A-League Women’s Preview

Ahead of the start of the 2022/23 Liberty A-League Women’s season, we took a deep dive into the Sydney FC Women’s team, who their top opponents will be, and profiled each player at Head Coach Ante Juric’s disposal. After making the last five Grand Finals, will this Sydney FC team win their third consecutive premiership and will they go one better by winning the championship?

We will find out when the season kicks off on Sunday afternoon with a trip to face Adelaide United in South Australia.

Sydney FC

Head coach: Ante Juric

2021-22 position: 1st (Grand Final Runners Up)

Sydney FC led the way again during the regular season, the star-studded Sky Blues only losing once before being upstaged by Melbourne Victory in the A-League Women decider.

It was a fantastic season under Ante Juric and he will be hoping for more of the same this year with a number of new signings to cover for the departures of key players such as Satchell. Madison Haley will be one to watch as she arrives in Australia from America and brings a pedigree of scoring goals along with a winning mentality.


In defence, the addition of Anna Green, Kirsty Fenton and Deborah-Anne de la Harpe brings stability and experience which will bode well for Juric and his team, who had such a stable defence last season. Keeper Jada Whyman is also back, and with new players in front of her, will be looking to gel quickly and keep the opposition scoreless with a view to beating her record run of eight clean sheets last season.

Sydney FC will certainly be ones to watch this season as they go for a third consecutive league title but they will want to go one better and clinch the championship which has eluded them for the last two years.

It will be an expanded season for Ante Juric and his girls, and with 18 matches to play, he will be needing each and every member of his squad. They open the season against Adelaide United in South Australia this weekend before returning to Cromer Park for the first home match of the season in a Grand Final re-match against Melbourne Victory.

Other key fixtures include a home Sydney Derby on Christmas Eve, a key match-up against Melbourne City in February and a first trip to New Zealand to take on Wellington Phoenix.

There will also be four double-headers with the Men’s team as the Women’s team play out of the new Allianz Stadium for the very first time.

In exciting news this season, all junior players up to U16, can access every Liberty A-League Women’s match for FREE. That is every Sydney FC Women’s match, in any city or state for free. This is an initiative that has been implemented across the league and every match is accessible with this Liberty A-League Women’s Pass. For more information and to register for the Liberty A-League Pass, see below


What they are saying: 

“Having made finals in all 14 seasons since 2008, a bit of squad turnover and regeneration may test Sydney FC if not necessarily threaten their perpetual spot in the top four. Sydney’s forward depth does get younger and less experienced without Cote Rojas and Paige Satchell, but with active Matilda Cortnee Vine and fringe international Princess Ibini still on the books, don’t expect a drop-off in scoring power. The defence adding Young Matilda Kirsty Fenton and established Perth Glory standout Deborah-Anne de la Harpe should continue to protect goalkeeper Jada Whyman, who broke both the clean sheet and minutes-without-conceding records last season. 

Teo Pellizzeri, Liberty A-League Commentator

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#1 – JADA WHYMAN – Goalkeeper

Jada Whyman is back with the Sky Blues and made history last season by breaking the clean sheet record and also the minutes between goals record. Having already gained a call up to the Matildas camp for the most recent window, this season will be key if Jada wants to play in the Women’s World Cup in 2023.

Jada Whyman

#2 – Mary Stancic-Floody – Midfielder

Mary Stancic-Floody is very unasuming figure off the field but is one not to underestimate on it. Mary was involved in the squad last season and will be looking to force her way into the side as she moves into her second season with the club.

Mary Stancic-Floody

#3 – Charlotte McLean – Defender

Charlotte McLean is a name familiar with Sydney FC fans having played for a number of seasons in Sky Blue. The centre back will be looking to continue her good form which saw her play a key role in the defensive record that was achieved last year. Having previously played Young Matildas, McLean thrives in the Sydney FC environment and this season is expected to be no different.

Charlotte McLean

#4 – Anna Green – Defender

Anna Green slots into the back-line in place of her name-sake Ally Green and arrives at the peak of her powers. Anna Green has been with the New Zealand national team for a number of camps and famously scored against the Matildas in Townsville from an acute angle. The marauding wing-back is going to contribute plenty during the attacking phases of the game and will be a real asset to Ante Juric this season.

Anna Green

#5 – Kirsty Fenton – Defender

Kirsty Fenton is the first of our new arrivals having played the 2021/22 season with Newcastle Jets. The defender is now playing her second season of professional football having grown up in the Hunter region and making her debut last year. At 19, Fenton has a bright future ahead of her and is one to watch.

