Melbourne City once again conquered all before it, securing an historic third consecutive W-League championship.
In an almost identical display to season 2016-17, the light blue team from Melbourne finished fourth in the regular season with six wins, two draws and four losses.
Pre-season signings boded well for City with Alanna Kennedy and Kyah Simon joining from Sydney FC while World Cup winner Yukari Kinga traded the Canberra green and NWSL rookie of the year Ashley Hatch rounded out the big name overseas signings.
A 4-1 loss to Glory to open the season was followed by a derby win and a 5-2 demolition of Newcastle. The starkness in results set the tone for the season – when City was on, it was on but it was more than infallible.
It was at times frustrating, the performances on the park weren’t matching the high standards all have of City.
The mid-season signings of Aivi Luik to bolster the midfield and Jodie Taylor to provide the goals up forward ensured City made finals with another comprehensive win over the Jets.
City has an almost uncanny knack for being able to find the right performance at the right time. It can’t be put down to luck because the team has done it two seasons in a row.
Two nil wins over Brisbane in the semi-final and Sydney FC in the grand final ensured that this side would go into the history books.
This season all eyes were on the departures rather than the signings; at least one departure in particular.
Jess Fishlock will spend the Australian summer on loan to Lyon from parent club Seattle Reign. Fishlock’s influence on this City team on and off the park can’t be understated. in some sense, she has come to embody the club.
The reigning champions also lost the services of Larissa Crummer to Newcastle and Kennedy to Sydney. Kennedy’s return to the harbour city leaves a hole in the heart of City’s defence but is a key pick up for the Sky Blues. Meanwhile, Crummer’s exit appears to be a much needed move away and a chance to continue her transformation into a defender.
Apart from these transfers, City has retained its core group of players from last season and added some pretty talented players to its ranks. Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Butt highlight the overseas based signings with Jasmyne Spencer and Theresa Nielsen signing on loan from Reign.
Locally, City has added Adriana Jones from Adelaide and Helen Caceres from Wanderers, both of whom have plenty of W-League experience.
City’s coaching set up was overhauled with Rado Vidošić coming in as both the club’s technical director and the new W-League coach. Patrick Kisnorbo will now only be an assistant coach to the men’s side. Following the departures of Kisnorbo and Fishlock, Melissa Barbieri will join the coaching staff as an assistant to Vidošić.