2022/23 Liberty A-League Season Preview

The 2022/23 Liberty A-League season will be the longest and most football-filled in the competition’s history, with an 18-game home-and-away season and three-week finals series for 11 teams.

Counting down to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the Liberty A-League will be a showcase of emerging local talent and returning Matildas and Football Ferns in need of game-time and form to press their case for selection.

A competition that is always energised by the optimism and emotion of youth, this season’s Liberty A-League is the best showcase to be introduced to the game’s future, having been the proving ground for Matildas superstars like Sam Kerr, Steph Catley and Ellie Carpenter.

Here’s what you need to know for the season ahead, previewed by 10 Football match commentator TEO PELLIZZERI.

Adelaide United

Last season: 3rd (elimination final)

Coach: Adrian Stenta

Adelaide boasts the reigning Julie Dolan medallist Fiona Worts, who won both the best player in the competition award and the golden boot as top scorer last season. The English striker is back to try and push Adelaide from contender to champion. Adelaide have a number of fringe Matildas with a World Cup spot to aim for, including defender Jenna McCormick, midfielder Dylan Holmes and U23 international Chelsie Dawber. Chinese international Xiao Yuyi will be Adelaide’s x-factor, having played a starring role in the Asian Cup final earlier this year.

Dylan Holmes and Fiona Worts will be integral to Adelaide United's upcoming campaign (Photo by Kelly Barnes/Getty Images)

Brisbane Roar

Last season: 6th

Coach: Garrath McPherson

Brisbane Roar will look to its two big Matildas stars to lift them back into finals contention this season. Katrina Gorry was talk of the Liberty A-League last season making her comeback to competitive football after having a child, with her return to full speed including a Matildas recall and playing professionally in Sweden since. Gorry now returns to lead Roar’s midfield and try to provide service to another Matildas squad member Larissa Crummer. After finishing last season with a flurry of goals, Crummer starts the new campaign as a candidate to be the league’s top scorer.

Read: Katrina Gorry Feature

Katrina Gorry has been impressing for the Matildas heading into the new Liberty A-League season (Photo by Steven Markham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Canberra United

Last season: 7th

Coach: Njegosh Popovich (new)

Canberra United will be led by the all-time top scorer in the Liberty A-League, Michelle Heyman. With 82 career goals stretching back to 2008, could Heyman possibly score 18 in 18 to reach the magical 100 goal mark? For that to happen, Canberra’s assembly of emerging young talents will have to provide the service. Helping to boost Canberra’s stocks though are Kiwi attacker Grace Jale, and Chinese international star Wu Chengshu. Midfielder Nicki Flannery is also back from her long-term injury, seeking to recapture the form that had her in a Matildas camp in 2021.

Melbourne City

Last season: 2nd (preliminary final)

Coach: Rado Vidosic

Melbourne City will be led by two New Zealand international stars with last season’s top scorer Hannah Wilkinson joined by off-season recruit Katie Bowen. The midfielder arrives in Melbourne straight from the American NWSL and will be looking to hit top form before anchoring the New Zealand midfield at the World Cup. Matildas rising star Holly McNamara will return from her long-term knee injury during the season, while fringe Matildas defender Karly Rostbakken will be trying to find her best form and return to the selection conversation after returning to Australia from Norway.

Hannah Wilkinson is one of Melbourne City's key players (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Melbourne Victory

Last season: 4th (Champions)

Coach: Jeff Hopkins

After winning the grand final from fourth place last season, Melbourne Victory have loaded up with recruits to aim for a hat-trick of championships. Matildas candidates Beattie Goad and Gema Simon return to their former club, while midfield maestro and Matildas star Alex Chidiac has been secured on loan from her American NWSL club Racing Louisville. Star of the grand final Casey Dumont will be back in goal for Victory, while Kayla Morrison, the American seeking naturalisation to become eligible for Matildas selection, will return from her long-term knee injury to lead the backline.

