Melbourne City

Melbourne City swoop for experience and youth

New head coach Patrick Kisnorbo is adding his own influence to Melbourne City with a host of new signings .

Melbourne City have added to their team with the experienced W-League campaigner Rhali Dobson.

A Newcastle Jets foundation player, the pacy 25 year old makes move from her hometown club after making 55 appearances over nine seasons.

“When I first spoke with Patrick and the staff at City, I knew it was the right time for me to take on a new challenge,” said Dobson explained.

“The opportunity to continue my career in a highly professional environment with such a talented group of players is incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to get started and contribute to the team’s effort to win another Championship this season.” Rhali Dobson

“Rhali is a talented forward who has great experience playing in the W-League during her time with Newcastle,” said Kisnorbo.

“Her pace and energy will provide us with an added dimension in attack and she is a fantastic addition to our playing group.”

As well as the experience, Kisnorbo has signed two promising young players in attacking midfielder Sofia Sakalis and defender Hayley Richmond.

Junior Matilda Sakalis joins the club after recently competing at the AFC U16 Championships scoring one goal in the tournament.  The talented 15 year old is considered one of the best young prospects in the country.

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Meanwhile defender Hayley Richmond signed onto the senior squad after a season as a train on player.

Following the departure of Teigen Allen. the Young Matildas defender provides versatility as a full back or centre back as required.  If selected for the Young Matildas, Richmond would miss the first week of the season with the AFC U19 Championships to be held in mid to late October 2017.

“Hayley and Sofia are both exciting prospects who have international experience within the Young Matildas and Junior Matildas setup,” said Kisnorbo.

“We pride ourselves on producing young female talent and both players fit the profile of the type of player we want to develop at City.” Patrick Kisnorbo

Dobson, Sakalis and Richmond – along with Amy Jackson and Tyla-Jay Vlajnic were all announced in front of 3,000 fans at the Club’s annual Family Day.

Rhali Dobson and Hayley Richmond
Rhali Dobson (left) and Hayley Richmond (right) pose for a photo with a young fan (Photo: Melbourne City)
Sofia AJ TJ
Sofia Sakalis poses for a photo with fans alongside teammates Amy Jackson and Tyla-Jay Vlajnic (Photo: Melbourne City)

On the international front the Melbourne City / Seattle Reign connection looks set to continue with Jessica Fishlock, Lauren Barnes and Beverly Yanez anticipated to return.

Fishlock has played all three seasons with City in various roles and last season played a significant role in their championship win culminating in the Player of the Match award in the Grand Final.

Yanez would return for her second season in Melbourne with the experienced forward providing attacking drive late in the season when City required it.

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The returning duo are rumoured to be bringing a third Reign teammate in Japanese winger Nahomi Kawasumi.  With over 80 caps for Nadeshiko including a World Cup gold and silver medal and Olympics silver medal, Kawasumi is an ideal replacement for Erika Tymrak who is not expected to return.

One of the best wide players in the NWSL, Kawasumi inclusion in the squad would provide City with some much needed balance in the final third from a player who can not only deliver perfect balls into the penalty area but can convert chances herself.

She has on four occasions been named the NWSL Player of the Week and was in the NWSL Team of the Year in 2014.

As for a possible internationals, City are whispered to be in talks with a second Japanese player and another American.

Heading into their third season, City will once again be considered one of the favourites for the W-League championship – an unprecedented third title.

Melbourne City commence their W-League title defence with a Grand Final rematch against Perth Glory at nib Stadium on 27 October 2017.


Ann is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TWG.