Strength in unity is a big one as we look towards another stint under one of the most settled coaches in the competition. They've got bags of talent to pick from in the South Australian NPLW as well, with Adelaide City developing some excellent young stars lately.

But even when things have gone badly for Adelaide, their overall style and system structure generally remains on-point.

We remember two seasons ago when they finished bottom-of-the-pile, we still watched Adelaide games with a sense of excitiement because you knew they were going to be well-drilled, organised and create chances.

"Increased professionalism keeps evolving every component of a W-League side, it's not just about having a coach and an assistant coach," Karlovic said.

"There's a lot more to it now. Our program pretty much reflects the elite program now and it goes in really good hands.

"It's a credit to the club, because they obviously want to see it progress."

This carried into last season and it was no surprise to see Adelaide emerge as confidently as they did, something we expect to see again in 2019/20.

For the brunt of last season, Karlovic's squad were hard to beat, pure and simple. The crux of that pedigreed talent has now left the team, but the overall approach was based on improving the players that the Reds had at their disposal. And they do have exciting new faces, that we'll touch on later.

In one off-season they evolved from a squad that repetitively lost close matches to become steely and resolute, with talent-spotting a key factor behind the side's success.

These are traits that should survive them with another solid off-season under their belt. While finals may be a bridge too far for Adelaide this season, the key is to keep a close eye on their development as a unit. Because that's how they'll play their games.


The lack of experience in this squad is a concern and generally speaking, always has been. It's the reason they fall away at key parts of the season and it's the reason, despite developing excellent talent, they miss out on finals time-after-time.

So what does Karlovic want to see improve?

"I felt last season we struggled in the games that we were favourites to win," he said.

"It's something the group hasn't come across recently, so we want to change that and have the confidence to go into games knowing we can get a result."

Adelaide are doing what is in their financial capacity to do. But with new owners who have shown a willingness to invest in their A-League side, fans have the right to expect greater backing (and subsequent pressure) for Karlovic in the future.

This season, we feel a little bit of deja vu in pointing out the same fragilities, namely the lack of proven goalscoring talent. Add to that the concern about Checker leaving, who Karlovic is a big blow for the club, and suddenly they seem lacking at both ends of the pitch.

But once again, the more they tend to rely on unheralded talent the better that talent appear to get. One look at the likes of Sarah Willacy's performances affirm this.

Like Newcastle, Adelaide have gone down the development route with strong results. But there will have to be a hell of a lot of development in a short period of time to get this side competing against the big powers in this league.

The clubs they grinded out results against last time have invested bigger and better, as have the clubs that finished below them.