Players pose with the trophy at the 2022/23 Liberty A-League season launch (Photo by Hanna Lassen/Getty Images for APL)

Newcastle Jets

Last season: 8th

Coach: Ash Wilson

The Jets have completely refreshed their squad, with four new Americans filling their foreign spot quota, headlined by Chicago Red Stars regular Sarah Griffith. The Jets have signed home-grown standout Tessa Tamplin after her return from playing in the Champions League in Switzerland, while a core of players with Matildas caps like Hannah Brewer, Tara Andrews and Teigen Allen are all ready to try to push Newcastle up the table. The Jets always unearth talented youngsters from their back yard, so watch for new names to go up in lights from Newcastle.

Perth Glory

Last season: 5th

Coach: Alex Epakis

Perth only missed the finals on goal difference last season and will be determined to take the next step and return to finals for the first time since Sam Kerr’s departure to go and take on the world. American striker Cyera Hintzen returns for a full campaign accompanied by some credentialled reinforcements. Fringe Matilda Ella Mastrantonio hasn’t given up on the World Cup dream and will return to her home town hoping to find her best form, while American Rylee Baisden is back for a second stint in Australia having joined from North Carolina Courage.

Ella Mastrantonio is back with her hometown club (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Sydney FC

Last season: 1st (runners-up)

Coach: Ante Juric

An unwanted hat-trick of Grand Final defeats leaves Sydney FC starting another season needing to clear that one remaining hurdle in order to reach the Liberty A-League pinnacle. The Sky Blues have retained Matildas star Cortnee Vine, goalkeeper Jada Whyman and recent call-up Princess Ibini. Young Matildas defender Kirsty Fenton has joined from Newcastle, and is among the most exciting candidates to be a World Cup bolter should she continue her break-out form. Midfielders Rachel Lowe and Mackenzie Hawkesby have also made Matildas squads in the last 12 months and will still be dreaming of a World Cup selection.

Cortnee Vine is back in Sky Blue for the 2022/23 campaign (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Wellington Phoenix

Last season: 10th

Coach: Natalie Lawrence (new)

Wellington may have won the wooden spoon in their inaugural season but have made great strides to avoiding a repeat by signing veteran New Zealand international Betsy Hassett and fellow Football Ferns stars Paige Satchell, Emma Rolston and Marisa Van Der Meer. That injection of experience and leadership will unite with an exciting young squad, headlined by Liberty A-League young player of the year nominee Alyssa Whinham. Young Matildas rising star Claudia Cicco has also made the jump across the ditch as one of the Australians to watch for in a team populated almost entirely by New Zealanders.

Western Sydney Wanderers

Last season: 9th

Coach: Kat Smith (new)

Western Sydney have stayed true to their roots, and a little further afield, bringing in an impressive contingent of Sydney-raised players to try to launch up the table. Matildas hopeful Amy Harrison will be seeking a standout season to revive her World Cup chances, while Kiwi midfielder Malia Steinmetz will be readying herself as a likely selection for New Zealand’s final squad. Pacey wingers Holly Caspers and Sophie Harding are new recruits that will bring an extra dimension to Wanderers’ attack, while junior national team talents like Alexia Apostolakis and Sienna Saveska will be names to remember.

The upcoming season will be Western United's inaugural Liberty A-League campaign (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)

Western United

Inaugural season

Coach: Mark Torcaso (new)

Western United have already made a splash by signing current Matilda Chloe Logarzo and World Cup winner Jessica McDonald who was part of the victorious USA team in 2019. With 11 new faces in the squad yet to play in the Liberty A-League, many Western players will need to be ready for the step up. But having already defeated both Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City in pre-season friendlies, there is a growing perception that the expansion team will be competitive from the off. Other players to watch include American forward Hannah Keane and World Cup-bound Philippines international Jaclyn Sawicki.

Read: Chloe Logarzo Feature

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