A promising first season for the Wanderers | (Credit: Joseph Mayers) A promising first season for the Wanderers | (Credit: Joseph Mayers)

The new kids on the block, the Western Sydney Wanderers certainly made their presence felt in their first W-League season.  

It was almost the perfect start for the Wanderers.  Away from home against Adelaide United and with 15 minutes left in the contest, the Wanderers were 3-1 but then a sensational hattrick from Adelaide's Sarah McLaughlin ripped away their first three points. 

A narrow 1 – 0 loss to cross city rivals Sydney FC in the inaugural derby and suddenly it seemed that the season was on the line against the top of the table Perth Glory.  A bright performance and two goals on either side of half time from attacking midfielder Trudy Camilleri and they were back in the mix.

Full of confidence from the win and boosted by the acquisition of quality European pairing Louise Fors and Thora Helgadottir, Western Sydney then went on their best run of the season.  They picked up points against Canberra United before defeating Brisbane Roar on the Roar's home turf and the dispatching the Newcastle Jets.

This was on the back of a rock solid defence anchored by Olivia Kennedy, Alex Huynh and Alesha Clifford midfield engine of Servet Uzunlar and Fors supplying the strike force of Catherine Cannuli and Sarah Walsh with that combination producing three quarters of their goals.

Unfortunately for the Wanderers, a tough run home (where they played all of the eventual Top 4 teams) and untimely heavenly intervention (heat and then lightning strikes in Canberra) conspired to make qualification for the finals a tough mountain to climb.

Despite the conclusion to the season, there were many positives borne out of Season Five for the W-League's newest team.


Louise Fors a standout |  (Credit: Getty Images) Louise Fors a standout | (Credit: Getty Images)

Louise Fors

Like her Melbourne Swedish compatriot Petra Larsson, Fors was an instant hit in the Western Sydney midfield.  The 23 years old attacking midfielder's classy touches and pin point distribution made her the fulcrum of the Wanderers.  Add to that an eye for goal with her soon to be trademark free kicks and Fors was undoubtedly the Wanderers best player in Season five.

Olivia Kennedy

In her past football life as Young Matilda, Olivia Kennedy was a tough and uncompromising midfielder with good pace and even better distribution. So naturally, in Australia at least, Kennedy was converted into an equally effective full back.  Against some of Australia's best wingers, Kennedy could be relied on to hold her position and squelch attacks and be a release valve for defence.  Going forward attacking traits were on display as she often linked up with midfield to launch a Western Sydney attack.

Sarah Walsh

On and off the field inaugural captain Sarah Walsh was a key player for the Wanderers.  Upfront she worked tirelessly as a lone striker on many occasions as she presented time and again as well as finishing off chances.  Walsh was also a barometer for the Western Sydney side with her intensity transferring to her teammates on the field.  Off the field Walsh was the poster child of professionalism.

Room for Improvement

Solid in defence and lively in the midfield, it was the attack that needed some support this season.  While most other teams were loaded up on the front third, Western Sydney found themselves relying too heavily on only two or three players to supply the goals.  While Cannuli, Walsh and Fors contributed their share, it wasn’t enough to compete with the teams above them who spread the goalscoring between 4 or 5 players.

Final Word

Western Sydney Wanderers fans should be buoyed by their teams entrance into the W-League.  Despite a tough finish to the season, they were by no means disgraced against the W-League powerhouses.  The question will can they retain their senior players in Season Six and add to support and provide depth to the squad.