Some good signs in Season Five for Adelaide | (Credit: Getty Images) Some good signs in Season Five for Adelaide | (Credit: Getty Images)

It's almost cruel that once again Adelaide United finished the season propping up the W-League table such were the strides the South Australian team made.

It was a season that began with such hope and optimism.  Much of the team had had an off-season spent with coach Dave Edmondson.  Some Kiwi and young talent was introduced into the equation (Sarah McLaughlin, Holly Patterson, Jessica Waterhouse) and the crucial core had been retained (Marijana Rajcic, Rachael Quigley, Abby Erceg).  And then they got the season off the best possible start with a come from behind win over new team Western Sydney in Round 1.

What followed were good performances against Perth Glory, Canberra United and Brisbane Roar that, despite them ending in narrow losses, displayed the promise of the young Lady Reds.  Then the wheels came off.  A string of solid defeats saw the Reds of old emerge.

However despite the end to the season, there is some hope for Adelaide United.  The football they displayed at the start of the season underscored the progress made.  Young and promising players have emerged including defenders Alex Natoli and Jessie Wharepouri, midfielder and U17s captain Jess Waterhouse and striker and Australian Schoolgirls captain Jenna McCormick. There are definitely building blocks for the next coach (following Edmondson's departure at the conclusion of the season) to work with.

Despite two wins this season and better football played, the biggest challenge for the next coach will be addressing the culture at Adelaide which is best summed up by TWG Blogger and Reds striker Marijana Rajcic.

"When you continue to lose, your mind can start playing certain tricks on you. I know personally I am not only battling against the opposition each week, but I am battling myself daily."


Quigley continued her consistent seasons | (Credit: Getty Images) Quigley continued her consistent seasons | (Credit: Getty Images)

Abby Erceg

The New Zealand international and Reds captain was once again the rock for this side.  Her presence and maturity at the back was crucial when times got tough.  Her professionalism, reading of the play and covering of younger defenders was also integral as the leader of a young team and even younger back line.

Sarah McLaughlin

Another Kiwi that was a vital component of Adelaide United.  The attacking midfielders searching runs, whether through the middle or down the flank, was a catalyst for many of Adelaide's attacking forays.  Skilful on the ball, McLaughlin's final balls and eye for goal made a key lock down target for any team.

Racheal Quigley (pictured)

With four goals this season, striker Racheal Quigley was equal top scorer and once again Adelaide's most consistent forward. Quigley scored all types of goals this season from the typical poachers goal, the stock standard penalty to the classy free kick.  At times creating something out of nothing with her powerful shot, Quigley was a handful for many teams this season.

Room for Improvement

Intensity.  All around the park Adelaide lacked the intensity that other teams brought to the game.  That wasn't the case at the beginning of the season where the Lady Reds fought for every ball and employed a high tempo, high pressing game.  Whether it was fitness or unfavourable results, that discipline and intensity slowly faded in the back end of the season exacerbating the existing problems.

Adelaide are not a bad side, and as demonstrated this season, at their best they are not far away from other sides.

Final Word

Once again a season of promise has ended in disappointment.  However within the negatives are kernels of positives.  The squad assembled by Edmondson has some good young players who now have had a season of the W-League under their belt.  The crucial job in the off-season is to find a coach who can continue the progress.