Kirsty Fenton

#6 – Sarah Hunter – Midfielder

The diminutive midfielder has become a key part of Juric’s team and has been rewarded with a call up to the U20’s Matildas camp during the off-season where Hunter was the captain of the side during the two week tournament. She netted in extra-time in the Elimination Final against Melbourne City last season and contributes going forward and also defensively. Hunter is certainly one to watch this season as she hopes to take her game to another level.

Sarah Hunter

#8 – Rachel Lowe – Midfielder

Rachel Lowe is coming into her fourth season in the Liberty A-League Women’s and the 21-year-old impressed last season, contributing to five goals across 10 starts. She has become an integral part of Ante Juric’s team and with the expanded season you will expect to see Lowe shine.

Rachel Lowe

#9 – Madison Haley – Attacker

Madison Haley arrives at Sydney FC having just finished the NCAA season with Stanford University. She brings with her a physical presence and we expect to see her score plenty of goals this year. Haley is one who could fly under the radar as a potential golden boot winner.

Madison Haley

#11 – Cortnee Vine – Attacker

Cortnee Vine is back in Sky Blue and she is at the top of her game. Consistently picked and starting for the Matildas, you would expect the forward to be in and amongst the goals this season. Last season she netted six times across ten matches and you can almost guarantee she will better that tally.

Cortnee Vine

#12 – Nat Tobin – Defender – Captain

Captain Nat Tobin contribution on the pitch is huge. Loved by all of her team-mates she is a fantastic communicator and one who leads by example. Last season she started 13 matches, scoring once and defensively was one of the best in the league. Expect more of the same from Tobin this season.

Nat Tobin

#14 – Abbey Lemon – Attacker

Abbey Lemon is another of Sydney FC’s imports this season, coming to the Harbour City from Levante in Spain. The Aussie has most recently represented her nation at the U20’s Women’s World Cup and has impressed Ante Juric so far in pre-season. Expect to see her on the ball and creating plenty this Liberty A-League season.

Abbey Lemon

#15 – Mackenzie Hawkesby – Midfielder

Mackenzie Hawkesby arrives at the start of this season with a big pedigree. She is one of the hottest targets in the new A-League Women’s Fantasy and contributes with assists and goals in the final third. Hawkesby is a key cog in the team and having started 14 matches last season, will be looking to match the five goals and eight assists she notched this time round that won her the Player of the Season award at the Sky Blue Ball.

Mackenzie Hawkesby

#16 – Deborah-Anne de la Harpe – Defender

Deborah-Anne de la Harpe is a defender who impressed last season with Perth Glory having been displaced for much of the season due to COVID restrictions. She was pivotal to their amazing run which saw them almost make finals despite the odds being stacked against them. She will be one to watch this season.

Deborah-Anne De La Harpe

#17 – Jynaya Dos Santos – Midfielder

Jynaya forms one half of the Dos Santos sisters alongside Indiana and both have been impressive in their youth careers that they have earnt themselves contracts with the Sydney FC first team. Jynaya most recently was called up to the Young Matildas squad and can use that experience to compliment her Sydney FC side in this expanded Liberty A-League season. She is still at school and is balancing her football career with her studies.

Jynaya Dos Santos

#18 – Taylor Ray – Midfielder

Taylor Ray will unfortunately be sidelined for majority of this A-League season after sustaining an ACL injury while representing her country. It was bitterly disappointing for the tenacious midfielder who was hoping to add even more to her game. There is a chance we will still see her at the back end of the season and if that opportunity does arise, don’t be surprised if she dominates the contest as usual.

Taylor Ray

#19 – Charlie Rule – Defender

Charlie Rule has become a TikTok star but don’t let that take away from her skill on the pitch. A marauding defender who contributes moving forward, she is one to keep an eye on this season as her side go for a third consecutive premiership. Charlie is a threat from corners and set pieces and also contributes to a strong defensive record too.

Charlie Rule

#20 – Princess Ibini – Attacker

Princess Ibini is another attacker which you expect to be in and around the goals this season. A winger with plenty of pace and attacking intent, she is constantly a threat and it is no surprise she already has a Matildas cap to her name. Her chemistry with her team-mates helps her thrive and you can expect to see that come to fruition on the pitch.

Princess Ibini

#21 – Shay Hollman – Midfielder

Shay Hollman is back in Sydney FC colours and in the off-season added to her achievements having captained the Australia U18 Women’s side to victory in the AFF U18’s Championship. Hollman is in her second season with the Sky Blues but is still very young and has a great future ahead of her. She is the sister to the Sydney FC Men’s player Corey Hollman and is another young prospect at Sydney that has the potential to achieve great things.

