preview: Wellington Phoenix

Biggest out:

There are two key outs for the Reds this upcoming season, with Matildas defender Matilda McNamara and fellow defender Kayla Sharples not returning.

For Adelaide, it is more about their combined defence that will be missed in conjunction with Emily and Isabel Hodgson. Playing last season together as a unit, their chemistry and cohesion was evident, working to restrict opposition scoring with Sharples, a calming influence down back.

McNamara has elected to join Danish Women’s League side Aarhus Gymnastik Forening (AGF) while her centre back partner Sharples signed for the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL before tearing her ACL in June.

Adelaide United players celebrating Kayla Sharples’ first goal for the club. (Image: A-League Women/Twitter)

What to expect:

Adelaide’s fast offensive, style of play that will make it box office viewing once again this season. Setting up their game around all-round offence with a less-significant focus on defence, the Reds are simply a brilliant team to watch when they have things go their way.

Worts will be a player that is crucial to this style. The reigning Golden Boot winner will be used in the middle in place of Chelsie Dawber interchangeably, which is something the club has done in past seasons.

They are a team that is now aware of how they work well together, which has grown season upon season.

All the midfielders move the ball very quickly forward, attacking in waves and shooting for goal wherever possible. The keys to their running game are Dylan Holmes and Isabel Hodgson, who were solid for the Reds last season.

This makes them defensively liable, however they back themselves to outscore any opponent and trust in their steadfast defence. One element of their defence that will hold up is keeper Annalee Grove, who is one of the brightest young goalkeeping prospects in Australia.

Adelaide United celebrating making finals for the first time in their 14 year history after defeating Melbourne Victory 3-0 at home. (Image: Adelaide United/Twitter)

Starting XI

The Inner Sanctum’s predicted starting XI for Adelaide United. (Design: Will Cuckson)

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