Last season couldn’t have started any worse for Sydney FC.
Conceding a goal just 17 seconds into their season set the tone for what would be a frustrating opening three weeks.
After three consecutive losses to start the season, things were looking dire when Sydney trailed defending Champions Melbourne City 2-1 in the second half of the Round 4 clash. It was then that captain Teresa Polias stepped up to score her first ever W-League goal to level the game. Remy Siemsen's 91st minute strike propelled Sydney to victory and the following run of eight straight wins saw the club finish second.
Their semi-final encounter against Newcastle was unforgettable with the game forced into extra time after a chaotic stoppage-time goal from Tara Andrews. Lisa De Vanna would end up saving the day, scoring her sixth goal of the season after a storming midfield run by USWNT central defender Emily Sonnett, sending the Sky Blues into the final.
The grand final would be a disappointing repeat of 2016-17, as Sydney fell at the final hurdle to Melbourne City. However, the club can be very proud of the way they recovered from a difficult start to the season, earning their fifth Grand Final appearance.
Sydney FC has maintained their record as the only team to appear in every finals series since the inception of the W-League ten years ago. Season 11 is now shaping up to be one of the most competitive yet, and Sydney are looking to improve on last season’s efforts. Their search for silverware began in the off-season, with head coach Ante Juric re-signing several players who were vital to the club’s 2017-18 campaign. This included the captain, Polias, and the attacking Matildas trio of De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, and Chloe Logarzo
Feisty midfielder Amy Harrison is back after missing the end the last season with an ACL injury, as is Natalie Tobin after a year-long sabbatical. NSW NPL stars Rachael Soutar and Elizabeth Ralston have also re-signed after helping their respective NPL clubs to trophies in 2018.
Sydney will complement its returning players with several new recruits. Experienced Matildas defender Alanna Kennedy is back at the club after spending last season at City.
“I’m thrilled to be back at Sydney FC,” she told The Women’s Game. “This club is like family to me, it’s an environment in which I have had success in the past, and I can’t wait to get started.”
After a disappointing season with the Orlando Pride in the NWSL, Kennedy now has her sights set on the World Cup in France next year. Her preparation not only physical, but also mental and emotional, and believes returning to her hometown is the perfect environment for that preparation.
“Being away from the club made me realise what I was missing off the field and I’m expecting my performances to show it was worth the return,” she said.