Melbourne City has added to its already impressive defensive stocks with the signing of Winonah Heatley.
Heatley is regarded as one of the best young defenders in the A-League Women. She has the ability to play centrally or as a fullback. Rado Vidosic now has a variety of defensive options at his disposal.
“We’re very excited to welcome Wini to Melbourne and are looking forward to seeing the impact she can have on the pitch for us,” the City manager said.
“Her versatility across defense will be a big asset for us this season and provides our squad with plenty of depth.
“She’s been impressive in training so far and despite being the fact she is just 20-years-old, she already has plenty of experience both here in the A-League Women, as well as overseas and as part of the Matildas set-up.”
Melbourne City has built an impressive list of defensive players in the off-season.
Heatley joins Emma Checker, Rebekah Stott, Tyla-Jay Vlajnic, Tori Tumeth, and Kaitlyn Torpey at the club.
They also retained highly-rated youngster Naomi Thomas-Chinnama. Vidosic has the players to field a strong team with multiple potential formations.
Heatley arrives at City following a season in Sweden with Vaxjo DF in which she also was called up to the Matildas squad.
She started every game for Brisbane last season and was in career-best form. She was a key member of the squad that made the semi-finals and made 48 interceptions for the Roar.Embed from Getty Images
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The newest recruit has long appreciated the setup at the four-time champions and two-time premiers.
“I’ve always admired City for their style of play and for the professionalism that’s ingrained in the Club, so I’m very excited to now be a part of it,” she said upon her arrival.
“I remember coming here to visit my extended family as a kid and going to a doubleheader at AAMI Park.
“It was the first time I watched a women’s match live and it was the first time I could really imagine myself playing out under those lights.
“It was pretty special, and it just feels right to finally be able to play for this Club.
“I’ve always heard a lot of good things about the way City is run and the unity between both the Men’s and Women’s teams.
“I think that City is a Club that provides player support, resources, and facilities at a level that the other A-Leagues clubs aspire to.”
Her recruitment gives some indication as to how City may play this season. They have only recruited three recognised forwards and five midfielders.
It is in defence where their strength lies. In front of either Sally James or Melissa Barbieri, they have a plethora of experienced, versatile options. It was clearly a focus for Vidosic’s recruiting strategy.
Still a young player at the beginning of her career, Heatley may even be trialed in midfield. She has shown herself to be adaptable and likely has more strings yet to add to her bow.
If she wants to make herself popular amongst the City fans she need only remind them that she scored in a 6-0 demolition of rivals Melbourne Victory. She will be hoping to have similar fortune against Victory when the two sides meet in the second week of the A-League Women.
Heatley’s arrival is a reminder to the league that Melbourne City is still capable of attracting some of the best talent in the country. They have landed one of the brightest defensive prospects in Australian football.
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