Shay Hollman

#22 – Indiana Dos Santos – Midfielder

Indiana Dos Santos is the other half of the Dos Santos sisters. She begins this season having an interrupted pre-season due to being called up for representative honours with the Young Matildas U15 side. During a two week camp she captained the side as they played three matches against South Korea. Despite her age, you can expect Indiana to have a big impact on the pitch.

Indiana Dos Santos

#23 – Anika Stajcic – Midfielder

Anika Stajcic has a surname familiar to Sydney FC Women’s fans and she is the daughter of former coach and Sydney FC Hall of Famer, Alen Stajcic. The 16-year-old Stajcic has earnt her spot in the team as a scholarship player and with the expanded season, is certain to get plenty of minutes in the centre of the park. Stajcic is a name to watch for this season.

Anika Stajcic

#24 – Shay Evans – Midfielder

Shay Evans is back at Sydney FC and many fans are excited by that prospect. She was a fan favourite when she was here two years ago and having gained a season of experience at Adelaide United, returns hungry for the chance to win trophies. Evans has already settled in well with her new team-mates and will take that relationship onto the park with ease.

Shay Evans

#30 – Katie Offer – Goalkeeper

Katie Offer is back at Sydney FC. Spending majority of last season as the understudy of Jada Whyman, Offer has already got minutes this pre-season and will be hoping to continue that into the A-League season. An imposing figure between the sticks, Offer is one not to be underestimated.

Katie Offer

Ante Juric – Head Coach

Ante Juric is back in charge and is hoping for a third consecutive premiership. He has masterminded success to the Sydney FC Women’s team over the last few seasons and you should expect nothing less from him.

Ante Juric

Tom Whiteside – Assistant Coach

Tom Whiteside

Ken Greenhead. – Goalkeeper Coach

Ken Greenhead

The Opponents

This season, the rest of the pack will be out to get Sydney FC once again. Having made each of the last five Grand Finals, Sydney are always the team to beat and this season will be no different. Their biggest challenge will come in the form of the two Melbourne teams in Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory. These two and the Sky Blues are the only teams to lift silverware in the competition for the last four years and we expect more of the same this time around.

Adelaide United

Rebuilding the centre of defence was priority number one after Matilda McNamara’s move to Europe and an ACL-injury that ended any hope of getting American Kayla Sharples in on another loan. Matildas aspirant Jenna McCormick and Dutch veteran Marushka Waldus will carry that responsibility while Young Matilda Ella Tonkin returns as their deputy after a strong NPLW season in NSW. A versatile midfield will be led by Dylan Holmes, while Chinese international star Xiao Yuyi gives Adelaide a proven match-winner after her heroics in the AFC Asian Cup final. Retaining Dolan medallist Fiona Worts and Australian U23 international Chelsie Dawber should guarantee goals. 

Brisbane Roar

In current Matildas Katrina Gorry and Larissa Crummer, Roar have candidates for the Dolan medal and golden boot respectively. But repairing a defence that conceded 30 in 14 last season is the task they must complete to improve their results. They’ve looked overseas to American goalie Hensley Hancuff and Swedish centre back Kajsa Lind as the two key pieces to lead improvement. With American Shea Connors winning the NPL NSW golden boot over winter, and Brazilian Mariel Hecher second-top scorer in NPL QLD, there’s no shortage of firepower. The burning question is if they’ll defend like a team that needs a shoot-out to win games.

Canberra United

After going winless for the first nine games last season, Canberra ended on a five-game unbeaten run to give incoming coach Njegosh Popovich some optimistic exposed form. Many of the new faces are young and either under 10 games of experience or completely new to the national league. But Popovich is vastly experienced developing players and appears in for the long-haul with what might be a multi-season project to rebuild the club that was once the standard bearer of the competition. Veterans like Michelle Heyman and Ellie Brush will be relied upon to set the standards for this young group. 

Melbourne City

After coming agonisingly close to making the Grand Final last season, blowing a 2-0 lead in the major semi-final against Sydney FC, Melbourne City have replenished their international quota and targeted Australians with national team pedigree. The acquisition of midfielder Katie Bowen is particularly vital to replace fellow Kiwi Rebekah Stott. With Matildas winger Holly McNamara not expected to return from her knee reconstruction until the new year, American Emina Ekic’s loan until February is conveniently timed. The burning question will be how last year’s successful defensive trio is regenerated with the departure of Winonah Heatley overseas and season-long knee injury sustained by Tori Tumeth. 

Melbourne Victory

Victory have landed capped Matildas across the lines to replace their outgoing talent, with Elise Kellond-Knight the headline grabber as her comeback from long-term injury continues. But don’t rule out returning home-town favourite Beattie Goad and veteran left back Gema Simon from making an outside run at the final World Cup 23 themselves. The defending champions have shown their ability to think and adjust on the fly, and a 20-game season is ample time to test the market or seek a guest marquee for a sugar hit if the squad at the starting line doesn’t immediately click into title contention.

