Twelve months ago, Melbourne City had its own share of supporters and detractors.  Many wondered if City’s stars could come together as a team from the outset.

History shows they managed exactly that. Rarely troubled (with only four goals scored against them in the regular season), they finished impressively as the undefeated champions of W-League Season 8.

City were also in the spotlight for lifting the W-League to yet another level, a level that surely every one of us hopes is met and exceeded again this season, not just by one or two teams, but across the board. They certainly aren’t the only team who have put this level of professionalism together, but they certainly were the most recently visible team to do so.

(Photo: Emily Mogic Photography) (Photo: Emily Mogic Photography)

In Season 8, coach Joe Montemurro put together a formidable team of accomplished players including a number of Matildas such as Lisa DeVanna and Steph Catley as well as key internationals Kim Little and Jess Fishlock.

So if last season is anything to go by, Melbourne City will be in for another huge season this time around.

In season 9, as with any W-League season, stability is a key. Melbourne City have retained their coach in Montemurro and things are looking healthy for a return of a strong squad.

Most of City’s Season 8 squad will be back in the sky blue colours and all up 11 players are back to defend the title. 

Notably Steph Catley returns and will wear the captain’s armband, whilst fellow Matildas Laura Alleway and Larissa Crummer also look to claim the elusive back-to-back title. Spectators will be happy to see favourites Aivi Luik and Amy Jackson back in the team along with New Zealand international Rebekah Stott and crowd favourite, Jess Fishlock.


Montemurro has also looked to strengthen several areas with Matildas’ defender Teigen Allen heading to Victoria for the first time.  She is joined by fellow newcomer Erika Tymrak from FC Kansas City.  Tymrak knows a thing or two about defending a title after going back-to-back with Kansas City in the NWSL.  The technical and creative attacking midfielder has been touted to fill the big hole left by Kim Little. 

Tymrak is joined by Lauren Barnes in the City squad with Barnes’ versatility providing Montemurro with several options in the midfield and backline. Barnes’ Seattle teammate Beverley Yanez is also another technical player brought into the side. 

Goebel is a proven goalscorer in the NWSL and previously in the Japanese Nadeshiko League. While she can be a hold up striker, the American also has the ability and smarts to connect with midfielders and fellow strikers and make hard to defend combinations.

Sequels are not always as good as the original and that is the challenge for City as they go in as a known entity in Season 9. 

They undeniably have the quality but whether they can once again create the fluid, attacking, possession based game that swept all comers will remain to be seen. 

Steph Catley (Photo: Joseph Mayers Photography) Steph Catley (Photo: Joseph Mayers Photography)

The Strengths

The professionalism surrounding the club including their training facilities, coaching, medical and support staff are perhaps second to none. The W-League team has access to everything the men’s team does and this is a key that makes the players feel respected and confident in their game.

With Williams, Catley, Stott, Alleway and perhaps Allen all at the back, defensively City look incredibly tough to beat.  The defensive apparatus does not just consist of the back four. 

Aivi Luik and Amy Jackson both played able screening roles last season and their rebounding of the ball meant the City back four was rarely under pressure or stretched. 

Barnes has been added to that equation this year and could play any number of different roles defensively.  It will mean for the opposition that goals against City will hard to come by and well earned.

The Challenge

The hardest hit area for City this season is the area that was most impressive last season; their attack.  It was an attack that many teams found incapable of defending against with the likes of Crummer, De Vanna, Goad and Little all rotating around the attacking third. 

Three of the four will not be in City colours this season and the final member of that quartet (Crummer) is racing to be fit for the season start.  They take with them 24 of a possible 38 goals. 

That is a lot for any team to make up, even one as strong as City.  Third top scorer Marianna Tabain and new recruits Tymrak and Yanez will be key this season but how Montemurro re-fashions what was an incredibly successful attack could determine whether Melbourne City can repeat the success of last season.   

Key Players

Lydia Williams (Defence)

Australia’s undisputed number 1 keeper is a major signing coup for City. With world class aerial ability, accurate distribution from the back and a wealth of W-League experience, Williams’ addition to the City backline makes for a menacing and intimidating combination.

Aivi Luik (Midfield)

While Jessica Fishlock and Kim Little understandably gained the headlines in for Melbourne City last season, it was Luik who was the quiet anchor for Montemurro’s side.  Luik is a clever player with an ability to read the game and anticipate the player.  The 31 year old also possesses the strong distribution skills needed to recycle the ball time and again. 

Erika Tymrak (Attack)

In the past Tymrak has mentioned she plays her best when she able to “be creative and able to have like a blank canvas in front of me and do what I want”. 

Much like Little before her, it is anticipated that the skilful and inventive attacking midfielder will be given licence to create in the City front third.  If she can produce as close to a return of goals and chances created as her predecessor, City will be closer to defending their titles. 

One to watch

Jacynta Galabadaarachchi (Forward)

Not a name familiar to women’s football but Galabadaarachchi is a smooth and technically sound player who can score goals.  A Junior Matildas forward’s dribbling skills have seen her part of the Everton and Manchester City academies in England.  Recently she netted six goals for Australia as they qualified for the AFC U16 Championships.


1. Lydia WILLIAMS (gk)

2. Teigen ALLEN

3. Lauren BARNES

4. Rachel BINNING

5. Laura ALLEWAY

6. Aivi LUIK

7. Steph CATLEY

9. Larissa CRUMMER

10. Jessica FISHLOCK

11. Erika TYMRAK

12. Olivia ELLIS

13. Rebekah STOTT

14. Melina AYRES


16. Beverley YANEZ

17. Marianna TABAIN


19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC

30. Kelsey QUINN (gk)