Western Sydney Wanderers assistant coach Catherine Cannuli admits she is chomping at the bit to get the new season started against arch rivals Sydney FC.
A tweak of the draw sees the Wanderers host the Sky Blues at BankWest stadium next Wednesday in a historic double header. The men tackle A-League newcomers Macarthur FC in what will be the first ever Sydney derby, but the women have first rank when they christen the season against their bitter enemies.
Cannuli, who played 22 games for both the Wanderers and Sydney FC, admits nothing less than a win will do.
“We are very excited to be opening the season with a Sydney Derby,” said Cannuli. “Kicking off the season with three points against our biggest rivals will be massive.”
Last seasons two derbies couldn’t be more contrasting; the Wanderers winning 5-0 at BankWest Stadium before the Sky Blues exacted revenge with a 3-0 result in the return match.
Former Newcastle Jets duo Libby Copus-Brown and Teigan Collister made the trip down the M7 during the off-season to add some experience to the team. There is some fresh blood as well with former Irish international Julie-Ann Russell joining youngsters Bryleeh Henry, Margaux Chauvet, Aideen Keane, Isabel Gomez and Sarah Hunter as newbies to the W-League.
Cannuli says the new players have settled in well at Wanderland.
“All the youngsters are very exciting. Keep an eye on all of them but especially Bryleeh Henry, she will be one to watch this season.”
There will be plenty of feeling in the game with former Wanderers fan favourite Jada Mathyssen-Whyman crossing into enemy territory. Striker Cortnee Vine and former Matilda Rachel Lowe also made the trip across town during the off-season.
However Cannuli admits she is focusing on those wearing the Red & Black this season, not any opponent.
“We will be focusing on ourselves, we are confident in the players that we have and really happy with our squad.”