Newcastle Jets

Having picked up just one point from a possible 24 in the final eight games of last campaign, Newcastle have significantly overhauled the squad in search of better performance. Four new Americans, returning home-grown favourites like Tessa Tamplin and Adriana Konjarski (nee Jones) and a new crop of local youngsters fill the ranks. There’s no question that Newcastle can unearth and develop prospects but retaining those players from being lured down the motorway is another matter. While this season shapes as a challenge for the Jets, keeping the emerging talents together for multiple campaigns will be key to getting results long term.

Perth Glory

Coach Alex Epakis’ scouting of the NPLW competitions helped lift the Glory from last to fifth in a single season last time out, coming agonisingly close to a first finals series since 2019. American Cyera Hintzen announced herself with five goals in nine games after arriving mid-season last campaign, and is now locked in to go again with some added American support up front. The season-to-season consistency with the squad is being replicated with some much-needed stability off the pitch as well. Having spent last season on the road due to border restrictions, restoring a home ground advantage will aid Glory’s push for the top four.

Wellington Phoenix

Wellington have a far older and more experienced team thanks to targeted recruiting and international call-ups at both senior and under-20 level for many of last season’s returning players. Football Ferns veteran Betsy Hassett will bring seniority and leadership to the Phoenix while fellow current internationals Paige Satchell, Marisa van der Meer and Emma Rolston all arrive with their form counting down to the World Cup front of mind. Winning and retaining the ball higher up the pitch will be key to better results after conceding a league-high 36 goals at an average of 2.6 per game last season.

Western United

Entering the season as the great unknown, Western United have some advantages to capitalise on. Firstly, their squad was assembled early and internationals were secured and in Australia for much of pre-season. Secondly, continuity from NPL Victoria with 11 of the squad hailing from league and cup champions Calder United. As a start-up club the benchmarks for Western United are as much about off the pitch as on it, particularly with regards to club culture and hospitality for interstate and overseas players. The signs are already promising having attracted Matilda Chloe Logarzo and World Cup winner Jess McDonald to put the club on the map and kick-start building a reputation. 

Sydney FC Squad Summary

Re-signed: Natalie Tobin (Captain), Cortnee Vine, Jada Whyman, Princess Ibini, Mackenzie Hawkesby, Rachel Lowe, Charlotte McLean, Charlie Rule, Sarah Hunter, Katie Offer, Shay Hollman, Mary Stanic-Floody.

New arrivals: Anna Green, Madison Haley, Deborah-Anne de la Harpe, Kirsty Fenton, Abbey Lemon, Shadeene Evans (scholarship), Jynaya Dos Santos (scholarship), Indiana Dos Santos (scholarship), Anika Stajcic (scholarship)


1Sunday, 20 November 2022Adelaide United v Sydney FCServiceFM Stadium4.00pm
2Saturday, 26 November 2022Sydney FC v Melbourne VictoryCromer Park3.00pm
3Saturday, 3 December 2022Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FCMarconi Stadium3.00pm
4Saturday, 10 December 2022Sydney FC v Brisbane RoarAllianz Stadium5.05pm
6Saturday, 24 December 2022Sydney FC v Western Sydney WanderersAllianz Stadium2.20pm
8Saturday, 31 December 2022Brisbane Roar v Sydney FCA.J. Kelly Park3.00pm
9Saturday, 7 January 2023Newcastle Jets v Sydney FCNo.2 Sportsground3.00pm
10Wednesday, 11 January 2023Sydney FC v Western UnitedLeichhardt Oval7.00pm
11Saturday, 21 January 2023Sydney FC v Perth GloryLeichhardt Oval3.00pm
12Thursday, 26 January 2023Melbourne Victory v Sydney FCAAMI Park4.05pm
13Saturday, 4 February 2023Sydney FC v Melbourne CityAllianz Stadium2.20pm
14Saturday, 11 February 2023Canberra United v Sydney FCMcKellar Park3.00pm
15Saturday, 25 February 2023Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FCTBC3.00pm
16Sunday, 5 March 2023Western United v Sydney FCMorshead Park Stadium4.00pm
17Saturday, 11 March 2023Sydney FC v Wellington PhoenixNetstrata Jubilee Stadium3.00pm
18Saturday, 18 March 2023Melbourne City v Sydney FCCasey Fields3.00pm
19Saturday, 25 March 2023Sydney FC v Adelaide UnitedNetstrata Jubilee Stadium3.00pm
20Saturday, 1 April 2023Sydney FC v Newcastle JetsAllianz Stadium5.05pm