Newcastle Jets kicked off round two with a 5-1 thumping of Wellington Phoenix, Perth Glory claimed their second straight win over Brisbane 1-0, Sydney FC reaffirmed their derby dominance with a 2-0 win over the Wanderers, Melbourne Victory clung on to defeat Melbourne City 2-1, and Adelaide United earned their first win after beating Canberra 2-1.
As international borders started to relax in the off-season, A-League Women’s clubs have looked further afield to sign overseas-based players who can bring a little je ne sais quoi to their respective teams this season.
Some of those players were already based in Australia, playing in various state league competitions over the past few years and joining their ALW clubs for their full pre-season training. Others took a little longer to get here – with some being formally announced the week after the league had kicked off – and will only play for their clubs in a short-term loan capacity, almost certainly leaving before season’s end.
Regardless of the time they’ll spend here, though, round two saw the impact that these import players can have. Newcastle’s 5-1 drubbing of Wellington Phoenix on Friday was orchestrated by Matildas midfielder Emily Van Egmond, who signed for her home-town club on temporary loan from her NWSL side, Orlando Pride.
Her presence was immediately felt in Newcastle’s midfield, dictating the game’s tempo, connecting defence with attack, and delivering several crosses and free kicks that influenced play. Norwegian international Marie Dolvik also made an impact in her first start for Newcastle, scoring her first goal for the club and assisting two more.
Internationals were also at the heart of two tight contests on Sunday, with both Melbourne Victory and Adelaide requiring the services of their imported stars to claim all three points. Victory’s 2-1 win over cross-town rivals City in the Melbourne Derby came down to goals to American duo Catherine Zimmerman and Lynn Williams, the latter of whom was only announced last week, while Adelaide earned their first three points of the season with a 2-1 win over Canberra thanks to a sumptuous chipped assist as well as a Goal of the Season contender from Japanese midfielder Nanako Sasaki.
The question for some clubs, though, is how they will fare when their imported stars such as Van Egmond and Williams return to their parent clubs before the end of the season.
After their chaotic extra-time win over Brisbane Roar in round one, we wondered whether lightning could strike twice for Perth Glory. As it turns out: yes, yes it can.
The fluctuating border situation between Western Australia and Queensland meant that Perth and Brisbane were forced to play each other twice in the opening two rounds, with Perth coming away 2-1 winners in the first leg thanks to a disastrous own goal from Roar goalkeeper Georgina Worth in stoppage time.
The second leg, played on Brisbane’s home turf, ended in similarly dramatic fashion. Like their first meeting, both sides began slowly but it was the Roar who gained control of the game as the minutes ticked by, registering more shots, more corners, and more passes than their opponents. Perth goalkeeper Morgan Aquino made several outstanding saves as Brisbane attacked in waves, sending shots from Anna Margraf and Mariel Hecher wide and over the crossbar.
A-League Women’s Wrap: Imports make an impact, an early injury domino effect, and a big club’s existential crisis
But, once again, it was Perth whose persistence was rewarded. In the 86th minute, substitute striker Alana Jancevski fired a cleared corner back into the crowded penalty area, with the ball ricocheting wildly off the leg of Hecher and looping over Worth’s outstretched arms.