Despite being held to a 1-1 draw by an unfancied Newcastle Jets in week one of the W-League, Ellie Carpenter is still confident Melbourne City will succeed in 2019/20.
Making the trip to the Hunter for their first game of the campaign, City’s high-powered, Matilda-laden squad were unable to land a killer blow against their young Jet opposition, with Emily van Egmond’s 22nd minute strike to open proceedings cancelled out by Teigan Collister in the 67th.
Though missing Kyah Simon and the soon-to-be-announced Rebekah Stott and Aivi Luik, coach Rado Vidošić’s side nonetheless fielded Matildas Carpenter, van Egmond, Lydia Williams, Emma Checker, Steph Catley and international talents Lauren Barnes, Yukari Kinga, Milica Mijatović and Claire Emslie on Sunday, making the Jets' efforts even more impressive.
The result means that City have failed to take maximum points from their opening round fixture for three straight seasons.
However, with City’s Death Star-like collection of talent given scant time together in pre-season thanks to other club and international commitments, Carpenter believes it’s only a matter of time until the group gels together and begins to dominate.
“I think we have our full strength squad this weekend so the likes of Aivi [Luik], Kyah Simon and Stotty [Rebekah Stott] will be back in the squad so I think this weekend we’ll be at full strength," she said today.
“Having this week to build to Sunday we’ll be very strong. Getting this week is very important leading into Sunday to build those relationships on the field.
“[Canberra] have a quality side this year with their internationals and a squad that’s full of depth so it’s going to be a good battle. I’m really excited to head back there.”
Making the move to City after previously spending two seasons with Canberra United, Carpenter arrived in Bundoora on loan from NWSL side Portland Thorns, whose season ended on October 21 when they were eliminated from the playoffs by Sam Kerr’s Chicago Red Stars.
Signing a multi-year contract extension with the Thorns on Halloween, the 19-year-old's thoughts then turned to national duty for two games with the Matildas ahead of next year’s Olympic Qualifying, defeating Chile 2-1 at Bankwest Stadium on November 9 and 1-0 at Coopers Stadium on November 12.
It’s been a busy period but, if Carpenter was feeling it, she certainly wasn’t giving anything away on Wednesday and denied she was feeling any exhaustion from the schedule and switch of clubs.
“I think it’s nice," she said. "It’s a new environment for me, such a professional environment here. They look after us really well. I think it’s been a good start to the season but obviously, we can build from that.
“There’s a lot of us coming from back-to-back seasons so we’re managed very well. Obviously, with the S&C department and our physios, they manage us very well.
“We all have individual programs that we do pre-training and after. We’re looked after very well.