09/12/2023

Western Sydney Wanderers ramp up their training for the new season. (Photo: Western Sydney Wanderers/Twitter; Design: Will Cuckson)

The Western Sydney Wanderers will be hoping for improvement on last season, where they had their equal-worst finish position-wise in the A-League Women.

Last season:

Ninth (one win, four draws, nine losses)

Last season was another disappointing one for the Wanderers and their fans, as the club failed to make the A-League Women finals again and finished ninth on the ladder out of 10 teams.

They had a solitary victory last season from their 14 matches, which came in Round 6 against the Brisbane Roar.

They struggled in attack, as they scored only seven goals from their 14 matches, six fewer than the Wellington Phoenix, who finished below them.

On May 7, 2022, head coach Catherine Cannuli stepped down from her role after two years at the helm.

The Red and Black have brought in former Melbourne Victory A-League Women assistant coach, Kat Smith, to replace her.

Recently, the AFC/FFA Pro License holder has been a scout for the Matildas at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, a performance analyst and assistant coach for the Junior Matildas, and head coach of Alamein FC in the NPLW Victoria.

Biggest in:

The biggest in for the Wanderers is the signing of Matilda, Amy Harrison.

Harrison makes her return to Wanderland having previously been at the Wanderers for their only finals-making season in 2019/20.

The midfielder signed for PSV Vrouwen in the Dutch Eredivisie Vrouwen, where she made 34 appearances over two seasons.

The 26-year-old returns having won the KNVB Beker Women’s Cup in the Netherlands and will want to help her local club to improve this season.

She will bring European experience to this Wanderers team and will be hoping to contribute to the development of the club.

More A-League Women Season Previews

2022/23 A-League Women Season Preview: Adelaide United

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

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

Biggest out:

The biggest out for the Wanderers heading in to the new campaign is the retirement of their all-time leading appearance-maker in Caitlin Cooper.

The former captain and co-captain played for the Wanderers in the heart of defence for eight seasons across two stints.

Having won the (then) W-League Wanderers Medal for Player of the Year twice and having been named the W-League Members’ Player of the Year twice, she leaves the club along with her wealth of experience.

This will need to be replaced in the playing group for the upcoming season, through strong leadership from the more experienced players.

The Wanderers have looked to replace her with Lauren Keir, who signed with the red and black on a two-year deal from Canberra United.

The 26-year-old Canberran will hope to settle in amongst a new back four and bring her previous A-League Women experience to the Wanderers.

What to expect?

The Wanderers will be hoping to improve after their worst season ever last time out.

They have brought in some quality imports, such as Harrison and American Jordyn Bloomer, who will be hoping to bring their experience and lead the team this season.

With a sprinkling of new players across the field, expect a renewed and determined Western Sydney Wanderers team this season, willing to learn and develop now and for the future.

With another year under the belt of 22-year-old Teigan Collister, expect her to take another step forward this season.

As for the coach, Smith won the W-League Championship as Melbourne Victory assistant coach in the 2013/14 season, as well as the Premiers’ Plate in the 2018/19 season.

She will not be tasked with getting immediate success; rather, she will play a vital role in developing players for the health of the Wanderers as a club moving forward.

Immediate success shouldn’t be expected this season – seeing young players develop through a pathway created by the club should be, which will lead to more success in the years to come.

As for this season, expect an improved Wanderers effort where scoring must be the priority.

If they can improve on those scoring numbers this season, they could make a push up the ladder.

Starting XI

The Inner Sanctum’s predicted starting XI for the Western Sydney Wanderers. (Design: Will Cuckson)

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