Women well worth watching


The start of the Westfield W-League has been a triumph of classy signings, energetic football, quality goals – and plenty of them.

If you thought the start to the W-League season was exciting, hold on to your hats folks, the battle is just heating up.

For women-s football, the season so far has been a triumph of classy signings, energetic football, quality goals – and plenty of them. Even better, is the number of teams that look to be genuine title contenders, creating unprecedented interest across the league. The almost predictable Sydney-Brisbane grand final combination of the past couple of season looks under threat.

Expectation and interest in Newcastle is at an all time high, and while the new signings in the Hunter are an exciting prospect, the best-ever crowd figure for the Lady Jets was as much of a victory as the three points they collected at the weekend.

For the competition as a whole, this is a welcome boost. The competition is thriving, and while Brisbane are defending champions the rest of the pack is closing in.

Perennial bridesmaids Canberra United have been threatening to take centre stage since the inception of the Westfield W-League, and early signs suggest that this may be their year.

Reports of the rigorous pre-season under new coach Jitka Klimkova look to be justified. While the intensity occasionally wavers, the United team-s impressive and attacking game plan is paying dividends and is set to put Michelle Heyman firmly in the frame for her second Golden Boot.

The litmus test for the girls in green will be in the next three weeks as they face first Sydney, then Melbourne and Newcastle.

Sydney FC-s Megan Rapinoe marked the end of her guest stint with a goal on the weekend and while the Sky Blues are always a quality side, the classy midfielder will be missed.

Coach Alen Stajcic still has a number of key players overseas or injured and there is renewed interest now to see if Sydney can maintain their aura without their American star.

While Jamie Harnwell-s Perth side are a work in progress, the Glory side showed they are definitely not there just to make up the numbers.

Without their star Matilda-s for the current season, there has been a significant reshuffle in the west, yet rather than sit back and defend against a side with a strong strike force, Glory piled the pressure on a slow starting Canberra giving new arrival Emma Kete her first goal of the season at McKellar Park.

However, being delayed for several days in Canberra due to the Qantas groundings will unfortunately make their first home match akin to an away trip as they are set to arrive only a day or two before welcoming Adelaide to NIB Stadium.

Though neither side is touted as likely to lift the trophy, the Reds also showed their promise and commitment when they pushed Canberra for the first 45 at Hindmarsh in Round One.

While both sides ultimately were unable to maintain the momentum and went down to the team from the Capital, the Perth/Adelaide match-up is likely to be a closely contested, exciting battle.

On the opposite side of the country, champions Brisbane are not the same side they were in seasons past either. They, like Sydney, have some star players abroad and it will be intriguing to see how they come off the bye to face the new look Jets. With only a point on the board, the Roar need to stay in touch with the top and this one will be a huge test for their title defence.

The ever improving Melbourne Victory have a bye this weekend but Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, Cleveland Showgrounds in Brisbane and NIB stadium in Perth continue the action this week. The competition is deserving of enthusiastic support. Hopefully that record crowd at the Jets last week is a promise of things to come.

If there isn-t a Westfield W-League match in your town this week, catch all the action of Perth Glory v Adelaide United on ABC1 at 3pm.